E3 Keynote impressions: Nintendo outshines Sony with Wii presentation

Los Angeles (CA) - It wasn't the Academy Awards but Nintendo was hardly short on star power and excitement at its media briefing for E3 2006. Inside a crowded, glitzy Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Nintendo once again displayed the magic touch that had made the company's products so successful and endearing over the years.

Despite being hit with more flack than a B-52 bomber in recent weeks of the unexpected and unnecessary name change for its new console - dumping Revolution in favor of the obscure Wii - Nintendo officials wasted no time by delivering a bombastic and colorful presentation of Wii and some of the more crucial titles for the next-generation console.

While there were no celebrities on stage for the press conference, Nintendo stars such as Mario and Link appeared on the big screen as the company previewed a host of games for Wii, from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to Red Steel, a brand new action title made exclusively for Wii by Ubisoft.

Coming into E3, the hype surrounding Sony's Playstation may have been higher than that of Nintendo's Wii, Nintendo's press conference was clearly aimed at outdoing Sony in virtually every aspect. All that was missing from Nintendo's media presentation was a firm price for Wii. All that Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing, would say about the cost of Wii was that by the fourth quarter of 2006, Nintendo would "give you more fun for less money," a clear dig at the pricing of both PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.

In a stark contrast to Sony's lackluster PS3 demos, Nintendo offered up rich, detailed demonstrations of the Wii controller for a number of games; in fact, Nintendo said it will have 27 Wii titles available for demo play on the exhibit floor starting Wednesday. A roll out of new titles coming to both Nintendo DS and Wii, from Metroid Prime 3 to Super Mario Galaxy, elicited several rounds of applause form the crowd.

As for the console's new name, Fils-Aime addressed the issue with humor, thanking the members of the media who responded positively to Wii - "both of you," he cracked to the audience. Joking aside, Fils-Aime said the name change was part of Nintendo's overall philosophy of doing things differently than its competitors and taking risks. "Change is good," he said.

In fact, both Fils-Aime and Nintendo president Saturo Iwata pledged that Nintendo would continue to take risks instead of playing it safe like its two primary competitors. "Risk allows progress," Fils-Aime told the audience. "We were the disruptors 20 years ago, and we still are today."

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