Game industry analysts give their opinion on the E3 2007 Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft press conferences

E3 LogoWe are now deep into the second day of the new E3 2007 (The E3 Media & Business Summit as it’s called, or E4 as we like to refer to it as) and more and more games are being shown and announced. But the big stuff by the three console manufacturers Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft always happens at their own press conference/pre-shows and it was no difference this year. Although there weren’t very many huge announcements, all three companies had a mini-bomb of their own. And now video game industry analysts have given their reactions/predictions for each.

Microsoft: They showed of a whole ton of games, although a lot of them had been seen before. New stuff included the kid-oriented party game Viva Pinata: Party Animals and an Xbox 360 edition of the family DVD board game Scene It. They also gave a date for Project Gotham Racing 4 and the upcoming epic Mass Effect, and they showed brand new trailers for Call of Duty 4 and Resident Evil 5.

Wedbush Morgan Securities’ Michael Pachter said before the show that he expected an Xbox 360 price cut by the end of the Microsoft conference as an answer to Sony’s $100 PS3 price cut from earlier in the week. With no such cut materializing, Pachter admitted he was wrong, and said that Microsoft is in a tough position right now because of the recently announced warranty extension for the system. He said a price cut now might send the wrong signal to consumers about the quality of the hardware, and they could save the price cut until they can reassure consumers that whatever was wrong with the system has been fixed.

Nollenberger Capital Markets’ Todd Greenwald said the lack of a 360 price cut was probably the right move. “A price cut in July or August probably doesn’t do much,” Greenwald noted, “especially when there still isn’t a compelling reason to buy a PS3 (despite the big $100 price cut).”

Nintendo: As anyone who watched the Nintendo Press Conference can attest too, it was a pretty big disappointment as far as actual game announcements and new games went. Nintendo basically basked in their own financial success, and showed videos about how much everyone loves the Wii (they should’ve stuck to one or two of these videos IMO). They didn’t show off Super Smash Bros. Brawl much, and there were no real big announcements except for . . . They finally showed the gun-like Zapper peripheral, a steering wheel that will be shipping with a brand-new Wii Mario Kart early next year, and the Wii Balance Board, which comes with the conference’s main event game, Wii Fit, which was shown by Shigeru Miyamoto himself.

Greenwald seemed most impressed by Nintendo, saying the Wii maker can basically call its own shots for now. “I think the Zapper looks great, really great,” Greenwald said. “Wii Fit should expand the market even further for Nintendo, and maybe some nimble publishers like Ubisoft and Majesco can benefit from it. I don’t think it will be as big as Brain Age or Wii Sports, though.”

The Yankee Group’s Michael Goodman thought Wii Fit was “really cool,” but doesn’t expect it to meet the same success as other Nintendo breakout hits like Brain Age and Wii Sports.

“The reality is that the Wii is not expanding the market as much as Nintendo wants us to believe,” Goodman said. “According to a publisher I have spoken to, less than 10 percent of Wii buyers did not previously own a console. So basically, Wii growth is coming at the expense of other console manufacturers–mainly Sony–not by expanding the market. It is only once a Wii enters a household that others start using it. Wii Fit will require those ‘non-gamers’ to go out and buy the board and software, which I’m skeptical of.”

Lazard Capital Markets’ Colin Sebastian was perhaps a little more optimistic about Wii Fit, saying it “looks good and will appeal to the casual audience that Nintendo is tapping into.” He still expects a price cut on the Xbox 360 to arrive later this summer, and overall he said the conferences went pretty much as he expected, “which probably favors Nintendo.”

Sony: The electronics giant showed off a revamped PlayStation Portable, announced a deal with NCsoft for exclusive PlayStation 3 massively multiplayer online games, announced that Unreal Tournament III would be PS3-only for this year (timed exclusive), and showed off Killzone 2.

For Sony, Greenwald gave the PSP redesign a yawn. And while he called the company’s conference “underwhelming,” he said it appeared like they were lining up a strong slate of games for next year.

Update: Supa here, additionally I’d like to add some comments about the E3 2007 showings from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony from the hardcore gamers at Gamevideos. Personally I find they complain too much about everyone’s showings and disagree with them on a lot. But the 17 minute overview gives some nice details and reruns of footage to make it worth it. I do think those hardcore gamers need to mellow out a bit, if it’s not for them you should be able to recognize it could be great for someone else.

Click on the bottom-right corner arrow to view it full-screen.