Weird e3 and a Weird Industry

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#1 Edited by MonkeyKing1969 (7649 posts) -

Its seems really weird to have an e3 where Sony has not had an event. There is a presence of course, we see the games, there are carataily enough PS4 logos on trailers, and there is discussion of what Sony has in store in regards to how it stacks up against Scarlet. Or, maybe it's just that overall there seems to be a muted atmosphere this year. There are games, there are innovative concepts being put forward; yet I think everyone is experiencing the 'shoe about to drop' sensation. I think for teh past few years people have asked if e3 can last, but this year seesm to be a year where the media in particular is saying, "Well, this is the last one, right?"

I think this year's e3 was hit with a dozens of whammies coming together

  1. Sony has no stage show
  2. Stadia is announced this year, seemly going to be a disruption to every aspect of gaming
  3. A general feeling that the 'value' proposition of buying a base game is not there - games don't cost $60...they really are the base + DLC
  4. The PC space is disrupted by AMD, coming off of a year with high prices for RAM, storage and limited availability of video cards
  5. VR is seeing much slower growth than people thought would occur
  6. The past five year have been marred by big-name unfinished games being released
  7. Loot crates, blind boxes and gambling mechanics
  8. Todd Howard, Randy Pitchford, and other CEOs continued unfaithfulness, without apologies
  9. PC gamers feeling disrupted by too many story fronts, their preferred storefront having games taken away
  10. A growing political, social, and cultural divide that game developers want to (& do) use as backdrop; but they fear offending anyone by taking a stand.
  11. The first six generation of consoles has expected price drops in hardware cost; however, the last two have not. Gaming has developed a high barrier to entry. A system start T $400-$500 and drop to $199, but really doesn't hit that $99 mark anymore. With gaming PC alos rising in pcie because of companat costs staying high gaming is expensive.
  12. Increasing awareness that a job in game development sucks. Long hours, abusive working conditions, always in crunch, and an awareness by trolls that they can silence people if they put enough pressure on a company
  13. Increasing awareness tech industry is broken and destroying the social fabric of some cities. Technology heavy cites are coming unliveable for the middle class - home prices crazy, homelessness out of control.

Many of these issues are not new, many of these issues have been occurring for years, but I think when all put together that make gaming feel "stressful" and "uncertain".

I think the biggest issue this year is there is no "big" positive concepts to latch on to. No new consoles this next year. No tech like VR to capture people's wonder. No "never seen before" game that say, "This is going to be huge!"

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#2 Posted by Shindig (4963 posts) -

Konami's going weird. Like, after being moaned at for not preserving their classics, it appears that's THE THING they're building their (gaming-ish) business on.

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#3 Posted by NTM (11871 posts) -

Not really to the weirdness to it, but I was curious, did anyone else think that the Blair Witch game was a Silent Hill game? I thought it was going to be a reboot. It wasn't until they showed a figure standing in a corner that it was kind of an ah-ha moment.

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#4 Posted by FinalDasa (3231 posts) -

Like you mentioned, some of these things aren't new but we're just aware of them now.

Honestly it feels off because E3 feels off. The show really seems to be converting to a large public show and everything is still transitioning and feeling its way out.

Some of what you cite is just the way things are now. Consoles are dropping to $99 partially because they're still expensive to make and because there's no need to. PS4 has probably close to 100 million units and Xbone is probably near 60 million, why drop a price on a console your about to replace?

Also Todd Howard is not the CEO of Bethesda and he did apologize.

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#5 Posted by MerxWorx01 (883 posts) -

Nearly half of the bullet points can be chalk up to pure development time. For every year of we have a subdued E3 or have info about a announced future game with no future release date it just means that the following year(s) will hopefully bear fruit and not be terrible slew of canceled projects. Sony didn't get all those great exclusives over night. There were enough years where the PS4 didn't have alot to show for it. Years where Sony was just announcing cool games but not delivering. This is one of those years. There are some people who feel like Microsoft hasn't been delivering in the exclusives department. This may be true but we can also see that they are clearly working on games and they may also get the stellar line up Sony has been enjoying past few years, games that may make up for the few rough years that MS has been trying the buoy with other services. Ultimately this is how game development will be. AAA Games aren't getting easier to make and every aspect of production is getting amplified including development time. Seeing years with scant releases outside of multi-platform or indie games will continue to be the norm on any console unfortunately.

It might seem like a bummer but all it means is that patient users will eventually see years of work culminate into fantastic games... or finally get word of a game's cancellation which is also a reality.

The other Bullet Points are issues that affect more than video games and are nightmares that the people currently in charge are all to happy to exploit. Not trying to simplify it, Exploitative Industries and uncertain Political Upheaval are storms we all(to some degree) might be dealing with in a personal level.

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#6 Posted by FinalDasa (3231 posts) -
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#7 Edited by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

I thought it was going to be a weirder e3, more muted e3. The road map of game releases laid out at this e3 before the next is as impressive as any previous one I could remember. The games coming out in the next 12 month, now to next spring is pretty f-ing stellar. There is stuff going in and around the industry that sucks but gaming itself overall, I honestly feel pretty good about. There is an air of uncertainty in aspects of it but I find that to be exciting as an observer.

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#8 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4498 posts) -

It feels like a less surprising year with a heavier emphasis on existing games and games that we're aware of for a while now. I don't think that Sony being at E3 would've changed the feel of e3 all that much. Like last year they gave beefy presentations on their big games and that was nice, but we're still waiting on those same games and it's pretty clear what kind of games those will be. There's not much more to be said. Same goes for the next console. They said as much about their upcoming console in that wired article as Microsoft did on stage. That's the extent of the information we're getting at this stage.

Honestly haven't heard much about lootboxes & gambling & blind boxes in these press conferences apart from it being mentioned in that Avengers segment from Square. The amount of lipservice spent on VR has drastically been lowered indeed. Also, remasters & remakes as far as the eye can see. The Last Remnant & Spongebob are not exactly games i expected to see pop up in 2019. Honestly that's where often the surprises come from. 'huh they re-release this old game? huh? oh okay!' I don't mind it all that much, but at the same time it would be nice if we got new games evoking the classics of yore instead.

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#9 Posted by Deathstriker (1177 posts) -

It was a somewhat pointless E3. All these games are supposedly releasing in 2020, yet they don't have any gameplay to show. It doesn't seem like there's anything major for 2019.

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#10 Edited by ThePanzini (744 posts) -

A year away from the next generation its clear no one wanted to show anything new which I find surprising because it was perferect opportunity for somebody to have a Watchdogs moment and grab all the headlines. And everyone seems to have forgotten how to show off videogames with MS being the worse culprit having the dullest conference I've seen in a long time which is odd because after buying aload of studios they finally have something to show yet blitz through everything like it was a race.

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#11 Posted by FacelessVixen (2664 posts) -

I was too busy agonizing over getting my Surface Book 2 from UPS, so I think that should get across how I felt about E3 this year.

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#12 Posted by OurSin_360 (6197 posts) -

When did game sites stop doing full live shows during e3? I know giantbomb never really did one, but i kinda miss the days when gamespot, ign, gametrailers, and g4 would have week long shows with developers bringing in their games etc. Seems like the coverage of e3 is what is really killing it, the live coverage was what had me excited back in the day now it's just press conferences and a few trailers. zzzzz

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#13 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7649 posts) -

e3 is really becoming two shows, and that slip is long and has been agonizing There is still teh B2B side if publishers and developer taking meeting. There is still a need time/venue for all the busines to business (B2B) functions to occur. But then there really needs to be an administration on the ESA's part that thee show floor and booths have ZERO relevance to the B2B part of teh show.

The show floor at CES and for first few years of e3, was for "buyers" from toy stores and department stores to see the games in action. Between 1997 and 2015 the show floor was for the media and nerds who swiped a ticket. And, now, the booths or the expo floor are really just useful for the public. But a public needs are far more varied experiences on that a show floor. PAX, Comic Cons, all the various "Nerd Conventions" all have panels discussions, meet & greets, photo-ops, etc.

The ESA need to contract with Reed Entertainment to run teh public side while the ESA schedules and handles the B2B side. I think that sort of split will actually be healthy. It will be a busy week in LA. when they two shows occur simultaneously, but the clear cut between B2B and Public will make two better shows for both groups.

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#14 Posted by acharlie1377 (146 posts) -

It was a somewhat pointless E3. All these games are supposedly releasing in 2020, yet they don't have any gameplay to show. It doesn't seem like there's anything major for 2019.

I don't know, I feel like having Fire Emblem, Luigi's Mansion 3, Link's Awakening, Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Outer Worlds, Gears of War 5, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Borderlands 3, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, and Google Stadia all launch this year sounds like a fair amount coming in 2019. That's about 2 games a month, on average.

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#15 Posted by aerithlives (37 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: What's the point of a renting an auditorium for a few thousand attendees when you can stream a completely controlled video from start to finish like Nintendo, which will reach the same number of people anyway?

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#16 Posted by nutter (2287 posts) -

@ntm: The main character looked A LOT like James from Silent Hill 2....or dressed a lot like him, at least.

I got some REALLY strong Silent Hill 2 and Alan Wake vibes. That first Blair Witch movie is still really cool, spite of the sequels...

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#17 Posted by nutter (2287 posts) -

@aerithlives: There’s something to be said for a bit of pomp. There’s also the crowd. I’m generally annoyed by it in something...that’s very product-y, like E3, but it allows for some cool moments like Keanu Reeves and Ikumi Nakamura‘s time on stage. There’s also the magical train wreck that is the Just Dance numbers on Ubisoft’s stage. Oh, and Yves Guillemot, in general.

Granted, for every minute of that type of experience, there are several hours of pandering bullshit and Bethesda and Squeenix crowds...

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#18 Posted by billmcneal (1266 posts) -

Next year's E3 is going to be killer!

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#19 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4498 posts) -

@oursin_360: Didn't Gamespot still do that this year? Whenever i was waiting for Giant Bomb's night shows, it seemed like their show had been going for hours. Devs showcasing & talking about their games, that kind of stuff.

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#20 Edited by OurSin_360 (6197 posts) -

@onemanarmyy said:

@oursin_360: Didn't Gamespot still do that this year? Whenever i was waiting for Giant Bomb's night shows, it seemed like their show had been going for hours. Devs showcasing & talking about their games, that kind of stuff.

I don't know, i went to their site just to see and didn't see anything posted. Unless they don't archive that stuff like they used to, i am out of the videogame loop these days.

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#21 Posted by Goboard (293 posts) -

@oursin_360: Maybe they haven't gotten around to archiving it all for the site just yet, but the streams are available on their twitch channel.

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#22 Posted by norm9 (58 posts) -

@ntm: I thought it was going to be Fatal Frame.

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#23 Posted by NTM (11871 posts) -

@nutter: Yeah, James or Harry Mason came to mind at 0:19 in the trailer. I've seen some others say Alan Wake due to the flashlight, but that never came to my mind since I can't imagine Remedy has that in the works right now. Another game though that did come to mind was perhaps another Outlast since it has the camera.

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#24 Edited by nutter (2287 posts) -

@ntm: Oh, I didn’t think it was Alan Wake, just the woods and flashlight were evocative of it. It’s not the most specific imagery, but Alan Wake left an impression.

I also wouldn’t imagine Konami selling or using the Silent Hill IP, but man, if it ended with that early shot from behind the protagonist, I’d have had my suspicions...

EDIT: Though considering that it could have been an Alan Wake trailer, I guess if Remedy were to become a two game studio, announcing it with Alan Wake would be a kick-ass surprise.

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#25 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7649 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: What's the point of a renting an auditorium for a few thousand attendees when you can stream a completely controlled video from start to finish like Nintendo, which will reach the same number of people anyway?

I think the pre-taped shows have their place - they are a very effective as a quarterly "check in". But there is a reason why people go to see "live music" concert. There are reason why people go to the movie theater or go to Broadway to see Hamilton The real reaction of people around you, and even gauging the fake reactions too matters. We saw A LOT of fake reactions this past e3 as publishers packed the house with employees and picked-fans. Live audiences still matter and maybe it is only once a year, but for the big guys ist is AT LEAST once a year

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#26 Edited by Deathstriker (1177 posts) -

@acharlie1377: Nintendo did a pretty good job even though I don't care about their games other than Smash. I doubt any game you mentioned will be great.

Gears (and Halo) should've stopped at the third installment. Their story and gameplay have become stagnant. Funny enough, both franchises adding robot enemies made them both feel a little less fun to me.

Ghost Recon has cool trailers, but the gameplay footage just looks like a Wildlands expansion with random drones/tech thrown in and they don't look fun to fight.

Nothing from Borderlands 3 looks all that new or great, it's just more. That's not a bad thing for people who are already fans.

Fallen Order has great graphics, but gameplay looks like a less fun Force Unleashed.

Outer Worlds looks generic and almost last gen in terms of graphics/animation. It'll be free for me and I still probably won't check it out day one.

A bunch of games come out every year. My point was that I don't see anything major the rest of this year. "Major" as in great/special like God of War, Red Dead, and Spider-Man last year.

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#27 Posted by Howardian (208 posts) -

That's why you shouldn't have too many thoughts about these people and the way they move and do things.

Just check new game releases twice a month, buy a game that looks like good entertainment, and play the game. You know, the way you occasionally pick up a movie. Why do you need to follow the "industry," it's not a pre-requisite to buy and enjoy a game, reading "pieces" on the internet by journalists about the industry is rather un-interesting and also unnecessary, it's all noise and lights about nothing for clicks and views, avoid that shit, just play the games.

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#28 Posted by Casepb (747 posts) -

Honestly besides Sony not having a show it seemed identical to last year. Lots of developer interviews and lots of games coming out this year and next. Also for once VR has a ton of good looking games coming out. There wasn't many surprises, besides a new Zelda though.

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#29 Posted by schizogony (1010 posts) -

The video game industry has never for one second not been the weirdest one.