E3 is to video gamers, what Comic Con International in San Diego is to comic book nerds. It is like Christmas waking up everyday to huge announcements that pertain to the world of video games and electronics. For millions, it might as well be a religious week.
Several huge hardware announcements took center stage at last year’s edition of E3. In fact, the heated battle between the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 kicked off at last year’s E3. 2013 would go on to become “the year of the console wars,” as made famous by the South Park three-part episode “Black Friday” in which friends live and die by their choice of video game console. The console wars have since cooled down with Sony pulling ahead in console sales, but in comes E3 2014 to prod the elephant in the room; what will these gaming industry giants do with all of the next-gen technology packed into these over-hyped consoles?
The 2014 conference is now well underway with more huge unveils than ever. Sony has already announced PlayStation TV, a new TV streaming service similar to Apple TV, but with access to stream over 1,000 PlayStation gaming titles. The small TV box is expected to be available for $99 or $139 with a controller, an unbelievable value in a market of over-priced next-gen consoles. Sony also debuted its new virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, which is set to steal a great deal of momentum from the recently Facebook acquired Oculus Rift. Sony and Oculus will provide full on emersion VR, whereas Google Glass provides a more active VR experience. All in all, it’s beginning to look like the fabled virtual reality of years past could become common place in the very near future. Think more Star Trek holodeck than Nintendo Virtual Boy.
It’s difficult to decide which of Sony’s new services and products will be most impactful, but you can rest assured that they are ruffling all the right feathers. Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, GameFly, and GameStop are just a few of the companies that will be affected by these monumental announcements.
Microsoft has also already held their major press event, which has seemingly been left in the shadows of Sony’s heavy reveal. Sure, there will be over two-dozen new Xbox exclusive games including two new Halo offerings, a new Fable installment and Sunset Overdrive, but it all really seeks to highlight the “revolutionary” status bestowed upon the Xbox One at last year’s conference. There is nothing too revolutionary out of Microsofts corner this year other than a gimmicky price-break in the Xbox One, which really only allows you to buy one without the Kinect hardware. What was promised to be a life changing household centerpiece, has become another console box with new games.
All in all, the winners of E3 are not the console makers, but the video game studios. Rainbow Six, Tomb Raider, Call of Duty, Crackdown, Final Fantasy, Fallout, Uncharted, Halo, Zelda, and Assasin’s Creed are just a few of the awesome franchises seeing new releases, along with hundreds of other games that have or will be revealed during the week. Sure, E3 2014 won’t mean new consoles or any immediate updates to existing hardware technology, but I think that’s a good thing. Video games are supposed to be about playing new and exciting games and having fun with friends, not battling over which console holds the meaning of life.
– Joseph Noga, Contributing Blogger | FirstCom Music