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E3 Report: The Battle for Your Inner Gamer

Let’s get the bias out in the open. I’m not a gamer, though I have a deep appreciation of the art of the game. If you think all gamers and their gaming machines are created equal, think again. At E3 Expo last week I got to evaluate the game milieus and the crowds they drew, allowing me a unique socio-psychological profile of game machines and the folks who love them.

First Up: Nintendo Wii

Species: Gamer Familia—Wii has the widest appeal to families, but hardcore gamers turn their noses skyward.

Characteristics: If President Obama was reincarnated as a game machine he’d be a Nintendo Wii. The Wii message is all about inclusivity. The company’s mission is to get everybody playing a game and everybody moving their bodies while they play. The success of the Wii and the Wii Fit are right on target with the mission. They have a diverse offering of software from a variety of publishers.

2009 Maturation: New hardware announcements at E3 included the Wii MotionPlus.

Slip your Wii Remote into this special jacket and you'll get increased precision allowing you to play new games.

Slip your Wii Remote into this special jacket and you'll get increased precision allowing you to play new games.

By adding a sensitive gyroscope to the Wii Remote the company adds a more precise feel to the games. An archery game, for example, is sensitive to the tension of the bow, a ping-pong match really lets you control your force, spin, and speed. The Wii Fit, the balance board that brought women into the fold by appealing to gaming as a weight loss activity, also got some spruce up. Wii Fit Plus offers more exercise (think about directional hip shifting and more personalized fitness routines with more feedback).

More personalization for your special workout.

More personalization for your special workout.

Super Mario was superstar. The red-shirted plumber is now featured in a multiplayer game, a new Olympic game. Also previewed was the Wii Vitality Sensor, a finger clip that measures pulse and galvanic skin response. No games were demoed for the vitality sensor, but you can just imagine Nintendo doing some cool things with biofeedback, relaxation, and meditation, can’t you?

Adding a new dimension to game play this peripheral will monitor pulse and other body functions.

Adding a new dimension to game play this peripheral will monitor pulse and other body functions.

Genus: Gamers in the audience were noticeably unmoved by the Wii’s E3 announcements. The appeal of the Wii is in its simplicity. (I’ve yet to see a game that wasn’t pretty intuitive.) And its diversity. From cooking up a virtual dish, playing in a virtual playground, getting a yoga workout, or solving a mystery, there are a more titles for the Wii than any other gaming system. And the offerings are equally divided for kids of all ages.

Next Up: SONY PlayStation 3 and PlayStation To Go