I have to preface this post by saying that I am going into this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo with a bias. Actually, I go into every E3 with a bias, and have every year since learning what E3 was. For me Playstation is king. My favorite franchises, favorite games, and favorite gaming memories have all taken place on the Playstation. That being said, up until the release of the PS4, Playstation fans had a bit of a rough run. Even I had to begrudgingly admit that Xbox had played all of the right cards during the third generation and for the most part dominated the console wars up until that point. I had to be one of the gamers who was defending my Playstation obsession based purely on loyalty and nostalgia, while crossing my fingers that in this most recent console generation they would do me right. Luckily my faith was not misplaced as so far Playstation has made a point to make up for their shortcomings with the PS3, namely their reliance on the before mentioned nostalgia as well as their deathgrip on the market in Japan to carry their sales). They made sure to lead in this console race and work to make sure they kept it. Hooray for them. This brings us to this year’s E3. In the weeks leading up to the event there have been rumblings that Xbox was starting to regain the lost ground on Playstation and could soon regain it’s spot as the boss man of gaming. Needless to say I spent yesterday watching the press conferences very carefully, assuming that whoever “won” E3 would be considered as the top dog of consoles at least for the foreseeable future. With Xbox being the first conference of the day on Monday I figured they would come out of the gate with guns blazing and try to set a dominant tone for the conference. They certainly did not disappoint. Rise of the Tomb Raider looks downright stunning (still kind of hurting that they were able to take a game as Playstation-centric as Tomb Raider and make it Xbox exclusive, at least for now). Sea of Thieves looks great, and Gears of War 4 is going to be killer. Xbox also had some great hardware announcements with their new controller and their backwards compatibility, as well as their new play wherever you are virtual reality headset. It was pretty freakin cool, although I am somewhat skeptical that it is actually going to work as well as it did on that pretty stage of theirs. Needless to say when their conference was done I was getting nervous. Playstation has shown that they know what it takes to be on top this time around however would they actually deliver? In the minutes leading up to their conference I told my wife that they were going to really have to make some over the top announcements if they were going to outdo what Xbox showed off that morning. Fast forward 90 minutes and the only thing I could say was “hoooooly shit”. The Last Guardian, a game whose mythos grew with each passing year and whose rise is surely a thing of legend at this point. Their new IP Horizon is still probably the game I’m going to be looking forward to the most coming out of this E3. I mean come on, The Last of Us, meets Jurassic Park, meets Lara Croft. Hell yes. No Man’s Sky is going to be a completionist’s nightmare or wet dream considering how committed they are to trying to finish an unfinishable game. The Final Fantasy VII remake took the nostalgic little boy in me and slapped him in the face with awesomeness. The new deal with Activision for Call of Duty (not really my cup of tea but a big deal nonetheless). All wrapped up with a jaw dropping gameplay demo of Uncharted 4, which was even able to lessen the sting of the whole Tomb Raider situation. Maybe. I still like looking at Lara Croft climbing those mountains a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit more that Nathan Drake.
I am sure there are those out there who will still say that Xbox stole the day, and at this point they will have alot more ammunition for their arguments after that strong showing. However for this gamer, Playstation was still the brightest star in the eye-candy fest and I think that I am with the majority this time instead of the vocal minority. For now Playstation will maintain it’s position as the best selling and best performing console of this generation. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two console giants flip flop at least once if not multiple times over the next few years, and really I am ok with that. The competition leads to innovation and excellence in my opinion, although at times it does lead to someone getting shafted if they don’t have both consoles (once again for the cheap seats TOMB RAIDER). Regardless of opinion on who is on top one thing that I am sure everyone can agree on is that over the next few years there are a ton of things to be excited for and no matter where your loyalties lie, this is truly the best time to be a gamer.
Game on Friends!