Wrapping Up The Big Three
The conferences are over and people are running from appointment to appointment at E3. If you didn't follow the craziness of the first day, here is a brief recap, along with some commentary from our staff of the key events of the first day.
Microsoft's conference focused on the games, as we had expected them to. There were a few notable titles, including Metal Gear Solid 5, Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, and the return of Killer Instinct. We were also finally told how much the system was going to cost. $500. That's what I was expecting, but it's still a lot of money to ask in today's economy. The show ended on a high note with the debut of Respawn Entertainment's new scifi shooter TitanFall. After the conference though, reality once again set in, and we remembered that the restrictive DRM policies hadn't changed. That did put a bit of a damper on things for us.
Danreb Victorio, Managing Editor:
“Other than MGSV, I didn't come away too impressed. The games look good but they're catering to just their type of gamer. I came away intrigued by the features being brought to Xbox Live and this year's 360 Summer of Arcade. Xbox One's $500 price point looks killer and has cemented the fact that I won't be a day one adopter."
Patrick Mifflin, Staff Writer: “Microsoft was clearly "playing scared" as they pulled out almost all the stops in their effort to wash off the abysmal Xbox One unveiling last month. The software lineup is indeed impressive, and it was surprising to see franchises like Killer Instinct and D again, but between a $500 price point and a flat refusal to back off of the console's online requirements, Microsoft's E3 presentation failed to resolve any of their actual problems. They showed a number of games that I'd like to play for years to come, but the fact that they gave me no assurance that I can will only assure that I won't play them at all.”
Jonard La Rosa, Staff Writer/Designer:
“I wasn't too surprised with the quality of the Q4 and 2014 Q1 games. The hype is pretty consistent with what should be available. The expected reiterations of AAA franchises showed their familiar faces. Killer Instinct was a pleasant surprise; I thought it was a dead franchise. Coming fresh from the year of fighting games you can expect many players to test its tournament potential. What I'm most happy about the presentation is the native Twitch streaming. As far as the indie market and other aspects of the console, I am a little disappointed. All in all I'd be happy to swoop an XBOne when the price goes down unless I come up on tons of extra cash.”
EA and Ubisoft both had fairly strong lineups to show off at their respective keynotes. EA teased Star Wars Battlefront and Mirror's Edge 2, which made many people very happy. Ubisoft showed off an interesting looking racing game called The Crew, an incomprehensible Rabbids TV show/game hybrid, and showed off Massive Entertainment's new multiplayer game set in the Tom Clancy world: The Division.
At the end of the day was the Sony conference. Their press conference was much slower paced than the three that preceded it, but it showed a lot of content, including Bungie's Destiny. They had a good mix of first and third party games on display, a lot of them for the PS3. Sony also spent a lot of time featuring independent developers, showing off SuperGiant's new game Transistor, as well as several others.
The real story of the Sony show was Jack Tretton and Andy House's direct appeals to gamer's sensibilities. Announcing their stance on used games, online validation, and game sharing, it was easy for them to slide in the slight change to the PlayStation Plus subscription. A Plus membership will not be required to play multiplayer games online. However, unlike an Xbox Live Gold membership, PlayStation Plus is not required to access media streaming services. Maybe they were hoping we wouldn't notice? Well, we did. That said, PlayStation Plus gives you good value for your money, especially with the Instant Game Collection, so I believe it's a small concession that we're willing to make. Finally, they closed with the price of the PlayStation 4. It's $399. Over $100 below the cost of the Xbox One.
Alex Quevedo, Senior Editor:
“Sony just made things a lot more interesting than anybody was really expecting. This past generating primarily saw technical differences; this will bring about a lot of philosophical differences. They had their huge announcements of price, used games and no consistent online requirement. Good on them. But the used games issue isn't too unlike Microsoft's, with publishers being allowed to charge a fee. It just may be easier for Sony publishers to not end up charging anything. Their game lineup is solid too, especially with stepped up indie support.”
Chris Selogy, Managing Editor:
“Ever since they unveiled the PS4 back in February, they've been working this great plan where they have acknowledged pretty much all of the flaws of the PS3 in the design of the PS4 and have made sure their PR hits hard on that fact every single day. They stayed mostly silent since then and have managed to mostly sidestep the issues that Microsoft ran into with their unveiling in May to come into E3 with a great opportunity to nail this amazing PR plan with the announcements of their DRM plans, used game plans, indie developer plans, and the launch price.”
“Sony went in with generally one expectation from the masses: Don't eff up. Not only did they not eff up, they took multiple shots at their competition. Games like Beyond: Two Souls and even independent games took center stage while third parties like Square Enix made announcements (Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III) showing that they're not screwing around. Throw in the fact that the console is $399, $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, and you have a mess of early adopters.”
The next morning, Nintendo had a Nintendo Direct stream to bring us up to speed on what they would be doing over the next year. They announced games like Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and the long awaited unveiling of Super Smash Bros. all for the Wii U, among a handful of others. They hit all the beats they needed to. Mario, Zelda, Smash, Donkey Kong, etc, but there was very little in the way of new properties–aside from the third party games we already know about, like The Wonderful 101.
“I went into Nintendo Direct expecting to see a Nintendo that took chances on their next batch of games in order to try to shake up the slow sales that have plagued the Wii U all year long. Instead, I got a Nintendo that was confident enough to take the easy way out and just make a bunch of sequels to the latest Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D, and Donkey Kong Country series to play it as safe as possible. I'm sure they'll be very good games, but that may not be enough to help them succeed with the release of the PS4 and Xbox One this fall. Their most exciting games, The Legend of Zelda and X (codename), are coming out next year, so they needed something to get everybody, even those that don't own a Wii U yet, excited for a huge fall release. Not announcing a price drop was another big surprise, as they could sure use a bump in sales before we see Sony drop their PS4 in at just $50 more than the Deluxe Wii U in a few months. I could see them announcing that price drop in the next month or two, but it would've had a bigger impact here at E3.”
“Without having Microsoft to worry about, Nintendo went into their modest presentation with only one job: make Wii U owners happy to be Wii U owners. With a software lineup ranging from Super Mario 3D World to X, from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Frozen to Super Smash Bros., it's hard to imagine the Wii U owner who walked away dissatisfied. A price drop would have been huge for them, and helped set the stage fire the post-PS4 launch, but there will be time for that as we get closer to November. All told, Nintendo had a very solid E3.”
Ash Boehnlein, Staff Writer:
“I already own a Wii U and the only issue I have with it is that after I finished New Super Mario Wii U, I had nothing else to play. The line-up of titles they introduced is getting me eager for October and beyond. Since it seems they should have waited a little to release the Wii U until more games were ready for it, the price drop would have been at least some indication they were acting hastily in its early release. I saw many people comment that Sony "won" this E3, but I don't think you can weigh the three super companies against each other because Nintendo already had their newest system out while the other two were revealing theirs' as well as new games for current and soon-to-be released consoles. Personally, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft played the conferences well with the different situations they each came to E3 in.”
If nothing else, Sony won the the PR war at this year's E3. Whether or not that will translate to sales is still up in the air. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!