E3 is wrapping up in Los Angeles this week. All major developers have held their respective press conferences this week. With the internet, it is hard for anything to make it to the Electronic Entertainment Expo without the rest of the world having at least an idea of it beforehand. This year is not the exception.
On Monday and Tuesday, the big three console makers Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo attempted to “Wow!” the public with what they had coming up. While the fans initial reactions were over the top, some announcements could prove more harm than good.
The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian may hold the record for most times a game has shown up at E3 without being published. The game from Sony has been in development since 2007, and it first made its appearance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo back in 2009. Since that time, it has been promised to the public more than once. The developers have never lost hope, and finally, the trailer was shown to the public Monday at Sony’s keynote.
While on the surface, this looks like great news to fans, and it will leave most PlayStation enthusiasts leaving E3 with a warm and fuzzy feeling. The problem can be summed up with one example: Duke Nukem Forever. In a similar way, Nukem was teased beginning in 1997. It had really become a joke among people in the gaming world, not unlike The Last Guardian. It finally did reach the public in 2011. Duke Nukem Forever was panned by players and critics alike.
The major problem that The Last Guardian will face is the expectations that the game will have to live up to. Kotaku said as much about the game back in 2014.
“Part of my longing for The Last Guardian comes from the time period when it was revealed. When Sony confirmed the game’s existence in 2009, the video game landscape looked different. By-the-numbers racers, shooters and action-adventure games dominated and indie game development—the risk-taking experimentalism that characterizes the best small-team titles—wasn’t as firmly established as it is now.”
Xbox One Backwards Compatibility
At the Microsoft E3 press conference Monday, the introduction of backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games had the most applause. It was met with a better response that Gears of War 4 or Halo 5. On the surface, this was Microsoft’s gem of the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo. This was the announcement that would put them over the top, and it was a huge dig at Sony.
“We won’t charge you for the games you already own.”
When the smoke clears and E3 is over, what does Microsoft gain from giving One users backwards compatibility? Those who can preview it right now get access to just 22 games, and by the 2015 Holiday season, they are said to have just 100 titles available. This brings huge costs to developing the emulation software it takes to pull this off, and Microsoft has already lowered the price of the system.
Another elephant in the room is the fact that at the launch of Xbox One, Microsoft was pretty adamant that they did not have any plans for this feature. Marc Whitten, then VP of Microsoft Live, spoke to the Verge and had this to say when asked if there were plans to support Xbox 360 games.
“No, there’s not. The system is based on a different core architecture, so back-compat doesn’t really work from that perspective. This isn’t about getting rid of the Xbox 360.”
At the very least, this is a bad business decision, because they spent a lot of money on something that will reap zero dollars to the bottom line. It is also one more thing Microsoft has had to backtrack on when it comes to the One.
Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift both showed up this year at E3. Many think this is the future of gaming. Why not show it off at the world’s largest entertainment expo? The main problem that virtual reality can expect to go up against is the initial price.
Oculus Rift is said to launch with a consumer version that will be in the neighborhood of $200. Project Morpheus pricing seems to be a bit steeper than that. Either headset will be at least half the cost of the system the games will be playing on. You needn’t look any further than Nintendo when it comes to the pricing of new technology.
The Nintendo 3DS was the first system to use 3D technology without the use of glasses. This drove the price of the system up, and consumers responded by not buying it. Why should Virtual Reality be any different?
E3 is always a fun time. It is harder to actually be surprised anymore, but the Electronic Entertainment Expo is still circled on most gamer’s calendars. Do you think the three mentioned here will give the pop that the companies are looking for? Let us know what you think about all of the E3 announcements.
[Photo by Electronic Entertainment Expo]