EA's E3 2012 Press Conference: Connecting Players by Any Means Necessary

Avatar image for alex
Posted by alex (3410 posts) -

EA held a press conference at E3 this year, as is their custom. They showed video games they had mostly already announced, as is their custom. They made some desperate plays at social connectivity and future subscription/downloadable content initiatives, as is very much their custom. And there was a football player there. You can see where this is going.

More like Dude Space 3.
More like Dude Space 3.

Nobody expects huge things from EA's pressers. Even among publisher press conferences, which are traditionally light on new announcements, EA has always seemed rather bland and low-key, especially when compared with the hyperactive weirdness of the Ubisoft conference, and the off-kilter inexplicability of the Konami pressers. So I can't say I was disappointed with EA's showing this year. It's hard to disappoint when you don't have hope to begin with.

The publisher did at least have the good sense to set the tone for the afternoon right from the get-go, with a decidedly haggard-looking John Riccitiello (it really looked like it had been a rough year for the guy) wandering out onto the stage looking only half-aware of where he was. He then went on to tout EA's many achievements, chief among them EA's dedication to ensuring you have more things to buy for that game you already bought. Yes, the abundance of paid DLC was EA's first talking point.

But then video games happened, and to be fair, many of those video games looked pretty good. The highlights were undoubtedly demos for Criterion's open world spin on Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and a show-closing demo of Crysis 3. Dead Space 3 also got a fairly lengthy showing, though reactions seemed mixed over the game's newfound emphasis on action-y gameplay, Lost Planet-looking setting, and abundance of bro-oriented dialogue. "Fuck this planet," one of the Dead Space guys said, and if social media reactions were any indication, people agreed with him.

Reactions seemed similarly mixed for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, though that may be due less to the quality of the game itself, and more to do with the fatigue that's been setting in over brown/tan/grey shooters set in modern theaters of conflict. I mean, there are a lot of shooters at this year's E3, and the fact that the demo followed the deeply underwhelming demo for Battlefield 3 Premium probably did it no favors.

SimCity's demo was a personal highlight for me. I've been excited about modern Maxis' take on the franchise for a while now, and the stuff they showed looked fantastic. Even the Facebook version of the game seemed to have some merit, and that's not something I say very often.

This is the first game I'm bee-lining for at the EA booth.
This is the first game I'm bee-lining for at the EA booth.

That said, the SimCity demos were but one example of EA's continued bludgeoning of the consumer with social features they may or may not ever care to use. EA's demos of FIFA and Madden were particularly engorged with these, and I can't help but question the need for more ways to connect games to social networks to smart devices and so on and so forth. I play many of EA's sports games, and I cannot say I've ever had much desire to do anything besides play some online games and maybe join a league. I feel like I'm not alone on this.

But, hey, if you do decide to pick up Madden this year, you can totally connect it socially with social stuff, and even look at a fake Twitter feed featuring various ESPN sportswriting personalities. Yes, Madden has its own fake Twitter, featuring people you probably go out of your way not to follow on Twitter. Oh, and there are new tackles, because of course there are

EA also confirmed that they will most assuredly be rejoining the NBA race this year with a new NBA Live, and even managed one sports-related surprise. In bringing a somewhat bemused-looking Dana White on stage, EA announced that it had acquired the UFC license, which had previously been held by THQ. Considering some of the things that Dana White has said about EA over the years, this is unquestionably hilarious. At least the game should be good, if that last EA MMA title is any indication.

Lastly, and most definitely leastly, Dr. Ray Muzyka was trotted out on stage to plead for the life of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Looking as upbeat as a man pitching an MMO that's losing subscribers left and right possibly could, Dr. Ray touted multiple new content updates on the horizon, and that the game would be going free-to-play up through level 15. Expect a similar announcement next year, except without the level cap.

And that was the EA presser in a nutshell. Next up, Ubisoft, which should, at the very least, be a bit more lively.

Staff
Avatar image for alex
#1 Posted by alex (3410 posts) -

EA held a press conference at E3 this year, as is their custom. They showed video games they had mostly already announced, as is their custom. They made some desperate plays at social connectivity and future subscription/downloadable content initiatives, as is very much their custom. And there was a football player there. You can see where this is going.

More like Dude Space 3.
More like Dude Space 3.

Nobody expects huge things from EA's pressers. Even among publisher press conferences, which are traditionally light on new announcements, EA has always seemed rather bland and low-key, especially when compared with the hyperactive weirdness of the Ubisoft conference, and the off-kilter inexplicability of the Konami pressers. So I can't say I was disappointed with EA's showing this year. It's hard to disappoint when you don't have hope to begin with.

The publisher did at least have the good sense to set the tone for the afternoon right from the get-go, with a decidedly haggard-looking John Riccitiello (it really looked like it had been a rough year for the guy) wandering out onto the stage looking only half-aware of where he was. He then went on to tout EA's many achievements, chief among them EA's dedication to ensuring you have more things to buy for that game you already bought. Yes, the abundance of paid DLC was EA's first talking point.

But then video games happened, and to be fair, many of those video games looked pretty good. The highlights were undoubtedly demos for Criterion's open world spin on Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and a show-closing demo of Crysis 3. Dead Space 3 also got a fairly lengthy showing, though reactions seemed mixed over the game's newfound emphasis on action-y gameplay, Lost Planet-looking setting, and abundance of bro-oriented dialogue. "Fuck this planet," one of the Dead Space guys said, and if social media reactions were any indication, people agreed with him.

Reactions seemed similarly mixed for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, though that may be due less to the quality of the game itself, and more to do with the fatigue that's been setting in over brown/tan/grey shooters set in modern theaters of conflict. I mean, there are a lot of shooters at this year's E3, and the fact that the demo followed the deeply underwhelming demo for Battlefield 3 Premium probably did it no favors.

SimCity's demo was a personal highlight for me. I've been excited about modern Maxis' take on the franchise for a while now, and the stuff they showed looked fantastic. Even the Facebook version of the game seemed to have some merit, and that's not something I say very often.

This is the first game I'm bee-lining for at the EA booth.
This is the first game I'm bee-lining for at the EA booth.

That said, the SimCity demos were but one example of EA's continued bludgeoning of the consumer with social features they may or may not ever care to use. EA's demos of FIFA and Madden were particularly engorged with these, and I can't help but question the need for more ways to connect games to social networks to smart devices and so on and so forth. I play many of EA's sports games, and I cannot say I've ever had much desire to do anything besides play some online games and maybe join a league. I feel like I'm not alone on this.

But, hey, if you do decide to pick up Madden this year, you can totally connect it socially with social stuff, and even look at a fake Twitter feed featuring various ESPN sportswriting personalities. Yes, Madden has its own fake Twitter, featuring people you probably go out of your way not to follow on Twitter. Oh, and there are new tackles, because of course there are

EA also confirmed that they will most assuredly be rejoining the NBA race this year with a new NBA Live, and even managed one sports-related surprise. In bringing a somewhat bemused-looking Dana White on stage, EA announced that it had acquired the UFC license, which had previously been held by THQ. Considering some of the things that Dana White has said about EA over the years, this is unquestionably hilarious. At least the game should be good, if that last EA MMA title is any indication.

Lastly, and most definitely leastly, Dr. Ray Muzyka was trotted out on stage to plead for the life of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Looking as upbeat as a man pitching an MMO that's losing subscribers left and right possibly could, Dr. Ray touted multiple new content updates on the horizon, and that the game would be going free-to-play up through level 15. Expect a similar announcement next year, except without the level cap.

And that was the EA presser in a nutshell. Next up, Ubisoft, which should, at the very least, be a bit more lively.

Staff
Avatar image for lavs
#2 Edited by Lavs (28 posts) -

thanks baby

2226595-w3EkN.png
Avatar image for crcruz3
#3 Posted by crcruz3 (319 posts) -

No. no.

Avatar image for autumn_thunder
#4 Posted by autumn_thunder (167 posts) -

NFS looked cool, not so sure bout Dead Space.

Avatar image for hicks
#5 Posted by Hicks (8 posts) -

great coverage so far guys, keep up the good work !!

Avatar image for crusader8463
#6 Posted by crusader8463 (14759 posts) -

Nothing interesting in this one ether. Here's hoping Ubi can pull out the crazy and at least be a trainwreck of fun to watch. My hope is for Sony to steal the show tonight.

Avatar image for thor_molecules
#7 Posted by Thor_Molecules (740 posts) -

Nice writeup, Alex. Really looking forward to more E3 content.

Avatar image for familyphotoshoot
#8 Posted by familyphotoshoot (705 posts) -

TOR will be F2P by the end of 2012. Mark my words.

Avatar image for flstyle
#9 Posted by FLStyle (6202 posts) -

God save the Queen.

Avatar image for rockinkemosabe
#10 Edited by rockinkemosabe (645 posts) -

I found the press conference rather boring.

Edit: Also, Riccitiello, I'm pretty sure Sundance doesn't have this many explosions.

Avatar image for animasta
#11 Edited by Animasta (14857 posts) -

you missed the part where medal of honor is super morally reprehensible

Avatar image for tourgen
#12 Posted by tourgen (4568 posts) -

EA games, now with more "Checking Downloadable Content" freezes and online checks than ever before. 
 
Anyway UFC thing was cool to hear.

Avatar image for tylea002
#13 Posted by Tylea002 (2382 posts) -

You said Presser. You said Presser.

I mean, I know you said Presser in the same way you'd say an arrow to the knee joke and I shouldn't get angry but... YOU SAID PRESSER.

Avatar image for jayzilla
#14 Posted by Jayzilla (2689 posts) -

Alex is killing it so far.

Avatar image for dskillzhtown
#15 Posted by dskillzhtown (35 posts) -

I am surprised there was no NBA Live reveal. Game may not be ready for primetime yet.

Avatar image for generiko
#16 Posted by Generiko (458 posts) -

Dana looked like he wanted to punch EA man

Avatar image for alex
#17 Posted by alex (3410 posts) -

@Tylea002: It's shorter than "conference."

Staff
Avatar image for ds8k
#18 Posted by ds8k (430 posts) -

"loosing subscribers"

Avatar image for iamnotbatman
#19 Posted by IAmNotBatman (700 posts) -

@ds8k said:

"loosing subscribers"

Gross.

Avatar image for handsomeb
#20 Posted by handsomeb (76 posts) -

I thought Medal of Honor looked interesting, but that may have been that everything looks good in Frostbite 2.

Avatar image for jazz2
#21 Posted by Jazz2 (156 posts) -

it's a little reassuring that they didn't anounce Dragon Age III yet :s

Avatar image for milkman
#22 Posted by Milkman (18827 posts) -
@ds8k: Gotta get 'em loose. 
Avatar image for andrewf87462
#23 Posted by andrewf87462 (707 posts) -

There are still over a million subscribers on ToR, nothing to worry about just yet.

Avatar image for c0v3rt
#24 Posted by C0V3RT (1419 posts) -

I follow some of the people that are in Maddens fake twitter feed. There are just differing degrees of being a fan, Alex.

Avatar image for seppli
#25 Edited by Seppli (11232 posts) -

Criterion's Most Wanted is a shoe in. So is Battlefield Premiun - given the availablity of a code-in-a-box version. Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3 are right down my alley - and are likely purchases. Medal of Honor has me interested - I'd be down for another military shooter with a more arcadish flavor than BF3 - to tide me over 'til a proper Bad Company game hits (hopefully). Sim City isn't my thing, but looked awesome - I should give it a try (well - I prolly should do Civ 5 first - been pushing that intention along for years). If I was into sports games, that shit looks dope as ever.

Seeing doctor Ray sweat like he was in a hotbox made me sad. SW:TOR is an enjoyable game, but I'll be departing to greener MMO pastures - Guild Wars 2 is the next big evolutionary step for the genre, and that's where I'll put my time in (they already got my money with their pre-purchase deal). Would have preferred to see Dragon Age 3 or something along the lines - or C&C Generals 2.

EA certainly brings the heat. They'll get a share of my gaming budget 2012/13 for sure.

Avatar image for alex
#26 Posted by alex (3410 posts) -

@C0V3RT: Just tell me you don't follow Skip Bayliss.

Staff
Avatar image for davidwitten22
#27 Posted by davidwitten22 (1712 posts) -

Nice write-up, Alex Navarro bossing it up with the recaps. No surprise there.

Avatar image for c0v3rt
#28 Posted by C0V3RT (1419 posts) -

@Alex: Oh god no. I've got standards!

Avatar image for lucianotassis
#29 Posted by lucianotassis (89 posts) -
Avatar image for iamjohn
#30 Posted by iAmJohn (6209 posts) -

This press conferencing was slightly more tolerable than Microsoft's, but only slightly.

Avatar image for thefakepsychic
#31 Posted by TheFakePsychic (250 posts) -

Where was Overstrike, that was my only question. I love Insomniac in every way, shape, and form, and I'm really rather disappointed that nothing seems to have come out since that amazing trailer last year.

It's still listed on EA's website as coming soon, so I'm still hoping for something, anything to be said about it but it just seems like EA refuses to mention anything about it.

Avatar image for wsowen02
#32 Posted by wsowen02 (351 posts) -
Avatar image for meatsim
#33 Posted by MeatSim (11122 posts) -

SimCity is about the only thing I cared for at this press conference.

Avatar image for orange_tory
#34 Posted by Orange_Tory (71 posts) -

SIMCITY!

Avatar image for draxyle
#35 Edited by Draxyle (2013 posts) -

If you showed all the EA shooters back to back with no context, I would not be able to tell them apart. People joke about the brown and grays, but it hits so much harder when you see them all in quick succession like that. You can tell they had to throw other games in-between them to relieve that feeling, but it doesn't help that most of their other franchises are also heavily de-staturated. Sim City was the only interesting looking game in that entire bunch.

Ubisoft was such a breath of fresh air after them. Even their shooters have colors.

Edit: Thanks for the write ups, Alex! Great stuff here.

Avatar image for codefire
#36 Posted by CodeFire (197 posts) -

Yeah, ToR is going to be going free to play within a year or two.

Avatar image for blkzombie
#37 Posted by BLKZOMBIE (136 posts) -

Riddle me this; why two shooters of the same genre? Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor look EXACTLY the same. It's fucking redundant. Will the MoH campaign be as mediocre as the BF3 campaign, I hope not.

Avatar image for blkzombie
#38 Posted by BLKZOMBIE (136 posts) -

...also, I'm a big fan of Dead Space, but what the fuck are they doing to that franchise...watered down with co-op and "action" just so they can market a better multiplayer. Did anyone else catch on to that? I wish Visceral studios wasn't owned by EA so they didn't have to throw multiplayer in the mix of everything. I want Necromorphs, not "Gears of War shoot dudes from behind cover" gameplay...ugh!

Avatar image for ocdog45
#39 Posted by ocdog45 (712 posts) -

I'm really only interested in Dead Space 3. Most wanted looks nice but Burnout is still my game for that. I'd like to play the old republic when it goes free to play.

Avatar image for tormasturba
#40 Edited by TorMasturba (1123 posts) -

I might actually go and play TOR now, upto level 15... Sorry EA... Umm Bioware... umm, who should I be apologising to?

Ah fuck it, I don't really care, I voted with my money, TOR looked good, unfortunately it wasn't KOTOR III, so it's not for me.

Like I say though, I'm willing to put up with TOR on free-to-play terms.

P.S. What happened to Deadspace 3? Or is it Dead Gears of Lost space?

Avatar image for mocbucket62
#41 Posted by MocBucket62 (1746 posts) -

Navarro your right about Dana White. After he bad mouthed EA for not making or even touching an MMA video game 3 years ago, now the UFC brand is under EA. That said, this is typical of White to act like this, first he bad mouthes a company or MMA fighter for something bad they've done, then in a few years, will support his old enemies as they'll be associated with the UFC. He used to trash talk Strikeforce all the time before Zuffa bought the Strikeforce brand.

Avatar image for brodehouse
#42 Edited by Brodehouse (10827 posts) -
@BLKZOMBIE said:

Riddle me this; why two shooters of the same genre? Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor look EXACTLY the same. It's fucking redundant. Will the MoH campaign be as mediocre as the BF3 campaign, I hope not.

It's basically the same as Activision having an Infinity Ward Call of Duty and a Treyarch Call of Duty, except EA hasn't smushed them into Battlefield: Medal of Honor yet.  It's basically Treyarch and Danger Close on even numbered years and Infinity Ward and DICE on odd numbered years.
 
Main problem with EA's conference is everything got leaked last week, and a lot of these games have a 3 on them.  EA was full of known quantities and though I'm sure Dead Space and Crysis are going to be totally acceptable value propositions, known quantities don't capture the imagination.
 
Most Wanted looks hot as shit though.
Avatar image for dropabombonit
#43 Posted by dropabombonit (1542 posts) -

NFS looks awesome, basically the sequel to Burnout Paradise I wanted

Avatar image for jaimiestarshine
#44 Posted by JaimieStarshine (6 posts) -

You forgot to mention that although madden is always gonna be madden and for sports people, it is pretty cool that they're integrating real life body movement and physics based on which player you are, changing the outcomes of the moves.

Avatar image for vintage68
#45 Posted by VintAge68 (100 posts) -

Really looking forward to MoH: Warfighter, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, NFS... -- the most expected press conference on my part

Avatar image for mrklorox
#46 Edited by MrKlorox (11142 posts) -

I hope you can turn off the wobble when snapping buildings to roads. Other than that, Sim City looks stellar. And Sim City Social sounds like a no brainer win for anybody into facebook gaming, which I am not.

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