In between Monday’s press conferences for Microsoft and Sony, the usual publishers got their work in. Electronic Arts, twice named the Worst Company in America, was the first to show off their new wares at E3. Actually, no, they didn’t show off much new. In fact, apart from some new trailers, I don’t think the word new should be used anywhere near this media briefing.
The only problem was that all the delays over the last year meant that there seemed to be no room for Ubisoft to unveil new IPs at E3 this year. Instead, new games were the last thing on Ubi’s mind this year as they focused on established franchises and delayed games for this year’s E3. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was their 2013 E3 keynote on repeat.
For the second straight year, Nintendo forewent the big press event and instead kicked off the first official day of E3 with a special Nintendo Direct video conference. While it might scream of a company bleeding cash, it may not have been a bad idea this year. With neither Sony nor Microsoft setting the world on fire with their media briefings, the door was open for the white brand to make a big impression.
Not only did they have a big opportunity, they took it and got people excited about Nintendo for the first time in a few years.
Some seven hours after the Xbox media briefing ended, it was Sony’s turn to try to impress gamers with their keynote to close out Monday’s E3 action. Unlike the green brand, the PlayStation crew used their 90-minute presser to mix their game previews with some new hardware and entertainment offerings. As a result, the middle of the presser dragged a little bit relative to the Xbox one but did the rest of what was shown impress more than what Microsoft had to offer.
When the Xbox One was unveiled last year and presented again at E3 last June, the focus wasn’t really on the games. Microsoft was more interested in pitching the Xbox One as an all-in-one entertainment unit for the living room by touting the entertainment apps and Kinect integration. Between not worrying about the games, the lingering DRM controversy and a price point $100 higher than the PlayStation 4, Microsoft has been in catch up mode for the last twelve months.
It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. With new Xbox division boss Phil Spencer at the helm, this year’s Microsoft E3 press conference was all about the games. The Kinect was hardly mentioned. Entertainment apps may as well not have existed.