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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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    After promising a new Mortal Kombat X reveal “soon”, NetherRealm Studios has made good on said promise by releasing the story trailer. The video shows parts of the story mode featuring Mileena, which takes place 25 years after the events of 2011′s Mortal Kombat. Outworld has become a larger threat and new fighters joining the […]

  • Destiny’s shotgun and pulse rifle buffs mean it’s time to rethink your load-out

    Destiny’s most-ignored weapons got major boosts this week. It’s time to start thinking about how to work them into your set-up. Even if you’re used to using scout rifles and sniper rifles as a general loud-out (neither class was touched by 1.1.1), the buffs to pulse rifles and shotguns should make you rethink your contextual […]

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2: five years later, what did it do so right?

    It’s been five years since the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2. What did the much-loved entry in the franchise do for the Battlefield series? Westie’s played Battlefield Bad Company 2 for over 1,260 hours on PS3 and PC. That’s dedication. In his latest video he discusses the stand out moments from a FPS classic, […]

  • War is hell in this Zombie Army Trilogy gameplay trailer

    Here’s five minutes of headshots, shambling zombies and an undead Hitler from Rebellion’s upcoming Zombie Army Trilogy. The Sniper Elite spin-off arrives on PS4, PC and Xbox One March 6 and includes three games (obviously) and a new Horde mode.

  • Titan Souls releases on PS4, Vita, PC on April 14

    Ace indie giant-slayer Titan Souls will be released on PS4, Vita and PC on April 14. Publisher Devolver confirmed the date to Eurogamer. Those of us in Europe will have to wait until a day later for release. Titan Souls is a tough-as-nails indie game where you have one life to slay a giant enemy. […]

  • Destiny weekly update: lowdown on Inferno Crucible, Vault Transfer improvements

    Destiny’s weekly update has made some pretty significant changes – let Arekkz Gaming take you through them. Bungie has revealed the first release date for the new Inferno Crucible mode, and made it a lot easier to access your vault. You should subscribe to Arekkz Gaming. It will improve your life.

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory Feb 27, 28

    It’s Xursday again – what treats does he have for you this week? He’s in the North Tower, to the right of the Stranger’s room. Let’s take a look at the latest weapons and gear from your favourite Destiny trader. No Backup Plans [Titan Gauntlets] – 13SC ATS/8 Arachnid [Hunter Helmet] – 13SC Heart of […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will be stable on PC at launch, Visceral assures

    PC format is “by far the best gaming platform around,” says Hardline producer. “We’re doing what we can to take advantage of people’s different system with the graphics, framerate, controls, etc. We’re not just porting it over.” Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral is reassuring players that there will not be a repeat of the disastrous Battlefield […]

  • Win Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One

    We have 10 download codes for new indie puzzler Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One to give away. The be in with a chance of winning a code, just enter your details below and we’ll pull the winners from the hat on Monday March 2nd, after 2pm GMT. Pneuma: Breath of Life is a […]

  • Life is Strange Episode 2 delayed

    Life is Strange Episode 2 won’t make its expected release date. The first Life is Strange episode released on January 30, and we had expected the second to follow on March 13. Square Enix has since confirmed to Destructoid that the next chapter won’t make its release date. There’s been no word of the new […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: which character will be revealed tomorrow?

    Mortal Kombat X director Ed Boon is teasing a new character reveal. During today’s Mortal Kombat X livestream, NetherRealm said that a new character would be revealed “very soon”. Boon followed up with this teasing tweet suggesting the reveal will occur tomorrow: Very soon? As in tomorrow? :/ — Ed Boon (@noobde) February 26, 2015 […]

  • Halo played by Twitch is an exercise in great patience

    TwitchPlaysHalo is ridiculous. Halo: Combat Evolved is the latest game to be sucked into the “TwitchPlays” phenomenon, and the results are somewhat painful to spectate. If you’re not familiar with the setup, which debuted with TwitchPlaysPokemon, the game accepts commands from the channels’ chat stream. Although it doesn’t have the strategic RPG elements of Pokemon, […]

  • Gold Amiibo sold out, selling at five times RRP on auction sites

    Gold Mario Amiibo are expected to sell for pretty astounding profits on eBay and other auction sites. The Walmart-exclusive Gold Mario Amiibo is already completely sold out. Plenty of people managed to snaffle them to resell, though. There are now dozens of listings on eBay and other auction sites. One of the average asking prices […]

  • Canadian new game prices jump to $75

    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]