Attendees wait in line to see the new Nintendo Wii U controller during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles June 7, 2011.
Attendees wait in line to see the new Nintendo Wii U controller during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles June 7, 2011. Reuters

Like any other major tech event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) of 2011 is dissected left and right once it's over. Ultimately, certain companies are dubbed winners and losers.

The problem with this year's E3? According to video game industry analysts, this year's lack of surprises made it hard to really discern which companies won E3 and which lost.

Scott Steinberg, veteran video game analyst at, described this year's E3 as the most mellow in history. The lack of surprises on both the software and hardware front made for little buzz coming out of the show. Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, agreed with Steinberg when assessing this year's E3.

There wasn't a lot of new at E3 from a software perspective, mostly already announced games. The only new stuff was the hardware, and even that wasn't that new. We knew all about the PSVita, but not the name, leaving the only unknown interesting stuff coming from Nintendo, Pachter said.

Pachter said for this reason he sees Nintendo as a big winner coming out of the event. He says the Wii U was fresh and different, and the software lineup from the 3DS was pretty well hidden. Steinberg, however, isn't as keen on Nintendo being a winner.

Nintendo is probably not a big winner given the multitude of questions and concerns that came from the Wii U, Steinberg said. He did admit opinions were mixed on Nintendo, and those who got to sample Wii U said it was great. Still, he said the investor's reaction showed many weren't sold on the Wii U.

Steinberg said Sony was a winner, especially with how they handled the PSN hacking situation. He also was impressed with the Playstation Vita. However, he said even Sony didn't truly innovate and create buzz.

The Vita looks amazing, it's aggressively priced, has great features with online connectivity and wireless high speed access and user generated content. It has ticked all the boxes, Steinberg said before adding, However, those are all expected.

Microsoft could be construed as a winner after announcing Kinect Labs as well as YouTube and voice search for Xbox Live. However, Steinberg said there was not a lot of buzz or people who were seemingly impressed with the services announcements coming out of Microsoft.

It has the potential to be massive, but perhaps to many it was a footnote since it didn't generate a lot of buzz, he said.

One definitive loser may have been social gaming. While games like Farmville have taken Facebook by storm, they had little presence at this year's E3. If anything, the show proved console gaming was not dead yet.

On the software side, games like Battlefield 3, Bioshock Infinite, the new Tomb Raider and Elder's Scroll V generated a lot of buzz. However just like with hardware, there were few surprises.

As Pachter summed up, I think that most people like surprises, and there were few. In the end, they weren't too many obvious losers, but not many winners either.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna