6 ways games are changing according to E3 2014

Wednesday, 11th June 2014 16:49 GMT By Dave Cook

The games industry is forever changing, and as usual E3 has helped give us a glimpse of where it’s going next. VG247′s Dave Cook jots down a few key takeaways that suggest games are changing in a big way.


Like a flaming car that suddenly bursts through your wall without warning, E3 2014 is impossible to ignore. Like dutiful moths banging into a buzzing light-bulb, we turn our focus on that clammy Los Angeles Exhibition Centre to be told exactly what we’re going to be getting hyped about for the next year. Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset.

E3 week gives us a broad window onto what the industry looks like today, and shows us where it might be going in the months that follow. It’s a spectacle that informs the next year of gaming in a big way, and there are a few notable trends that we’ve picked out of the glut.

These shifts are important, so I wanted to touch on them here.


6. New IP is getting our blood pumping more than ever…

We’re often told that new IP has a rough time at market, and yes, it can be hard to project a fresh property in front of gamers when their eyes are being blinkered by all of the sequels this industry churns out. E3 2014 turned that on its head a little with reveals like Scalebound from Platinum Games, From Software’s Bloodborne, along with indie appearances like Ori and the Blind Forest, No Man’s Sky, Titan Souls and Broforce.

More people are talking about this type of game than they were last year. That’s evident just by looking at the headlines they’ve been getting, and what you’ve been saying on our heavily-populated social feeds. Indie fans have always fought their corner – I’m one of them – but now those who wouldn’t look twice at games like Roll7′s Not a Hero or Giant Squid’s Abzu are doing so because of their heightened presence at E3. That’s a wonderful thing.

Seeing Inside, the new game from Limbo studio Playdead, get its own segment on Microsoft’s stage was something of a statement. I was genuinely happy to see that game rub shoulders with the likes of Halo and Rise of the Tomb Raider, because it shows that format holders really are giving new IP the time of day, even those from indie teams. This has been happening slowly for a while, but this week really gave new IP a shot in the arm. Bravo industry.


5. …But sequels are feeling less tedious

Annualised sequels make many of us throw up in our own mouths a little. I get it, I really do. From up here in the VG247 orbital news strike platform, we can hear the collective groans that come whenever the fifth or sixth sequel to an franchise is announced. It’s tedium central for some, but for others, they’re just happy to see their favourite series extended, just like when a TV show gets another season run.

Those groans are getting quieter however, and that’s because the sequels of E3 2014 mostly looked damn impressive. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is like what, number 38 in the series? Yet its new-gen visuals still managed to get people whipped up into a hype lather thanks to some impressive crowd tech, its striking depiction of Paris and some pretty interesting co-op play.

The numbers at the end of our game titles are rising fast, but it seems we’ve largely warmed to the likes of Far Cry 4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Mortal Kombat X, Halo 5: Guardians, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and all of those blockbuster sequels we often profess to being tired of. None of these games appear to be the lazy cash-grabs either. They actually appear to be bucking the cash-cow trend by adding new ideas and life into their established concepts.


4. Exclusives are more relevant than ever

Something interesting is happening out there in game-development land. We already know that first-party exclusives like Halo and Uncharted are important, and that the cost involved with making those big triple-a experiences is rising at a ludicrous rate. Multiformat games are filling the gaps between those expensive projects along with indies, so what else can format-holders like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft do to lure you over to their platform? Exclusives. Out the ass.

You can’t get exclusive rights to a multiformat game unless it’s timed, but that’s getting harder to secure because third-parties like EA and Ubisoft need to make those mega-millions back. Format exclusivity on anything other seems to be largely out of the question these days, but that’s not to say DLC cant be made exclusive. Almost every trailer that came out of Microsoft’s E3 conference had a sting that read ‘New content first on Xbox,’ or something to that effect.

That’s incredibly smart. You can’t get exclusive dibs on the game so you time-exclusive the hell out of its content or beta phase. It’s like Netflix – and now Sony and Microsoft – moving into original programming. This is now a content war, even if it means bringing costume micro-DLC to your platform first; if you have it before the competition, the people will come. Expect this war to escalate in months to come.

Next: reboots, connectivity and co-op…



  1. Legendaryboss

    6. Yep.
    5. Hmmm? Okay.
    4. Tell that to Nintendo and Wii U. Not as much as you, internet warriors and people who need distinctions between platforms think in recent years.Industry trends prove this.
    3. Yep.
    2. They were never in the first place, all you heard was meaninglessness nonsense from people who wanted jaw dropping exclusives day one and bemoaned ports/remasters.
    1. If you say so.

    #1 7 months ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @Legendaryboss Ah well, we can’t all be optimistic types, can we? :D

    #2 7 months ago
  3. bradk825

    This all looks legit to me. Reboots are being done well lately which is great. It’s cool to see a game you loved have new life breathed into it. Some games are just so good, there’s no reason for them to ever go away.

    It’s similar to film and TV. When will they stop making Star Trek? Never, that’s when. And that’s the way we like it.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. CyberMarco


    Steam Summer Sales begin on June 19th:

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah… just hold it!

    #4 7 months ago
  5. polygem

    No way i can say what i want writing on an xperia. Maybe next week. I certainly disagree with some of the points being made. :D this e3 definitely made me feel less optimistic about the future of this industry than ever before. One example: Indies on the main stage. Great. But not so great if you basically only (ab)use them to justify your lazy dlc and gameplaymilking for your triple a stuff happening on your core content front. New ip. Great. Not so great if you just rehash existing gameplay mechanics and go for stereotype settings and characters game after game. Ip after ip. Selling old stuff as new stuff. I saw an industry in a pretty dramatic creative crisis and if this wont change soon i can see that becoming very relevant in sales as well.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. The_Red

    Thank you Dave for this piece.
    I was expecting something negative like E3 is getting too violent (Oooh FarCry 4 and MKX are so violent and bad) but instead got a great and interesting look at the more positive aspects of this E3. Instead of bitching about this and that like most gamers or cynical people do, you pointed out many things that I loved about this years show.

    (Though I’m a bit unhappy the 6th point because at least to me, most of the co-op shown in these games felt forced / publisher mandate)

    #6 7 months ago
  7. tenthousandgothsonacid

    I disagree that timed dlc ever made anyone buy a console.

    #7 7 months ago
  8. ManuOtaku

    Agreed with all points, dave, great article.

    #8 7 months ago
  9. Joe Musashi

    Dave forgot the all important 7th point: consoles are doomed.


    #9 7 months ago
  10. polygem

    They arent doomed. Just an outdated concept.

    #10 7 months ago
  11. Gheritt White

    @polygem Agreed. This is the last hurrah for consoles as a dedicated device (but I expect it to be a bit of a grand hurrah).

    #11 7 months ago
  12. polygem

    Big fat hurrah for sure

    #12 7 months ago
  13. Bomba Luigi

    How many Times did they now tell us that everything changes and shit? I dont know, I only know it did never happen.

    Dont believe that stuff some PR People throwing around, that was never a good Idea.

    #13 7 months ago
  14. Gheritt White

    @Bomba Luigi That’s Because You’ve Probably Only Been Playing Games for Less Than 15 yEARS.

    #14 7 months ago
  15. ManuOtaku

    by the way, grim fandango on PS4, now i can die in peace, diablo and grim fandango, were my only gaming remorses, for not gaming on pc. Kudos sony.

    #15 7 months ago
  16. polygem

    I putted Grim Fandango on an all time faves list here and i’d sign that again today /but shhhh…there is so much more stuff to enjoy on pc :-D

    #16 7 months ago
  17. Bomba Luigi

    @Gheritt White and what exactly was the big change 16 Years ago?

    #17 7 months ago
  18. Gheritt White

    @Bomba Luigi Um… are you trying to tell us that the shift from 16-bit to 32-bit, or from 32-bit to PS2/Xbox era, didn’t produce remarkably new interactive experiences?

    Because if you are, allow me to remind you of just one:

    GTA III.

    #18 7 months ago
  19. Dave Cook

    @Bomba Luigi err…the advent of disc based formats…

    #19 7 months ago
  20. Dave Cook

    You know, not speaking about anyone on here, sincerely, but I sometimes feel like the last optimistic guy on the Titanic who, even though the ship is clearly going under, believes it will still right itself. I love gaming and being optimistic abouy my hobby, but it always feels like the world wants me to be unhappy or to pick a side. It’s really wearing me down too.

    #20 7 months ago
  21. Gheritt White

    @Dave Cook FUCK those chumps Dave, (a) you’re doing *excellent* work here and (b) gaming looks like it’s going from a golden age (X360/PS3/Wii) to a platinum age (XB1/PS4/Fusion).

    #21 7 months ago
  22. Bomba Luigi

    @Gheritt White “remarkably new interactive experiences” – No, I dont see that. Improvment is what I see, but no complete change of what Gaming is. GTA3 is great stuff, but its in its core the same as Part 1 and 2. Improved and moved to 3D but still the same core Idea, Concept and Gameplay.

    Which is not a bad Thing, to make that clear. But all that Talk about everything is completley changing and all is bollocks, what we get are little improvments here and there. And thats fine, its how it works – How Time and every god damn Industry is working.

    #22 7 months ago
  23. Joe Musashi

    Dave, I’ve been gaming for over 30 years. And each successive year is better than the last.

    There is never a better time to be gaming than right now.


    #23 7 months ago
  24. Bomba Luigi

    I dont want to change your mind Dave, its good being positiv! I was just throwing my opinion in, because why the hell not. Its open for Discuission after all.

    #24 7 months ago
  25. Gheritt White

    @Bomba Luigi Fine, whatever, be reductionist but since you weren’t around at the time, you obviously don’t appreciate the impact, That and the fact you’re a cunt.

    Here’s another for you to wrap your head around: Super Mario 64. BOOM!

    #25 7 months ago
  26. Arnvidr

    @tenthousandgothsonacid Agreed. Timed exclusive PARTS of games makes you at best begrudge those that have those parts, and at worst make you hate (to various degrees) that platform holder. I think exclusive DLC is a HORRIBLE idea. If you can’t afford to make the whole game exclusive, there is absolutely no reason to spend that cash.

    #26 7 months ago
  27. polygem

    I am optimistic as well. Very optimistic person really. Always been. There’s just so much more shit to dig through before you are getting to the good stuff in gaming these days. I also believe that criticism is a good thing. It is essential if you want progress and change. You just shouldn’t forget to point out the good stuff too from time to time as well.

    #27 7 months ago
  28. ManuOtaku

    I do agree with both views from bomba luigi snd gheritt, it is true that there was a big shift in the industry, from GTA 3, Mario 64, Halo, etc, all of them shake, shifted and somehow did help to shape gaming as we know it today, they lay the fundations for todays industry.

    But Nowadays, i see improvement, refinement rather than turning things around like the before mentioned games. But this doesnt mean this will not change in the upcoming years, the question it will be as big as before or evem bigger?, i remain optimistic here.

    #28 7 months ago
  29. Bomba Luigi

    @Gheritt White Ah, Great, now I’m a cunt. Here I’m thinking we could just Discuss diffent Opionios.

    Silly me, I forgott I’m on the Internet.

    #29 7 months ago
  30. Gheritt White

    @Bomba Luigi If it makes any difference, you’re probably a cunt offline as well.

    #30 7 months ago
  31. dontbescaredhomie92

    @Gheritt White Funny, you seem to be the biggest “cunt” on here…

    #31 7 months ago
  32. Gheritt White

    @dontbescaredhomie92 Correctomundo – that’s my schtick, baby.

    At last, appreciation after all these years!

    #32 7 months ago
  33. sebastien rivas


    Thanks a for this article. It makes lots of sense!

    I cannot believe I am going to say what’s next but I agree with you on “Exclusives are more relevant than ever. Not only are you right but also this should be the very first reason in this article.
    Let say for example Microsoft develop somehow a series of different IPs that really call/attract me then I suppose I would turn a blind eye on the machine and buy it anyway.

    Woowwww, hold your horse. I am NOT talking about Halo, really….
    No need to make another Halo IP in hope I’ll buy the machine, that will not happen!

    #33 7 months ago
  34. Dave Cook

    @sebastien rivas thanks, and you’re right about exclusives. They’re so important. Thanks for reading :)

    #34 7 months ago
  35. NocturnalB

    I get really tired of the career assholes that post on this site. I wish when the threat of the ban hammer was issued, it was used more frequently and sternly. Anytime I come to this site the “30 year gamers” have nothing but negativity and ego stroking to tout about, and degrade every article into an argument.

    You’re absolutely right Dave. I want to be happy of all the great gaming news and not have it shit all over by cynics and pessimists. The garbage really needs to start being taken out here.

    #35 7 months ago
  36. polygem

    Wow, that was pessimistic.

    #36 7 months ago
  37. polygem

    Sorry man, this now reads totally cynical. I was posting that laughing, in a positive way. You’re having a point…but man younger players really are just as cynical and pessimistic really. They are. Mostly just about different stuff.
    If you forget to point out the good stuff as well you are getting into a problem zone.

    #37 7 months ago
  38. Dave Cook

    @NocturnalB Thank you. I like feeling happy, not a miserable sod :)

    #38 7 months ago
  39. NocturnalB

    When I said “30 year gamers” it was primarily a snark at a specific someone without naming them, not a dig at older gamers, sorry. It’s a problem with no age restriction, young and old alike. There’s simply no reason and no excuse for acting so negatively when it’s a hobby (and sometimes a career) we all love and enjoy.

    What/whom does it serve when a “PC master raceman” is touting their superiority to someone who plays on an Xbox? What/whom does it serve when an “XBLer” is touting their community’s superiority to a PS gamer? What purpose does it serve saying “This game sucks, couldn’t give less of a shit about it.”? Seriously, what the fuck IS that? I dare someone to tell me no matter what platform you use to play games, that you don’t hope all the time for great games, it doesn’t matter who makes the games or what piece of hardware they make them for, we are all here because we love gaming. So stop fucking it up for no legitimate reason.

    #39 7 months ago

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