With all the delays and cancellations leading into E3, which starts tomorrow, I believe 2014’s E3 could be the most exciting one yet.
Last year, we knew what was coming from the big three. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo had already announced their new consoles. Their press conferences would be spent on why their consoles were the one you wanted to buy. This year should be all about the games. The beginning of a new generation typically brings new IPs; Gears of War, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Etc. and this is the year those games should be announced. So move the sequels aside, tomorrow we will be introduced to all the new series that we will care about for years to come.
In 2013, Microsoft’s message was clear. They wanted to be the one box to rule them all. Microsoft made a big push to take over the living room with entertainment through controlling your TV and playing games. Also, with the new Kinect, they showed how all aspects of their system could be controlled with your voice. Problems came when Sony undercut Microsoft in price. They also were pushing the “always on” capabilities to access your games, which they had to remove weeks later when Sony, in their press conference, said you could trades games like you always have been able to do.
Microsoft has to come out swinging at E3 this year. They are the underdog for the first time in years and I believe that will push them to refocus on the gamer. Microsoft’s fatal flaw is their lack of many first party studios. In order for Microsoft to get exclusive content or a timed exclusive, they will have to partner with third party studios and throw some money their way. I think Microsoft has the most to gain this E3 and I hope they surprise us.
Sony is in the catbird’s seat. They are currently winning the sales war and the PS4 is almost unanimously viewed as the console for gamers. My worry is they will come out, brag about how they are doing, and rest on their laurels. The advantage Sony has is they own 12 first party studios and 14 second party studios and Sony has made it clear that most of them are working on PS4 games. So far, we only know of a couple of those games: Naughty Dog – Uncharted 4 and Ready at Dawn – The Order: 1886. Sony needs to show off their studios and the games they are working on that can only be made on PS4. With nothing announced for the fall that is an exclusive, they need to give people a reason to buy the PS4 besides potential. Sony should also show more indie titles, which have been the staples of the PS4’s success up to this point. They also need to show us games for the PS Vita. Without any first party games, the Vita will die, which is unfortunate because I love my Vita.
Nintendo always beats to their own drum. They don’t seem to care what Microsoft and Sony are doing. They stay focused on their own properties, sometimes to their demise. What I would love to see from Nintendo is a new property. Every year Nintendo has only announced sequels to existing properties. Rumor has it that this year we will see the new Zelda, which would make me and I expect many others, consider picking up a WiiU. Come on, Nintendo; surprise me with something!
The element of E3 that brings me the most excitement is surprises, especially with new properties. With most of the known games moved to 2015, this opens the door for new IPs and better games. Give me delays and surprises, with better games in 2015, and I’ll work on my backlog in the meantime. Either way, it should be a fun week for gamers. Stay tuned all week for coverage.