I wrote a blog three days ago where I outlined some of my hopes and expectations for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo coming into this E3. Sure it was a sort of dream-list, but I expected to hit at least a little closer to the mark then I did.
I thought FOR SURE the narrative of this E3 would be doom, gloom, and Sony's inevitable betrayal. I thought that Sony had merely managed to stay in shadows while Microsoft bore the unenviable task of outlining the confusing, restrictive, digital future of videogames - that this E3 would be the reveal. The moment when Sony stripped off the mask and laid bare their true villainy and malice.
Instead they put on a white cloak and became the champion of the common gamer.
No DRM, no online check-ins, no complicated licence transferring schemes. Used games fully supported and endorsed, lending to a friend as easy as handing them a disk. They undercut the Xbox One's price tag by a cool $100, shared gushy love notes with indie devs, and spread out a glittering hand of games with enough variety to have something for everybody. It was a clean sweep.
Where I expected betrayal and cynicism, I got loyalty and optimism. Where I believed I'd be relishing schadenfreude, I felt strangely ashamed of the impulse in retrospect. Heck, the one thing from my dream list that came true was Sony hooking back up with Square for an exclusive, and they even out did my expectations on that.
Maybe it was a fools hope, but I kinda convinced myself that Microsoft and Nintendo would have a better showing.
Sure, abandoning their keynote slot was embarrassing, but I really thought Nintendo could have been the surprise underdog winner of this E3. They've had an extra year to get over the luke-warm launch titles, to get their Zeldas and Metroids in order. Nintendo had to be smart enough to recognize a weak spot from a limping competitor, surely they would come out with a smattering of games and a cocky "system for the gamer" attitude, right?
Instead, Nintendo futz around with a Direct show that would have been yawn inspiring in the best of conditions and downright depressing at E3. Delays and non-announcements were the order of the day. A new Donkey Kong is great, but not the red meat the Nintendo die-hards have been craving and the non-believers needed to convert.
And Microsoft? Oh dear. Monday morning it seemed like they could still turn it around. Their presentation was solid. Not mind-blowing, not wowing like I wanted, but solid. They managed to show off plenty of games. Getting a hold of Metal Gear is a coup for them, Titanfall looks very promising, and plenty of people seem excited for Killer Instinct (which I admit always held something of a Bonestorm style charm to me).
But geez, that $500 dollar price tag? And the European prices? Ouch. Also, where was the Kinect stuff? They've been talking up this fancy camera, and it certainly seems to be adding to the tab, where were the games that proved it was as every-bit amazing as they've claimed it to be?
Their presentation was a solid base-hit when they needed a grand slam. But the knife wouldn't fall until later that night when Sony plunged it in, scooping them in every major way gamers care about.
Who knows, maybe Microsoft is totally cool with this. Maybe they've crunched the numbers and have faith that the customers they'll pick up as a media hub featuring cable TV, movies, social apps, and fantasy football will more than make up for the loss of the "core gamer" market. I don't know anything about business at that level or in those markets. Given how shaky my predictions/hopes for this E3 were, maybe I don't even know much about this business. But I do know what console every gamer I know wants right now, and it's not the Xbox One.
Oh well, this story is already becoming a dead and beaten horse. In other news, it's also my birthday! I celebrated with excessive amounts of food and craft beer, it was good. My sweetheart and fam was super good to me, and I also treated myself to a little piece of Scorpion DLC for Injustice. Ahh, to finally play a top-tier character.