E3 2013 – What The Big Three Need To Do To Succeed.

Sorry for the missed week, internet, but a nasty cold caught up with me. Due to this, all the pre-E3 stuff I had planned has kind of gone down the drain. As such, I’m going to give you the basic rundown of what everyone wants to see at this E3, and what each company needs to do in order to make this a successful E3 for them. For those of you who don’t know, E3 is one of the biggest video game conference in the world along with the Tokyo Games Show, and Gamescom. This is the place where all of the biggest and smallest video game companies come to show to the world what games they’re going to be giving us over the next year and beyond. Truthfully, the last couple of E3s have been more than a little disappointing with Ubisoft and it’s Watch Dogs being the only really impressive thing to come out of last year’s E3. It makes sense, to an extent considering that Microsoft and Sony have been gearing up for next generation. Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn’t been making a splash either despite the fact that they were showing off their new hardware. That all being said, this E3 is shaping up to be the best in recent memory with both Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles going head to head. Let’s take a look at their positions.

Is it just me or is this a really poorly designed logo?
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Microsoft has been getting an insane amount of bad press recently with their hefty DRM policy. All of this awful PR has put them in an especially vulnerable position. Mainstream gaming media has been trying to put a positive spin on the news, but even they are having a hard time seeing any silver lining here. Due to this, Microsoft is going into E3 with much of the gaming community already at their throat, and they’re really going to have to impress in order to shake off the foul taste they’ve put in everyone’s mouth. Can they undo the harm they’ve done? It is possible, but it will be hard. It’s clear that they aren’t going to renounce their impressively poorly thought out DMR scheme especially after the breakout news on Thursday which clarified exactly how far they were willing to go in order to prevent gamers from playing video games. However, DMR alone isn’t enough to tank Microsoft. As long as they have boatloads of money, anything is possible.

Disgusting.
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So what exactly will pull the wool over everyone’s eyes? It’s simple really: games, games and more games. Microsoft made a huge claim at their conference that they would release fifteen exclusives during their first year, eight of which will be new IPs. It is extremely ambitious. If Microsoft is able to show off even six excellent exclusives, they may be able to undo a lot of the damage. This is especially true with the new IPs. Everyone already expects Forza, Gears of War and Halo. These aren’t going to change anyone’s mind, but a new IP that captivates a new audience may push some systems in a big way. Microsoft has always been lagging in exclusives and it is something they need to push. Unfortunately, these games are likely to mostly be for Kinect. It is in Microsoft’s best interests to mention Kinect as little as possible. Kinect is a pariah in the gaming world and nobody is interested in games made for the poor-man’s controller. Microsoft has already committed to not bringing up all of the television crap they peddled at their reveal event, but that’s not enough. They need to prove themselves to the gamers they have been alienating, and the only way to do this is with a slew of excellent hardcore exclusives.

I’d be all over Ryse, if it weren’t a Kinect game and thus doomed to be poorly controlled and paced.
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Sony is in a completely different position. The PS4 reveal event was largely considered a success unlike the dismal performance of the Xbox One. As such, Sony is in a much better position going into E3, but they can’t simply rest on their laurels. Firstly, the Vita currently doesn’t have many games announced for it, and remote play isn’t enough to keep it competitive with the wildly successful 3DS. Secondly, there’s the fact that people are expecting a DRM announcement. I can’t predict if Sony will go this route, but it is making people very anxious. I’ve heard more than a few people claim that they will skip this generation or switch to PC if Sony follows Microsoft’s lead. Sony could be in a worse position than Microsoft there, as Microsoft got their bad news out of the way before E3. If Sony does implement wide-ranging DRM, all gaming media will focus on this and it could derail an otherwise excellent conference. Due to this Sony is potentially in a very tenuous position, but this is based on rumours and shouldn’t be taken as fact.

Don’t be arrogant, Sony. Never forget Giant Enemy Crabs.
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Games are important for Sony as well, but DRM is the most important part of their success. If Sony makes it clear that they will not support any kind of wide-ranging DRM, they will obtain so much free publicity from the gaming press that they won’t know what to do with themselves. A strong stance against Microsoft’s DRM would make Sony a shining beacon in the eyes of many jaded gamers who are more and more seeing these companies as obstacles in the way of their hobby than facilitators. Of course, it is dangerous to strictly oppose any kind of DRM as many publishers, particularly EA have been pushing various forms of DRM for quite awhile now and no company wants to lose the support of the major publishers. Sony has the second problem of proving its handheld. Remote play is going to be included with most PS4 games, but the Vita need some new strong content. The fledgling handheld has plenty of good games, but few on the horizon. That is it’s flaw and Sony needs to line some up. Fortunately, Sony has confirmed they will be showing 40 PS4 and Vita games at E3; although, exclusivity was not claimed, it is still a large number. Oh, and showing the console would be nice.

If Sony can make sure this boast isn’t followed by “unless you’re offline for more than 12 hours,” they’ll be set.
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Nintendo is in the strangest position going into E3, particularly since they aren’t going to be holding a major conference, instead opting for a Nintendo Direct. However, this doesn’t amount to much of a difference aside from saving some money in stage fees. Both of Nintendo’s newest systems have been out on the market for a little bit. The 3DS has been soaring over the last year, while the Wii U has been struggling due to a dearth of releases. The Wii U is an underpowered console like the Wii, which means that Nintendo has an immediate uphill battle to prove its relevance against its two rivals. It is clear that the Wii U cannot go head to head against either the Xbox One or the PS4. Many gamers refuse to accept the new system as next gen  due to the power discrepancy (although, they are wrong), and the Wii U’s poor sales have led to a lot of bad press since its release last holiday season. Nintendo, more than Microsoft or Sony needs to show that the Wii U is an important piece of hardware, lest it get lost in a battle of titans.

Public opinion isn’t exactly high right now.
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Release dates, that is the key for Nintendo. We already know that the Wii U will be home to a plethora of exciting and excellent games, but we don’t really know when any of them are coming out. Fire Emblem x SMT, Yoshi’s Epic Yarn, Monolith Soft’s X, the soon to be announced Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart and Mario game, Bayonetta 2, Wind Waker, HD Zelda, among others, these are games that will push systems. If they were all available now, the Wii U would be selling like crazy and Sony and Microsoft would be playing major catch up. Unfortunately, we don’t know when any of these games are coming aside from a couple of vague timelines. Nintendo needs to specifically tell us when these games are coming out and they need to be coming out somewhat soon. They’ve been paying for not having any games and their fortunes will just get worse until the system starts selling better, which requires, you guessed it, games. Promises of great games are one thing, but a firm release date would go far in restoring some faith to the Mario factory. As for the 3DS – whatever, that system is poised to be the best selling handheld of all time. Not even Microsoft’s inept PR department could tank that powerhouse.

Tell me this is coming in the Fall and I’ll think about forsaking Sony and/or Microsoft.
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This E3 is going to be really exciting. Sony and Microsoft are going to be going for each other’s jugular’s while Nintendo blissfully does their own thing. Square Enix is set to announce the “future of Final Fantasy,” Capcom has a big E3 secret (hopefully more Deep Dive), and EA will… well screw EA. What we should see is something explosive. Expect anger at possible DRM from Sony. Amazement from a slew of awesome new games, and bitter sadness as some of these games turn out to be exclusive to a system you have no interest in buying. If you were bored by the last couple of E3s, then be prepared to be amazed, or maybe Microsoft will talk about Kinect again for the third (or is it fourth?) year in a row.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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2 thoughts on “E3 2013 – What The Big Three Need To Do To Succeed.

  1. Glad that you're feeling better, it would have sucked to be sick for what is likely to be the best e3 ever. Hopefully Nintendo can pull themselves together, it would be really depressing to see them go down so soon. I also hope Microsoft doesn't try bringing celebrities to their conference again…last year was quite embarrassing . Looking forward to your thoughts this year. A friend of mine made this video, I think you'll get a kick out of it. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?feature=youtube_gdata_player&v=XwmvcPw8oUs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DXwmvcPw8oUs%26feature%3Dyoutube_gdata_player

  2. In some ways, the PR jargon from each of those conferences is a little laughable, but I'm still liking "rocket science" and the Call of Duty dog the best as far as embarrassment. With a bit of luck, this E3 will really energize people for next generation, especially since I'm seeing so many people getting tired of it already.

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