Is E3 Still Relevant?

Monday night my boys and I watched the Sony E3 press conference via live streaming over the PS4. I came pretty close to skipping the event in favor of watching whatever Andrew Zimmern was going to digest next in the newest Bizarre Foods. Ultimately the boys were so excited over E3, I decided to watch.

Of course there was a time when I was equally excited, and dare I say enthralled with everything E3 related. Getting “press” credentials when E3 visited ATL for a couple of years in the 90s was certainly a highlight. Back in those days I eagerly awaited each tidbit of news, and wrote countless diatribes on the state of the industry, discussed the next big game, and so on and so forth. E3 was an important part of my gaming life, usenet was a popular means of communication and the web as we know it today was very much in its infancy.

These days, while gaming is still an important part of my life, it is certainly not as consuming, and as I mentioned in the opening, I came pretty close to picking watching the consumption of the latest cow balls dish, over Sony’s E3 press conference. I guess that says a lot about the relevance of E3 to this older gamer. Besides, it’s easy enough to follow E3 news and trends; thanks to the rise of social media, you do not even have to be there to be there.

During this year’s long PlayStation advertisement, err, press conference had a few things that stood out …

Gran Turismo. I was bitterly disappointed that we learned nothing about the next title. Surely it has to be in development.

Vita. I have written enough about Sony screwing the pooch and completely missing the mark with their wonderful gaming system. Disappointing does even begin to describe my feelings.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix). As soon as the video started, I told my boys to watch for the crowd go ape shit. I’m really looking forward to this one, but Square Enix has to be in a no win situation. This is the game that all FF VII fans want, so it can never live up to expectations. No matter which direction the game takes (remake, reimaging, same script with updated graphics and similar gameplay to the original PSOne title) some faction of the FF VII fan base will fume over Square Enix messing up their beloved title.

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games). This new IP looks very promising. I like the concept; a nice mixture of low tech and high tech concepts. One of my first thoughts was that Horizon was Gamma World ish … maybe not exactly, but robotic dinosaurs based in a future earth setting looks solid enough to me.

Dreams (Media Molecule’s). Who knows which direction MM will take their next sandbox game, but I can only imagine that it will be a great creative outlet for fans that were disappointed with the last LittleBigPlanet.

No Man’s Sky (Hello Games). Fantastic infinite universe concept, that pays homage to Elite (at least the version on the C64 that I loved ages ago). I can see this title getting dismissed due to poor, or at least inferior graphics. Similar to RPGs, I love concepts where I can take my time exploring a well-crafted gaming universe; I just can never find enough time to sink my teeth into these types of games

Uncharted 4. Good clean fun for the whole family. It is hard for me to say “system seller” because I think die-hard fans of the Uncharted franchise would pick up a PS4 sooner or later. The real trick is getting someone sitting on the sidelines of this gaming generation to take interest, and buy a PS4 in 2016 just to play this Sony Exclusive.

I’ll wrap things up by mentioning PlayStation Vue. The concept of a la cart is very appealing, but even with PS+ discounts, I think the pricing could be high. While I have a gazillion channels with Charter, I truly only watch a select few, but the problem is the wide variety: Fox Sports 1 and 2, ESPN, NFL and NFL Red Zone, NBC Sports (for Formula One and soccer), Discovery, History Channel, Travel Channel (Bizarre Foods), and during football season, whichever channel offers up the Falcons, Georgia Bulldogs and Texas Longhorns. Even if everything I want to watch is offered, I doubt a la cart pricing will work for me.

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2 thoughts on “Is E3 Still Relevant?”

  1. I was out of town but haven’t been too interested in looking up recaps.

    Sounds like there were major presentations of Oculus Rift, Morpheus and Hololens.

    I just don’t see these being widespread unless the cost is around $100. Even then, you’re only going to get a subset of the installed base.

    I’m not gaming much on the PS4 right now but I’d rather see them go to the next generation with support for things like 4K movies at least, and more power.

    What I think may happen instead is that Sony may try to extend the generation with Morpheus if sales slow down.

    Of course, they really haven’t rolled out their big first party exclusives for the PS4 yet. But I don’t think it matters any more, the paradigm of previous consoles, where they recoup investments in hardware with software in the second half of a generation, is kind of done.

    Supposedly PS4 was profitable or break-even from the start. Now with mobile devices turning over hundreds of millions of units each year, can consoles afford to remain static for 5, 6 or 7 years?

    If they do, I don’t think it’s inconceivable that mobile devices will catch up or at least come within striking distance by year 5 of the Xbox One and PS4.

    Yes there are other reasons people buy consoles than pure performance but I think it would be risky as being perceived as being no much more powerful than an iPad.

    This generation is seen as a lesser jump (than the Xbox360/PS3 over the Xbox/PS2) than the previous one.

    I suppose alternative control methods and greater immersion could be differentiators but the Kinect 2 failed and Morpheus and other VR schemes are unproven.

  2. Great post, and long time no see. :-)

    I agree with almost everything you said. Sony and MS will have issues if my Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX can give me a Project CARS or UC4 experience.

    I don’t see the whole Morpheus thing catching on. I’m not wearing any contraption like that unless Sony pulls off some Wow Girls virtual sex, and even then I’m not wearing that carp while gaming on getting my virtual jones on …

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