E3 has come and gone, with leaks abound and a few surprises that stayed hidden. Unlike last year where I did a best and worst of E3, I thought I’d broaden the scope and look at the trends that have begun to emerge that could affect our wallets. This is my take on E3 so I won’t be covering everything. If I missed something, I would suggest you go to your preferred gaming website of choice or check out our friends at Mid Shelf Gaming on YouTube who should be doing their E3 reactions in the near future.
Game Streaming and Subscriptions Will Become the New Norm
I have said this a million times and I’ll say it again; Netflix has disrupted the entertainment industry to its core. Media giants, Disney and Warner, went on spending sprees to build large content libraries to create their own streaming subscription services. Now, game companies have begun to see streaming and subscription services as a way to earn recurring revenue. Gaming subscriptions aren’t entirely new. Companies such as Gamefly and services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Gold have been around for years. What has changed is consumer expectations of value-per-dollar and of course technology becoming cheap enough to make game streaming possible. The rise of streaming and subscriptions were everywhere at E3. Ubisoft announced their subscription service Uplay+ and their partnership with Google Stadia. Microsoft expanded its Xbox Game Pass to PC and pushed their xCloud technology. Bethesda announced its streaming optimization program, Origin. Publishers are betting big that streaming and subscriptions will become the new normal in the not-too-distant future.
Microsoft Buys Double Fine
Psychonauts is one of my favorite games of all time. It started a strong affection for Psychonauts developer Double Fine. What made me love Double Fine games is that no matter the genre, Double Fine always brought a funny and unique sensibility to their games.
I understand why this purchase happened. Microsoft has been purchasing studios left and right from Obsidian Entertainment to Ninja Theory to expand their first party lineup to compete with Sony and Nintendo. Microsoft also knows Double Fine has a dedicated fanbase that will buy anything they release. On Double Fine’s side of the equation, they have a history of financial instability. Being acquired by Microsoft allows Double Fine to not have to worry about funding anymore and remain focused on the creative side of their business. I am happy for Double Fine, but this purchase is just a reminder of the ever widening gap in the game industry between Indie developers and publishers. No studio, once they reach a certain size, can stay independent forever.
Nintendo Wins E3 But Don’t They Win Every Year?
Now before you reach out for your pitchforks and torches dear reader, if I had to pick a binary winner, it would be Nintendo. Getting release dates for major franchises like Zelda and Animal Crossing and the Switch continuing to be the porting powerhouse with collections of Contra and The Secret of Mana were big hits with fans.
There were also some big surprises. I never thought in my wildest dreams there would be a Panzer Dragoon remake let alone Banjo-Kazooie being a playable fighter in Smash would happen. That being said, Nintendo has a large fanbase that has grown up playing their games. That nostalgia for the Nintendo games of their childhood effects fans emotions which help Nintendo “win” E3, no matter what the other publishers bring. But why does their need to be a definitive winner and a loser of E3? The rise of fandom culture and consumerism plays a big part in this winner-loser mentality, but I’ll leave this debate to our resident consumerism theorist and scholar Sully.
Leaks Ruin the Fun of E3
The one aspect about E3 that hasn’t changed in all its years is the child-like excitement and surprise it can produce in fans. Holidays and birthdays just become another day as we get older, but E3 surprises can produce moments of pure joy in grown adult men and women. I understand the desire to break a news story, but leaks suck all the excitement out of E3 announcements. The announcement for Elden Ring, the upcoming collaboration between Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, would’ve been a huge surprise, had the collaboration not been leaked weeks in advance to the press. When Elden Ring was revealed at the Xbox press conference, it received a deadly silence which wouldn’t have happened had Elden Ring not been leaked.
Some E3 Final Thoughts not Long Enough for a Paragraph
- Shinji Mikami, co-creator of the Resident Evil franchise and director of Resident Evil 1 and RE4, got less applause than the Human NPC in Fallout 76. This should be considered a crime.
- The latest Just Dance game is coming to the Wii?! Color me surprised!
- Why do game companies love rock songs slowed down, sung by female singers in their trailers?
- The spiritual successor to Jaws Unleashed, Maneater, did not get a release date. Boo!
- I hope the next Smash character DLC reveal is Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza franchise
- That Zelda Dungeon Maker in the Link’s Awakening remake will get its own game at some point
- Developers: STOP MAKING “NOW IN DEVELOPMENT” ANNOUNCEMENTS. IT’S A WASTE OF TIME. I KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ANOTHER ZELDA OR ELDER SCROLLS GAME. WE ALL KNOW.
What were your favorite moments or game revival from this year’s E3?
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(I love that the ‘Doug Bowser’ jokes never end. The only thing that was missing was MY SON BOWSER JR!?)