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Third-parties win E3 as show begins to lose relevance

Monday, 13 June 2011 09:36 GMT By Patrick Garratt

And that was that. But what exactly was it? Patrick Garratt looks at the changing face of E3 and how 2011’s show shot well wide of the mark.

E3 week is our busiest of the year. Normally, Tokyo Game Show, GDC and gamescom pale in comparison on the hectic scale. E3, a show grounded on the need for publishers to show their goods to retail buyers in the lead into the holiday season, has become an annual touch-point for the global industry, traditionally showing us where we are and where we’re going in the coming years.

Unfortunately, though, huge shifts in the way the games industry operates recently left E3 2011 failing to deliver on these criteria, and yet another question mark over the validity of the show itself.

In truth, E3 2011 wasn’t that busy.

Weak showings from the platform holders this year gifted centre stage to third-party software publishers, with a pack-leading quartet of EA, Bethesda, Square Enix and Ubisoft stealing major headlines with its triple A line-ups.

If a single company typified just how lost E3 has now become in a world of explosive game growth outside of the traditional business channels, it was Activision. The largest games publisher in the world barely registered at E3 2011, its single, major showing being Modern Warfare 3, the pillar franchise it has most intrinsically connected to the traditional console-disc model.

The biggest third-party barely had to bother with E3. That there is a huge disconnect between videogaming’s “real world” and ESA’s LA showcase is now undeniable.

Failing to Kinect

Microsoft’s press conference set a precedent for what is essentially a lack of direction from the console manufacturers. The Xbox 360 conference is typically a shotgun-acceleration into E3 week, a chance for the green machine to leverage its US credentials and steal the show, but a heavy leaning on Kinect made for a missed opportunity.

From a news perspective, there were scant headlines to be had. Microsoft’s first-party core titles are strong, but we’ve seen them all before. We got new looks as Gears 3 and Forza 4, which, while fantastic-seeming, are unquestionably more of the same. That the Halo 4 announcement leaked before the conference summed it all up: the slip wasn’t that exciting, and the reveal trailer showed virtually nothing. The Halo CE HD remake looked cool, but we really are preaching to the choir here. In terms of “innovation,” the needle’s on empty.

It was hugely telling that Microsoft chose to open its showcase with two third-party titles, Modern Warfare 3 and Tomb Raider. The Infinity Ward shooter looked so familiar it was frightening. Tomb Raider drew deserved plaudits from the show in general, for two reasons: firstly, its general quality as an atmospheric action game looked first-class; secondly, Crystal Dynamics has torn up the IP’s rulebook and done something new with it (much to the chagrin, I might add, of many female journalists speaking in private over the week, miffed that gaming’s power lady has aparently been reduced to a teenage victim – you can’t please them all).

Xbox 360’s first-party core exclusives this year are Gears 3 and Forza 4. As commendable as those games are, is that really enough to prop up Microsoft’s claim of 360 as the gamer’s choice?

“OnLive’s going to win. Dead serious. Another three years and all this will be over. I’m calling it.”

After the core software, Microsoft moved into Kinect mode. Ubisoft showed Ghost Recon running with Kinect features, and Mass Effect 3 was confirmed as having Kinect-based voice control functionality. In reality, these are both examples of publishers making hedged bets on Kinect, by including non-essential motion and voice features into large, straight-genre projects. We’ve heard a great deal about how E3 this year was supposed to show why Kinect matters to the core: that didn’t happen. You will not need to buy a Kinect peripheral to play any major core game in the foreseeable future.

Lionhead finally showed its Kinect project, revealing Fable: The Journey. Keza saw this the following day and was impressed with it, but I can’t help being hopelessly depressed that Molyneux has been reduced from working on Milo & Kate, a game that looked set to change the face of modern console gaming forever, to a Fable action off-shoot in which you throw spells and draw lines in the sky. Can’t really see Fable: The Journey being demoed at TED, can you?

Kinect is being forced onto existing genres, instead of becoming a genre in itself. Microsoft announced Bing and YouTube Live integration, and trotted out new voice commands for the 360 dash this year. Minecraft was announced for 360 this year, but it’s not being made by Notch.

It truth, as the curtain fell on the Microsoft E3 2011 press conference, we were left sitting with a string of mediocre announcements and the promise of Kinect dashed on the rocks of retail reality.

Vita, Vita, Vita

Sony was better, mainly because it was disarmingly honest about the PSN balls-up, announced an excellent price for the upcoming PS Vita, and didn’t make everyone vomit with its choice of name for the next gen handheld.

Uncharted 3 did suffer from the same signs of IP fatigue as Gears and Modern Warfare, but there’s no denying its quality. Resistance 3, again, was in the same area: it looks great and we’re seeing technology boosts over previous instalments, but this is the third game for this IP in this generation. If you didn’t get on with the previous two, you’re not about to be thrilled by this now.

Sensibly, Move was pushed off into its own section as opposed to being a central tenate of Sony’s entire showing, as Kinect was with Microsoft. SCEE boss Andrew House was honest about how Sony feels about Move in an interview with VG247 during the show, saying the motion controller wasn’t the “be all and end all” for the company.

Sony did announce a couple of decent content exclusives, both of which, incidentally, included Move support. BioShock: Infinite, without doubt one of the most enticing core prospects at the moment, and Dust 514, the CCP EVE tie-in, will be PS3 natives, the latter only being available on the console. And it’s getting a Vita version.

Battlefield 3. Seriously awesome.

Need for Speed: The Run, Saints Row the Third, Star Trek, Battlefield 3 and SSX will all have exclusive content for PS3. That’s not bad.

Vita was the jewel in Sony’s crown, though. It won’t be out in Europe and the US this calendar year from the sound of it, but it does look brilliant and it will be affordable at $250.

Overall, Sony was just tighter and more convincing than Microsoft, and appeared to be a company that isn’t afraid to say when it’s wrong and focus on the stuff it gets right. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Wii U please close the door on the way out?

Nintendo, unbelievably, fumbled the Wii U announcement. It should have been one of the most exciting reveals in recent years, but a lack of clarity and a steadfast refusal to emerge into a modern world of constant internet connection and social interaction left Nintendo’s share price in tatters and its top brass baffled.

Nintendo focused solely on Wii U’s controller during the presentation, saying it wanted explain the machine’s point of differentiation to other console hardware, and left both media and punters alike wholly confused about what Wii U even was until it released official hardware shots of the box itself, but only after the press conference.

While the console itself was fleetingly shown during the presentation, sitting under a TV in a demo reel, various news outlets – including us – reported that Wii U was a tablet. It wasn’t until we saw the machine in the photos and spoke to Keza afterwards – she played with Wii U just after the reveal – did we realise there was an actual console at all.

Confusion aside, Wii U should have shown us what the shape of videogaming will look like over the next 5-10 years. It didn’t. Wii U has no hard drive, so it’s clear Nintendo is, yet again, refusing to admit the internet exists, and only one tablet controller can be connected to a single machine at once. Some of the off-the-record comments coming out of the show after playing with Wii U are unrepeatable, but let’s just say they weren’t exactly complimentary.

Nintendo is a leader in this industry. It has a responsibility to lead. It has a responsibility to provide both business opportunities for the wide trade and excitement to users. I don’t believe it did either with its Wii U announcement, and I can’t help feeling that few people will be fooled by what is an obvious attempt to position Wii U behind next gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles in a technical sense for the upcoming cycle. We have seen this before.

We’d seen virtually everything at E3 2011 before.

Third-party win

A general lack of confidence from the platform holders did have an upside: it shone focus on a cluster of third-party publishers all pushing for dominance as the games industry consolidates. EA, Bethesda, Square Enix and Ubisoft all came to E3 will some terrific games, with Skyrim, Tomb Raider, Battlefield 3 and Far Cry 3 my picks for the show.

Far Cry 3. How to avoid sequelitis with a sequel.

All of these games are pushing the boundaries in some form, whether it’s technically or in terms of content. Battlefield was just full stop stunning: that’s the next generation, right there; Skyrim, barring some kind of disaster, will take the entire concept of the offline RPG to a new level; and Tomb Raider has shown that Square Enix isn’t afraid to take one of the largest IPs in games and essentially turn it into an adult horror. It’s brave: we need bravery.

Far Cry 3 was one of the show’s few surprises, and didn’t disappoint. It’s a big budget, open world shooter focused on genuinely adult themes. Try naming another one.

But while this small group of large companies dropped some incredible-looking software on LA this year, the malaise we irrefutable. We did not see a general way forward. Wii U is not it. As one well respected journalist said to me in the aftermath, “OnLive’s going to win. Dead serious. Another three years and all this will be over. I’m calling it.”

What we saw at E3 this year was a mid-cycle dead-zone. With digital sales now accounting for more than 40 percent of all games revenue and set to go past the halfway mark this year, where was the acknowledgment? Where was the day-date download release, the cross-platform integration? Where was the excitement of the next frontier?

If E3 was built on a bedrock of selling discs to stores for Christmas, how is it maintaining relevance in a world where we’re about to see the majority of sales go to digital distribution and the year has become a homogenised release schedule?

The quick answer is that it isn’t, but it can. It emerged in the wake of the show that ESA’s contract with the LACC is to end next year, and that it may have to move E3. As I’ve been saying for years, there’s an opportunity to throw off the shackles of the “old” E3, move it to a more suitable location – like Las Vegas – and embrace the gamescom and TGS format of a business event coupled with a consumer show. The North American games market is the biggest in the world: it needs to be excited. Videogaming is becoming less about platforms and all about content. ESA, in my opinion, should be showing that content to consumers in an appropriate setting, whether it’s on a computer screen, a mobile phone or a 3D HD TV, and telling them why they should be preparing to spend money on videogames as entertainment, for all our sakes.

If E3 doesn’t change with the consumer, it will cease to matter to the trade, the consumer, the content creators and the media. Let’s hope we never get there.

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42 Comments

  1. Bringit

    I can’t begin to describe how wrong this article is. Did you actually go to the event? Did you attend the parties and speak to the people that went?

    The people I spoke to, which was half the UK games industry, really enjoyed Wii U. Just concerned over timings and price.

    And in fact two of the chaps I spoke to described it as ‘the greatest most impressive E3 to date.’

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Suikoden Fan

    The Irony is the best E3 conference was the one shown before E3, the Konami Conference

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    Completely agree with every sentence. I feel about the games, announcements and E3 exactly like in Pat’s thoughts.

    but “OnLive’s going to win. Dead serious. Another three years and all this will be over. I’m calling it.”

    i’m not sure about that. In 3 years there will be another Xbox and Playstation. I’m sure they are looking at what Onlive is doing right now.

    But all this talk about E3 just got me excited more about the GAMESCOM. I’m really excited about it.

    what about E3 2012? Not so much.

    @Suikoden fan, it was not. Just HD remakes, same games and no MGS: Rising.

    @Bringit, “The people I spoke to, which was half the UK games industry, really enjoyed Wii U. Just concerned over timings and price.”

    – Ah.. ohh.. so it was that guy that enjoys playing Wii fit games? OoOoK!
    Great UK journalists if they are excited about kitchen sink that can’t do even multitasking.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. kumaCannon

    I am going to honest, a lot of these gamer makers need to get off of the idea of “next gen”. Gaming has gone beyond the regular hardcore crowd and to be honest, the average person doesn’t care about more graphics than they see now.

    Your aren’t going to woo more people to a new system with better graphics, they don’t care nor can they tell the difference. Making a really graphically intensive or beautiful shooter is not going to garner new customers to a genre they don’t know. So yes Skyrim talks to people who already know the genre, but they have no idea how to attract different customers to a new experience. They he can harp on the WII U, but Nintendo knows how to cater to a customer ready for something new, and not sure if they can catch up to the learning curve.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Blerk

    OnLive really isn’t going to “win”, mostly because it’s just providing the same games as we’re getting on the consoles at the minute – if lack of innovation is killing the current industry, it’d kill OnLive as well.

    I do agree that this was a fairly poor E3, especially from the platform holders themselves. Very little new and exciting, and the few new things that were announced were either fumbled (the Wii U) or just don’t appear to be very relevant in this day and age (the Vita).

    But the third parties did put out some great stuff (Arkham City, Skyrim and Bioshock Infinite would be my games of the show, with special mentions for Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Bastion and Journey on the downloadables front).

    As for Activision only showing one game… do Activision even have more than one game any more? :-D

    Footnote: You can’t keep those ‘unrepeatable’ Wii U comments to yourself. Share! Share! :-D

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    “the average person doesn’t care about more graphics than they see now. ”

    I see. Thats why half of the internet is apeshit about new Frostbite engine 2 (which runs on the current gen consoles, it’s not even True Next Generation).

    your point is invalid.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Suikoden Fan

    @3 we are just going top disagree but it was the best conference imo

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    @7, it’s probably best for you, but not for the whole industry.
    Transfarring and HD remakes are exciting, but not more then that.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. ultramega

    @4
    Except for the fact that the core consumer does, and likely always will, make up for the majority of software sales. It definitely is about the tech. Sure, you can get Sally to buy a Wii and one or two games, but that’s it. Software sales are a huge amount of the profits.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. kumaCannon

    @6

    And yet 8 of the top 20 videogames of last year were on the wii, a systems which graphics do not come close to the current generations.

    @4

    If 8 of the top best selling games were on the WII that means software sells just fine on a system that doesn’t have the greatest hardware.

    Last if All the consumer cared about was next generation graphics, Computers would be dominating consoles by now. The truth is the gaming experience has gone beyond graphics. Yes will they get a large amount of core gamers. But a large bulk of money will go right past them, as consumers who have till today ignored the XBOX360 and PS3, go for the system that continually caters to their needs.

    The question most be asked, what is the incentive from the game makers and console developers other than nintendo to get Sally, and those millions of others that went to nintendo other their side? New graphics are not the key.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Christopher Jack

    I almost completely agree with you Pat.
    I think Far Cry 3 would be my biggest surprise of the event, it looks simply amazing & a huge improvement over a decent game.
    Dust 514 has an interesting premise, I must keep an eye on it to see how it evolves.
    Skyrim & BF3 were spectacular but that was to be expected.
    The name of Sony’s NGP was spoiled but that’s no biggie, what was though is the price-how could they sell what is essentially Two iPad 2′s tied together at half the price!?
    The Wii U, while I found it easy to understand, clearly others did not-Nintendo has never been good at these conferences, sure people love it but it’s never been done as professional as either MS’ or Sony’s.
    Microsoft’s focus on Kinect was disappointing & I do wish that they gave the Halo remake a little more time to demonstrate the visual changes, Halo 4′s announcement was cool but very vague.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Maximum Payne

    Those HD remake are IMO shame because they just ported game exactly same game to 720p and add achievement/trophy support.WOW what a lot of effort you put to some of classic games that made you famous!
    For ex. Splinter cell collection wont have multiplayer nor coop.WOW!
    Why they didn’t put effort God of War origins to add textures and lightning from God of War 3? It could easily be ”God of War 4”….
    And that Halo anivers Is it me or look like crap? They brag how they using Reach engine for MP because they just copy MP from Reach +/- weapons maps….Why they didn’t use Reach engine for SP? Just stupid IMO.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Blerk

    The name of Sony’s NGP was spoiled but that’s no biggie, what was though is the price-how could they sell what is essentially Two iPad 2′s tied together at half the price!?

    I surmise you do this by making a loss on the hardware. Apple could sell the iPad far, far cheaper, but they don’t have to.

    I do think Vita will struggle, though. The emphasis on ‘big console games, small console’ just seems wrong to me – do people really want big console games on a handheld? And if you’re going to play the smaller, touch/gyroscope-enabled bite-size games instead, what’s wrong with your phone? I’m not convinced the Vita has a market outside of a very small number of dedicated fans.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. SplatteredHouse

    I agree with the sentiment of this article. Part of E3′s problem is that so few of the games on show have firm, near release dates. ‘coming [next year]‘ (let alone the year after! Raiden? RAIIIIDENNN?! Will Devil’s Third resemble its trailer from last year, next, or even still claim that name) is the most…What are they showing in their trailers to build enthusiasm for the games? A bit of CG, and a name often-times. Great! Who even knows how it’ll show up, once this timescale elapses, anyway and the game releases.

    I am surprised of the reaction to Tomb Raider, that you mention from female show-goers. When I watched the Microsoft conference, at least a majority of my flinching and unease at that time was afforded to the TR presentation. It was beautiful quality, but uncommon to see that direction, refreshing, and it’s unlikely that Lara won’t in some way grow, prior to its conclusion. Her desperation and endurance are positives. Not a super-hero the LC of TR is a determined but wrecked and lost young woman with some battles ahead.
    It could be recognised that E3′s role was likely to change, as publishers made their announcements at their own events and timeframes, but for it to feel so downplayed can be no good thing, in my estimation.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Christopher Jack

    I think that Sony & Microsoft will both need to have day one digital releases for all new games with their next console, you would also have to assume that they’ll both provide an OnLive/gaikai-like rental service too. As long as they both remain competitive with their digital prices, I think they will both succeed. I’d also like to see either of them team with partners like Valve for STEAMPLAY-like features, although I don’t expect PC players to get the console version unless there will be an option to enable it at a slightly higher price.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. absolutezero

    On a fundamental level having watched the MS and Nintendo events, I feel that these companies no longer like or respect me as a customer. It feels like they no longer want my money, like its no longer good enough. Like being seen as the degenerate relation that must be kept upstairs and away from respectiable company.

    In this relentless charge to make everyone happy all the time and to open up the market alot of gamers are starting to feel forgotten and unloved.

    There are developers making games for the core base that never use the term “targeting the mass market”, but they are few and far between. Actually theres about 5.

    The divide between tiny indie abstract graphic titles and massive budget appeal to everyone ever and make it as stream-lined and simple as possible in case a single user gets frustrated once.

    Also why are we still waiting for adult games, for the past ten years the majority of people regularly playing games have been 25+, so where are the fucking titles?

    I love games. Games no longer love me.

    Also much love Pat, its great to see someone seeing some real faults appearing without sounding like a cynical old bastard like myself.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Bloodyghost

    I agree with Pat. I felt similar to this. The PS3 didnt bring its 2011 to 2012, Ms is just killing time till its next System via Kinect, and Nintendo is fixing holes by deepening and widening others with the WiiU.

    The WiiU is a platform that probably be big to casual since its really is FULL Backwards compatible with even the controllers.

    BUT One WiiU device, annoucing First Party games that arent even in development and releasing this on the brink of Next Gen is dead stupid.

    I really do not care for the Kinect, doesnt add to the experience unless its a MULTIPLATFORM GAME THAT USES IT FOR VOICE COMMANDS AND OTHER HELP, rather then a controller. Kinect cant work as a controller, you need a xbox controller and a kinect to really immerse someone in a game.

    Sony’s conference was a damn bore too. Vita? Pita? Zita! The system’s pricing is the only thing I applaud. Besides that, the online is meh, you got a 3G plan with one of the worst among getting your dropped calls so expect dropped “online play”, AT and T. Then you got the lineup thats really is just mini Downloadable games rather then what the VITA advertises itself as…

    …a portable that can play a Console Game.

    But then Pat, you made a mistake as well….

    but “OnLive’s going to win. Dead serious. Another three years and all this will be over. I’m calling it.”

    No. lol just no.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Christopher Jack

    @17, Sony didn’t clearly state this, but there won’t be any online play through 3G, a PR did mention this & that it’s mainly for social interactions & what not-pointless if you already have a data connection on your phone or some other wireless tethering device. 4G could barely handle online play, just leave it to wifi.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. freedoms_stain

    tbh I paid very little heed to E3 this year. I found myself with 2-3 days worth of RSS feeds (around 600 items) backed up because I couldn’t really be arsed with it.

    I read anything to do with Battlefield, watched one Skyrim vid, one Tomb Raider vid and a few minutes of WiiU stuff.

    I just feel rather meh about watching other people play game demos, or watching trailers for games not due out for months or years.

    The funny thing is they push all this effort into making trade show demos and conferences, but will there be general release playable demos available to the public before the game is released? maybe 1 in 10, another 0.5 in 10 post release (and those are probably generous figures)

    Unless you’re releasing new hardware, what’s the point in this pish?

    Gaikai could make a killing doing simultaneous playable streaming demos alongside game announcements. Watch the announcement live, play the demo straight after. Awesome.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Blerk

    It would’ve been nice for at least a few of the playable demos to make it out to the public, for sure. I guess the difficulty is either that they’re unoptimised and too big, or they’re unlikely to pass certification because of their pre-pre-alpha status.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. tenthousandgothsonacid

    Onlive will kill consoles. Maybe not Onlive, as such, but cloud gaming is the way. Within 5 years the thought of having to buy a new console and have it in your sitting room will seam like ancient history.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Christopher Jack

    @21, Expect game streaming to be in the PS4/Xbox 720 alongside digital & retail distribution. It’s not convenient for the near future but there’s no reason why it can’t factor in it.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. The_Red

    I’d add Sound Shapes to the list of E3 winners. If Sony had shown a full clip of that game played… my God that would have been an awesome conference moment. That is the game I’m getting Vita for.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. freedoms_stain

    @20, that’s why I’m saying use Gaikai, doesn’t matter if it’s a big fat bitch of a piece of code, it’ll stream just fine. Also don’t have to worry about MS or Sony being anal about certification, because you’ve bypassed them.

    As long as you strap a big warning over it emphasising demo and not 100% reflective of final quality then boom, why not?

    The center of the gaikai model is demos anyway, so if you’re a pub planning on using Gaikai anyway, why not fire your trade show demos up there 1st? Then Gaikai can have a notification system sayiing “Yo, you tried the ‘insert game here’ E3 2012 demo, would you like to try the full release?” Then you get your hour or 2 free play of the finished product to see if they improved the game or squashed bugs or whatever before you decide whether or not to buy.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. AHA-Lambda

    really damn good read pat and i cant say i disagree. All of the games that impressed me were from 3rd parties aswell

    intriguing to see your thoughts on wiiu, it looks like it could have some potential but i just feel that history will repeat itself with nintendo’s handling of the console =|

    #25 4 years ago
  26. frostquake

    E3 was a Total “Bust” and I would give it a Grade of D+

    Microsoft, was more about Kinect then core gamers, and they should have made it more Balanced! Showing videos of games that have been showing videos for a while, even at last E3..Ahem..Gears 3 are not going to cut it. It is also clear that Third Party Titles are the main focus for Microsoft. Kinect was the focus last year, and should not have been the focus this time!

    Sony, did a better job, but barely! PSV is what saved them, and if they wouldn’t have had the PSV, they would merely be talking about Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3 and Number 3′s everywhere!

    Nintendo, of should I say WiiU, was a total Mess! Was it a Tablet, was it a Controller, or was it the actual consoles. Emails, Tweets, and other Social Media were all over the Place on the WiiU. We were all lead to believe that we would be seeing a New Console..possibly and incredible console that would beat the 360 and PS3? But we were lead astray, by cords running into boxes hiding whatever was handling the actual game. The WiiU, once again may be innovative but they left way too many question marks, Price Point being a HUGE one! Everyone left scratching their heads on Nintendo!

    Third Parties, Now that shined…they actually saved E3 this year. I can’t imagine how horrible it would have been if they wouldn’t have been there…though still it was more Regurgitation on their part!

    Where were the HUGE new IP’s that wowed everyone…Why were some strangely silent..Looking at you ICO!!

    There were some surprises, but mostly Confusion, Lack of WOW, and quite a bit of Re-Hashing!!!

    As far as “OnLive”…that is still a Gamble..The 3 BIG contenders were strangely silent on Cloud Gaming, other then Storage..Big Deal!!

    And Digital Distribution, may not be the Big Elephant in the room everyone wants to talk about, But calling it the “Funny Weird Uncle” that none of the Big 3 want to talk about, won’t make it go away!

    #26 4 years ago
  27. Christopher Jack

    Well I did notice inFamous 2(full game) on PSN for less than the Aussies RRP on it’s release date, that’s hopefully a sign of things to come on Sony’s part but I’m still not going to pay $79 when American’s pay over $20 less =\

    #27 4 years ago
  28. marijnlems

    The best E3 analysis I’ve read anywhere. Extremely insightful and well-written. Thanks Patrick!

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Kuwabara

    I was so hyped for E3 and was soo disapointed. Microsoft is a joke, ps3 has this year won already but didint show off whats coming next year, nintendo’s was laughable, God help them in the next console race.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. OlderGamer

    Great write up Pat.

    I agree whole heartedly about “Cloud” gaming. But I think it will take longer then 3 years. I think Onlive, Giaka, Steam, LIVE, Gamefly/D2D, could all be major players. Simply needs lot of selection, fair price, low latency, and its off. Onlive is very close now. I am impressed with the service, just needs more games at this point in its Play Pass.

    Giaka needs to do more then demos, imo. That stuff is great for almost no one. Devs/pubs don’t like demos. And gamers like demos, but would rather have games. If all Giaka does is stream demos, and then allow you to purchase retail or digital copies of games, they will lose to someone like Onlive that allows you to demo the full game for 30mins, and buy it(no download or boxed copy to wait for the mail), and Onlive also offers 61games(now, and more weekly) on its expanding list of games to play for just 10usd/month, unlimited.

    Thats the better biz model, and if steam starts doing that, watch out. Also Onlive is headed to TVs and BR players this coming year via built in interface, ala Netflix.

    I really do believe that this type of service in form or another will take over the industry. And to anyone that doesn’t agree .. go read up on what happend to BluckBuster.

    As far as Vita, I fully agree with Blerk. Yes the system is nice. Everything someone could ask for. Except most people aren’t asking for it. Most everyday people want a console/PC at home, and are very happy with traditional mobile devices. A 250usd dedicated handheld, I believe is going to have a slow adoption. I bet big numbers at launch. Sony will brag about preorder numbers. because the core will flock to it. However long term I believe sales will be slow. You don’t win much anymore by courting the Core like you used to.

    Ok Core gamers. Dead. Plan and simple. The average age of gamers in NA was 37yr old, in 20011. And almost 1/3rd of the gamers(29%) were over the age 50yr old. 18% were under the age of 18.

    42% of the gamers were female.

    http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2011.pdf

    Sure you could agree the numbers if you wanted, but even if off by a bit here or there, they show us that what we used to think of gaming has changed. And the so called core vs casual thing is pompus. What is Core?

    A traditional games market was 15-20 yr old males. But as we can see, that makes for a very small % of the pie. As you get older your taste in music, movies, and Tv changes. It makes sense that your tastes in gaming would change too.

    I think its crazy to see people trying to play the same types of games they played 15-20 years ago. Your not the same person now that you were then.

    I think that is were the general feeling of lack of inovation comes from. We have played everything already. How many CoDs/BF games do we need? Anyways its a valid point.

    Inovation is out there. Thats what Move is. What Kinect is. And yes a fresh way to play is what WiiU brings to the table. And there is also a mega ton of indie games that are very worthy to play. They just don’t have mega ton budgets to promote them and buy them shelf space.

    To me the games are fine. I think that today, someone picks up a CoD game for the very first time, and it wows them. I think where the we are failied is in the lack of understanding and expectations being dealt out by the media, the publishers, and fellow gamers.

    Pubs will make the same game over and over again, if we buy it.

    We have no rights to bitch about lack of inovation, and at the same time preorder the next Ass Cred, CoD, or whatever.

    And everyone needs to understand that there isn’t some big ass line that seperates Core from Casual gamers.

    In truth, most of us are both. I play Kinect, some of the experiences are fresh and neat. Same for Wii/Move. I will be preordering WiiU. That controler looks promising to me.

    But I also play BF, and have NCAA Football 12 preordered. I have sunk hundreds of hours into Civ V. I can’t wait to get my hands on GW2 and DiabloIII. Tourchlight 2 has me so excited I can hardly wait.

    Just play good games. remember if you don’t like the state of whats being put on shelves, stop buying it. We vote with our purchases.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. IL DUCE

    @11 and pat…give them a break about Halo 4 it doesn’t come out for another year and a half for Christ sakes…we didn’t even know about Skyrim until less than a year before it comes out…

    Idk even though MS focused on Kinect (I guess) they had to because it was the first e3 post release and I would say I saw a bunch of useless Move bullshit while it didn’t even make half the impact that Kinect did…I don’t see the internet full of Move hacks or anything interesting with Move…not to mention Ken Levine didn’t rule out Kinect support for Infinite so its not like it will only have Move features…he just happened to announce it at the press conference

    Vita’s name and gameplay was underwhelming…we’ve seen all that crap before, uncharted looks the same as usual, the rear touch pad is cool but I can hardly think of much uses for it besides lifting the terrain like they showed in modnation racers, the graphics didn’t blow me away or anything at all…and I’m pretty sure I can get a full ps3 console for 300 bucks with a 160 gig hard drive so its really not that great of a price…you downgrade for a hand held experience for the ability to play portable but I’d much rather play on a 50 inch screen than a 7 inch screen or whatever…I am also not a big fan of the name

    And at least ubi, ea and ms had some surprises…sony didn’t have any, and we had to watch tretton look like the bp guy on south park with his I’m sorries over the psn hacking fiasco…

    Overall, e3 was a somewhat of a disappointment even though I came away with a few surprises (not really since I knew halo 4 and farcry 3 were coming from reading this site every day) and I’m left feeling empty with no real surprises like gta v, or agent coming to 360, or half life 3 so it was definitely an off year for e3 and hopefully it will be a bit more exciting next year…still impressed by mw3 (even though it looks exactly like mw2 surprise surprise), bf3, skyrim and mass effect 3…arkham city also looked pretty good

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Bringit

    There may not have been many announced software, but there were more games to look at than any time I’ve been there before. It was crazy.

    Only Activision had a lack of software, but then they are just the Call of Duty studio now.

    WiiU may be unusual, but the tech demos were really, very good. And that was the general vibe from the trade that played it.

    This piece doesn’t give off the feeling from the E3 show floor.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. Blerk

    Apparently Acti had the new X-Men game there, but it was so bloody awful they were keeping it hidden away.

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Dralen

    I thought this article was spot on. The third party publishers were definitely the best and most exciting press conferences during the week. That’s not including Activision, they shouldn’t have even bothered turning up.

    Arkham City, Battlefield 3 and Farcry 3 all looked stunning by the way. Those 3 are probably my nominations for game of the show.

    Uncharted 3 was also looking fantastic, I’m not so sure about the multiplayer stuff though.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. LOLshock94

    does anyone have a list of what games won the best online or what was the best rpg?

    #35 4 years ago
  36. Espers

    ” Tokyo Game Show pale in comparison on the hectic scale ” ?!? REALLY ?! ARE YOU EVEN SURE ?! or are you just referring to TGS during the financial Crisis !!

    As far as I can remember and let me remind you, weren’t people talking about closing E3 and that 2010 will be the last year for E3 ?! This wasn’t mentioned for TGS not even once !!

    Besides the real deal gets to show in the land of video games in TGS !!

    #36 4 years ago
  37. DSB

    Every journalist I’ve seen that’s had a hands-on with the Wii U has enjoyed it.

    I don’t disagree that launching without an HD is just stupid, but I also doubt how badly they want the core audience to begin with. Clearly they wouldn’t make such a basic mistake if that was a major priority.

    I think Frostbite 2 will change a lot, but it’s only going to do it based on games that actually use its potential. Tech alone is as interesting as a sheet of paper.

    It looks to me like E3 is becoming a symbol of the console era, where the common denominators rule to the point of people getting cranky and bored with the whole thing.

    I don’t take games seriously enough to let it affect my outlook on gaming as a whole, I prefer to look at what works, but it could suggest that consoles actually have to learn from the PC and not just the other way around, going into the future.

    #37 4 years ago
  38. ManuOtaku

    i Think i can disagree more with this post, i think microsoft conference was good strong third party support like always, good first party tittles, and an strong kinect offering something that was really needed, a great device without too many games, now we are getting more games for it with great new IP, and the minecraft announcement was really great.

    On the sony side great third party, with good first party and again strong support to move, almost on the same line as microsoft but with the vita annoucement i think it was good.

    And last on the WiiU front i think all the people that had hands on with the device is telling that has ton of potential with the demos at hand, that is very comfortable, therefore i think the Wii U has a great potential, also if you add What the President of EA said, that the online will be ruled by the developers teams, this is an open online device which is very enticing to say the least, and last now is the time to come with an HD console, because now the adoption rates are higher than ever before, +50% on consumers houses, therefore now is the right time to come with an HD console, but i give you that it was very confussing though.

    #38 4 years ago
  39. TVs Everywhere

    Every journalist I’ve seen that’s had a hands-on with the Wii U has enjoyed it.

    Define “enjoy”. Every journalist I’VE read doesn’t go much beyond “the demos were neat”. I didn’t really see a generally positive reaction toward the HARDWARE itself, because the hardware itself isn’t impressive. Journalists have only go so far as to say “I’m excited for the potential”, but when anyone says that for me it goes in one ear and out the other. “Potential” is nothing but a bunch of empty PR promises, be it from Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft. I bought the Wii purely based on “potential”, and my end experience with it was atrocious. No. Nintendo dropped the ball with the Wii and they’ve lost my trust and need to gain it back for me. I need to see CONCRETE details and games that HAVE been released and DO get great reviews and look great to me.

    Take empty “potential” promises out of the equation and Nintendo’s E3 presser had nothing. A handful of here’s-yet-another-Mario games, a demo of Skyward Sword that should’ve already been released, and a confusing mess of a Wii U reveal. No details, no specs, no concrete game announcements, no date, no nothing. Then the interviews started rolling in and the smoke-and-mirrors started to disappear with all the limitations being exposed in the open. Only 1 controller, only as powerful as 2005 hardware, no hard drive, etc. People left E3 empty handed. The only people who are excited about the Wii U are the fanboys and the gullible, I’m sorry to tell you. You’re mistaking journalists “this is sorta neat I guess” reaction to being “generally positive”. It isn’t. Nobody in their right mind would make such an assessment because Nintendo hasn’t given anyone anything to assess, and while I’m not going to call the Wii U hardware a piece of crap, I can’t say it’s “good” either and nobody else has any actual information to do so either. There was a horrendous lack of detail for that console, and Nintendo did a horrible job at presenting the Wii U with its awkward first impression.

    #39 4 years ago
  40. GwynbleiddiuM

    Exactly, couldn’t agree more with you Pat. nice job.

    #40 4 years ago
  41. DSB

    @39 You’re obviously pissed off that you made a wholly uneducated decision, and set yourself up with a console you didn’t like. It doesn’t change what the journalists actually said about what little they saw.

    I think taking responsibility for your own stupidity would serve you a lot better, than simply imagining the press meaning something entirely different than what they wrote.

    #41 4 years ago
  42. hitnrun

    I agree with you Pat, but I think you buried your lead. Companies are still saving big reveals for E3, but increasingly are releasing or leaking news in the weeks before the event to stand out from the cacophony of the show.

    This has been an interesting, intriguing, exciting, provocative “E3 season”, but the show itself was almost irrelevant. Is there anything that was even a nominal surprise besides Wii U and Halo 4?

    (I didn’t even know about the lack of a hard drive. What the hell is Nintendo thinking? Anecdotally, I’m already at the point where core Wii customers – aunts, uncles, sisters – are outraged at the lack of DVD playback on the Wiis they bought, as if it was my fault personally. When Nintendo falls behind even their bedrock assumptions, they’re spinning their wheels in the sand.)

    #42 4 years ago

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    A Far Cry 4 Complete Edition has been announced and it includes the full game as well as the Season Pass. This is the sku which popped up on Amazon Germany earlier in the week. The Season Pass provides access to five separate pieces of DLC. Here’s a refresher on the DLC content: The Syringe: […]

  • The Witcher 3: live Q&A stream with CDP, new monster dev diary inside

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out in just two weeks, and if you want to know more about Geralt’s latest adventure, CD Projekt is hosting a live Q&A now on Twitch. There’s also a new developer diary below which focuses on monster in the game. The Witcher 3 is out on May 19. Huzzah! […]

  • Forza Horizon 2′s Alpinestars Car Pack has five cars and is ready for download

    The Alpinestars Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 is out now on Xbox One and its the only way you will ever be able to afford a 1992 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport. Unless, of course, you win the lottery or are left in some rich person’s will. In that case, I’ll take the ’53 Corvette, […]

  • Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition is now available in North America

    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition has been released in North America. It will be made available in the Europe on May 7 and in the UK May 8 for £49.99 on consoles and £34.99 on PC. As previously announced, this edition contains all previously released DLC content as well as […]

  • Two GAME exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians now available for pre-order

    GAME has announced two exclusive versions of Halo 5: Guardians, and both are now available for pre-order exclusively through one of the retail chain’s 318 stores or online. The £79.99 Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians, which delivers new digital content wrapped in a steel book. There’s also the £199.99 Halo 5: Guardians Limited Collector’s Edition […]

  • Deals with Gold: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Bioshock Infinite, more

    Microsoft has announced its latest Deals with Gold discounts for Xbox Live Gold members. Franchises on sale include Far Cry, Call of Duty, along with individual titles Assassin’s Creed Unity and Bioshock Infinite. The full list is below. Bioshock Infinite discounts are available for both Xbox Live Gold and Silver members. Xbox One Far Cry […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has released, watch the launch trailer here

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can watch the launch trailer for it below. Boxed copies in Europe arrive from May 15, and in Australia/New Zealand on May 14. You can grab digital copies from the following online services: Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store.

  • GOG’s online service GOG Galaxy is now in open beta

    GOG Galaxy, the DRM-free online gaming platform from the folks at GOG, has left Alpha and is now in open beta for all to try. As previously announced, the online service, similar to Steam, is option. Players do not need to play online as all games are stored by the service and can be played […]

  • DayZ-inspired Goat Simulator DLC GoatZ is out this week on Steam

    Goat Simulator players can download DayZ-inspired DLC this week called GoatZ. According to Coffee Stain Studios, GoatZ is “the only survival game on Steam that isn’t in Early Access.” Jokingly of course. The DLC features: Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it. Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living […]

  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection confirmed to be a clothing line

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]