Today, the doors opened and E3 officially began for the console makers. Microsoft came out first, and Sony ended the day. Now, I’m sure you’ve all been bombared with the news, but what does what was said, or not said, mean? Let’s start at the top.
Microsoft came out and did what they promised, focused on games, rather than media features. To be honest, from that standpoint, Microsoft ran away with the show. With exclusives like Titanfall, Killer Instinct, Halo 5, and Dead Rising 3, there’s cause for excitement in the Xbox One early adopter camp. As expected, Kinect games played plenty of a role, and smart glass showed up as well. Whenever Microsoft did talk about features outside of games, they did it in the context of the games. Plenty of third party, non exclusive games were shown first on One as well, including a lengthy bit of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Everything that was shown looked as gorgeous as you would hope from a next-gen console. What I took away from Microsoft’s stage presentation was desperation to prove they still care about games and their franchises, even if some if them are long winded at this point. When they announced the price point of $499 USD, many were in uproar, but it’s a relatively okay price. The Kinect surely adds to the price, as does the hard drive and possibly a tip for authentication servers. No other clarification was given for the used game restrictions, but there are still a few days.
EA and Ubisoft both held their conferences as usual, and a few surprises came out of here as well. Not only were my personal wishes granted by EA with a Star Wars: Battlefront announcement from DICE, there was also Mirror’s Edge 2, and the return of NBA Live. Ubisoft showed off their highly ambitious racer The Crew, and a Tom Clancy branded online RPG titled The Division. It was clear from both conferences that online games are only becoming more common.
Sony took the theater last and, in my opinion, won the day, but the facts are here. They showed the console fairly early in the show, and it seemed to be met with strange feelings. It looks much like a PS2 and is similar to the One I’m color scheme. Overall I think it looks sharp, but don’t much fuss over the appearance. With a quick rundown of the main games they revealed in February, with external videos to see for those at home, they didn’t spend too much time retreading that path. They also spent a small chunk of time talking about media features, including Flixster support, at last. The newly revealed games came in the way of Final Fantasy 15 (formerly Versus 12), Kingdom Hearts 3, Mad Max, and from Sony Santa Monica, The Order: 1886. Sony’s acceptance of indies was also a big part, revealing such games as Don’t Starve and Transistor, the new game from Supergiant Games, the creators of Bastion. Gameplay demos of Assassins Creed 4 and Watch Dogs also appeared, which both look very pretty. At the end they pulled out the Bungie card and had a lengthy demo of Destiny, which looked razor sharp throughout. To wrap it up they revealed PS Plus accounts would carry over and remain the same for the most part. The main negative I would take away is that PS Plus accounts are now required for online multiplayer. Not a big deal for most, as it comes at a tremendous value, but it’s one less card for Sony to pull on Microsoft as far as online features. Used game DRM is absolutely non-existent on the platform and the console can remain offline indefinitely, unless you try to play an online-only game. Coming at the price if $399 USD, Sony packed in a ton to the package, and won the show with their policies and price.
With three more days of E3 to go, there will surely be more information coming, but both console manufactures took advantage of their stage time to promote their consoles in the best way possible. I can’t wait to see what is next, and if you can’t either be sure to check back for detailed looks at everything revealed throughout the expo.