5 things we want to see at E3 2012

This year's E3 is long over, but next year isn't that far away--and we have plenty of questions we want answered from 2011's show.

Sarah Tew/CNET

OK, honestly, this is my last post on E3. While this year's show is over and we've seen both surprises and disappointments, another year looms: and with it, we hold out hope that next year's show can deliver on some unanswerables that this year's show conveniently skipped. At least, that's the way I feel. No show can ever hope to bring everything we expect--mainly, because E3 is only a collection of demonstrations from an industry that's constantly evolving--but as I peer into next year's crystal ball, this is what I hope we find.

Games and reasons to buy the Wii U
Nintendo's next console, the Wii U , remains shrouded in mystery, in the middle of a year where Nintendo remains in a larger cloud of uncertainty. The Nintendo 3DS feels like a disappointment, and the Wii is in decline. That touch-screen tablet-of-wonders that Nintendo's hawking is a project with no definitive must-have games or applications, and that will need to change next year.

Next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft
Yes, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are still fresh-feeling and capable of several more years of life. Still, systems that debuted in 2006 and 2005 are going to need to start to think next-generation sooner or later.

Related links
• E3: 5 things we learned
• 2012: The year of the second screen?
• E3 2011: Complete coverage

More focus on independent gaming and mobile gaming
This year's E3 was full of iOS gamemakers and smartphone games, and even some exhibitions of indie talent. Still, they took a backseat to big-studio franchises. Part of that's the fault of the press for not covering the small stuff more, but Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all need to promote the indie scene far better than they did this year.

No more sequels
Well, that's never going to happen. Still, there were far too many repeat performances this year, and precious few unique ideas--and those "new" projects tended to be derivative in terms of genre or content, anyhow. It's risky to take a leap into new worlds, but there wouldn't have been a Mass Effect 3, Super Mario 3D, or Uncharted 3 without Mass Effect, Super Mario Bros., or Uncharted.

A wider focus on gaming's role in the world at large
Games have become a mainstream pastime thanks to social gaming on Facebook, iOS, and Android apps, and the inroads that systems like the Nintendo Wii laid down. This year's E3 felt regressive in its focus on "hard-core" gaming, while failing to address or even acknowledge companies like Apple who were holding conferences 7 hours north. Consoles and PCs aren't the only ways people play games anymore, and while Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft certainly want to keep focus on their platform hardware, E3 needs to start carving a wider swath.

 

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