E3 – The (Re)Birth of the Current Generation?


E3 2014 Predictions by Psychic Steve

Last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo showed us the visions of the 8th generation of consoles, so what does this year have in store for gamers?


Microsoft disappointed fans by showing the Xbox One as a TV box and through this, emanated a general lack of understanding of who their fan base is. And so, a year on, we are still waiting for the One to catch up to the experience of its predecessor, the Xbox 360. Its system user-interface is still far behind in comparison to that of the 360. It can be clunky which at times makes it difficult to find what one is looking for, and generally takes far too many clicks to get where you want to go. The €100 difference between the Xbox One and Playstation 4 was justified by telling gamers that the Kinect 2.0 would enhance the overall experience, yet nothing of that sort is anywhere in sight (despite all of this, I still own one!).


The games line-up was solid, though unspectacular; Ryse: Son of Rome was a God of War clone that under delivered on almost every aspect, Dead Rising 3 was rather average in terms of gameplay, lacking in terms of both thrills and interesting narrative and Zoo Tycoon did not deserve the name or its hefty price tag, leaving its predecessors turning in their graves. Forza 5 was essentially a free to play game, that invariably cost gamers the full price of admission, whilst Killer Instinct was a nice attempt at doing a free to play fighter, though it lacked a variety of play modes. The only games that really stood out for me were FIFA 2014 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, both of which are multi-platform. Titanfall is now the obvious reason to buy the Xbox One at the moment, if you are the only gamer in the household, but as soon as there are two or more players hoping for a couch co-op session, the selection of exclusives goes down to zero.

At the moment the One is still catching dust and waiting for some great exclusive games, which deliver on story, game-play, couch-coop, and that incredible current generation experience that we have been promised.


What can Microsoft do to get back on track?
Microsoft needs to show why we paid €100 more than its counterpart, they need to show us new IPs and great follow ups to current franchises that are only possible on the One. They need to give us games that we can enjoy with others in the same room, not experiences that are entirely Kinect based, and no more games that are reliant exclusively on online multi-player. They need to make us want to say goodbye to the trusty 360.


What they will probably do!
Microsoft will, no doubt, show us more ways to watch TV and how they aspire to integrate it even more. To showcase this, they will likely demonstrate the connection between the forthcoming Quantum Break video game and TV show, as well as the Spielberg produced Halo TV show that will surely tie in with some derogatory Halo game. They will no doubt bore us with a new Kinect dancing game (Harmonix have already stated that they are not finished with Dance Central, after all), sports games and some more family friendly efforts thrown in for good measure. It is likely that a new Mass Effect will be teased, and a fail safe trailer of Halo 5.

They will show a few unannounced titles which will not be released before March 2015, if not later. Also, prolonged support and a new line-up for the 360 will be announced whilst probably showcasing a virtual reality concept, which will be available in early 2015 (pre-order now to get something that you do not need!).


Sony was touted as the blatant winner of E3 2013, by delivering a presentation on games and provided fans with an insight into where they see their business heading. What was a lot of fun to watch were the constant “bitch-slaps” they gave Microsoft, starting with the PS4 costing €100 less and ending in the “how easy it is to share games on PS4” video. I felt that they showed us gamers that they still have that certain spark and how they care what we want, while also giving us a glimpse of what will be in the future.


The launch line-up of the PS4 was dominated by multiplatform and downloadable games. With only two exclusive boxed games, Sony was severely lacking in that area. Knack was poor, it clearly needed a few more months in development, as there were still too many in level cut scenes at release, giving a fragmented experience. It was also missing many elements which make Nintendo’s Mario games inspired and fun. Killzone: Shadowfall was a completely average shooter that delivered great graphics and a strong online mode, though precious little else. The story of which, was inspired by a divided Berlin, though this could certainly have been handled better, Guerrilla still have a lot to learn in terms of story telling!


What can Sony do to come out on top again?
Sony needs to build upon the promises they made in 2013, and most quite frankly, they need to show us a launch ready version of their cloud service, Playstation Now. The best case scenario for them would be launching the service during the event, offering it free to PS+ subscribers, and perhaps most of all, Sony needs to give us exclusive games that solidify the PS4 as the leader of the 8th generation of consoles.


What they will probably do!
Sony will probably announce a few new exclusive games, some of which will surely be new IPs. They will announce a release date for The Last Guardian and showcase their cloud service for TV and Movies, whilst announcing a release date of the cloud service Playstation Now, along with specific pricing. Sony will likely announce a PS4 and PS Vita bundle containing at least 3 months PS+ and cloud service included. With that, Sony will say that the death of the Vita is a long time away, though that still remains to be seen. They will probably use Bungie’s Destiny to show off the compatibility of the PS4 and Vita, they will likely show off Uncharted 4 on both PS4 and Vita, and perhaps a few other new exclusives besides.


Nintendo really did their own thing in 2013 with their Nintendo Direct format. They under delivered and were completely out-shined by their competitors, which was foreseeable with the launch of the One and PS4.


What Nintendo needs to do to get back on top!
Nintendo needs to go all out. They need to show new games from all of their franchises. They need to announce an online service that it is up to snuff with today’s standards, whilst going mobile with games using their current IPs and delivering great experiences that will be interconnected to their Wii U and DS games. Ultimately, they need to pull another innovation for the whole industry out of their hat, one that will blow our minds. They need to announce a cooperation with Disney to bring their franchises on to the movie screen. Most of all, they just need to be there!


What they probably will do!
Nintendo will announce a new Zelda, Metroid and F-Zero. They will announce that they are going mobile and call the service “Nintendo World”, launching Christmas 2014.

So will we see the (re)birth of the 8th console generation? Yes we will!

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