The Real Winners of E3 2011

E3 has been and gone. The hysteria has died down and we are left to extract every little bit of information that has been released to us. The question that everyone seems to ask at the end of E3 every year is “who won?” Which multibillion dollar/pound /yen company won E3?  Personally, I am sick and tired of this question. Like a bloodied fighter, one of the big three has their hands raised by the gaming community after slugging it out with their bitter rivals, but as far as I’m concerned, the only question that should be asked at the end of any major event such as E3 is: did the consumer win?

As a consumer I help pay the wages of all of those who work in creating, producing and marketing videogames. When dissecting all the information to come out of E3 I should feel that this has been put together for my fellow gamers and me. When watching Cliffy B. present Gears of War 3 I should believe that he is looking into my eyes saying “Joe, I have done this for you; every ounce of blood, sweat and tears that I’ve put into this game has been done for you”. That way I don’t begrudge paying forty green queens that will go into his, and the rest of the creators’, pockets.

Sony announced their new handheld, PS Vita, which has been getting rave reviews from initial hands-on demos and could challenge Nintendo’s 3DS. Microsoft are trying to ram Kinect down our throats like, well, I’ll let your filthy minds finish that one off, but it could make Sony step their game up with the PS Move.  Nintendo have announced their new console, the horrendously named Wii U, which is set to rival the 360 and PS3, meaning that both Sony and Microsoft are going to have to work harder to produce quality products that consumers are going to want to purchase.

It’s not just Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft who are battling it out for the title of ‘E3 Victor’… the developers are at it as well. The Battlefield 3 marketing campaign has been going hell for leather for months now with the first reveal of the game in February 2011, eight months before the game is to be released. Now, BF3 is going after Call of Duty’s crown and they have had to start early to get those gamers who may not be aware of the Battlefield franchise interested in the product. Looking on most gaming sites, gaming press and on forums, all I really see is people talking about who will win the battle: Activision or EA; fanboys (and girls, no sexism here please) are making their one sided opinions known wherever they can. This is the kind of thing that puts me off a lot of gaming forums and this is where Gaming Lives differs for me; yes there are people who don’t particularly like certain games, but they won’t ridicule you for having an opinion of your own.

I have heard some people comparing this to the Pro Evolution Soccer/FIFA rivalry, but I don’t agree with that thought; there really is only room for one football game in your collection.  In each of those games our ultimate goal is the same: if you are doing a season mode then you want to win the title with whichever team you choose and create the world’s best squad as you do it. Why would you want to own both? I was always someone who preferred the PES games; as a football player and fan I thought it was the closer of the two to real football.  But the rivalry made EA step up to the plate and try to create a game that was a better recreation of football than Konami’s effort. In the end they achieved that, overtaking PES in sales and critical acclaim, but the rivalry between the two developers gives football fans the choice of two decent titles.

With first person shooters there is room for more than one. Both the games in question have different storylines, they are set in different parts of the world, with different protagonists. There will be similar gameplay elements – of course there will be – but with both companies wanting their game to come out on top in sales, what we do know is that behind the scenes, those working on the games are trying to make them as good as possible. This is where we as consumers will win. With two companies throwing money at their respective games, the overall quality of the titles should be fantastic. I, for one, will be picking up both games – maybe not at the same time – but there’s definitely room for both in my collection.  If both companies are throwing money at their releases like Ryan Giggs throws money at super-injunctions (‘allegedly’, my lawyers have told me to say) and the quality of the final product is high then I’m not going to mind if my money ends up paying for Bobby Kotick’s African slave boys (there’s no allegedly about that, he definitely has them).

So, to answer my own question of “has the consumer won?” Well, only time will tell, but it certainly looks like we are in a good position. Not only do we have plenty of games to look forward to over the next twelve to eighteen months, but we have a new handheld and a new console. The amount of choice that will be available to us is going to be staggering, and as a fan that’s all we can probably ask for – the choice to make our own minds up. If we want to own all the games that our bank balances will allow us, then so be it; if we just want to purchase the odd game we can do that as well.




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3 Comments

  1. rich says:

    There is usually a winner out of the big three but not this year. Individual games aside, the only big conference full of win was Ubisoft’s. They had lots going on. Microsoft made me physically sick. They truly are gash. Nintendo made such a hash of revealing their new console as well. Pretty awful.

  2. Toffer says:

    I agree with Rich in as much that Ubisoft had the strongest showing this year

  3. Edward says:

    I’ll agree that they probably had one of the better showings, along with EA, but my god was that conference awful.
    I think the thing to take away from this year is that the companies had the games, but no-one who could make them look good enough to want. At least not in the actual conferences.

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