The Winners of E3

Every year we like to talk about who won the best of show at E3. We mostly focus on the ‘big 3’ — Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Without needing to go into much detail, this year was one of the best overall in a decade. The players win. We have a lot of great games coming out, and some really need things to look forward to in the future.

Let’s talk about the big 3. The winner this year was clearly Microsoft. They brought the strongest overall “wow” factor. For the first time in more years than I can remember, the emphasis wasn’t on their gimmicks. Microsoft is back to focusing more on the console itself being a gaming device, and them as a company being about providing entertainment for gamers. So many years it was flipped upside down and the console was all about being entertainment. Their use of HoloLens as it pertains to Minecraft is nothing short of amazing. The coolest part was being able to see the other people in the world running around this virtual representation. There are some really neat possibilities.

Sony was pretty good. I think their problem will stem from a lack of exclusives. They certainly rocked a few worlds by announcing the FFVII remake, but overall it was just “Hey there’s this awesome game coming to the PS4! Please don’t realize it’s also on the Xbox and PC!” Either way, they didn’t fall flat on their faces which is their usual modus operandi.

Nintendo… oh Nintendo. You are my favorite of these companies. You keep it simple, clean, and to the point. Nintendo’s focus is on their games. Unfortunately, it was mostly on their games they already announced. Nintendo does what they call “Nintendo Direct” digital conferences throughout the year. This means they are constantly in a state of doing what they did at E3 this year, and that means it’s hard to stand up to the other big announcements — especially when you reveal a week ago that you won’t be talking about the big Zelda open-world game.  Still, lots of great games. Skylanders meets Nintendo Amiibos? Mhm, yes please.

Virtual Reality is a gimmick. It’s motion controls all over again. We have absolutely no reason to believe in any of the potential until someone says, “You know that potential? We actually made it. Here, try.” Until then, it’s nothing more than Milo.

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  • I still dont have a reason to want an xbox one, so in my eyes Microsoft didnt win.

    But honestly I wasnt blown away by any of the 3 console makers.

    HOWEVER, some of the games coming out this year look amazing, it just barely has anything to do with console a vs b vs c.

    The real winner this year was us the player, because I see some good games on the horizon.

  • I thought Microsoft clearly won myself. The Xbox One already offers numerous entertainment options, and they are killing it with games lately. They showed off a number of exclusives, many from franchises we know. I thought Recore looked like the best exclusive shown at any of the conferences. But the real reason they clearly won? Backward compatibility – for free. A direct shot at Sony and the failed PS Now.

    Sony had a good conference, but I still didn’t see a reason to go out and get a PS4. Horizon Zero Dawn was the biggest game announcement from their conference IMO, and I think it underwhelmed me. The game looks interesting, but strange. I’m intrigued, but I’m worried it’s more of the same with gameplay mechanics. Uncharted looked great, I’d love to play it, but not getting the box for one game. The Last Guardian didn’t impress me, but I suppose the sheer fact that it is actually coming is enough to impress some folks. Truthfully, Playstation Vue was the biggest thing I took away from the conference. A la carte programming. Could be a massive game changer. I would have liked more details, like a pricing structure.

    Didn’t watch Nintendo because it’s… Nintendo.

  • I agree with Table. I wanted Microsoft to WOW me enough to want to buy an XBoxOne. They fell quite short of that. I wasn’t really excited by any of the exclusive titles.

    I thought Ubisoft had a great showing. Ignoring the fact that it is Ubisoft for a second, I definitely got the “wow I want to play this” feeling a bunch watching their sneak peaks.

    Nintendo always kills it.

  • None of the consoles convinced me that getting another console is the thing to do. Everything I see a console exclusive was meh… Holo-Lens looks great, but until it truly starts taking off w/ solid applications like a virtual D&D table top. Or a tactics game… or something along those lines I don’t see the point. Honestly I tried to watch some of the other presentations but honestly whoever directed/produced Sony’s show needs to be shot. If you have a montage of all of the cool stuff you’re going to show don’t cut to far away shots of the screen with the crowd. No one online cares about the audience. For the love of god stop showing the throngs of nerds, unless its to break up shots of the CEO/President droning on about buzzword X, Y, Z. You paid some one a ton of money to produce those slick videos with perfect pacing and editing, stop f’ing those up with your own cuts just show me the damn video.

    There are some cool games that look to be coming out. I’m interested in playing a remade FF7. I’m interested in the Hitman game (not sure how much different it would be). A new mass effect? might be worth a look, but I was never into the series. Doom looks… fast… gory… but not sure how much I care. Dishonored 2, looks interesting but they didn’t show much.

    The game that has me most excited is still Fallout 4. I see a lot of improvements vs 3 and NV.

  • Nintendo had Star Fox Zero so at least there is that but overall I think everyone can agree their E3 showing was weak comparatively. I think Star Fox Zero is still worth checking out.

    If HoloLens Minecraft has mod support it will be legendary. That is all.

    I would expect there to also be virtual table top applications for HoloLens coming very soon after launch if not launching right with it. It just makes so much sense. I would also love to see a game like Invisimals where you can capture pokemon type creatures that roam around your house. (Imagine people watching you play that!) Depending on how advanced the tech is, and my hopes are not high, but I still imagine cool things like water creatures being attracted to your fish tank and fire creatures coming out of your oven when you open it.

    I am most excited for FFVII but Sony can’t win on that alone. I’d have to say Square won even though they aren’t in the big 3, I do think they announced some really cool things other than FFVII. Microsoft a close second, HoloLens is cool but just remember the Kinect and be wary… and the players won too of course.

  • Oh I’m wary for sure. Like I said, I think it could easily be another Milo (Remember Peter Molyneux showcasing Kinect for the first time… ugh)

    Everyone so far is crediting PS4 with FFVII, but it’s not exclusive. That’s a big one for me.

  • Oh nice, I think when I first read about the announcement it said PS4 only. Will it also be on PC? I won’t be buying a PS4 just for FFVII so this will make me happy.

  • It’s a “play it first on PS4” thing then coming to Xbox One and PC. So PS4 will have the time limited exclusive for probably a few weeks or a month. Those contracts vary.

  • Backwards compatibility was definitely a huge win for gamers on xbox. I really wish they would just drop this whole exclusives business though. It shouldn’t be about which company pays publishers more to not sell to others. Luckily I wasn’t really that interested in any of the xbox exclusives other than Forza since it takes a decade to make a Gran Turismo game apparently. Still not enough for me to buy a Xbox though.

    I have a hard time picking a clear winner, I thought everyone had a great E3 this year. For me it was more about specific games than a certain company. Fallout 4, Battlefront, Uncharted, Need for Speed, Hitman, and the new Tom Clancy titles all looked stellar and I am sufficiently hyped for this fall. Totally pumped for the new expansion in swtor as well, I’m shocked at how much is in this one and it will be free!

    I completely agree with the VR stuff, it’s the new Kinect, everyone’s parents will buy one for the new wii sports or whatever the equivalent is on the other consoles and then it will collect dust in the closet. Although I have to admit I like what The Void is doing with VR in real world spaces and could definitely see a rebirth of laser tag with that tech turning a boring laser tag room into amazing virtual worlds. As for using it in your home? I’m still not on that hype train.

  • Here’s the thing about backwards compatibility… why hasn’t it always been a thing? And why when they finally add it does that warrant such a huge huzzah? I’m also not certain I’d really want to go back and play my Xbox 360 games. Most have newer better versions which I already own.

  • On backwards compatibility being a big deal:
    Purchasing new hardware to play new games as well as the old makes me feel like my purchase is worth more. It also gives me a chance to go back and play some of my older library on a console that isn’t half dead from over heating.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “why hasn’t it always been a thing?” since there were numerous consoles previously that were backwards compatible. I’m convinced that backwards compatibility is why the gameboy maintained such a leading position for so many years. It’s also one of the deciding factors for why I purchased a Wii having never previously owned a gamecube.

  • Considering you can pick up a xbox 360 for about 50$. The whole backwards compatibility thing is very meh.

    100 games? The 360 library is massive, this isnt a dent. Id much rather spend 50$ to play the entire library.

    Now if it would have launched with this, that would of been huge for them.

  • @Steeldragoon: I meant why hasn’t it always been a thing with the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, etc. PS2 was backwards compatible (to a certain degree) and many of Nintendo’s products maintain strong backwards compatibility. Something about this newest generation has been anti backwards compatible.

    I agree with Table. People with the Xbox One loving the idea of backwards compatibility either already own an Xbox 360, or they’ve already spent $50 to get a 360 again — OR they’ve moved on. If Xbox One launched with this then it would have been a much bigger deal.

  • I don’t agree with some of this, especially being impressed by microsoft’s AR glasses but then calling VR a gimmick. AR looks like a fun gimmick to me with limited gaming applications, while VR looks like it’s going to completely change a bunch of genres (especially anything in a vehicle) to the point where playing on a screen will immediately become obsolete.

    Was a fun E3, wasn’t convinced to buy another console (PC gamer with a Wii U). If FFVII was an exclusive, I’d buy a PS4. The Battlefront Hoth video blew me away. South Park The Fractured But Whole reveal was my second favorite surprise after FFVII, even beating out Mass Effect. I was ready to laugh at the “For Honor” trailer, and then I watched it and was blown away. Nintendo’s conference was fun but it sucked, unless you’re really into making Mario stages.

    I think this year’s e3 has been the best in a very long time regarding the games. If I had to pick a winner for the only thing that matters (the games), I’d go with EA – Mass Effect, Battlefront, and PvZ:GW2. But I could see someone picking MS, or Sony, or Ubi because they were all fantastic (sorry Nintendo).

  • @Keen, Table – First off, playing games on newer generation hardware (in this case the One instead of the 360) generally results in smoother game play and faster load times. It also allows you to save some space within your entertainment setup. Sure I could spend $50-100 on another 360, but why if I can play it all on one box? As for the 100 game limitation, most of the games that will not be emulator capable are most likely not that good anyway.

    Also, the potential ability to stream those 360 games to the PC is an extra bonus. It’d be even more awesome if the new co-op streaming ability were to work on the 360 games (one play at a PC while the other at the console), but doubt they’ll be able to incorporate that.