So the big question needs be answered, who won E3 2013? Well the cheesy, but honest answer is of course YOU, the gamers, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are delivering a wide range of products from the year old Wii U that appears set to hit its stride over the next 18months, to the impeding releases of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and the beginning of a new console generation. It is that beautiful time that comes up only once or twice a decade where the possibilities of the gaming medium are endless. But let’s move on to the question of which company “won” E3, and the biggest question regarding where you should be investing your hard earned dollars in the upcoming console race.
Firstly, to E3. The three console companies delivered very different types of press conferences, taking very different approaches. While EA and Ubisoft put on excellent conferences as Third Parties and Nintendo did the best they could via their Nintendo Direct, this was really only ever going to be a two horse race between Sony and Microsoft. Who can compete with the enormity of two behemoths of the industry sitting less than six months from releasing their new consoles. So now we’re down to two.
Microsoft put on a sensational presentation hitting us up with approximately 20 games, some of which were for the Xbox 360, but the bulk of the presentation was dedicated to the Xbox One, and the great number of exclusives coming to the console. We had reveals of games such as TitanFall from Respawn Entertainment, Sunset Overdrive from Insomniac, Forza 5, a new Halo, Ryse from Crytek, Dead Rising 3 and Crimson Dragon… oh yeah and a little title named Killer Instinct that made its long awaited return. Post conference it was announced that Australians will be able to pick up the One for $599 which will include the console, a controller and the new Kinect 2.0.
Sony on the other hand had a few boxes to check during this presentation, from the obvious games, to clarification of their stance on DRM as well as the unveiling of the hardware itself. Well, we got all three and at the same time Sony also delivered one of the most memorable E3’s of all time. To be fair, it was certainly a slow start with talk about the PS3, PS Vita and Entertainment, but once this ended the show really began, with exclusives (or exclusives by association) pouring off the screen. We began with the debut of The Order 1866 from Ready at Dawn, followed by further footage of other major exclusives such as Knack, DriveClub and Killzone Shadow fall, each of three will be launching day and date with the console, unfortunately inFAMOUS Second Son won’t be gracing us until Q1 2014, but it gives us something to look forward to. Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 got their long awaited debuts but we can expect to be waiting at least a year before we can play them, Elders Scrolls Online is coming to consoles and Mad Max was announced. The console was revealed, Sony owned Microsoft in an impressive display of strength on the DRM subject and Bungie got up and presented Destiny for the first time. Post conference Sony announced a $549 Australian price point which includes both the console and the controller.
When you stack up the two consoles, it can be argued one way or the other as to which has the better showcase of exclusive games, depending on your own personal preferences but what clearly gives Sony the edge is the way in which they managed the DRM issue. It is a moment that could potentially go down in gaming history as the moment that ensured Sony success in the next generation of consoles. Yes, Sony had the best press conference of E3 2013, a conference that delivered gamers exactly what they wanted to hear.
As for the console race itself, and setting aside the DRM situation itself your decision becomes a little clearer. As with the Xbox 360, the Xbox One is clearly an avenue for fans of the shooter genre, Microsoft recognises this and has clearly targeted this market with the upcoming releases of TitanFall and Halo to go in collaboration with Destiny, Call of Duty and Battlefield. Sony however has placed their eggs in a number of baskets with the aim to capture the widest possible audience, and this starts at the grassroots level in the indie market all the way through to the AAA exclusives such as Killzone, inFAMOUS, and The Order 1866. The family market hasn’t been ignored either with Knack coming too.
The PS4 and Xbox One present major positives to the owner, with strong exclusives on both sides of the fence, but with the quality already on show, and the knowledge of more to come from Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studios and so many more exclusive studios, it is hard to deny Sony this time around. Add the accessibility (due to a lack of DRM) of the console to the myriad of factors to buy it and you have a package that screams out the gamers. Amazon is recording at 85% of their next-gen console preorders are PS4’s and this is a dangerous sign for Microsoft who must back down from their DRM policies if they wish to give themselves any chance this generation. Though we have declared our winner, do not forget Nintendo and the Wii U because they continue to deliver AAA experiences only possible through their hardware and with Smash Bros, Donkey Kong, Mario, Mario Kart and Zelda all on the way, they could prove to be a major hurdle in the way of both Sony and Microsoft as this next generation really gets going. 2013 is an exciting year for gamers and there are rich pastures ahead. Enjoy it everyone, and don’t forget, regardless of your console allegiance, it is all gamers who truly win from E3 2013.