This year’s E3 was probably one of the biggest we have seen in a long time, thanks in no small part to the unveiling of the next generation of hardcore gaming consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. For almost a week now gamers have been arguing about who they feel had the better show, Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo, and now a selection of the newbreview.com team weighs in with their thoughts on the matter.
Overall, the major E3 press conferences this year were really satisfying for me, because they actually showed—gasp!—GAMES. There were, of course, a few things that could have been handled better, on pretty much all sides. I think a lot of what was being shown got lost in some alarmist behavior, though; I promise, Microsoft is not going to kill your puppy. They’re probably just going to release another Halo game.
What constitutes a dealbreaker for any particular person is a personal thing, though, and a lot of people saw things that crossed that line for them. I didn’t. I will probably end up with one of each of the new systems eventually, and although I have my own priorities (which may or may not be related to Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III), I’m also trying to see the big picture.
So, what did I think of the conferences? I thought there were a lot of things that were worth getting excited for in the next year, and while everyone will have his or her own opinion as to the truth of that statement, I’d encourage everyone to remember that we do this—we participate in this hobby—because it’s fun. Right?
As much as the internet derides the Xbox One for its (supposed) unfair digital rights management (DRM) I personally think that the console’s lineup is looking really strong. Sure, I do have some concerns about their policies, but considering how strong their games lineup was (Dead Rising 3, Halo, Titanfall etc) and the fact that we are only five months away from the Xbox One’s launch I am willing to trust them. We have to remember that our consoles evolve over time and if they find that a policy isn’t working they will more than likely change it.
Meanwhile Sony’s conference, which started almost half an hour later than planned, seemed as if it was put together in such a way as to counter almost every single one of Microsoft’s controversial policies. They also had a strong games line-up for the hardcore (I’m especially interested in their support of indie games), but for me Microsoft had the stronger selection of titles on show. I kind of wish that Sony went back to being a market leader, rather than a company that constantly reacts to their competitors.
Finally Nintendo’s Nintendo Direct was, for the mostpart, a bit limp. Yes, Wind Waker HD and Smash Bros look very good, but they’re nothing we haven’t seen before and I’m concerned the big N may wind up being left behind this generation.
After being underwhelmed by the Microsoft conference and simply whelmed with no strong feelings either way by Sony, I wasn’t sure what to expect from E3. Hopefully new exclusive titles and announcement trailers of games we’d been looking forward to for a while. What we did get was worth getting excited for though.
Starting from the top, the Microsoft conference was absolutely fine. Trailers were procured for games we had already seen and were anticipating, and others were shown off for new titles, but little gameplay was actually displayed. Nothing too offensive, although the $499 price point may have stung any potential customers. One of the problems though was that the conference was played entirely safe with no big announcements to knock people off their feet. The new Dead Rising looked fun, but devoid of the charm of the first two games by placing it in a dusty landscape. Battlefield 4 and Titanfall provided enough to fill the “grumpy men with guns quota” too. Ultimately, it was a completely fine conference. Absolutely ok.
Last from Monday was Sony’s keynote, with more exciting footage for games we’ve already seen. The design of the Playstation 4 hardware was also revealed which I thought looked excellent. The angular design was very sleek, and the newly unveiled controllers are apparently much more ergonomic than the Dualshock 3. One of the most exciting announcements was that independent developers will be able to self-publish on the Playstation 4. Games such as the kickstarter-funded Mercenary Kings or the bizarre octopus simulator Octodad: Dadliest Catch were shown on the main stage at E3, and some serious time on the presentation was dedicated to them.
Finally, Jack Tretton came on stage to drop some heavy bombshells. With just a few sentences, the announcement that the Playstation 4 will not only support used games but can be played without having to connect to the internet. Singlehandedly dismantling Microsoft’s DRM strategy and handing the trophy for “Best conference” straight to Sony. A strategy was announced for backwards compatibility, and after the price point was announced to undercut Microsoft by a full $100 I was honestly expecting Jack Tretton to drop the microphone and stride offstage triumphantly.
Nintendo’s held their Nintendo Direct the next morning. It was a much more low-key affair, simply a prerecorded presentation by Satoru Iwata announcing some exciting new titles for the 3DS and Wii U. Holding their conference on a seperate day was a very smart move on the part of Nintendo. There was no way they could compete with Microsoft and Sony, the Wii U had already been released and the 3DS was selling well enough that they didn’t need to get people interested in it. Instead of trying to flounder alongside the massive stage presentations, Nintendo were happy to run their own race and do well enough in it. New titles were announced, and the surprise of the Animal Crossing villager and Megaman for Smash Bros Brawl were both unexpected and very exciting.
For me E3 wasn’t as one sided as people may think. Yes the initial reaction is that Sony smashed Microsoft out of the water with everything they announced, but in my opinion they didn’t. When you look at both conferences, what needs to be taken out of it is this: Which of the consoles is going to offer the most?
For me I think the Xbox One is on top with that. By acquiring a partnership with Twitch TV the Xbox One will be offering its users a great service. Yes the PS4 will have its own streaming abilities but I genuinely doubt that it’ll be able to match the service offered by Twitch TV.
The next thing that made me sit back and realise that it wasn’t all one way, is that the Xbox One will be offering its users a better quality of exclusive titles. With the likes of Ryse, Sunset Overdrive, Quantum Break, and of course Titanfall for me that overshadows the PS4’s offerings of Killzone, Infamous and Drive Club.
Of course the big talking point was the no DRM announcement by Sony, but again is Microsoft’s approach to digital rights really such a bad thing? The Xbox One is only going to be doing something that has been done with PC games for some time now, and Sony has even stated that it has no control over 3rd part publishers, so it may not be all clean sailing from them.
Only time will tell of course as to which of these gaming behemoths triumphs, and I’m sure we will see things change between now and their November releases, either way we have a very exciting journey ahead of us.
Feel free to share your views, whether you agree with us or not, in the comments section below.