Pros and Cons: New Video Game Hardware at E3

E3 is well underway, and the video game industry's "Big Three" of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have all conducted their press conferences and made their major announcements.

As expected, each company gave glimpses of games we've seen and games we haven't seen as well as promises of a better future complete with rainbows, unicorns, and super powers for everyone. And a few announcements, specifically in new major hardware, set the stage for the next generation of gaming consoles (home and handheld).

Our impressions of each after the jump ...

Arguably the biggest announcement of E3 thus far is that Nintendo is starting the next generation of consoles (or are they stepping into the current gen?) with the Nintendo Wii U.

What could be described as a "Wii on crack," now with 1080p resolution and support for external hard drives, has the gaming community abuzz with its new controller (meticulously named at present "New Controller") which looks like a Sega Game Gear... on crack.

"Shut that thing off. It's time to watch 'Grey's,' dammit."
The Wii U's controller will allow players to continue their gaming experience when parents get sick of watching Super Mario's eternal struggle to run to the right side of the screen. Without interruption, the game can go from the TV to the controller's 6.2 inch screen.

"You mean this thing ISN'T a Game Gear?!"
Nintendo has stressed that the New Controller is not a portable system, meaning it won't replace your DSi for those Light Rail treks. The controller will only work within a certain radius of the console. For those of you with TVs positioned far away from your toilets, you may want to rethink some life choices until the system's release date. I, for one, can't wait for the chance to poop in Conker's Bad Fur Day while pooping in real life.

2. PlayStation TV
Sony's new take on the PSP, PlayStation Vita, was revealed a few months ago, and while it has stirred some talk on the expo floor with its impressive slate of games, it was the announcement of Sony's new 3D TV that surprised many.

The 24-inch display is smaller than most 3D TVs on the market today, but it has promise to impact multiplayer gaming on the same console with its ability to project two separate 1080p game screens to two different sets of glasses. Gamers can watch their own screens without sacrificing any of the their own space and without having to see what the other player is doing.

"Quit watching my screen."

People love playing games together, but it gets kind of annoying when someone won't stop watching your screen in an intense death match in order to get a competitive advantage. The 3D technology will allow two players to experience their own unique visuals and provide a fair playing field in those intense firefights and overtime situations.

"Oh... that's your 3D TV?"
Let's face it: 24 inches is small for a television. We like our 60-inch LED backlit multi-projection 3rd dimension high-definition internet app enabled displays, and gamers are picky about each pixel and polygon they can get their eyes on. Sony is asking $500 for the PlayStation TV bundle when it's released, which will include the glasses, a game, and an HDMI cable. Those who haven't forked over the dough to enter the latest iteration of the Television Arms Race might be hesitant to buy a 24-inch display, considering this isn't exactly "living room material," if you know what I mean. Dorm rooms, beware.

3. Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel
Like racing games? Whatever! Check out Microsoft's version of the Wii Wheel.

It's a racing wheel.

It's a racing wheel.

Microsoft announced a slew of new exclusives and Kinect-supported titles, but lacked on the front for new hardware. This is no slight on them, they just didn't bring anything new to the table as far as hardware is concerned. But, oh boy, does that Star Wars Kinect game look fun.

Check back later this week for Jackalope Ranch's thoughts on the software of E3, including new games for the Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo 3DS and more.

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Joseph Schmidt
Contact: Joseph Schmidt