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June 19, 2013 • Events, Gaming

Wrapping Up E3 – Promising Video Game Consoles and Games Were Plentiful

E3

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center (June 11 through 13) featured endless announcements about highly anticipated gaming entertainment, which hopes to increase the video game market’s size and profitability later this year…just in time for the holidays.

While there we saw numerous presentations and got to see an assortment of new and upcoming hardware. As mentioned in Michael Anderson’s recent article regarding the PC role in console gaming, both are important. Nintendo got even more added control by not issuing a live presentation yet enjoying their regular “booth” presence at the show.

Microsoft and Sony faced off with the next-gen console market with live presentations of Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, which we finally got a good look at. The PlayStation 4 will be released this holiday season for $399, $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. Game release dates and special bundles will influence the final Xbox One and PS4 release dates, so I’m guessing PlayStation 4 in early November and Xbox One in mid-November.

Xbox One will play blu-ray discs. The PlayStation 3 struggled with sales initially due to the higher initial price of the included Blu-ray player, so it may seem like Xbox One is finally catching up, but they have actually saved costs in the long run. Currently, the Xbox 360 retains a long winning streak as the best-selling current console.

Both next-gen consoles have comparable RAM, CPUs, and hardware. The PS4, which will now be region free, will require a PSN account & PlayStation Plus subscription for online play, but won’t require an online connection every 24 hours like the Xbox One – a hot topic discussion like playing/sharing used games on each respective system. Both companies made it clear that you need a good media setup for optimal performance/experience.

Entertainment variety will not be a problem for either console, but media/tech savvy users will definitely be ahead of the learning curve. I still use my PlayStation One in our basement and my Game Boy Advance (for playing my all-time favorite handheld game series ever – Advance Wars).  I’m not easily swayed or overly eager to jump on the latest tech, but the best of the next-gen consoles (Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One) will come behind-the-scenes with upcoming content options and, most importantly, in-depth customization so we use/experience only what we want to, so our media experience are more refined and meaningful. Restrictions of used games and required online connections are a tricky slope where companies must lean towards consumer majorities/preferences to stay profitable.

“Second stream” options in games and these two next-gen systems (PS Vita for the PS4 and Google Glass for Xbox One) will have a big impact. I can easily see the PS Vita rival the 3DS with more “second stream” features and games as well as the cross play games with the PlayStation 3. The Tom Clancy open world RPG The Division will feature iPad and iPhone gameplay integrated with console play. For example, an iPad user can provide assistance to protagonist characters (controlled by console players online) fighting terrorists.

Alas, it was another year without a substantial Last Guardian announcement/release date, but the promising video game consoles and games were plentiful. Nintendo and Microsoft offered a great set of soon-to-be-released and future games including several from their standby franchises (e.g. Mario, Halo, etc.). Sony also had a great set, but didn’t announce enough for their mainstays (Uncharted, God of War, etc.) with just new Kill Zone and Infamous announcements.

Games generating big buzz included Batman: Arkham Origins, Bayonetta 2, Broken Age, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Bungie’s Destiny, Dying Light, Elder Scrolls Online, The Evil Within, Forza Motorsport 5, Kentucky Route Zero, Knack, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Mario Kart 8, Mario Kart Wii U, Metal Gear Solid V, The Order: 1866, Quantum Break, Ryse, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, South Park: The Stick of Truth (picked up by UbiSoft from THQ), Tearaway, Thomas Was Alone, Titanfall, Toki Tori 2Wii Fit U and Year Walk.

Big sequel announcements/features included Dragon Age III, Kingdom Hearts III, Saints Row IV, The Witcher 3, and the next Final Fantasy game – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (February 11, 2014).

Consumers can enjoy all the companies vying for their attention with a record-setting number of releases that will likely ignite a sales increase thanks to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 console rivalry.

Video games continue blending with other media entertainment.The Xbox exclusive Halo 4 will begin a new trilogy and relate to a new television series exclusive to Xbox One that will be executive produced by Steven Speilberg.  The Rocksmith music game series, which has a 2014 version coming, teaches players through real instrument use. Now Rocksmith has a rival from Bandfuse: Rock Legends plus the Disney’s Fantasia Music Evolved game was announced, so the music game genre should enjoy some nice growth and renewed interest.

Overall, the “console wars” offer numerous, exciting gaming and multimedia options. It was not long ago that the PlayStation 2 offered the unique entertainment/media combination of playing DVDs, CDs, new PlayStation 2 games, and regular PlayStation games to fulfill all our stress relieving needs.

We are already looking forward to next year’s “Super Bowl of Video Games”. What E3 2013 news excited you the most?

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