The Official SquareGo E3 2013 Round Up – Feature

A feature I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

E3 has now finished and wrapped up and what an E3 it was, full of big announcements and headline grabbing conferences.

To filter through the new rubble a crack team of SquareGo writers came together; Chris Peebles, Si Wellings, Joseph Blythe, Phil Doyle, Graeme Strachan and even Dave Whitelaw from somewhere in the North Sea, all through the use of arcane chat technology. Was this really Sony’s conference? Is the Xbox One on the ropes? What about Nintendo? Here’s what the team thought…

Phil Doyle So, Microsoft. Fresh off the Xbox One announcement earlier in the year which was all about TV/sports/dogs they were under pressure to deliver here game wise, as well as clarifying all the info swirling around the used games and the rest of their online requirements. Do you think this was why they started straight out of the gate with Metal Gear Solid V?

Chris Peebles The fact that they started out with something as high profile as MGSV was probably a smart move, it makes sure that the public are going to know that it’s coming to Microsoft consoles (supposedly this generation as well as next) and new footage for it looked pretty good, to be honest.

Si Wellings I think they wanted to remind people of the reasons why they bought and Xbox 360 and hope they would forget any reasons they have been complaining about the Xbox One

Joseph Blythe I think, outwith the context of later events, Microsoft had a really strong showing. They came through with their promise of focusing on the games, after the actual console reveal a couple of weeks back got the machine’s capabilities out of the way. MGSV was about the strongest thing they could’ve lead with.

Phil Doyle That’s a fair point; Microsoft have ben criticised in past E3s for doing too much Kinect/Spielberg/TV stuff so getting it out of the way and focussing on the games was, all other points to one side, a good idea.

Graeme Strachan Given the bad feeing levelled at Microsoft after the XBox One announcement, they had to lead with a powerful game. A title people knew and loved, and MGS covers that.

Dave Whitelaw Here’s the thing – ‘gamers’ care about MGS but does the mainstream really? Is MGS a console shifter? I mean, it’s sure to be awesome and stuff but…

Chris Peebles [MGS4] made me buy a PS3 if that’s any consolation. I think it would shift consoles. It could at least be a deciding factor.

Dave Whitelaw Yeah but you aren’t part of the major casual demographic Chris.

Si Wellings I personally don’t enjoy the MGS series so it never really interested me, but I can certainly see why it would be catering to the sort of audience that would be eagerly awaiting an E3 conference, and Microsoft definitely put on a show for them.

Dave Whitelaw That’s true Si. It’s not like the casual market are watching E3 stream.

Graeme Strachan I think that’s a bigger question of “who is E3 aimed at”  E3 isn’t really aimed at the same folk that the XB1 announcement was Dave.

Dave Whitelaw I’m surprised they didn’t lead with Halo to be honest.

Graeme Strachan I wondered about Halo. I think it’s because there was only that reveal trailer. They couldn’t lead with Spartan Assault as it’s not an Xbox title & the TV show was already announced.

Dave Whitelaw It also has cross appeal with both the casual and ‘gamer’ markets.

Phil Doyle What did we think of their big hitters? Any surprises/disappointments?

Dave Whitelaw Titanfall as a console exclusive is a coup. It looks awesome too.

Si Wellings Titanfall was the highpoint of the conference I would suggest

Phil Doyle Would you agree that everyone was just waiting for them to get past the games and confirm the price of the thing?

Graeme Strachan Personally no. I don’t think that’d the case.

Chris Peebles I wouldn’t. I was there specifically for what exclusives and games in general they had to show. The price wasn’t a surprise in the slightest to me and makes sense with the packed in Kinect 2.0.

Graeme Strachan Considering the flak they got for not announcing the games I think everyone genuinely WANTED to see the games, far more than the price tag.

Joseph Blythe Wouldn’t agree with that. I think this was the chance for us to actually see if the software would actually impress, so for most people I’d say the games are what they were there for.

Si Wellings No. I think Microsoft’s conference was all about the games footage.  No one expected them to backtrack on any of the negatives.  The price was either going to be about where it is now, or much higher.  Price would only have come into it if it was significantly cheaper in my opinion.

Phil Doyle So: what do we think of the price?

Graeme Strachan It’s more than I want to pay  😉

Joseph Blythe Ditto

Si Wellings Agreed

Chris Peebles It’s a little steep, but I feel that it makes sense. I wouldn’t mind paying that, personally. Requires saving the pennies.

Dave Whitelaw Disaster. The PS3 launched at £425 and died because of it and that was at a time when people had a lot more disposable cash.

Joseph Blythe Knew as soon as they revealed it that the thing would be pricey. Tech and function like that were never going to be cheap. I’d only call it a disaster in the context of the PS4 price though, which we’ll get onto.

Dave Whitelaw I think the crowd reaction to the price announcement in E3 itself said it all. To claim it’s more expensive because of Kinect when I am sure the vast majority of people wouldn’t want Kinect anyway is just nuts.

Phil Doyle Chris – you seem to be the only one with a positive comment, what about it makes sense? The inclusion of Kinect 2?

Chris Peebles Yeah, the amount of tech inside that box and the Kinect bundled with every console is gonna boost the price up. How much was Kinect when it came out? £100? Take that off the XBO price and it sounds much more reasonable. It’d be like if the PS4 was bundled with Move or a Vita, in my opinion.

Joseph Blythe I did spot plenty of Twitter chatter suggesting the console would’ve been about £70-80 cheaper if Microsoft weren’t insisting on cramming Kinect into it.

Graeme Strachan yeah but arguing that IF the Kinect wasn’t there it should be cheaper is slightly redundant when it IS bundled in. It’s like arguing that the Orange Box was shit value because you wanted Valve to release it cheaper without Half-Life 2 bundled in.  😉

Chris Peebles I don’t see how it is, it’s just the value of what’s in the box. It doesn’t matter if it could or couldn’t have been in the bundle, and it’s irrelevant because it’s require for the XBO to function, but you’re paying for everything in that box, and the Kinect in that box is what’s making that price higher.

Graeme Strachan That’s what I was saying Chris. Only in a weirder way.

Dave Whitelaw Chris, they actively chose to force the unit to work with Kinect and then to bundle it, knowing that would increase the price. I bet they regret not making it optional now that Sony have confirmed the PS4 price.

Si Wellings What did everyone make of Project Spark?  Some genuinely original thought, which given Graeme and I know someone who has and is working on it, has been in the pipeline for a while.

Phil Doyle That was one of the few games that was outside of the usual Xbox stereotype, was there enough of that given the backlash they’ve been getting from independent game devs?

Si Wellings Well it does certainly beg the question of just how much control Microsoft want over innovative new games.  By creating a tool for people to make and release content, they are making an alternative to indie development.

Graeme Strachan Sort of a: you can play in our sandbox but only if you use our spade, kind of idea?

Phil Doyle They aren’t allowing devs to self publish though, which the PS4 and I think Nintendo does allow.

Si Wellings Graeme, exactly.  I can’t say that stifling Indie gaming is going to be anything other than a bad thing though.  This wasn’t something really picked up at the time in E3, but something that I think Microsoft have vastly underestimated.

Chris Peebles Project Spark, on the other hand, I felt looked incredibly interesting, and entertaining, but I’m not sure it’ll kick off. The “gamey” part at the end of that presentation looked kinda dull and shallow.

Phil Doyle The fact that the indie game they held up was Minecraft I think speaks volumes. As in, we’ll have independent games but only the big sellers

Si Wellings Well today the developers for DayZ have pretty much said they won’t be releasing it on XB1 due to costs to publish and payments to Microsoft for updates

Phil Doyle I think we can close off the price chat and the indies, was there anything else that we need to highlight from the MS show? The slightly uncomfortable rape reference?

Si Wellings Stupidity on the part of a lone conference representative, made more uncomfortable as it was aimed at a woman.  Let’s shake our collective heads at his idiocracy and move on.

Chris Peebles The only thing I would highlight is that the line-up they showed looked pretty awesome. There’s almost no game there that I wasn’t interested in.

Joseph Blythe Was going to ask whether people agreed that Microsoft now seem to be more focused on dominating the home entertainment race than participating in a console one?

Phil Doyle They’ve got one eye on Apple/Samsung.

Dave Whitelaw I think that’s a given Joseph. The Xbox One isn’t a ‘games console’. Least not by any definition we have had up to now. They are chasing a far bigger piece of the ‘home entertainment’ pie now. They are being far more deliberate about this move than Sony are with PS4 though and they are being far more deliberate about it than they were with 360.

Phil Doyle Microsoft have been after that for years though, back to the mid 90s and they’ve never cracked it.

Graeme Strachan I don’t have an issue with that. I used my PS3 as a home entertainment system until the Xbox 360 finally caught up and surpassed it in apps & reliability. While it’s not a focus a lot of people especially “gamers” like, it doesn’t in the end harm the gaming side of it.

Si Wellings Well certainly despite Sony having lost this generations war for gaming, they would be more than happy to have won the Blu Ray vs HD-DVD war.  You might even say that was the whole point of the PS3.

Joseph Blythe But is there a market there for it yet? If most people already have a box or two that does all that, will they want to replace them? Shouldn’t Microsoft then be focusing more on the games?

Phil Doyle Also, you would have that that a company like Sony that has an entire electrical division aimed at the front room, would be in a better position to dominate that kind of market.

Si Wellings Microsoft are focused on fighting a war on several fronts.  They are using the console war as a means to get a jump on other battles in the mobile, tablet, and OS fronts too.

Dave Whitelaw Here’s a question for you – I guess most people here won’t buy an Xbox One on launch but are you absolutely morally opposed to getting one now or would you consider it following a price drop or a particular exclusive or whatever?

Graeme Strachan I’d still get one if I had the cash lying around, but that’s more as a games journalist. As a consumer I doubt I’d bother.

Chris Peebles I’m going to buy one as soon as soon as I can afford it. So soon after launch.

Dave Whitelaw Over PS4 Chris?

Chris Peebles Yeah.

Dave Whitelaw Wow.

Graeme Strachan Interesting.

Dave Whitelaw You’re the first person I have spoken to online or otherwise who has actively picked an Xbox One over a PS4. And that’s a LOT of people face to face and online.

Phil Doyle The way they’re putting power into the hands of publishers who will have our best interests far from their minds is not something I want to support from my money. And this is from someone who is Apple-ed up to the hilt.

Si Wellings I’m personally morally opposed.  I see no point in investing in something that might not work in the future.  I see no point in creating a collection if it has no value and no ownership.  I have consoles from 20+ years ago that are fully functional right now, but if Microsoft release a new console and in 2020 close down the servers for XB1, that’s them done, in theory at least.  They’ve done nothing to ease my worries on this.

Dave Whitelaw I agree Phil. There’s no way I’ll put money towards a company so hellbent on removing our consumer rights. As Si says, they can turn ‘off’ the Xbox One and any games you own whenever they choose to.

Graeme Strachan Those are valid points all round.

Chris Peebles It simply comes down to this; There’s more games and functionality that I’ll use in an Xbox One than in a PS4. The PS4 is a fantastic machine, but I don’t see any reasons for me to own one over an Xbox as a gaming console when there are more games on the other side. I do want to own both, as I have this generation, but honestly, with all the rumours, misconceptions and misinformation coming about the Xbox, I’m still backing them. I was impressed by their announcement, I’m impressed by their games, live streaming and video editing functionality, the snapping, the TV stuff. It’s what I want in a box next to my TV.

Si Wellings What we are seeing here is two different schools of thought.  Microsoft is aiming it’s console towards Publishers and Sony/Nintendo are aiming theirs towards Developers.  Publishers only concern for Consumers is how much money can they extort.  Developers at least want to court Consumers and win them over with their products.

Phil Doyle There’s someone on my Facebook who has shrugged and said ‘my console is always online, I never trade in games so not fussed‘ and still wants one but he is someone who has a lot of disposable income who can afford the top end broadband connect etc

Graeme Strachan That’s equally a valid position Phil. One I think that the mainstream games press has been wilfully ignoring. A lot of folk plain don’t care, they just want a games machine that plays games, does music & maybe movies and works when they turn it on.

Dave Whitelaw I disagree Graeme. I made this point on Sonic’s Ring. The people who are going to kill Xbox One aren’t gaming websites or people like us. The people who will kill it are sites such as Which? and Mumsnet and moneysavingwhateveritiscalled, those sites are already steering mums and dads and people like that well away from Xbox One. All these mainstream consumerist sites are already telling people to keep well away from Xbox, even The Sun is in on this already.

Joseph Blythe An always-online machine with a built in high def webcam that follows your every move? Daily Mail will love it.

Graeme Strachan I think it’s too early to call how the buying will pan out, I think the Xbox One will get far greater sales than a lot of folk are predicting.

Dave Whitelaw I disagree but fair enough. I don’t think it’ll tank but I think it will sell vastly less than PS4, indeed, I actively hope it doesn’t tank. Competition is a good thing y’all.

Graeme Strachan That’s not because I think it’s a great or the best console, simply because I think we often underestimate the buying power of the monied masses, who look to brand over content.

Phil Doyle So, to summarise Microsoft: Great show with good games; shame about the price; lots of caveats around it which may hinder it’s acceptance with a wider audience. We’ll move onto Sony then: the PS4 reveal in Feb was well received but not ecstatically, so they had a fair bit to do with their show. Of course this was before MS gave them an open goal with regard to the used games stuff. Was this a case of they only had to turn up and they’d win the PR battle?

Dave Whitelaw Pretty much. It was almost impossible for them not to dunk MS.

Si Wellings I personally never expected Sony to go down this route.  I was fully expecting their silence to be the answer to the question; that they would also be doing what Microsoft had set out.

Chris Peebles I think they still needed to solidify some things, not necessarily prove as much as Microsoft, but if they just showed up and was like “Yo, we ain’t Microsoft.” it wouldn’t have gone over that well.

Phil Doyle They started of slowly with PS3 and Vita talk, to focus on that for a second do we think the vita will find an audience this year?

Chris Peebles I can see a lot of people who are going for a PS4 getting a Vita soon. The functionality between them is a great thing.

Graeme Strachan I hope so, it’s a good device that has been lacking in support & games.

Si Wellings Depends on the way it integrates with the PS4.  I know we didn’t talk about Smartglass, but that works from a mobile phone app which EVERYONE has.  Vita would require another purchase and they would need to justify that to me.  I have a DS for mobile gaming.

Phil Doyle Remote play is now built into the console so every game that doesn’t use move/camera should work on it WiiU GamePad style

Dave Whitelaw I would like a Vita personally. If they announce some form of PS4/Vita package, I’d certainly be interested.

Graeme Strachan I think if the Vita gets the integration & support that Sony failed to provide with the PS3/PSP then it’ll be a must have.

Joseph Blythe A few people made the joke that Sony’s conference started late because they were hurriedly changing the price on their final slides. In that sense I think they’re lucky they went after Microsoft, but even if they had an open goal you’ve got to say their finish was sublime.

Chris Peebles I personally don’t think their finish was a great thing to do. It was information that needed to be conveyed, but the way they did it was sleazy as hell and I hated that they stooped that low.

Phil Doyle Screw it, will move onto the price then.

Dave Whitelaw I don’t think it was sleazy at all. They did exactly what gamers wanted to hear, I don’t consider that a low stoop.

Si Wellings I fail to see how it was sleazy Chris.  It was very deliberate in its nature, but the actual sleazy act was committed by Microsoft.  That Sony chose to turn it to their advantage was both good business sense and good showmanship

Phil Doyle Don’t forget Sony has form for this, did the same to the Saturn in ’95.

Dave Whitelaw Si, you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s MS who are being sleazy in destroying consumer rights in the way they are trying to. That they chose to laugh along with the gaming community in laughing at MS was absolutely fine by me.

Chris Peebles I know it was good to take advantage off and it’s a fantastic business move, I just feel the WAY they delivered it was where they fell off. To me that was too far. It makes the industry seem immature. Graeme, the entire “The we do what Microsoft don’t” section at the end in entirety made me feel off.

Si Wellings Actually Chris, their ploy worked a treat.  I had no intention of staying up until 4am watching them, but they drew me in with the way they went about things and the reward was something I didn’t expect to hear, but did.

Graeme Strachan I laughed my ass off at it. It was perfect.

Dave Whitelaw Agreed.

Phil Doyle How could they not? With that open a goal, how could they not finish the way they did?

Dave Whitelaw The reaction of the crowd too – just wow. They were willing Sony to kill MS off there and then. When they did it, it was almost a universal cheer of relief.

Si Wellings It’s always worth setting yourself away from your competition, especially when they are doing something unpopular.  Maybe your uncomfortableness on this is because a politician would have LOVED to have done something like that.

Phil Doyle Although, to put on the cynical hat, all they announced was that things were going to stay the same.

Si Wellings Yes.  I think we should take a moment to think has there EVER been a moment like that in gaming, where a company has been rewarded for saying they wont change?

Chris Peebles I just expected Sony to take the higher ground of “this is why you should come with us” rather than “LOL LOOK THEY SUCK WE DO THIS BETTER” It was purely the delivery for me and it soured the rest of the conference which really impressed me, as much as there wasn’t as many heavy hitters for me personally.

Dave Whitelaw I think they needed to do the ‘look they suck thing’ just because of how disgusting Microsoft have been regarding the Xbox One.

Graeme Strachan Speaking of heavy hitters. What did folk think of the games?

Si Wellings The games impressed me, and this is from someone who doesn’t own a PS3 this generation. They started with an 8 strong line up of Indie games as well.  It’s arguable that until the 2nd hand games section, this got the biggest cheers

Chris Peebles It didn’t happen to me personally, but the Kingdom Hearts announcement was a massively good move.

Phil Doyle That and Final Fantasy seemed to get a big response

Si Wellings Kingdom Hearts 3 was a definite reminder to people who owned a PS2 why they did.  Throw in Final Fantasy 15 and you have a winning double act.

Phil Doyle What about the Watch Dogs/Assassin’s Creed stuff? Personally that was the bit where I fell asleep…

Chris Peebles Watch Dogs still looks awesome, Assassin’s Creed looks like…Assassin’s Creed. I guess there were boats and stuff.

Si Wellings Watch Dogs looks amazing.  Not much new since I saw the video last year though.

Dave Whitelaw I like the look of Watch Dogs but I worry that in practise it won’t just be an Assassin’s Creed variant.

Si Wellings Assassins Creed 4 didn’t do it for me either Chris.  Neither did it do it for the prototype machine they were running it on that froze horribly.

Phil Doyle It did feel like a chunk of their show we had seen before, anything that caught your eye?

Dave Whitelaw Did they show The Witness? I can’t remember. I’m excited about that anyway.

Chris Peebles To be completely honest, as impressive as everything was looking, nothing stood out that much for me at Sony. It might have been because of tiredness, but I’m having issue remembering everything they showed.

Graeme Strachan Mad Max. MAD MAX.

Si Wellings Not even Elder Scrolls Online Chris?

Chris Peebles Elder Scrolls Online could be fun, but the footage of it wasn’t anything new. It was interesting enough to hear it’s coming to consoles though.

Phil Doyle They closed off with Destiny, which is the next big thing from Bungie, with talk of Sony working closely with them, any of us looking forward to that?

Si Wellings Destiny took up far too much of the conference in my opinion.  Looked generic and weak.

Graeme Strachan Not really. Looks a bit, generic.

Dave Whitelaw I am excited about Destiny, if they manage the seamless online stuff then it could be amazing. Lot of ‘ifs’ surrounding it though.

Si Wellings Maybe I’ve played too much Halo.

Chris Peebles Destiny was purely the reason I stayed awake for the whole thing, and honestly, it went on for far too long. It’s a beautiful looking game, it’s ideas look interesting and it looks fun, but jesus christ that was far too long for the gameplay reveal.

Graeme Strachan It’s funny, everyone whinged about too many WW2 shooters in the late 2000s then Military shooters in the early 2010s, I used to complain about too many sci-fi shooters in the 1990s and likely will again in late 2010s.

Phil Doyle So to close off Sony we can say that in any other year it would have been alright at best but it was the used games/price reveal that has made it near legendary? It did feel like a proper megaton

Si Wellings I think it was a decent show (I don’t think anyone has a WEAK show) but definitely the moment it will be remembered for was the consumer love

Dave Whitelaw That 2.5 minute section will go down as one of the biggest moments in E3 history.

Chris Peebles I feel that a lot of the stuff that was shown was looking impressive and the console itself (which we never talked about) looks nice, as silly the similarities in the two big ones is.

Dave Whitelaw The moment Sony won the console war too.

Phil Doyle A quick comment on the look of the PS4 as this was it’s first reveal?

Chris Peebles Someone sat on an Xbox One

Phil Doyle ZING!

Si Wellings Looked very familiar after the Xbox One until they turned it sideways.

Chris Peebles there’s a nice blue line on it though.

Dave Whitelaw It’s very small. As in, incredibly so.

Graeme Strachan Looks like a PS2 kinda..

Si Wellings it’ll stack very nicely with a few Toblerones

Chris Peebles The size is impressive considering the two things are both supposed to be similar in power, I have no idea how they did it. I dunno how much I like the slantedness of it though, as much as it does look neat, thinking about setting it up next to other consoles makes me worried it could be awkward.

Graeme Strachan It is wonderfully petite that’s true. Ultimately I couldn’t care less what a console looks like once it’s on my shelf.

Dave Whitelaw Yeah, I agree Graeme.

Si Wellings I’m less worried about the look of the console and more about how many red lights can display on it.

Phil Doyle Right then: Nintendo. They had, like with most of the last generation, stepped outside of the usual Sony/MS battlefield with another of their Nintendo Direct videos rather than a conference. Was this a good idea?

Si Wellings I thought Nintendo had a pretty strong showing.  By the end of their conference I was actually interested in the Wii U.

Dave Whitelaw I thought Nintendo played it (understandably) pretty safe, X and Bayonetta 2 aside.

Si Wellings No. Nintendo have underplayed their hand this generation. They really needed to step it up with the big boys, as sales of the WiiU have shown. However I don’t see what else they can do now but focus solely on the games.

Chris Peebles It’s the one conference I only caught half of, but they showed some neat things for Nintendo fans. It was definitely for the fans though, it didn’t convert me. Things look neat, the WiiU is an interesting system, but they didn’t show anything mind-blowing that will make me put a WiiU on my list of things I want to buy that I can’t afford.

Si Wellings I should add a disclaimer that I am a Nintendo fan.  That I haven’t bought a Wii U should tell you what you need to know on that front.

Graeme Strachan For me, as a not huge Nintendo fan. I felt it was them saying, “yes you can have all you favourite properties….again”  Which is great for some, for me, it’s the same Nintendo games I never buy & don’t think it’s worth buying a console to play.  And Bayonetta. And I wasn’t a huge fan of Bayonetta.

Si Wellings I thought Donkey Kong Country’s return was welcome.  Throw in Mario Kart and Smash Bros and you have some of the staple diets of Nintendo gaming.  But SURELY these should have been launch titles and we should be looking at some new IP now?

Phil Doyle Considering the continued negative press, both from the enthusiast press and investors, the machine has ben getting since the beginning of the year do you think what they showed will be enough to get the console selling?

Dave Whitelaw I don’t think they did enough to persuade the mass market to jump on board. X and Bayonetta look cool but they aren’t console shifters and if you aren’t going to buy a Wii U up to now, I doubt Mario and Zelda will persuade you otherwise. The fact that EA have all but abandoned them doesn’t bode well.

Graeme Strachan To me the Wii U is still just Wii 1.5

Dave Whitelaw The Wii was GameCube 1.5 really

Phil Doyle So that makes the WiiU GameCube 2? But to spin Dave’s point on it’s head; if, as we suggested earlier, that the Xbox one doesn’t sell as well as they hope will that cause them to reassess their position on the WiiU?

Graeme Strachan I’d consider buying it now that it’s cheap as chips, just to play the old Wii games I liked and the few WiiU titles that interest. For £150  it’s actually a decent buy if you didn’t have a Wii.

Dave Whitelaw I can see a LOT of gamers buying a PS4 with the Wii U as a second console. Gamers but probably not the casual market.

Si Wellings Problem is, lots of people DID buy a Wii, and the Wii U isn’t different enough.

Dave Whitelaw Exactly Si.

Phil Doyle And there’s no WiiU version of Wii Sports.

Dave Whitelaw It is beginning to feel like a second console, something for a bit of Mario now and again. And for the kids to play.

Si Wellings Nintendo always seem to do things in threes.  NES, SNES then N64 was a dog.  Gamecube, Wii and now Wii U is the runt. If anything, their victory was for the 3DS.  The lineup means I will probably upgrade from my standard DS this year.

Phil Doyle Nothing about the WiiU has caught that mainstream audience Dave was talking about earlier the way Wii Sports did.

Graeme Strachan True. For me I’m the mainstream audience in Nintendo circles and honestly ZombiU is the only Wii U game I want to play.

Dave Whitelaw With N64, we had Mario 64. With Wii we had Mario Galaxy. Sunshine has garnered more positive thoughts over time but is considered a poorer mainstream Mario game. I don’t think 3D World looks poor at all but it lacks the punch of innovation of a 64 or SMG.

Si Wellings I think when they release Super Luigi Bros in order to hide the fact it should have Mario in it, they know they are doing things by numbers a little. New IP is required.

Phil Doyle So, out of all of them, Nintendo seem to be in the weakest position; older tech, losing mindshare, losing out on the big games…any positives for them?

Si Wellings This was a conference a year old as far as games go, but maybe it is enough to get them to share a place beside the Ps4 or XB1?

Phil Doyle The perennial bridesmaid?

Si Wellings If you turn up to a wedding in a bridesmaids dress, don’t expected to get married.

Dave Whitelaw Here’s a thought – did Nintendo perhaps hold some of their powder back for Tokyo Game Show knowing that Sony and Microsoft would be huge at this year’s E3?

Phil Doyle What powder though Dave? A new IP? Zelda?

Dave Whitelaw New IP perhaps. New Zelda maybe (but I doubt it). Some all new 3DS/Wii U connectivity. I’m not sure. But they knew they were always going to be behind it at this year’s E3, sure Sony will be strong at TGS but I doubt Microsoft will be.

Chris Peebles I think they did exactly what they wanted. Most of the reveals were for next year, not this year. I doubt they’ll show much at TGS that will compete with something before Sony and Microsoft get their new console out. This was the time Nintendo needed to get a step up on them and it kinda fell flat and was played far too safely.

Phil Doyle So Nintendo’s current nemesis then; third party publishers. EA and Ubisoft squeezed in their shows between MS and Sony, any highlights for you from them? cough Mirror’s Edge cough

Si Wellings Mirror’s Edge reboot in fact.  They’ve confirmed it will be a sandbox environment.  If they actually fix the physics, it might be the title we hoped for the first time around?

Graeme Strachan The new Mirror’s Edge is definitely a highlight. Although it looks more like a remake than a sequel. It was only a few seconds footage though.

Dave Whitelaw I think the fact EA pretty much ignored Wii U was astonishing. I know they aren’t fully behind it but even so.

Chris Peebles Battlefield 4 Multiplayer looked stellar, but worries me about how many times you can level buildings and how that’ll effect the game; Mirror’s Edge is a great announcement; GOD DAMN STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT; PEGGLE 2!!!; That 3rd Person PvZ game made me laugh and looked interesting; the new Tom Clancy IP looks incredibly impressive.

Dave Whitelaw Aye, PvZ: Garden Warfare looked very cool.

Phil Doyle Isn’t that the ultimate statement about this generation of games: They turn Plants Vs Zombies in to a third person shooter? PLANTS VS ZOMBIES. A THIRD PERSON SHOOTER.

Si Wellings It does make me wonder why they led with Plants vs Zombies though… I mean really?!?

Graeme Strachan It’s a huge title Si, multiplatform million selling.

Dave Whitelaw PvZ is HUGE.

Chris Peebles They finished Pop Cap with Peggle 2. That’s huge news.

Si Wellings The slow ripple of applause seems to suggest not quite that huge

Dave Whitelaw Not their target audience sat there Si, that was one for the mainstream market.

Phil Doyle Didn’t Bejewelled 2 launch against a WoW expansion? PopCap has massive mindshare out there.

Chris Peebles People play PopCap games INSIDE of WoW.

Si Wellings It was really just another churning out of the same old franchises they’ve been churning out for ages. I was very underwhelmed

Dave Whitelaw I’m confused about this. I thought we were friends with EA again after years of hating them? I thought it was Activision we hate.

Phil Doyle It’s so confusing but I think the way EA has left Nintendo hang out to dry has lost them a lot of friends

Dave Whitelaw Can hardly blame them though.

Graeme Strachan I think that’s oversimplifying things a lot.

Phil Doyle It’s lost them Nintendo friends, who weren’t really friends with EA in the first place. As in, it won’t dent the FIFA sales.

Si Wellings One wonders if they might throw exclusives at Microsoft now that Sony have gone down the Nintendo route for used games.  Don’t forget, they can hardly bring back Online Passes after saying they were getting rid of them.

Dave Whitelaw That’s an interesting point I hadn’t considered. Will publishers be annoyed at Sony because of all of this? I guess they’ll be forced to accept it because PS4 ~will~ now sell more, it’s inevitable.

Si Wellings I think ultimately, if consumers don’t adopt the XB1, Publishers will have to grin and bear it.

Dave Whitelaw Exactly Si.

Phil Doyle The rumours I’ve seen flying about, before E3, was that it was the publishers pressuring MS into the DRM thing but now they’ve come out saying that it wasn’t their idea. I expect the huge negative press has influenced that.

Dave Whitelaw They would say that.

Si Wellings Everyone will want to pass the buck on this one.

Dave Whitelaw EA have officially went on record saying they didn’t put any pressure on them.

Phil Doyle Unfortunately for Microsoft, as they were the ones who came out and said it the buck will hit them. Square in the face. Again and again.

Dave Whitelaw I mean, presumably this was all agreed between EA and MS when EA cancelled Online Pass as a system a couple of months back?

Phil Doyle Quick summary of thoughts on this year? Sony wrapped it up? Microsoft on the ropes? Nintendo off in the corner?

Dave Whitelaw Yeah, comfortably Sony’s E3, Nintendo a distant second.

Si Wellings To summarise, E3 been decent for everyone, but Sony stole the show with a surprise of… doing nothing.  For all the innovation in gaming, it’s staying on the side of consumers that has won this year, and might even be the catalyst for Sony winning the next generation.

Chris Peebles Personally most impressed with Microsoft, Sony was incredibly impressive, Ubisoft and EA had great conferences and announcements as well, Nintendo was the one that fell flat for me, but I’m not a fan.

Dave Whitelaw Si nails it with his summary. This was the year of the consumer which is why Sony won by doing nothing.

Chris Peebles Competition is also healthy for everything fighting for the best value. The fact that Gold Members of Live now get free games every month is fantastic competition and is great for us and anyone who has PS+ and Live.

Graeme Strachan I think that MS have shot themselves in the foot which has as a result made everyone else have an easier time of it.  Ultimately there was little I saw here that excited me all that much.

Phil Doyle Here’s one for a final thought; how do we think next year’s E3 will go?

Chris Peebles Show me the new Halo and footage of Star Wars Battlefront and I’ll be happy.

Dave Whitelaw Microsoft announce new console!

Si Wellings I think it will feature a lot of the same content.  We are seeing games that won’t be available until late 2014.

Chris Peebles It’ll also be a little bit further away from launch titles so we can see what these consoles can really do.

Dave Whitelaw Yeah, Chris is right.

Graeme Strachan I agree, but I think that now we’re into a new console generation proper by then, it’ll be a fully games based focus

Dave Whitelaw By this time next year, we’ll be over the launch title hump. Developers will be starting to unlock the actual potential of each platform.

Graeme Strachan Unless Sony decide to pull Vita 2 out their hat.  Which they will.

Dave Whitelaw Do you think Graeme?

Graeme Strachan Oh absolutely.

Dave Whitelaw Hm, interesting.

Si Wellings I think we might also start to see the failings in not backing Indie developers from Microsoft. Next year might be the Steambox coming too

Dave Whitelaw It’ll be interesting to see, if our predictions are right, just how MS do with their first E3 in a very long time where they are behind in the console war. Sony have always traditionally been playing catchup.

Phil Doyle This is all going on record so we’ll find out next year

Dave Whitelaw Maybe they’ll announce The Last Guardian. Doubt it, but we can hope.

So there we go. Lots of talking points from the conference that sets up an interesting rest of the year. Do you agree that Sony have the console battle all wrapped up?  Or does Microsoft have a few tricks up their sleeves? Let us know in the comments!

Originally published June 17th 2013

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