Can you feel the excitement in the air gamers? The 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) is only a few weeks away. It’s like Christmas for gamers…Only we don’t get to actually open or play with any finished products. Instead we get to get a few sneak peeks at the games due out over the course of the next year or two. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are getting in those final phases for trailers and demos. Speech writers are likely working on their final drafts of the speeches, and on Monday June 9th the madness begins again.
Before we begin, the full schedule of conferences is listed here, and please be advised; this preview does NOT contain any “spoilers” or rumored games appearing at any of the conferences. This edition of the Sanchez Soapbox is intended as a preview to E3; the road the big three console makers took leading into the big show, what they might show off, and what they might need to do to make an impact at E3. First, we’re going to start with Microsoft.
The road to E3 for Microsoft has been among one of the more strange journeys in recent memory. After announcing the console last year and showcasing several games at their conference, they’ve since rescinded a number of policies. Most recently, Microsoft has announced a version of the Xbox One without the Kinect. I’ve made a running joke that Microsoft should have a sign at their office saying “(x) Days Since Last Public Incident”.
Being that Microsoft is going on first, they’re in a little bit of a tough spot. They have to basically open the show with a bang, and make a deep enough impact to be memorable through the first couple days of the show. Being that sales are slightly lower than their Sony counterparts, I expect Microsoft to put some kind of PR spin out there. I expect a heavy showcase for games such as Halo and the latest installment of the Call of Duty franchise. I would expect the new titles such as Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break to have some of the spotlight on the show.
Quite honestly, I think this is what Microsoft needs; a focus on the games. With all the backtracking, Microsoft had a lot of publicity problems and now that they’ve rescinded some policies, there is almost no major difference to between the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. This is why they’ll need those exclusive titles to really put the Xbox One over, where they’ve kind of fallen flat before.
Nintendo had a rather quiet year since last year’s E3…And to be honest, that’s not a good thing. With almost a full year’s advantage over its competition, Nintendo had a great opportunity to strike while the iron was hot. They had the chance to show the Wii U would be a worthy successor for the Wii, and put their competition behind the sales numbers early. Instead, Sony’s PS4 overtook Wii U sales within a few months of launch, and the Xbox one should soon follow, if it hasn’t already. So where does Nintendo go from here?
Well, for the second year in a row Nintendo will not have a live press conference at E3 and will instead opt for a Nintendo Direct type conference. This will most likely include their lineup of games throughout the year; including the new Smash Bros. and the new Legend of Zelda game. Here’s what I think is interesting though; rather than holding demos at E3, Nintendo is working with some Best Buy retailers to have their own demos (and possibly tournaments) of the new Smash Bros. So if you can’t make it to the west coast by June, Nintendo will bring a little slice of E3 to the public outside of L.A. Honestly, I think it’s a nice touch and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other companies employ this as soon as next year. This is a nice way of opening up for Nintendo when they’ve been viewed as closed off or behind the times.
What Nintendo needs to do to blow everyone away is showing off something completely new. Something that isn’t linked to Mario, Zelda, or any of their established franchises. I don’t think too many opinions will be swayed toward buying a Wii U unless something spectacular is shown off during their presentation. Even if something does captivate the audience, I have to wonder if that will be enough for Nintendo to make it a three console race again.
Since last year’s E3, Sony has had a strong year for the Playstation brand…Financially speaking, not so much. The PS4 is leading home console sales right now and now are in a position to really put the PS4 over the competition. However, that is going to take a lot of work, because their competetors are set to make a comeback, how does Sony ensure they’re staying power atop the console market for another year?
I expect a press conference akin to Microsoft’s. I think the people over at Sony are going to give some heavy spotlight to their established titles that are due out this year. I’m expecting the next Uncharted game to be featured, but I think they’re going to show off more of the multiplatform Destiny. I also expect a little bit more in-depth details about the Playstation Now streaming service and possibly a look into their virtual reality endeavor, Project Morpheus.
Sony does seem to have a lot on its plate, serving both the gaming public and investors concerned with profits. I think it will be interesting to see just how many risks they take. Also being the last conference on Monday afternoon/evening they may use that time to observe what Microsoft has done then come up with something that will get some attention their way.
So now I’ll turn it over to you guys. What do you think the big three companies need to do to make an impact at E3 this year? Do you think its Microsoft’s year to shine? Will Sony try to steal the thunder again? Is there hope left for Nintendo? Let us know in the comment section or talk to us through our Facebook or Twitter pages. Also, keep up with all the E3 coverage with us here on New Gamer Nation.