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E3 2012: Nintendo's 'comeback' gets mixed reviews

Analysis: Amidst demos of anticipated games such as "Halo 4" and "The Last of Us" at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Nintendo focused on its upcoming console, the Wii U. Does Nintendo's new hardware have a chance at beating Microsoft and Sony's "system-sellers"?

By Megan Riesz / June 6, 2012

Nintendo hopes the new Wii U will score the rave reviews that helped make its predecessor the world's biggest gaming hit.

Phil McCarten/Reuters

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This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) hasn’t yielded any major surprises. Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed 3” presentation earned a few “Best of Show” ribbons after showing the upcoming game's main assassin, Connor, battling English soldiers on land and the open sea. Sony studio Naughty Dog, which created the popular “Uncharted” series, further unveiled the post-apocalyptic, third-person shooter, "The Last of Us," earning nearly universal critical acclaim. 

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Perhaps the most unsurprising outcome of E3 is that Nintendo, which finally showed off more of the Wii U, didn’t get much love from the critics – despite revealing next-generation hardware well before Sony and Microsoft. Can Nintendo, once the most powerful name in the video game industry, still compete? Even with a flashy new system?

It has before. Nintendo broke records in December 2009, selling a whopping 3.81 million units that month. PlayStation 3 sold less than half that, at 1.36 million units. It looked like the video game company, fondly remembered for the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), was king again.

But Wii sales dropped 31.5 percent from January 2010 to February 2011, according to PC Mag. Nintendo announced the Wii U four months later, at last year’s E3. At this year’s event, Nintendo design chief Shigeru Miyamoto kicked off a show full of demos, such as “New Super Mario Bros. U” and “Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition." Despite the “beautiful rich graphics” of the former and “unique Batman experience” of the latter, some are skeptical that the Wii U can one-up the original Wii. Or any other consoles.

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