For those uninitiated, E3, originally the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is five days worth of events in which the computer and video game industry spend obscene amounts of money to remind the world they exist.
While the video game industry is now arguably larger than both film and music, the E3 Expo is couched in the old-fashioned view of gaming as a sub-culture, maligned by society and misunderstood by politics. Every year the questions surrounding the need for E3 dominate much of the discussion around the Expo from within the gaming press, but when it finally rolls around there’s only one thing to talk about, GAMES!
Nintendo, similarly to last year, have decided to take a back seat by announcing one-again that they are hosting an on-line pre-recorded livestream rather than a traditional press conference. The Japanese giant, currently suffering massive financial losses because of the lack of success with the Wii U system, has recently favoured the route of speaking directly to their fans and by-passing the need for a generally cringe worthy live conference. It will be interesting to see if Nintendo double down on their classic slate of Metroid, Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda or if they make moves to recapture the ‘casual’ audience who embraced them so much during the Wii Sports era.
Microsoft and Sony are currently fighting each other for living-room domination, with Sony being securely in the driving seat because of an early lead in PlayStation 4 sales. Sony have a number of titles to show off this year such as The Order: 1886 – a third person shooter heavily inspired by Gears of War and Uncharted, in which the player takes control of Sir Galahad as he and the rest of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table attempt to take down a force known only as ‘The Rebellion’ in Victorian England. Last year Sony came out massively in support of Indie gaming with a whole segment of their press conference focusing on smaller-budgeted titles, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see more this year.
Microsoft are currently reviewing their business strategy with the Xbox One. Only a couple of weeks ago they ditched their initial strategy of packing a Kinect motion camera with every console – a move which demonstrates Microsoft and Sony are fighting tooth and nail over every console sold. Microsoft are now stuck in a strange place, they need to show the value of a Kinect camera which will now be sold separately; but without being able to guarantee game developers that every Xbox One owner will have the camera it will be difficult to get creators to make Kinect compatible games.
Microsoft also look to be promoting their traditional franchises, with futher Halo and Gears of War titles in development at 343 Industries and Black Tuck Studies respectively, although neither of these games will be released this year so it will be interesting to see what Microsoft entices gamers with over the coming months.
Much of the excitement of E3 though is the announcement of unknown titles, rumours such as Project Beast from Dark Souls developer From Software are gather much of the initial hype before the show and there’s nothing that gamers want more than a decent surprise. The coming out parties of franchise sequels Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (WITH KEVIN SPACEY!) and Star Wars: Battlefront should also dominate much of the headlines in 8 days time.
For all the goings-on at E3, stay tuned to justforculture.com/gaming from the 9th – 13th of June.