Do The Events of E3 2013 Still Matter Today?
With 2014 settling in and the Console Wars heating up, E3 2013 already seems so far away. Compared to the mostly boring E3 2012, this most recent E3 was one to remember for the ages, for so many reasons. At this E3 a large number of shocking, unexpected, and titanically idiotic events occurred. However, three stand out, and in this article, take a short trip in the TARDIS to last June, watch these events, and then think for a moment about their importance today.
1. Microsoft Takes a Major Stumble with the Xbox One and gives Sony an Advantage in the Console Wars.
Then: Not only was the Xbox One's May reveal abysmal, its display at E3 was no better.
With restrictions on used games, daily online-check ins, launch availability in about 13 regions, mandatory Kinect, and a steep $500 dollar price tag, there seemed to be absolutely no redeeming qualities to the new console. Even the games weren't warmly received, with Titanfall the only game universally acclaimed and highly anticipated.
To make matters worse, Sony jumped for the opportunity to gain a leg up and revealed that the PlayStation 4 had no restrictions on used games, no mandatory internet, and would launch in 30 or so regions with a $400 dollar price tag. Microsoft seemed doomed as a company, and only Nintendo had it worse (we'll get to that later).
Now: Microsoft shocked the gaming industry with its unexpected "180" and initiated one of the most incredible company turnarounds in gaming history.
Nearly a week after E3, Microsoft reversed many of their unpopular policies. The Xbox One required no internet connection besides a day-one patch and could play used games. Later on, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox One did not require Kinect to function and would ship with a headset. Two of the console's critically mixed important launch games, Dead Rising 3 and Ryse, were shown at later trade-shows in a much more appealing format.
As of this writing, Titanfall is currently in beta, and has been critically acclaimed by gamers and the industry alike. Good news for Microsoft, because Titanfall will likely result in a significant console sales boost. While it's true that the PlayStation 4 is selling more units in more countries, it can't be denied how incredible it was for Microsoft to listen to feedback, regain equal ground with Sony, and have a very successful launch for the Xbox One.
We All Cried With Joy During This Moment
2. Dead Franchises Make Unexpected Returns and Games are Brought Out of Development Hell.
Then: Gamers were shocked multiple times at E3 by returns of games and franchises thought to be long gone.
Sony was met with thunderous applause during their press conference as trailers of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, now Final Fantasy XV, and Kingdom Hearts III were shown, ending years of rumors and doubt, proving these games were actually in development. EA also pulled two major shockers, by revealing that Mirror's Edge was getting a sequel and a new Stars Wars Battlefront was in the works, to be developed by DICE. These reveals were met with extremely positive reactions, especially Battlefront.
Now: We've haven't had much information Post-E3 about these games.
What we now and have seen are a short gameplay demo for Kingdom Hearts a much-needed reassurance from Square Enix that yes, development on FFXV is going along nicely, Mirror's Edge 1's writer isn't returning for the sequel, and that no Star Wars games from EA will be released before 2015. It's great news that our prayers for these games have been answered, but many gamers are still left with empty hearts. There are still a major number of games that are in development hell or are waiting to be made, such as Rainbow Six: Patriots, Half-Life 3, Shenmue 3, a 2D Metroid, Doom 4, a new Sam and Max, and many others.
While it's nice for dead games to be resurrected, some should be left unfinished. For example, the XCOM FPS which turned into a somewhat tactical 3rd person shooter was only decent, Overstrike looked promising but became Fuse which ended up being mediocre, and then there's Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines - which will not be discussed. Just remember, don't set the bar too high and keep your expectations realistic.
3: Nintendo Continues To Dig Its Corporate Grave.
Then: If Microsoft's E3 was a disaster, then Nintendo's E3 was an apocalyptic level event of terrible.
Nintendo did not open their press conference to the public, which made many uneasy. During their "private screening," they once again failed to make a case for the Wii-U, which was selling horribly and already losing faint third-party support. But Nintendo knows how to make games well, and Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a new Donkey Kong Country, and the highly anticipated next Smash Bros were acknowledged as great titles. However, despite the high-quality material Nintendo continues to pour out, they have not succeeded in convincing non-hardcores to buy a Wii U.
Nintendo also promised a big surprise at the end of the show. It could've been a new 2D Metroid, Star Fox, or F-Zero, it was a screen of Nintendo characters playing (read: failing) Wii Fit, which at first was a major disappointment on the level of Wii Music's embarrassing reveal years ago. Until the clip regressed into the realization that Smash Bros. is back, and the heated playground arguments of "no, Mario is better than Link" are going to resume. This was one of the only bright spots in an E3 for Nintendo that only seemed to worsen their status.
Now: 2013 was a year for Nintendo that replicates the "is the glass half full or half empty" test.
One way of looking at it is that Nintendo made some of their best games in company history, with Fire Emblem, Pokemon X and Y, Super Mario 3D World, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds all being high-quality titles. The other way of looking at it is that Nintendo's financial standing took a major hit, with the Wii U quickly losing what minimal steam it had sales-wise. Although the 3DS did receive a minor sales boost and certified handheld survival for a couple more years, it pales in comparison to the iPhone's popularity.
Simply put, Nintendo keeps releasing amazing titles, but the Wii U has failed to hit the gold mine in terms of consumer appeal that the Wii hit with the casual crowd (which is ironic considering the Wii U is already putting out better games than the Wii did). If Nintendo wants to stay competitive, they need to play their best cards and devise a better marketing strategy in order to state their case for the Wii U and the 3DS among these new consoles that are more powerful and are selling more units. If Nintendo can't accomplish this, then the company that single-handedly saved the gaming industry and initiated its renaissance may end up collapsing under the boot of Sony, Microsoft, and the revived PC.
It's February as I am writing this, and next-gen is only becoming more exciting.
So much happened at E3, and while you could spend an entire plane flight analyzing major events (as I did), remember that these events are the past. Much has changed since those days in June, and it's anyone's guess what could happen next. It doesn't matter whether you own an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, or don't own a next-gen console at all, the future of the gaming is mysterious, and maybe a bit scary, but that's a good thing, and we should look towards the horizon with eager eyes and high hopes. Until we realize that we're playing DayZ and we get killed by a bandit.
Thanks for reading my article. If you have any feedback, or would like to share a then-and-now story from E3 that I didn't mention, please let me know in the comments.