Friday, June 14, 2013

E3 2013

This is mostly a tech blog, but in honor of E3 I am going to make this a game month. I will return to my regularly scheduled .NET blogging in July!

Microsoft

The internet is a blaze with just how poorly Microsoft handled the reveal of the Xbox One, and I have no interest in beating a dead horse. Yes, their price point is too high. Yes, their DRM seems extreme. Yes, they fucked up. No, they did not do anything to make up for it.

I actually like a lot of the ideas behind the Xbox One. I like the kinect responding to voice commands, I like the all in one media center, and while I disagree with always being online I can not lie and say that it directly effects me.

However the lack of exclusive games dries up any interest that I have in the "Xbone". Battlefield, Final Fantasy, Batman, Kingdom Hearts, and almost all of the other AAA titles will be available on multiple platforms. Project Spark looks really good, but I will play it on PC. The only exclusive title that really appeals to me the Panzer Dragoon "Sequel", Crimson Dragon; unfortunately that is certainly not enough to get me to pre-order.

Having had the privilege to attend E3, I would like to offer the following observation: Mircosoft's showroom was like a museum, you could look but not touch.

Sony

What amazed me the most about this E3 was not how badly Microsoft failed, but how much Sony succeeded. For the past few years it looked like Sony could do no right, and now they have turned that around almost overnight!

The PS4 is a staggering $100 less than the Xbox One, it will not be region locked, and the Vita will allow remote play for all PS4 games similar to the Wi U's game pad. These are all great features, and they are backed up by a broad lineup of games for the PS4, Vita, and PSN.

All that being said, they are still as devious as ever. Sony is trying really hard to down play their DRM that, while not as obtrusive as Microsoft's, is still very real. Also, the PSN will no longer be free, but it will still be cheaper than Xbox Live. I want to emphasize that Sony is trying really hard to dodge these facts, only talking about them in private press sessions.

The bottom line: Sony was obviously desperate to win this generation of console war, but their come from behind victory at E3 2013 just goes to show that if you try hard enough you really can accomplish anything. They have done well.

Nintendo

While Microsoft's showroom was a museum, Nintendo's show room was a candy store; and if Sony peaked my curiosity, then Nintendo captured my attention. If you have not figured it out yet, let me spell this out for you:

I think that Nintendo "won" E3, hands down.

I say this for one reason and one reason only: Nintendo brought the games! On the Wii U there is a new Mario World, a new Mario Kart, a new Donkey Kong, a new Smash Brothers, and a HD Zelda. On the 3DS there is a new Zelda, a new Yoshi's Island, a new Pokemon, a new Smash Brothers, and a new Mario RPG. It was literally Christmas come early; I started and ended my day in the Nintendo showroom, I wanted to play every game on that floor, and I loved every minute of it.

Admittedly I am a fan of all of these franchises, so perhaps I have a slightly bias opinion on the subject. However everyone must admit that Nintendo brought their A team, and that lineup dwarfed the competition. While Nintendo is undoubtedly "playing it safe", and admittedly there is nothing "new" in their arsenal, yet I can not help but be excited by the vast library of games that Nintendo has announced.

Summary

Hardware years are exciting, especially at trade show like E3, but I feel that they see to take away from the games themselves. While you could argue that Nintendo sat this year on the sidelines, I say that they brought the games, and that is all that I care about.

Game on,
Tom

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