The E3 Aftermath: Initial Impressions

backstage-at-e3-xbox-one-ps4-640x353So I’ve been sitting here for a while now, thinking about how I’m going to handle all the information that was thrown at us during E3. It’s fairly clear that, no matter if you loved or hated everything you saw, that this is going to be one of the most significant events that the industry will see in a long time. And right at center stage of this event was the twelve-round grudge match between Sony and Microsoft for console dominance in the next generation.There is a great deal of finer details and business decisions that are making this generation both interesting and terrifying from a critical perspective.

So how do I even begin to do this topic justice?

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Here Comes The Sun(shine Blogger Award)

sunshine-award1Well hello there, blogosphere! Of the top, I have to apologize for being a little inactive as of late, the world has been conspiring to hoover up all of my spare time in the past couple weeks, but I’ll be back with a vengeance, I promise!

Imagine my delight upon signing back in after a small hiatus to discover that I’ve been nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award! It’s always been extremely gratifying to know that anyone out there enjoys my writing, when I was nominated for such an award, I was a combination of thrilled, touched and humbled. My earnest thanks to cary over at Recollections of Play for nominated me!

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XBOX One for All, All for None

Xbox-One-ConsoleFor those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know with assurance that I had more than a few problems with Microsoft’s recent reveal of the XBOX One, and this goes beyond cementing my hatred of the notion of ‘The Cloud’. From their treatment of used games, to their almost unsettling focus on sports and all sport-related activities. There seems to be no shortage of contentious issues coming to light, but paramount amongst those is what appears to be a complete lack of regard for a core gaming demographic.

Had you not known better going in to the conference, one could almost miss the fact that this was a gaming console at all.

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Nintendo’s Let’s Play Lockdown

MarioCoins

Okay, come on Nintendo, you really have to work with me here. I try to defend you, I really do. I try to convince people that your decision to pull out of E3 makes sense, and that you do maintain a genuine concern for gamers. But…you’re really not making this easy for me, are you? Okay, well, lets take a look at what they’ve done now. You see, in a recent move, Nintendo has opted to crack down on Youtube content creators who are making use of Nintendo owned assets. So yes, that includes all videos of any Nintendo title. And who is going to bear the brunt of this offensive? The producers of Let’s Play videos.

Oh, don’t worry, its not all bad. Nintendo isn’t forcing creators to take down their work. They’ve simply imposed a content-ID match, simply meaning that they are entitled to all revenue from said videos. That’s better, right?……right?

Well, I guess I have little choice but to grab my torch and pitchfork with the rest of the internet…

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The Age of Exploration

explorationIt’s a rare thing for a game to truly capture the essence of exploration. The sense of adventure that comes with a new and untapped frontier. Questioning what might be out there, and asking why no one has gone out to look. Dismissing those who say its impossible, those who say it’s too dangerous, those who say there’s no point. Knowing that somehow, outside of logic or reason, that discovery alone is a goal worth striving for. That is the essence of exploration.

Now tell me, when was the last time a game made you feel like that?

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Star Wars: The Age of EA

EADeathStarComing hot on the heels of the announcement that LucasArts would be shutting its doors, an announcement was recently made revealing that EA, lovingly known as the worst company in America, has acquired an exclusive license to produce Star Wars titles for the foreseeable future. With the mountain of poor business decisions and unremarkable games, my gut reaction was probably similar to many: A healthy mixture of disappointment, rage and concern.

But after tempering that feeling and getting down to think about it, there may just be hope yet.

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A Nintendoless E3?

NinE3

In a recent announcement, Nintendo of America President Satoru Iwata revealed that there will not be the traditional Nintendo Press Conference at this years E3, instead they will be focusing on several smaller events directed towards the software they are unveiling in America.

Okay, so maybe E3 won’t exactly be Nintendoless, but it sounded good, didn’t it?

But all shamelessly attention-grabbing titles aside, this move raises a great deal of questions while providing very few answers. Clearly this is a big deal for Nintendo. E3, while having lost some prominence in the recent past, is still regarded as one of the largest venues for hardware manufacturers to pump up their consoles to the public and press alike. So what exactly does Nintendo pulling out spell for the company?

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Sales Figures

salesThere’s no denying that games are becoming more and more expensive to produce. What with the building full of developers it takes just to handle a top-tier graphics engine, not to mention the producers, sound designers, artists, writers, the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers that go into the creation of a single game. Tack on infrastructure, overhead, dev kits and licensing costs, and you’ve got one hefty price tag for a AAA title.

But when a game can sell over three million copies and be declared a commercial failure, perhaps we’re taking it a bit far.

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Binuaral Soundscapes

Sound-WavesNothing quite beats the theater for a moviegoing experience, does it? Provided there isn’t some sugar-tripping eight year old delightfully kicking your chair, the theater can provide a thoroughly immersive experience, allowing you to lose yourself in the fields of sights and sounds. The sound you get in a theater is simply in a league of its own, giving you an a sense of distance and direction for everything happening onscreen. Good sound design can make you feel like you’re in the experience, rather than just watching it.

So my question is, why aren’t we using this kind of sound in video games?

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Microsoft and the Always-On Console

Well, rumors are still flying regarding Microsoft’s latest offering to the ongoing Console Wars, but if some of details are true, then the newest addition to the XBOX lineup may be kneecapped before it even begins.

According to some recent rumours, Microsoft’s console will require a persistent internet connection to operate at all, becoming inactive if the internet connection is dropped for more than three minutes. Needless to say, I imagine gamers are going to be none-too-pleased about this requirement. The idea that this several hundred dollar hardware investment will become a glowing, LED covered paperweight if our internet drops out is bordering on offensive.

But a problem such as this requires a full array of trouncing examination, so lets take a deep breath, close our eyes, and see just how far the rabbit hole goes…

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