Well, the calm before the storm has engulfed the internet and gaming-sphere. Stories of E3’s past and predictions for this year wane in the hours before the sun rises in Southern California today. An epic battle, the likes of which would make William Wallace giddy as a school-girl, brews in preparation for the coming days of digital bloodshed.
Two behemoths stand firm in the shadows of many smaller factions of industry professionals, who while still battling each other, will be forced to clear the battlefield in the hopes of avoiding getting crushed under the immense clout of the green and blue armies. The battle is staged as a re-match of many E3’s past, potentially to be the last encounter of this scale we will see for years to come, and as the smoke clears throughout the days ahead it will become increasingly clear, literally and figuratively, who will come away the victor.
Microsoft and Sony will be going head to head in the coming hours to determine who will earn the most soldiers for their virtual army in the coming years, financing each company’s plans for world domination.
Ok, got a bit carried away with that last one. Really though, what we’re about to see from E3 has the potential to make or break the next console generation’s hopes for success. In no particular order, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will have to prove themselves in the L.A. Convention Center more than ever before thanks to underwhelming reveals for all parties in the new generation.
Let’s start with the big one, Microsoft. In an IGN poll showing that 75% of people were more than discontented with the Xbox One reveal, the Redmond, WA. company has plenty of opportunity at E3 available to re-gain faith from the hardcore gaming fan base. After a month of speculation, conflicting reports, and disappointing results, Microsoft has their fair share of splainin’ to do.
Most recently, dropping two bombshells, the first of which saying publishers have the proverbial gun with which they can kill trade-in and re-sale of their games, (which, if we’re honest with ourselves, Sony will most likely mirror in some way in their presentations) making many economic minded gamers nervous. While Microsoft has stated they have nothing to gain profit-wise from this move, and that it is purely to protect earnings of developers, many people are wary of the Pandoras box this opens and how it will affect pricing, availability and popularity of many games.
The even bigger elephant in the room was the ‘always online’ DRM feature than many thought surely possible given a few missteps by Microsoft employees. We now know the ‘always online’ feature resonates some truth with the fact the Xbox One will require online ‘verifications’ with the beginning of each game, and every 24 hours thereafter. Some details of the reasoning and function of this feature have yet to be sorted out, but it could play a huge part in the battle for sales.
Precede all of this with a tantalizingly lame reveal for hardcore gamers, and the Xbox One seems to be all but dead for a lot of people.
That doesn’t mean the PS4 is out of the water yet though.
Sony, although entering E3 with the upper-hand, still has to make up for the last time they entered a new gaming generation, making sure pricing reflects what gamers will be able to afford immediately and not two years down the road. They have almost put themselves in a position that merely coming even in price with the Xbox One may not be enough.
According to industry speculation, Sony first and foremost will have to break to gamers their policies with used games will be eerily similar to Microsoft’s, forcing damage control early on in the Expo.
The real kick-in-the-pants for gamers is the fact that Sony wants to be an all-around entertainment box as much as Microsoft does, so demos of improved entertainment features and apps will be frequent and un-relenting. Sony will not go quietly into the night to satisfy a sect of their consumer base that unfortunately has been stagnant in recent years while ignoring huge sections of market share. Sony wants the PS4 in every living room, which means being forced to appease non-hardcore gaming families with features to counter the Xbox One. Sony is a corporation after-all, and it can’t be ignored that many people forked over money in recent years because PS3 is a bluray player that also played games, and not the other way around.
Last but not least, the PS4 itself has yet to actually be shown, nor has any re-hash of the PlayStation Move. Dominating the presentation and talks in Sony’s E3 camp will likely be the PS4 it-self, entertainment features and extras the device can handle. Games most likely won’t take a back seat, but hopefully Sony can think of a more entertaining way to promote the PS4 specs.
What about Nintendo? Well, they have the distinct advantage of not having to go head first into the foray between the PS4 and Xbox One. Whatever Nintendo end up revealing will most likely be overshadowed in the grand scheme of things, but the lack of scrutiny will surely be a welcome sight, and unintentionally force a good E3 for Nintendo.
Although there are plenty of negatives on both sides going in, gamers, as always, will almost surely come out the true victors this E3. Microsoft knows it has to win fans back, and will show 15 new Xbox One exclusives, 7 of which will be brand new franchises, and that’s before we see what developers have in store for the 360.
Sony has promised 40 games between all current and next-gen platforms, most of which will probably have playable demo’s, and based on the head start they have in the race for customers, we can expect Sony will have learned from E3’s past and put on a great show.
Of course this is all speculation and If you want the real facts come E3, stay on N3rdabl3!
Wherever your gaming loyalties lie, this is going to be one of the biggest E3’s in history, so expect an online explosion of content from the Convention Center that should keep you occupied for a while.
(Oh, and in case you forgot, GTAV is coming out this year even if the PS4 and Xbox One suck…so that’s cool.)