E3 Preview: What needs to happen

This coming Tuesday the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will begin.For those unfamiliar with the event, E3 is an annual gaming fair that showcases off new games and press conferences by major game developers. It is the biggest event in the video game industry. The press conferences of the Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are points of interest because all three companies have a home-gaming console on the market. These press conferences are even more important this year because all three companies are going into E3 facing a particular challenge. Unlike previous years, no company has a clear advantage meaning whatever happens could decide the outcome of the next generation of consoles. While there are many things that could happen, here’s a rundown of what needs to happen for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in order for them to improve their current situation.

Nintendo

Though it’s been nearly half a year since the Wii U was released, it’s arguable if Nintendo has any advantage over the competition. The Wii U is badly struggling in sales due to a very simple problem; there aren’t any good games to play on the Wii U. The closest thing the Wii U has to a system seller is ZombiU or New Super Mario Bros. U, but these aren’t enough. There are promising games on the way such as the long-awaited Pikmin 3 or a director’s cut of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but they aren’t big enough games to sell a console. This year at E3, Nintendo needs to showcase as many high quality games as possible. Most importantly, Nintendo must reveal or at the very least announce, a new Zelda game for the Wii U. The Zelda franchise is easily the biggest among hardcore gamers. A Zelda game is exactly what the Wii U needs. If Nintendo released a Zelda game this holiday season for the Wii U, the system will sell dramatically better.

Alternatively, they could just make another god-damn port of Ocarina of Time.

Sony

Sony is in an interesting position. Much of the skepticism of the Playstation 4 has faded away in the wake of the Xbox One reveal, there is a window of opportunity for Sony to take advantage of. Sony needs to lay all their cards on the table at E3. They should start by actually showing their new console, a starting price and a release date. There are also many questions about the social-media functions of the PS4, For example, players will be able to upload gameplay footage to Youtube, but to what extent will they be able to edit the footage? Can players add a voice track for commentary or this is simply a way to have players market the PS4 for Sony? They should answer as many of these questions as possible. There’s also games, Sony is doing better in this area than most they need to show off what their new system is capable of. The PS3s biggest strength was its library of exclusive games; Sony should build on this momentum by showing off as many first-party titles as possible. If Sony can exit E3 looking better than the competition, they will be in a very good position to sell more consoles.

It may look pretty, but how many people do you think are lining up to buy the new Killzone?

Microsoft

Much of what Microsoft needs to do at E3 can be classified as damage control, at least among gamers. The mainstream media (non-gaming websites) is mostly on-board with the Xbox One, but hardcore gamers, though they may turn out to be a loud minority, have few positive things to say about the new Xbox. The ipad was able to succeed despite a loud minority but it remains to be seen if the same can be said about the Xbox One. There are a lot of questions that need answering. Microsoft needs to clarify the function of used-games and the issue of a mandatory internet connection. There should be no more questions about these issues when E3 is over. The Kinect demos also needs to stop; they were mainstays of the previous E3 press conferences and both times were cringe-worthy. Obviously the Kinect is a huge part of the Xbox One but Microsoft’s priority should be with appeasing the people who will actually watch their press conference. Microsoft needs to show off newer games but also old-favorites such as Call of Duty and Halo. If they can win back their alienated player base, Microsoft will gain a lot from E3. Admittedly, this a list of things I feel Microsoft should do, but given the direction the company is going in, Microsoft could ignore every suggestion here and still “do well” at E3.

Conclusion

You may have noticed a pattern developing for the three console-makers. The primary goal of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo is essentially to show off more games. There is no gaming console that can achieve financial success without having good games to play it on. The Xbox 360 struggled to sell until 2006 when Oblivion and Gears of War were released. The PS3 floundered until 2008 when exclusives such as Little Big Planet, Infamous and Metal Gear Solid 4 came out. Finally the Wii, which literally sold out at every available retailer, owes its runaway success to Wii Sports, a game that piqued the interest of non-gamers. No amount of peripherals, social media features, or media integration will sell a console. Good games sell video game consoles. Hopefully, at least one of the three companies will remember this Tuesday.

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About Sam Hale

Autistic, young adult and lots on my mind.

Posted on June 6, 2013, in Editorials and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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