Well, we get to pick the unofficial winner, of course. Which of the three console companies that hosted media briefings this year had the best show? Who was so jaw-droppingly good that we couldn’t stop a couple of tears from running down our elated faces?
I must say that this year’s contest was pretty evenly matched. Every company had a distinct objective, whether it was redeeming themselves after a weak year or hitting it home after a great year — a year that will go down in gaming history, as the first year of a brand-new generation of consoles.
For the most part, current-gen has been a success. Besides an affinity for useless peripherals, each new console has brought something new to the table.
The Xbox One is the ultimate multimedia machine — which actually hurt the console at last year’s E3 because fans weren’t digging Microsoft’s new direction: less games, more apps/TV exclusives.
Which is why Sony demolished Microsoft last year. In the final briefing of the evening, in an almost mocking way (it really wasn’t very subtle), Sony established itself as the console for hardcore gamers–the must-have group of gamers a console yearns for. The message was simple: want a second cable box? Get an Xbox One. Want to play awesome games? Get the PS4.
No, it’s way more complicated than that, and Microsoft really redeemed themselves this year, showing off 90 minutes plus of games. Nothing but games.
I told our staff writer Joe Jasko on Monday morning that as soon as Microsoft started talking about apps, I would close my laptop and go play my PlayStation. Good on Microsoft that they’ve spent so much time listening to the people that really carry their consoles: the gamers. Games like Sunset Overdrive, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Project Spark, and Crackdown 3 are tokens of appreciation to the fans. A mix of fresh ideas and nostalgia were just the ticket for Microsoft. The Xbox One is looking good.
As far as Sony goes, well, they needed to top themselves. I’m of two minds on whether they did or not. How do you top the momentum you gain after unveiling your next console? By finally showing off the mess of exclusives gamers have been waiting for! I don’t want to be negative, but it just seems that Sony’s exclusives just weren’t that great this past year. Killzone: Shadowfall, Knack, and Infamous: Second Son just didn’t do it this year. Until last night, the ultimate console was missing its ultimate games. No fear, though: Uncharted, Battleborne, The Order: 1886, and LittleBigPlanet 3 are here! Oh, and that shiny new The Last of Us Remastered Edition won’t hurt the console none either. Now that Sony has the bullets for it’s mighty six-shooter, PS4 could possibly take out the competition.
BUT LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT NINTENDO!
Whether you like it or not, Nintendo has had a rough year since E3 2013 — which they were absent from except for a digital event, which was promising but left something to wish for (mostly due to the fact that they weren’t there in person to deliver all the news). And since then, the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS have seen declining sales and loss of third-party support. A lot of the media (and I’m guilty of this a lot of the time) has been criticizing Nintendo for their evident allergy to change. Nintendo’s strict focus on a specific direction often times makes them look like they don’t have a new direction at all, instead sticking to things that might no longer be tried and true in an ever changing industry. Yes, there are negative things to say, but their loyalty to their fanbase has never faltered. And it’s paid off.
This year, Nintendo gave the Wii U a bit of relevance (although, the tablet remote still seems a bit irrelevant) that it wouldn’t otherwise have after Super Smash Bros. Wii U drops. An open-world Zelda is a game-changer–although it shouldn’t be, since there have been open-world Zelda games before (in the early days of the franchise). But that’s the illusion Nintendo casts on the world. Here are things that aren’t necessarily new, but haven’t been done the new Nintendo way! Nintendo, more than any other company in the world, is an institution. What people fail to remember is that when Nintendo does something good, it’s DAMN good, better than most things out there. Case in point, Mario Kart 8. Until last month, the Wii U was really missing a blockbuster. But all of a sudden, the new racer drops and it’s one of the most talked about (and memed) games of the year, to only be topped by the next Mario Kart.
Nintendo really has to take what they have and make something new with it. Give us a new Zelda (check), Star Fox (check), and Metroid (maybe next year), and the Wii U will be right as rain. Things are looking up for Nintendo, me thinks.
So who is the winner? Who really nailed it? Who can walk off into the sunset with their heads held high?
I’m going to go with Sony. Their console is the ultimate machine, their model works, PlayStation Plus is awesome, PS Now is going to bring backwards compatibility back in a big way. All they need now is the game. And they’re coming. They’re almost here.