The Week in Review: Promise Keepers

The weeks before E3 see lots of speculation about what it will take for one of the big three to "win" this year's gathering. Stephen Totilo instead recounted the promises of last year's showing, to remind everyone someone's keeping score.

Nintendo - forget such head-scratching reveals as the Wii Vitality Sensor - shone through with the most truthful E3 of 2009, by Totilo's account. "Sticking to mostly discussing its own games rather than those of third-parties, and for actually over-delivering on a vow to support user-generated content on the DS, Nintendo got the best grade of the bunch."

Microsoft finished second, largely by not overpromising on Project Natal, although it did run afoul of overhype with implications of Metal Gear Solid showing up on its platform. Sony, although the past year was one of the best, if not the best, for its console in terms of sales and new hardware, rated a C for overly optimistic projections for major console franchises and for missing some key release dates.

Many felt Sony took it on the chin for the decision to hold back games in the interest of quality, and that such truth-grading rewarded bland pronouncements that lowered expectations.

"If I aim low and met the goal does that mean I'm good at what I do and deserves an A?" wrote commenter SuicidalEarthworm. "I think there must be more. How high you aim and how much you accomplished should take into consideration compared to how much the other guys accomplish."

"Either way you cut it, all three companies did well last year." wrote commenter staySICK. "None of the publishers can help it if unforeseen problems push a game back, as we've seen quite often, as well as games being pushed up."

Entering the stretch run before the annual orgy of dazzling reveals, remember who actually holds those up on stage accountable. Games publishers may create these expensive spectacles for the press, but they still have to make the games they promise to the public.