Now that I’ve slept on it, I figured I would post a few thoughts on E3 2013.
I should preface with a couple of things:
1. I’m not a “hardcore” gamer. I barely consider myself a gamer at all. I’ve definitely transitioned into casually playing games now. So sports and shooters are not my thing. Not to mention there’s only so much time in the day.
2. I don’t have the means to buy any console in the near future. I usually have to wait for a price drop or a used console as I’m not exactly made of money. So a lot of these views are from the sideline.
3. I’m far from a journalist, blogger, etc. So don’t expect hard hitting, thought out opinions here. Just a few quick thoughts.
Well, Microsoft. You weren’t exactly on the best of terms with the gaming community going into this thing. And from the looks of things, you did absolutely nothing to fix that image.
The most interesting thing coming out was the announcement of Killer Instinct, which first appeared in arcades in 1994. This is a game people waited nearly 20 years for a next-gen version. Microsoft got everyone talking good about them. And then they go and announce later it’ll be free-to-play and that you have to buy any character that isn’t Jago. *facepalm*
Xbox LIVE isn’t really changing. It was announced Microsoft might throw a game or two your way for free, but outside of that, you still need LIVE Gold to do anything online. I’ve been against this since the 360 days. There is no reason I should have to pay for Gold just to view a tweet, watch a movie on Netflix, or view a clip on YouTube.
And then the price: $499. At that price, Microsoft is looking like Sony at its PS3 announcement. They’ve priced themselves to only the hardest of hardcore gamers. I’m sure we won’t see a price drop for at least a couple of years but will all the confusing restrictions still be repellant to gamers?
The other thing is Microsoft wants to be a media box too, but for $500? You can buy 5 Roku’s / Apple TV’s / Google TV’s for that price. If Microsoft is suppose to be a 10 year console, I could still buy a total of 5 to 6 Roku’s / Apple TV’s / Google TV’s over that time span if I were to buy up to 2 of them every three years.
With all the bad press Microsoft had been getting, the only thing Sony really needed to do was not be Microsoft. They went above and beyond that.
As a casual gamer, all the indie games shown off looked like fun. Kingdom Hearts III looked impressive in the few moments shown. (And I was watching a crappy 240p resolution.) Talk of sports were in and out.
And the roar of the audience at the announcement of no Disc-based system lock-in DRM gave me goosebumps. And then the bombshell: $399, a $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. That cemented the love for Sony from almost everyone.
There was one thing in particular that Sony did try to sneak by, which was that you will now need a PlayStation Plus membership to play online multiplayer games. Honestly, I’m surprised that this wasn’t already a requirement. But Sony did note that you DON’T need a Plus membership to use any other online feature, like Netflix and Facebook. This is a huge plus for casual gamers and media consumers. Let’s not forget that PlayStation Plus was already a great value to begin with, offering free games, discounts, and more to its members.
Instead of doing a presentation at E3, Nintendo decided to go with another of their prerecorded Direct videos. Most people missed out on the first few minutes as Nintendo’s web site was stuck in a refresh loop. Not a promising start.
Nintendo did show off Super Mario 3D World, which now has cat suits and allows you to play as the Princess and Toad, just like Mario Bros. 2. More footage from the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker remake. I’m not into Bayonetta, but it did look nice.
Nintendo did finally show what a lot of people are waiting for: Super Smash Bros. Three surprised out of this. First being the Villager from Animal Crossing is a new character. The second being Smash will be available for not just the 3DS but the Wii U as well. And finally, Mega Man will also be a playable character. That’s about all the details we have but I’m sure we’ll hear bits of new info released over time, especially since the game will not be released until next year.
Great things, but then Nintendo did something a bit confusing. There were a lot of games not mentioned during the Direct event but Nintendo left games like Pikmin 3, Yoshi’s New Island, and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the World to their YouTube channel. Why wouldn’t you mention these during your Direct event? Are these not games we’re excited about?
I’m not sure what’s going on at Nintendo but as a longtime fan, it’s very troubling. If it weren’t for Microsoft’s fumbling, I’m afraid the Wii U would be a distant 3rd in the current generation race. I expected Nintendo to bring a smile to my face in the very least with today’s announcement, but in the long run, they’re making it very hard for me to understand why I need to buy a Wii U, even as a secondary console.
With the PlayStation 4 coming in at $399, I’m worried about the Wii U, which is priced from $299 to $349. That’s too close to the PS4 in price. Each model needs to come down in price by at least $50 each to still look competitive.
If we’re just judging on E3, it’s obvious Sony came away the most impressive. Nintendo brought smiles to faces. And Microsoft… was… well, they were Microsoft. At this point, Sony has won me over.
For those that are curious, here’s the list of consoles I’ve owned over time:
NES – SNES – Genesis – PlayStation – PlayStation 2 – Wii – Xbox 360