Missed Out

E3 2014: Missed Out

E3 2014 is officially behind us. One of my most favorite times of year, and I missed almost all of it! At least it was for a good cause, as I spent that week moving from my home state of Florida, to Washington. I moved here to pursue my gaming career.The irony is, I missed the biggest week of gaming in the process.

I did however try and catch parts of the press conferences, when I had online capabilities. Also tried to catch up on some of the great demos and trailers after the fact, but it just wasn’t the same somehow. Since I wasn’t able to fully immerse myself in all things E3 2014, the way I usually do, my takeaway impressions won’t be as in-depth as they normally would.

MICROSOFT (B+)

With Microsoft trying to play catch up to Sony, and erase some mismanaging of the Xbox brand, I’d say they had a pretty good press conference. Phil Spencer is clearly the right guy to be heading up Xbox One. He came out on stage, dressed in jeans, talking plainly about games. Games, games, and then some more games. I’m not a huge fan of how hard they pushed the Master Chef Collection. Personally if I’ve played all the games in a series, even my most favorite series, I rarely go back and play it again. Even more rarely do I purchase all the games to play them over. While I’m sure many were excited about the collection, I wasn’t impressed.

I thought the way developers came through the crowds to reach the stage was well done and engaging. There was very little in the way of filler. Just “Here’s a game”. Bam!” Here’s another game.” BAM! “And the next.” BAM! BAM! That’s how you focus a conference on games. Although, a lot of what was shown was stuff we had already seen/heard about before. I enjoyed the demo of Sunset Overdrive, and the Witcher. Those were impressive in my book.

I thought their attempt to parade Indie’s out on stage was to reminiscent of what Sony did. Even though I’d glad to see them being supported, it just felt like a “Us too” moment.

Overall it was a strong conference that focused on games. If only this would have been the focus from the inception of Xbox One they’d be riding a tall wave, rather than digging their way out of a hole. I would have liked to see more in the way of surprises. That’s the one thing I get excited about at E3, and there just wasn’t enough of that for me.

SONY (B)

This year Sony had all the moment going into E3. The problem is, when Sony knows they have the edge, they don’t bother pushing the envelope to put the over the top. They save their trump card for when it’s needed. Knowing that about them, I should have known not to expect TOO MUCH from their E3 2014 press conference. Although they were showing their conference off on the big screen in movie theaters. I thought surely if they’re going to do that, they must have something mind-blowing to show us…..Nope.

I enjoyed seeing Little Big Planet 3. But for me, that game is wearing a little thin. Even though it’s great fun, and I’ll still probably buy (and enjoy) it, it’s not a show stopper. Bloodborn was their show stopper, but as usual, it got leaked before the show. That would have been their big surprise announcement, and would have really been awesome to find out about for the first time, there in the move theater at E3 2014. Sadly, it didn’t go down that way. Between that surprise getting blow, and the long winded nature of the “Powers” comic, I felt like Sony’s conference dragged on at times. Sony could take a page out of Microsoft’s playbook, and just show us some games, back to back.

Another strike against Sony, was no Jack Tretton. I didn’t realize just how much I enjoyed seeing him on that stage, until he wasn’t there anymore. Shawn Layden did a fine job, but he wasn’t Jack Tretton. He looked a little nervous out there, but I think he’ll do better in the coming years. He didn’t feel like a gamers gamer though did he? He felt like a suit, telling us “I like games, honest.”

Overall Sony had a strong showing, but the lack of surprises, again, killed it for me. I know a lot of people took issue with Adam Boyes, but I liked him. He seemed genuinely happy to be apart of that conference, and to be telling us about these great games. Was he a little hammy at times, sure. Did he ruin the show, no. If Sony could learn how to handle their stage time better, and not have those terrible lulls, where stuff just drags on and on, they’d have a much better showing. Lastly, the weak lineup for 2014 REALLY hurt Sony if you ask me. I know they have a strong 2015 lineup, but we’ll need more than that to get us through 2014.

NINTENDO (B-)

Nintendo choosing to not do a press conference was all the buzz. But this Digit Event…..was almost exactly a press conference…..just not live. Now I didn’t get to see all the TreeHouse coverage that was on offer, but I did get to see their Digit Event. I though it was well done and playful. Watching Reggie and Iwata fight it out Smash Bros style, was really fun. I wished that more games would have been showed off during the event, but I did like how each developer that showed their game, had all the time they needed/wanted to talk about it. That’s something that the other guys end up rushing on most games.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like the new Zelda game didn’t get enough shown. Glimpses of what to expect were shown, but after waiting an entire year, from last E3, you’d think more would have been shown off. Given what was shown, and knowing Nintendos penchant for delays, I won’t be expecting the new Zelda before 2016. At best it will be a Christmas 2015, more than likely it will be a April/May 2016. I know thems-be-fightin words, but it’s likely the truth.

Overall Nintendo did a good job making their conference feel fun and personal on a level that the other two consoles makers didn’t reach. We still didn’t see a strong push for how the gamepad will change how we play with that one killer gamer. Another let down for the digital event, was not seeing Miyamoto’s new IP. It was later announced at the Round Table, and it’s for the 3DS. New IP is always welcomed….but this won’t bolster WiiU purchases, which is what needs to be the focus now.

All three companies had a solid E3 2014 performance. No one company nailed it, with the lulls in stage presence, lack of surprises, and lack of fresh new games. Each had their draw backs, but by and large, a decent showing. That’s all for this year. Can’t wait to play all the awesome games we saw and know are coming!

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