When you think of how Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo appear to the public eye, you would think of how Nintendo used to be on top and how Sony was far behind it’s competition. But when you look at their respective booths at E3, you would think something complete different. I spent some time at each of their booths and I’m here to tell you how things looked like on the show floor.
First, let’s talk about Nintendo. Their booth was wide open and inviting. Their brand was splattered everywhere. Nintendo is labeling 2013 as the year of Luigi and, to celebrate, all of their presenters are required to wear Luigi hats. Every side of the booth had special photo booth sets inspired by each of their upcoming titles. You could take a picture in the Pikmin, Mario, Mario Kart, and Donkey Kong World. It was nice for attendants, but it was ultimately just a distraction.
Nothing at the Nintendo E3 booth had a long line. Well, nothing without any kind of swag had a line. The only line in Nintendo’s booth was this roulette table where you could win prizes. There was also a Mario character on a TV screen who would talk to the crowd waiting to play a 3DS game.
One huge thing Nintendo was lacking in was presenters who had any real knowledge of the games they were showing. While playing the Mario Kart 8 demo, I tried asking questions but all I got was a stock response. These stock responses didn’t feel like the usual PR responses, however. These felt like hired people who were there just to move the line – and those lines were no bigger than two people deep, for any of the games.
Microsoft’s booth was real clean. The white walls weren’t inviting, but the green insides made you feel warm and welcome. You know green means Xbox and you want to play. The whole booth was crowded at all times and everyone was lined up to see the biggest exclusive, Titanfall. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend much time with Microsoft at all. It just wasn’t in my cards.
Sony, however, was a party. The black walls were clashing against Microsoft’s whites. There is a console war going on and it was obvious. Sony was proud of their showing at their press conference and they weren’t afraid to show it. They had games being projected on raised walls in every direction. This was Sony’s show and they knew it.
It was black, blue, and full of people. Every single spot in the Sony booth was full. If you wanted to touch the PlayStation 4’s controller, you had to wait a long while. The shortest line for a PlayStation 4 title was for an existing pinball game – one that everyone owns on one console or another. It might have been there to show Sony’s growing partnership with indie developers. It may have been there to give a real chance for most people to actually get their hands on the new hardware.
The least crowded spot in Sony’s booth was the corner housing the rows of PS Vitas. The floor was raised with blue LED lights shining right up to you. The rows were filled with a large variety of Vita titles. The best part was each game was being shown off by people who work for that particular game’s company. If I wanted to play Dragon’s Crown, then I would have people from Atlus to talk to. If I wanted to play Ragnarok Odyssey ACE, then I would have people from XSEED there right at my side. You get the idea.
At this year’s E3, Microsoft was the most closed off. The biggest interest there was with their one huge exclusive they have coming out in the future. Sony’s booth was always full and they were showing off so much. Nintendo, on the other hand, was wide open and inviting. Even though they had a lot to show, Nintendo was the least crowded with not one of their titles being more than an hour long wait. I’d even go out of my way to say that my wait at Konami to see the new Castlevania game was longer than anything Nintendo had to offer.
Do these observations equal sales? Of course not, but public perception means most everything these days. Sony’s press conference blew Microsoft out of the water, and Nintendo didn’t really have one. And if the show has anything to do with it, Microsoft and Nintendo may be in big trouble in the future.