Thoughts on E3 2017

Hubris is one of the greatest renewable resources. - P.J. O'Rourke

This year's E3 was interesting in several ways, chaotically open to the public, a next-gen console announced as a mid-tier console, podcasters in their feelings defending their preferred company while simultaneously saying there's no bias, ESA making the public opening one of the worst experiences for press, and individuals decrying there are no winners while declaring who won E3. 

Many seem to lack the understanding of what words actually mean as they espouse them in the most rudamentary of ways, so I'll start off with some critical analysis, pettiness, and looking forward. One of the most interesting things is the ongoing sense of tribalism, though this is nothing new you see it with Apple, with Google, with Samsung & Sony, with Microsoft, hell with everyone. But it's a sense of tribalism from individuals who run podcasts and other outlets that don't seem to realize their own contridictions that take place within a span of a few minutes.

Tribalism | Hubris | Do You Know What Words You're Using?

Analysis - The Big 3

Focusing on the main three I'll start off with Microsoft, which was interesting in many ways. What the company presented was "the most powerful gaming console ever released" which is good for them they did a great job at nailing that point over and over. Include the 42 titles presented with 20 being exclusive (which is loosly defined lately), and the games they showcased was diverse and Anthem looked extraordinarily gorgeous with it's checkerboard rendering.

The messaging is a little off when looking at this all closer, the difference between the PS4 Pro reveal and XBox One X or (XBOX 🙄) is that Sony had a small event with a handful or press with the dryest commentary ever heard and that was effectively it, 4K quality gaming on a new mid-tier system. In a way this messaging made some sense, compared to Microsoft showcasing the most powerful gaming system ever made at E3 while continuosly saying that the games shown can be played on both the One S and One X. 

What's the point in spending $400 or $500 on a system where it's primary focus is showing games at 4K resolution when you don't have a 4K television and you lack the discretionary income to obtain such a TV? If you already have a PS4 or an XBox One there's no point as the games announced are already playable on these systems. No one outside the company can answer this no matter how hard they try. Because again discretionary income applies to a majority of gamers out there, many content with what they have waiting until they're in a position to upgrade a TV to 4K quality as the prices go down (give it another two years). 

The XBox One X is more of a next-gen console than mid-tier only Microsoft went against releasing or announcing any exclusive games for that system in particular as to not sway their messaging of a unified experience, or whatever. That's fine, if this is the "iPhone S" cycle for Microsoft and Sony only instead of new hardware every year it's every three years then by all means, but presenting it in such a grand setting construes expectations. And no one outside of the extraordinarily hardcore groups and tribal stans are going to spend $500 on this system when games like Anthem, Metro Exodus and many others are available on other systems or lower tiered systems (One S & PS4 Slim) where many players have their core group of friends who likely reside, there's no logical point.

Checkerboard Rendering | Discretionary Income is Quite Important to Consider

Sony should just leave E3, though the company really had nothing to prove it's hard to argue they're resting on their laurels though their hubris was subtely on display, at the same time there was little to no point in having a showcase in an auditorium, where all you're doing is a brief introduction, a small intermission, and a brief conclusion with one person, while showing nothing but trailers and some gameplay for an hour. The games that were shown went more indepth than what was shown last year, many first party exclusives coming in 2018 along with third party games presented by Microsoft, but that was it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. With 2017 at it's midpoint and content coming in the rest of the year, it'll be interesting to see how games such as Uncharted Lost Legacy, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, Destiny 2, and other titles fare as the year comes to a close. 

The items that don't fare well are those around PSVR, during thier trailer bonanza Sony showcased games that simply won't sell this...accessory(?), many of the games that were shown looked very much half-assed to be honest. There's no AAA title from any first or third party, in a way this could be argued that those titles may be in heavy development and the system is fairly new, but the onslaught of horror games in VR will run out of steam fast, if they haven't already. There's no story selling Playstation VR to the masses and for it to continue at it's $399 price, they won't be selling as many as the year and lack of content continue. 

As I said earlier Sony should just leave E3 and focus all of their attention on Playstation Experience, do something similar to Google I/O or Apple's WWDC, have your keynote at the beginning of the week, showcase some new games and eventually new hardware, do press events for the first day and a half and let playstation fans loose at AAA and indie games playable throughout the week with developers on hand to talk about their games with those in attendance. If this is how future showcases will take place at E3 from Sony they're better off leaving and going on their own. They might as well follow the Nintendo route with Playstation Direct or something in that vein at E3 and expound upon it at their own event later in the summer.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds | Uncharted The Lost Legacy 

Nintendo did what they usually do, they announced great games, a few surprises and went more indepth with the new Mario Odyssey. A flashy title card for Metro 4 coming in 2019, and more games on the way. With a stacked 2017, I'm curious of what will come in 2018, and there's no rush with new Zelda DLC on the way, Splatoon 2, a new Mario game, and plenty of indie titles, they're in a good position to keep their base and those new to the platform satisfied for quite some time.

But there's still the contingent who will complain no matter what because that's the way of the world in many cases unfortunately. With the plan of the remainder of 2017 loaded with new content on the way 2018 will be an interesting year as the Switch will have been on the market for close to a year (March 2018), with a growing user base in the event they can get out of their own way and produce the system at a capacity that meets demand which is strangely an issue they continue to experience, the story of content will be an interesting one. 

One brief consideration that has happened and will continue to happen, when a system such as the Switch at $299 continues to be difficult to obtain for a consumer with close to $350 to spend and the XBox One S and PS4 Slim are available with bundles at $250-$300, that consumer will go to one of those two systems, Nintendo will lose out on a sale that will multiply in the hundreds of thousands, the world will continue to spin, no one could be blamed but Nintendo. 

Super Mario Odyssey | Zelda DLC 

Podcasters & Journalists Try to Know What You're Talking About

When it comes to the podcasters who have in the past expressed they aren't journalists while practicing some modecum of journalism, try not to contradict yourselves in the same breathe. It's one thing to do it throughout the course of the week another thing to do it throughout the course of expressing a thought in incomplete sentences. 

Many seem to not know what they're saying when sharing information at a press event they were watching and listening to, if you're tired fine, but that happens, it doesn't excuse the fact of providing information that isn't true. In the case of exclusive content many at varying points stated with overconfidence that Anthem and Metro Exodus were exclusive to the XBox One, obviously this isn't true, and have yet to provide an addendum to their statements.

Do better

One podcaster who claims isn't a stan or the overused and extremely tiring phrase "fanboy" complained about those who complained about the price of the XBox One X comparing it to the lack of complaints about the price of the iPad Pro, ignoring the obvious, oblivious of the common sense, and lack of equivilency between the two products. This is profoundly ignorant, if you're just going to compare the most random of items the $750 Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile phone is significantly more expensive than the XBox One X...then again many forget how exactly they're paying for such items and the differences between them.

If you're bothered by the fact that many don't like the price of a system you yourself didn't develop, aren't marketing, receiving no residuals from, what exactly is the issue in general aside from the fact that people are attacking a company you've somehow unknowingly sworn allegiance to?

Do better

Sony PR needs to get their foot out of their mouths, you can't dismiss backward compatible games around the time you're about to have a presentation at E3, do that at a later date or don't do it at all. It was dumb and dismissive.

Do better

Phil Spencer and Microsoft need to come to a better conclusion in diction, it seems "exclusives" can go into several different areas and meanings. This is dumb, this is dumb in practice on Sony's end as well (Destiny 2), but with Microsoft conveying in the blandest of terms "exclusive" and that actually means "this is actually an exclusive world premier of gameplay that will be available on other platforms" you come off as being full of it.

Do better

Nintendo...has been doing ok...when it comes to console production...they need to do better.

Looking Ahead

It seems that the ESA tried their hand at making what was once an "exclusive 🤣" event for industry professionals and press making it available to the public ignored the stampede that would inevitably take place during the course of E3. But they got paid from the sale of tickets, so it's possible that they see things as growing pains. It's possible exhibitors may see this as a sign that they may need to find other routes. 

As I said, Sony should just ditch E3, Nintendo in a sense has already done so, Microsoft may be the lone hold out and have it to themselves until they find it more feasible to do an event that's similar to their Build Developer conference. This may be a business event where deals are taking place but times change, this won't be set in stone where deals are done here for the next couple of years. 

Only time will tell, and it appears that may come sooner than later.