E3’s Most Misused Word: Revolutionize
I loved a lot about E3 2012. Some pretty amazing technology made its premiere, like SquareEnix’s browser-based world creator GameGlobe. Tons of phenomenal games were shown at stages all around the LA Convention Center, ranging from Assassin’s Creed III to Halo 4. People from all around the world showed up to celebrate gaming; I loved that.
Some things I didn’t love from this convention: Nintendo’s make-a-fool-of-yourself-while-watching-their-reactions-of-horror-karaoke title SiNG. YouTube personality Tobuscus’ troll-tacular nagging and interruptions during Ubisoft’s press conference. Being threatened by a random guy on the streets of LA who was taking his rottweiler for a stroll. But at least those were all one-shot deals, isolated incidents contained in a finite amount of frustration. The Buzzword of the Week, however, I can near guarantee made its way into every press conference and a majority of presentations on the floor: “revolutionize.”
A revolution used to be a dramatic event, something that signaled an upheaval of a former regime. The idea that Nintendo would dare to codename its system the “Nintendo Revolution” was a signal to the world: we’re going to completely change the landscape. And like it or not, the Wii and Wii Sports did just that with its motion-based gaming. Now we’ve got Microsoft’s SmartGlass, Sony’s Wonderbook, and the Wii U itself all threatening to “revolutionize” our gaming. Companies all over the place are claiming they’ll “revolutionize” everything from mobile gaming to social networking with their respective techs, diminishing the power of the word to little more than the effect of putting ketchup on fries; sure it’s better, but is it a mind-blowing, industry-toppling difference? Even FIFA 13’s Kinect controls are supposed to “revolutionize” the game because I can tell the referee to f*** off and hear an announcer comment on how I was “unhappy with the call.” If that’s the biggest change sports titles have to offer then maybe FIFA 13 should just patch into FIFA 12 as $10 DLC.
A revolution introduces a brand-new concept to the table and forces everything else around it. A revolution shakes up the status quo and sets new precedents. Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, you’re all late to the Revolution Table this time around. Perhaps you’re “refining” the gaming experience, “integrating” gaming into other parts of life, or maybe you’re “expanding” gaming into new horizons with your respective technologies. But no matter how you paint the picture, SmartGlass, Wonderbook, and Wii U are all just new takes on cameras and tablets; if you want to point to the force that revolutionized the industry and created the wave that generated these technologies, look at the technology that didn’t have a booth at E3 but was in the hands of convention exhibitors and attendees everywhere: the Apple iPad.