E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re in the video game industry in any way possible, you have absolutely no excuse to not be following the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). E3 is a gamer holiday; it’s to me, what the Superbowl is to most Americans. I watch the live streams, join in on the swarm of comments that hit the internet while it’s live (and in the hours to follow), eat good food, and drink, it’s a great time.
I put emphasis on the “absolutely no excuse” bit, because sadly, so many people in the game industry just don’t care about the non-indie side things. I’ve found, from various developers and active members in the flash / mobile game industry, that there’s the idea that us non-AAA developers are in an entirely different world. While there’s definitely truth to this, as far as our markets go, etc, there’s still so much we have in common, and it outrages me to hear these horse-shit opinions. No matter what part of the game industry you’re in, one thing is constant, games. We all make and play games (if you’re one of those indie developers who doesn’t play games, go die in a fire, seriously). If you’re a game developer, you can only benefit by exposing yourself to as many games as possible. I thrive on experiencing new gameplay mechanics, and thinking of how to mix them with existing ideas to form something new, and I strongly believe that all game developers should do this too. I could write a whole article discussing this topic, so I’ll leave it at this, you owe it to yourself to follow gaming of any kind, if you don’t already, get on it.
The Big Three
As always, the show is always about Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Like them or hate them, these three companies have shaped the game industry more than anyone in the world. Every year, predictions buzz around the net days before the conference, in an attempt to get an idea of what each company will have to offer at their conference. Unless Microsoft and Sony have done an amazing job fooling the press and public about not showing their new consoles, Nintendo actually has a decent chance at totally dominating the show. With the motto “Innovation Unveiled”, and Nintendo confirmed to be showing off the Wii U, it seems that even the organizers of the expo themselves share this thought.
Microsoft will be kicking things off this morning at 12:30pm EST (9:30 am PT), and little is known about what they’ll be showing off. We know for certain that Halo 4 and Gears of War 4 will be the focus of their gameplay demonstrations, what other games are in store for us is mostly unknown. We also know that they’ll be focusing on pushing xbox as an entertainment hub, rather than just a gaming console. I predict a new xbox dashboard unveiling, as well as some more partnerships with other popular members of the film and music industries. I’d be extremely surprised if we saw anything on the xbox 720, or “Durango”, but I wont’ rule anything out.
Nintendo is an open book as far as their conference goes. We know they’ll be showing off the Wii U, and that they’ll be pushing it hard. Nintendo has a huge opportunity to get some new customers, as they’ll be the only company (that we know of thus far) with a new console out this holiday. If they leave the conference with an overall positive impression on their new console, advertising and being the only new console this holiday will take care of the dirty work for them. Aside from the Wii U, Nintendo will also push the 3DS. They’ll definitely be showing off whatever quality games they have coming for the system, and that’s going to be extremely important for them, as the initial lineup of games was absolutely horrible. I predict they may unveil a new “3DS Lite” or other revision of the system, but with the Wii U being their primary focus, I can’t be too sure about this; we’ll just have to wait and see.
Sony is most definitely going to focus on games, games, and more games, which isn’t a bad thing at all. They’ve got “The Last of Us” to show off, as well as the Super Smash Brothers Clone (not hating, just stating the obvious) Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale. We’ll also see Sony pushing the PS Vita a lot, and hopefully we’ll get a price drop to below $200, as the system has been hurting due to that price (seriously Sony, learn from Nintendo). There’s almost no chance at all we’ll get any details on the PS4, so don’t expect it. As for predictions, we may see some popular franchises moved to the Vita, but I’m really not sure which.
Regardless of what the above companies reveal, one thing is for sure, the show is sure to get me hyped about the game industry, and fill me with inspiration. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Nintendo shows off the Wii U on Tuesday, as I’m still on the fence about the console. I see it’s potential, but I also see some major drawbacks, so I’ll just have to see how I feel after the show. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Borderlands 2 in action, as that’s sure to be a great game, and an even better drinking game (4 person LAN play with custom drinking rules is a fantastic time). All in all, I’m excited for the conference this year, and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.
Live Streams Schedule
The live stream can be viewed from any major gaming website (G4, GameTrailers, Gamespot, IGN, etc), so pick your favorite and check the times below.
(Gamespot Live Streams)
Monday June 4th
9:30 am PT – Microsoft Press Conference
1:00 pm PT – EA Press Conference
3:00 pm PT – Ubisoft Press Conference
6:00 pm PT – Sony Press Conference
Tuesday June 5th
9:00 am PT – Nintendo Press Conference