DigiExpo 2006

November 3, 2006

DigiExpo’s the biggest digital entertainment show in Finland. I must say, as much as I generally try to avoid these sc “general purpose” fairs, this one was actually fun. Probably a lot of that excitement had to do with the console generation shift that’s going on right now. Also, the “confusion of the HD transition” might have something to do with it.

Got to try the Wii controller which I must say felt quite odd and nonsensical. Probably one of those things that a “non-gamer” will just pick up on the fly, but takes some time for an old gamer to adjust to (like going from Mac to Windows, or vice versa). It was more fun look at other people using it than actually using it myself. The good news are ofcourse that it can use the GameCube controller and the price.

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The graphics were a little troubling. From the titles they had there right now (the new Zelda, Metroid, some driving game and a bunch of tech demos) it really looks like GameCube 1.5. I know that you should never judge the potential of a device by it’s first titles but if you look back, “next gen” has always look like it too (compare going from SNES to N64 or any other transition).

The PS3 is a perfect example of this. Even a Nintendo fanboy like myself, I must say I was more impressed by the PS3’s visuals than the Wii controller. They had 4 demo units, 3 of them running at 720p and one 1080p and it did look quite stunning. The games were Lair, two obscure driving games and a shoot-em-up. You could really see that the PS3 camp’s behind by the quality of the games though - for example the physics and handling on both of the driving games was practically non-existant.

All this HD glory will come at price, ofcourse. Not only will we have to dish out close to 700 EUR for the PS3, but keep in mind you also need an HD screen to take real advantage of it. And those start at around 1 000 EUR (?).

The XBox 360 was the most polished of them all (obviously) and they had a lot of them out there. Got to try NFS Carbon, which although undeniable impressive in HD, didn’t feel that much greater than NFS MW running on the GameCube. In fact the sense of speed is even better IMHO on the GC, but that might’ve been because I had a crummy car. :)

Gears of War looked impressive. It’s nice to see how console makers have finally really figured out it’s all about the content. The games are the reason people buy a console (and maybe the BluRay player in case of the PS3) and so all of the platforms now have their exclusive hit-games that aren’t ported to a competing platform. The result? I think more and more people will just end up buying more than one console.

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Oh, just for the record. I did buy something!