E3 Press Conferences – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The first day of E3 2013 is over, kind of. The Monday before the convention actually opens up is known as press conference day, when all of the big names in gaming come together to show us what they have in store for the convention. Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony all held press conferences on Monday this year, with Nintendo deciding to opt out, instead hosting one of its normal Nintendo Direct conferences on Tuesday. It’s tradition to discuss who “won” and who “lost” press conference day (usually because one or two conferences are just so bad you have to wonder how the people responsible for them still have a job). However, this year, everyone did a decent job, which means good things for gamers.
Microsoft’s conference actually had games in it this time! Microsoft showed off a bunch of titles that look really fun, like Project Spark for the creative gamers out there, Titanfall for the shooter fanatics, and of course, a new exclusive fighter in the revival of Killer Instinct. Dead Rising 3 also looked cool, though it appears to have lost its trademark goofiness. Overall, there were a few titles that gamers will really want to get their hands on, and it was a very redeeming performance for Microsoft who has been coming under fire for its DRM policies recently.
EA’s conference showed off some blockbuster games like Battlefield 4, with its 64 player battles, Need for Speed: Rivals, with what appeared to be sentient cars, and a host of next-gen sports titles. There were some bizarre times such as a beat poet doing a performance about basketball for NBA Live 14, UFC's Dana White telling the audience they want players to feel like they've been punched in the face when playing EA UFC, and rapper Drake coming on stage to essentially say, “I like FIFA.” The conference was amusing, but the actual gaming content was big enough to outweigh the strangeness.
Ubisoft’s conference was hosted by Aisha Tyler again, and she was as awkward as ever, randomly mentioning sex and murder, and laughing it off as the audience stayed silent. At this point, I have to believe that Ubisoft is making its press conferences awkward on purpose. Ubisoft’s conference didn’t have much new to show us, but we did get to see some awesome footage from already revealed titles like Assassin’s Creed 4, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rayman: Legends, and Watch Dogs. We also got to see Tom Clancy's The Division, a new open-world post-apocalyptic shooter. Ubi's reveals were great, and the conference was less awkward, but it wasn't as impressive as some of the other events on Monday.
However, the clear winner of the day was Sony. While the conference started with a long-winded rant about how they will have movie and TV streaming services on the PS4, and the disappointing reveal of the PS4 itself, which basically looks like a VCR, the conference eventually picked up with some amazing reveals. New trailers for Final Fantasy 15 (the renamed Final Fantasy 13 Versus) and Kingdom Hearts 3 made JRPG fans drool all over themselves. There’s a brand new IP coming from Ready at Dawn (part of Sony Santa Monica) called The Order: 1886. It's a Victorian steam-punk zombie shooter, and though . Even the PlayStation 4's indie line-up, including Galak-Z, a new shooter animated by sprite artist Paul Robertson, looks amazing.
Sony's biggest announcements came in a block of time that was essentially devoted to firing shots at Microsoft. First of all, Sony announced the PS4 would cost only $399, or $100 less than the Xbox One. Secondly, it announced that the PS4 is completely DRM-free. You don’t have to connect to the internet at all to play any games. You can buy, sell, and trade your games as you like, as well. You aren’t limited by your accounts or your primary device. You simply use the same business model we have been using for ages. The audience went absolutely wild, and reaffirmed feelings Microsoft's plans weren't what longtime gamers or consumers were interested in supporting. It brought back memories of the old days of, “Genesis does what Nintendon’t.”
What did you think of the press conferences? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check back for more coverage of E3 all this week on Arcade Sushi!