Grading the Big 3 of Gaming – E3 2013 Report Cards
E3 2013 is now in the rear view of the video game industry, but that doesn’t mean gamers and the media won’t be talking about the show for the next couple of months. It was an exciting convention featuring two brand new consoles, a host of amazing looking next-gen gaming experiences, and a handful of creative indie gems. It’s safe to say that each of these categories generated a massive amount of buzz on the show floor, which is exactly why E3 is held each year, and why it can capture the imaginations of the gaming public unlike any other industry event.
The Big3 of gaming (Nintendo, Sony, MS) and their lineup of new consoles and hardware were the focus of the show, and each company gave gamers something to stew on until the Holiday video game release season. Sony and Microsoft dominated most of the major E3 news items with their new hardware and next-gen games showcases, but Nintendo also offered a strong showing of first-party titles.
Overall, each company did what they had to do to stay at the forefront of the minds of their fans, and while some did better PR work than others, each member of the Big 3 offered more than a few things to get excited about.
With that being said our E3 coverage wouldn’t be complete without slapping grades on each company’s E3 performance, so without further adieu I present to you EntertainmentBuddha.com’s Big 3 E3 report card.
The long standing Japanese video game giant bucked tradition this year and passed on the chance to hold a neon light infused concert-like press event for the media, but they effectively took to the streets to get the word out about some excellent first-party titles coming out for the Wii U and 3DS.
Mario Kart 8, New Super Luigi Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, and a plethora of other Nintendo created titles plastered smiles on the faces of long time Nintendo fans and traditionalists. Their focus on what made them famous in the first place will surely go a long way with disgruntled Wii U owners who feel that the console’s software lineup has been stagnant since its release. Each of the first-party games look like butter on a biscuit to a chubby person, and they’ll surely give gamers a reason to not get rid of their Wii U in anticipation of the PS4 and Xbox One releases.
Unfortunately, Nintendo still lacks strong third-party game support, and that was made glaringly clear at this year’s E3. The pickings are slim when it comes to non-Nintendo exclusives with Bayonetta 2 and Scribblenauts Unmasked being the most worthy additions. It’s clear that Nintendo is beginning to switch its focus back to first-party support and doing what made them so popular in the first place. They no longer seem to be shooting for the hardcore console gaming crowd, which may be the best thing for them going forward.
E3 2013 Grade: C+
Nintendo just didn’t have an air of excitement surrounding its E3, and the lack of third-party games for the Wii U is troubling.
All Sony had to do to have a successful E3 was to outshine Microsoft in regards to the next-gen console PR war. It accomplished that and some by providing the PS4 at a $100 discount to the Xbox One, and also not implementing strict DRM and online connection policies. After Monday’s pressers it was clear that Sony punched MS right in the kisser, and the company immediately jumped its PS4 console to the front of the line in the court of public opinion, and pre-order sales.
Sony’s biggest asset this E3 was Microsoft’s mishandling of its Xbox One reveal. Sony could have trotted out shit in a box and would have still received a standing ovation due to how jaded MS made gamers with its odd next-gen policies (have since been reversed). Luckily Sony didn’t resort to a shit show, and pulled off a great press event that was highlighted by the reveal of the actual PS4 hardware, which is a very sexy looking game console.
The PS4 game lineup isn’t the strongest though, and Sony is definitely lacking exclusive experiences. Killzone: Shadow Fall is definitely shaping up to be a solid launch title, and Knack will intrigue gamers of all ages, but those two and Infamous: Second Son are really the only must-have PS4 launch window titles. Sony didn’t manage to nail a monster new IP, or exclusive triple-A title, which tarnished its great PR work for the PS4 console. Sony did offer a reason for Indie devs to flock to its new ecosystem, so the friendly distribution environment will surely help to make the PS4 a go-to destination to play some of the hottest new indie titles.
E3 2013 Grade: B+
Sony came out of E3 as the clear fan favorite as far as the next-gen console race goes. The PS4 has a few solid looking exclusive titles and offers a great platform for Indie developers, but its lack of third-party exclusives is troubling. Sony won the PR war for now, but it’ll be interesting to see if the company can maintain the edge on MS now that they’ve decided to reverse their insane restrictions.
Microsoft immediately buried itself and the Xbox One in a deep, dark, and dank hole after the company confirmed that it’d be implementing restrictive DRM policies and the 24hr online check-in requirement that gamers across the globe feared. The reveal of the Xbox One’s price point didn’t go over well with the gaming public either, even though it’s actually a decent value for what comes packaged. Microsoft’s troubling press event definitely cast a dark cloud over the rest of its E3, which is a shame because the company has actually gone out an locked up some amazing exclusive titles that will make it very hard for gamers to not consider buying a Xbox One.
Ryse, Killer Instinct, Titanfall, Plants versus Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Project Spark are all Xbox One exclusives, and some of the best next-gen games shown off on the E3 show floor. In the end a gaming console will only do as well as the games it gets, so this impressive lineup of launch window exclusives set Microsoft up well now that it has rescinded the asinine policies that had everyone’s gaming panties in a bunch.
The power of the new Kinect and the Cloud were proudly put on display by MS during E3, and each provided impressive demos. The much more sensitive Kinect will give developers all sorts of new ways to have gamers interact with their games, and not all of these experiences will be rooted in unconventional gameplay. On the other hand, the power of the MS Cloud will give Xbox One consoles a seemingly unlimited amount of server resources to provide the best next-gen gaming experience as physically possible.
It’s unfortunate that most of these features have been overlooked because the industry has been so focused on the odd Xbox One policies and how they cripple the ability of gamers to play video games in the manner they want to. Both of these innovations can be used to provide next-gen experiences that just can’t be found on any other platform, so it’s great to see that MS has begun the process of healing the Xbox One’s image in the minds of gamers.
E3 2013 Grade: B –
Microsoft has tried to lessen the blow to their gamer cred since their disastrous E3 press event, so it’s refreshing to know that they actually do listen to gamers and the gaming media. Surely they reversed their policy restrictions out of fear of low sales, but they still were able to put their ego aside and do the best thing for everyone involved.
They’ve definitely set up the Xbox One to be a serious contender in the approaching console war with its extensive lineup of exclusive next-gen games and new IPs. It’ll be interesting to see if they can win back the legion of disgruntled fans who felt slighted by their original plans for how the Xbox One would operate, because it truly is an intriguing piece of hardware that is getting the best game software first.
(Would’ve been an A if they never held their press event and tried to implement DRM and Always-online policies)
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