E3 2013: We grade each press conference and declare a “winner”
Authored by Pixel Enemy Staff
Now that E3 is officially over, we thought it would be best if we acknowledge how each company did in their presser, what we thought of each and of course, who we think “won” E3.
Detailed and graded below are each of the staff members’ grades, analyses and their pick on who walked away from E3 as the victor.
So, enough chit-chat, read on below on what the Pixel Enemy staff thought of each conference.
Electronic Arts (EA):
Andrew Esposito: Man, EA really delivered the good this year, didn’t they? They showed game after game, and showed off some impressive titles. Titanfall had me floored. The guys at Respawn Entertainment really know what it means to make a great shooter. The addition of mechs into the game looked amazing as well. Really excited to see more on that game.
The Battlefield 4 multiplayer demo was a thing of beauty. The destruction was awesome, 64 players is sweet, and it just looks fun. The big surprise though? Plants versus Zombies: Garden Warfare…give it to me now! Overall a great showing by EA today.
Mack Ashworth: EA are great at getting us excited about new games. Their E3 event showed many interesting new titles; from the epic Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror’s Edge 2, to the brilliant Battlefield 4. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare looked surprisingly badass too.
Matt Hadden: EA kicked off with a new PvZ game which was a totally different type of game for the franchise, still looked pretty cool though. Then we had some Star Wars, got onto a load of boring stuff about sports, football, NBA and whatnot and then the big one, Battlefield 4. They showed BF4 and it blew everyone’s minds, an entire sky scraper going down? Hell yeah. Oh and then we got Mirror’s Edge 2 and that pretty much just won everyone over completely, ME2 was pretty much expected after all the leaks and it’s nice to have it confirmed.
Patrick Day-Childs: EA really impressed me this year, opening with Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare was a little bit of a risk; but it paid off, then to announce Peggle 2 like that!? Amazing. Dragon age 3 got me excited, I adored the first one, the second one? Well not so much. Battlefield 4 video was perfection, I haven’t liked a Battlefield game since Bad Company 1, so this is EA’s chance to win me over. Closing on Mirror’s Edge 2 shows that EA know what their fans want.
Zarmena Khan: Mirror’s Edge 2 was the highlight of EA’s conference despite the franchise experiencing mild sales thus far. I’m looking forward to it, but not satisfied with the release date of “coming when ready!”
Alex Co: EA, while not really dropping any bombs (Mirror’s Edge 2 was leaked weeks before), still had a solid showing. EA Sports UFC seems to be shaping up well, NBA Live is even making a comeback for next-gen, and of course, Battlefield 4! What they showed for BF4 was not really groundbreaking, but honestly, it doesn’t need to be. 64 players on 60fps on next-gen consoles? Count me in!
Andrew Esposito: The French are weird. Ubisoft’s press conference started out slow with Rock Smith but quickly begane to pick up steam with games like Rayman: Legends and Watch_Dogs. The thing about Ubisoft press conferences is that they show more CGI trailers than gameplay ones, which is always a bummer. I would’ve liked to see some gameplay out of Splinter Cell: Blacklist instead of that shitty trailer we got.
Leave it to Ubisoft though, they always end on a strong note, and they did just that again. Tom Clancy’s The Division looks phenomenal. The weakest of the conferences today, but not horrible.
Mack Ashworth: Like EA, Ubisoft pretty much nailed it too. Splinter Cell: Blacklist was shown off extensively, and looked great. The Crew, with its persistent online world, looked unique and impressive. Then we had the new IP: Tom Clancy’s The Division. It looked bloody awesome, and is easily the Ubisoft game I’m most excited about.
Matt Hadden: Ubisoft also put on a solid effort, a lot of good games coming out and they announced some unknown ones such as The Crew and The Division both of which look really good and tempted me to buy them the moment they are released. Also got some stuff on Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Watch Dogs, I don’t often say it but Ubisoft have got some really good games coming out!
Patrick Day-Childs: Ubisoft did well too! I have a love/hate relationship with Ubisoft, for every game I love they release three that I don’t like, but buy anyway. They had three games that are interesting to me, Watchdogs, Assassin’s Creed 4 and The Division which is my personal game of the show. But not that much really jumped out for me, South Park the Stick of Truth should be good, but we’re yet to actually see anything from the game.
Zarmena Khan: I’m still on the fence about Assassin’s Creed IV, but very hopeful about Watch Dogs, and interested to see how it turns out. The concept is unique, and the game looks gorgeous.
Alex Co: Ubisoft once again dropped a “megaton” at E3 same as last year when it unveiled Watch_Dogs. While I didn’t really care much for the new Just Dance, Assassin’s Creed, and whatnot, The Division looked like one amazing game. I still find it hard to believe it’s an MMORPG; but one thing it did convey with conviction was that the game is next-gen fare…and it looked it.
Andrew Esposito: Nintendo started off day “2″ of E3 with a bang. This Nintendo Direct had a lot of what Wii U fans wanted…software. Both Mario games look fantastic (Mario Kart 8, New Super Mario World), and Smash Brothers looks incredible. Mega Man looks like a ton of fun to play. I was also really intrigued by the new Monolith soft project. The new Donkey Kong Country was a pleasant surprise as well.
I probably won’t download Wind Waker HD for a while (with such great games out/on the horizon) but it’s neat for those people who didn’t experience it the first time. I would have loved to see a new, HD Zelda game or Metroid game, but those will come in due time. Overall I really enjoyed this Nintendo Direct and am looking forward to some great software (both on the Wii U and 3DS).
Mack Ashworth: I’m going to treat Nintendo like they’re a grown-up. Great exclusives? Sure. Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario World 3D and Bayonetta 2 all looked great. Pokémon X and Y looked impressive too, impressive in the way that Pokémon games still remain to repeatedly use the exact same formula, and still sell like hotcakes. People like “collecting ‘em all” I guess. All 700+ of them… A teaser for a new IP gave me some hope.
However, aside from that, it was more of the same. How are people still not sick of Mario games? And, where the hell is the new Zelda title?!
Matt Hadden: Well, Nintendo certainly announced a few good games for this didn’t they, a new Mario Kart, Super Donkey Kong 3D and Super Smash Bros? That’s sure to get a few people interested. All of these for the Wii U as well, hey it might help the Wii U but I’m doubtful of it.
Patrick Day-Childs: Nintendo stole the show for me. Nintendo will always have a place in my heart as my childhood heroes. So all they had to do was not shit on me and they would win, that’s right pure fanboyism won E3 for Nintendo. The second they started the Super Smash Brothers trailer they had me. And the new Pokémon X & Y look fantastic. They can seriously take all of my money. Bayonetta 2 looks amazing for gameplay but it looks like they’ve reeled in the whole sexual nature of it, which is what made the game for me…So that was a little disappointing. But the best part of Nintendo’s segment? No new Wii U slim or 3DS XL! Well done, Nintendo.
Grade: Over 9,000 (A)
Williams Pelegrin: With Microsoft somewhat faltering and Sony not showing off that much new software, Nintendo had the possibility of becoming the dark horse and having a killer conference. While Nintendo didn’t really nail it 100%, Nintendo did a great job of creating optimism for the Wii U. We expected a Mario game for the Wii U, as well as Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS, but even so, they looked great.
In addition, Donkey Kong Country and Mario Kart for the Wii U were shown off in all their glory. The 3DS barely had a presence, but the way it’s performing, Nintendo did right on focusing on Wii U games. Nintendo set out to create an optimistic horizon for the Wii U, and it succeeded in spades.
Zarmena Khan: Despite Nintendo being a childhood favorite of mine, I have to admit that over the years, I’ve grown out of their target market segment. They need to focus more on hardware than revamping the same old titles. The old Wii was my last purchase, and this year’s E3 hasn’t changed that.
Alex Co: Here’s the thing with Nintendo: If you’re watching their Nintendo Direct and expecting third-party exclusives, you’re watching the wrong show. But even so, Nintendo delivered with new IPs, Bayonetta 2 and so much more. There were new Mario games and Super Smash Bros. announced, which are to be expected. I think Nintendo almost stole the entire event, and it certainly made me think of buying a Wii U which never crossed my mind before now.
Andrew Esposito: Microsoft started the day out strong. After the Xbox One was shown a few weeks ago, we we promised that E3 was going to be all about games, games, games….and boy, did we get games. I really enjoyed what I saw our of Ryse. Yes, it is a little heavy on the quick-time-events, but it looks to be a good action game. Quantum Break also looked good. I am a huge fan of Remedy’s games and it will be interesting to see how the television show/gameplay tie into one another.
The real bombshell of the event came when Microsoft announced the price. At a whopping $499, it’s a tad too steep, and made me upset. All in all thought, I liked what I saw out of Microsoft one the games front, but wasn’t too pleased about the price.
Rob Newberry: Microsoft had a great showing and pushed aside all the nonsense we heard about televisions and sports from the Xbox One event in May. I think there was only one mention of ‘television’ the whole night, so they certainly had their ear to the ground as far as what the public was clamoring for – plenty of games, with real in-game footage. It all looked good for Microsoft until they mentioned the price of the Xbox One – it’s expensive, and if you’re living in the UK, it’s even more expensive. As far as the presentation was concerned – they nailed it, and they needed to. Now, let’s start talking about that used games and DRM always-on crap shall we?
Mack Ashworth: Showed off the best set of exclusives and a new Xbox 360 design which I liked a lot. However Microsoft’s always-on vision, and the sheer arrogance and ignorance of the Xbox representatives, were both major turn-offs for me. Good exclusives, weak video game console.
Matt Hadden: Microsoft needed to do something rather large to save the bad image that they had building from their reveal and they kind of did, they announced a release date, price etc. and got some games revealed, release date was good, price wasn’t so good on the other hand. The games they showed were so and so, Forza looked interesting but that Drivatar was kinda cringe worthy.
Patrick Day-Childs: So, first up, we had Microsoft, I thought they did pretty well aside from the whole rape joke. Nothing really too unexpected, Halo, Dead Rising 3 etc. Spark looked interesting though. I think the always online issue hasn’t come to an end. Titanfall was a great way for Microsoft to set a high bar.
Williams Pelegrin: The specter of the used games policy and Internet connection requirements for Microsoft’s Xbox One left everyone with a bad taste in their mouth, and that’s before the press conference even began. Microsoft set out to do right by focusing on the games for the Xbox One, and it largely succeeded. Plenty of games were shown off, mixing in new IPs with established ones. The Halo reveal towards the end caught me off guard, and so did the price of the system: $499. It was an okay conference, but there weren’t enough attention-grabbers.
Zarmena Khan: Microsoft: Xbox One has some solid exclusives lined up, but the emphasis on dedicated servers was a little annoying knowing that a lot, if not most, of the 300k servers are probably virtual. The price of the console totally threw me off, and to be honest, I thought it was outrageous.
Alex Co: Contrary to reports, Microsoft did not have a bad E3 showing. Truth be told, the slate of games they revealed was amazing and that’s even counting their first-party efforts.
Forza 5, Quantum Break, a new Halo game and even Killer Instinct was shown off on stage, which should make even jaded gamers take notice. The standout game and what I consider the Xbox One’s killer-app for now is Titanfall; though it remains to be seen if it will indeed be coming to just the Xbox One for now.
However, the problem lies not with the game reveals, but with the next-gen console itself.
Sadly, though, almost everything was for naught due to the Xbox One’s DRM issues, no lending and used games policy and the kicker that made the whole thing worse than before: the price. Regardless how impressive the games lineup were, people will remember E3 2013 as the year the Xbox One stood for DRM and costing $100 more than its competitor.
Andrew Esposito: Finally Sony took the stage and wiped the floor with the competition. While I was a little worried when they began the press conference with lackluster PS Vita news (still want Tearaway though), I was quickly floored by the rest of the show. There were a lot of important things that happened at the Sony press conference, with the first being the support for independent developers to self-publish. This is huge news and will allow us to see some truly unique games (which Sony is known for already).
The next was the announcement that the PS4 is not always online and will have no used game restrictions. Wow! What a blow to Microsoft and the Xbox One. The icing on top of the cake was when they announced that the PS4 will be launching at $399. They closed out the show with Bungie demoing their new game, Destiny, which looks incredible.
Rob Newberry: When Sony took to the stage, it looked like they underestimated how polished an act Microsoft could be. Sure, the gameplay stuff was great, and they nailed it with the price and look of the PS4. Yet, there was something just…lacking in the entire event. We’re all agreed the PS4 seems to have won the console war for now, and I’ll reserve a final judgement on who ‘wins’ until we see some more details emerge. It was certainly great seeing all the Indie developers getting some love from Sony, and if I was a console gamer, I’d be buying a PS4 for that reason alone. Putting everything else aside, from the DRM, to the used games stuff – it’s all a win. But, in terms of the actual event and presentation.
Mack Ashworth: Sony finally showed off their hardware. The PS4 looked good to me, especially with it being so small. Things got a little boring from then on. Lots of talk about exclusive DLC, which annoyed me more than anything. The only games that really left an impression were Kingdom Hearts III and Destiny. Sony gained bonus points, of course, when they announced their support of used games. Not only was it great news, but the manner in which they made the announcement, was just pure awesome. The PS4 took down the Xbox One in style. Oh, and it’s $100 less as well..
Matt Hadden: Sony looked like they had shot themselves in the foot at the start, lots of games that were multi-platform and nothing really new happening. They announced a load of exclusive DLC and I was falling asleep by this point. Then the big one: No restrictions on used games, no online checks and no always-on with a price that was $100 less than the Xbox One. The only bad thing was that they announced multiplayer will require a subscription fee to PlayStation+. I’m not a fan of consoles but Sony has certainly won me over if I had to choose between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Patrick Day-Childs: Sony, well it start off dull and kind of concerning; especially when Jack said “If that’s all we’ve got I’m a little worried”. But then the way he played the crowd threw them so high up it was insane…Now, for me I don’t care to be honest. I’ll be highlighting why over the weekend in a feature. But I find myself forgetting anything aside from that announcement.
Williams Pelegrin: This is what happens when you show your cards too early. A lot of what we saw at Sony’s press conference have been shown off, already. Whether it was Killzone: Shadow Fall or inFamous: Second Son, we already knew plenty of those games. New IPs like The Order looked good, but I loved the strong focus on indie developers and games. The Vita barely got any love, which is extremely disappointing, and while Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV were nice surprises, there was nothing truly spectacular until the end.
Sony kicked Microsoft amazingly hard in the groin, as players have unregulated freedom with their used games. Sony even undercut the Xbox One by announcing the $399 price point for the PS4. Sony is rolling right now.
Zarmena Khan: Sony: In the beginning, Sony’s conference was a snooze-fest. I wasn’t interested in any exclusive DLC, and wish they’d shown more of some great looking exclusives like 1886. Sony definitely needs some work on their line-up. However, they won me over towards the end. No used game fee, no online fuss, no always-on issue, and a very reasonable price. Sold!
Alex Co: Sony’s E3 press conference was honestly a bit boring when it first started out. They talked about a few TV and media services, as well as the PS3 and PlayStation Vita. While I have nothing against the two other platforms, people are understandably looking forward to the PS4 announcements the most.
Fortunately, the PS4 stuff weren’t as boring. Even if the games they revealed weren’t as impressive as the Xbox One, there were still a surprises in store.
By now, chances are you know the PS4 has no DRM whatsoever, used games will work the same way as the PS3 and of course, the price. These announcements elicited the loudest cheers I’ve heard in an E3 press conference in a long while and that sealed the deal for many — including me.
So, who won? Tallying the staff votes, we award Sony with the honor and count it as the “winner” of E3. Second place goes to Nintendo for their excellent lineup of 3DS and Wii U games. Do you agree with our grades and winner? Let us know who you think won E3 in the comments below.