The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is over, and the world must find something else to watch on TV. The banners are being pulled down, TV displays are being pulled off of mounts, and stands are being broken down. Within a few days the hundreds of video game developers and thousands upon thousands of gamers will be making their way home. During three days, the slate of upcoming video games grows exponentially as developers like Ubisoft and EA showcase what they hope will be the best previews and gameplay trailers at the conference. This year’s E3 took place in Los Angeles June 11 through June 13.
There was a lot of buildup surrounding this year’s E3.The Internet has been awash in rumors and gossip surrounding the next generation of home gaming consoles. The three new consoles to be looking for are Microsoft’s Xbox One, Sony’s Playstation 4, and Nintendo’s already released Wii U. The current console generation is getting a little old, my Xbox 360 has been keeping me company since 2005 and it’s time to retire the loyal guy. Now the rumors and gossip have not all been positive, especially in regards to the Xbox One. As someone who was once an avid Xbox gamer, I was very interested coming into this year’s convention to see how Microsoft was going to handle the growing backlash their new console has received. The announcements from Microsoft’s conference Day One of E3 did little to assuage anyone’s growing concern.
The Xbox One will sport a pretty substantial price tag of $499. That fact alone has caused great outrage. This high price also drew the ire of many not in the North American market, as European and Australian gamers will be expecting a much higher price. Now if you do purchase the Xbox One, there are even bigger concerns. Xbox One will require an active Internet connection at all times as you use the console, regardless of whether or not you actually need an internet connection to play your games. Those without Internet won’t be able to experience Microsoft’s new console. Microsoft is also changing the used gaming market in a big way. All Xbox One games will have very unique Digital Rights Management clauses. To put it simply, only Microsoft approved retailers will be allowed to carry used Xbox One games. Now if you buy an Xbox One game and want to let your friend play it on their console, they can only use your copy if you have been friends on Xbox Live for at least a month. Here’s the kicker though, if you give a friend your game they cannot give it back to you. This growing list of concerns surrounding Microsoft’s new entry into the console world has left many disenfranchised Xbox gamers looking to jump ship and head over to Sony.
Sony’s conference was quite a different experience. Their keynote address featured a pretty major talking point: the Playstation 4 will play all used games, regardless of where you bought them or who gave them to you. This announcement may be just what Sony needs to grab that critical early edge in the console wars. The Playstation 4 will also not require a constant internet connection, a point that Microsoft needs to rectify with Xbox One before the new game consoles are unleashed upon the masses. Sony has also announced that they will be working to bring numerous Playstation 3 games to the Playstation 4 via a cloud service because the architecture of the new and old generation of games will not be compatible. This announcement will eliminate a huge potential issue at the onset of any new release of technology, backwards compatibility. Sony is looking to end this war before it begins.
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Little was heard Day One at E3 from the third console giant, Nintendo. The Japanese company released their entry into the next generation of gaming a couple of months ago with the Wii U. The Wii U was an interesting move for Nintendo. It is the first console from the gaming monolith to support HD quality video. The use of a touch screen enabled game pad to supplement gaming on your TV is an interesting idea, but a controller with a three hour battery life is a little ridiculous. The Wii U has made a quiet splash in the world of gaming with a critically small selection of games available right now. Luckily for Nintendo, they may have made up a lot of ground this year at E3. Because they have already released their new console, Nintendo was free to use all of their time at E3 to display a huge selection of new video games for the Wii U. All of the classic Nintendo favorites like Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, and Super Smash Bros. will be revived in the coming year for the new Nintendo Console.
The console war is back from an eight-year absence, and is back with a vengeance. Now longer will the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii be enough to satisfy the insatiable hunger of the gaming entertainment market. While not nearly as prosperous as say, the film industry, the video game market is alive and well despite all naysayers. The Wii will end up being the winner is sales of the current console generation at nearly 100 million units sold worldwide. With that number in mind, Microsoft has announced that they as a company have invested $1 billion dollars exclusively into Xbox One titles alone. This investment includes eight new intellectual properties under the Microsoft flag including new studios in Washington, London, British Columbia, and Victoria. With all the scrutiny currently surrounding Microsoft and their new Xbox One, this huge investment may end up hurting the Microsoft empire in the end.
Be on the lookout for the inevitable buildup to the release of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 and for those who already have a Wii U, the releases of some exciting new titles. The Xbox One will be released to the public November of this year and the Playstation 4 slated to release “Before the holiday season”. Now there may be a group of you who are not interested in all this gaming jargon, but there is sure to be someone in your family who is very excited for Christmas this year.