Last week I wrote up some pre-E3 thoughts detailing how I was not that excited this year and we could see the end of the traditional press conference format, due to various reasons. Well, the show is said and done and now I’m eating a sweet, sweet helping of humble pie. This year’s E3 has got me excited to be a gamer again; a feeling I haven’t felt since the PSOne days.
Did everything go great for everyone at the event? We just need to re-watch the Battlefield and Assassin’s Creed debacle to know that there were some edges that needed an industrial grinder to smooth out. However, the games revealed, the price war between the two new systems, and just all the hype of this holiday season being one that I might be lining up for hours at a store with a plethora of Japanese fans has me proud to be a gamer again.
On the dark side we are stuck in a trench war of DRM, used games, and fanboyism issues; but let us ignore those and focus on what E3 did amazingly right this year and that was showcase the games for both companies. At the end of the day that is all gamers care about, and have ever cared about from the NES days to now. I used to be an avid Nintendo gamer but jumped ship to Sony because of the games, and is the only reason why I never bought any Xbox. With the internet buzzing that both systems will be like console computers, and thus easier to code and program, has there been any better time to be a gamer in a highly competitive environment?
In regards to PlayStation 4, while there is not a Final Fantasy VII or Uncharted that is making half the world want to sell their unborn child to get the new console on release, that single A+++ game is replaced with a lot of straight As: Watchdogs, Assassin’s Creed, Diablo 3, inFamous, and Killzone. With 24 known titles being set for release on launch or by the end of the first quarter of 2014, gamers have a lot of options and diversity to start off the PS4 on the right foot. There is something for everyone.
What was the most exciting part of E3 was the complete opposite media dynamics of Microsoft and Sony. Microsoft came out swinging like Casey at the Bat with an arrogant, 'all bow before my greatness' attitude, while Sony played the role of The Mighty Ducks from the second movie, falling from grace to an usurper and having to re-prove why they were mighty in the first place. This highly charged, competitive, and dare I say viscerally aggressive environment they are creating is setting the ground work for a redux of the golden generation of the SNES/Genesis war. No better time was there to be a gamer, with two companies fighting for every inch of a divided market.
The games I like to play have made me choose a PS4, and to a lesser extent a Wii U if I were ever to get a second system. But I’m not going to look at Microsoft as a defeated dog despite how other websites, commentators, and the internet are proclaiming. Yes, their console has a lot of problems for the casual and hardcore gamer. Yes, their PR people are going to need triple overtime compensation to deal with their train wreck of a disaster. But a wounded animal is most dangerous when it is cornered. If the system is dead on arrival then they have nothing to lose which will make the first year very interesting for both companies. E3 has given us a peak into the future and with the Tokyo Game Show a few months away, we could be coming upon the second golden generation of gaming.
Written by - Dane Smith, Japan editor for PlayStation Universe. When not out on the streets of Nagoya wondering why no one is looking for a Yakuza-style showdown, he can be found cracking open the newest RPG to hit the shelves. You can follow him on Twitter or read some of his past musings.