Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo's E3 2013 Report Card [Opinion]
Another year, another great E3 and boy, was it filled with spectacles on various levels. While Nintendo made bold attempts to make the Wii U relevant, Microsoft and Sony fought like warriors as its next-generation consoles vied for attention. Here's a breakdown of how well (or bad) the "Big Three" did at this year's convention.
Nintendo was the underdog of this year's E3 and thankfully, some huge risk paid off enough for people to get interested in its Wii U. On the announcement side, having Super Smash Bros coming to both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS was huge. Even bigger news came at the end of the Wii U's trailer when it was revealed that Capcom's Mega Man is going to be a playable fighter. Pikman 3 was finally playable and proves why the series is one of the only great RTS like games available on any console. The team behind Super Mario Galaxy will be giving the Wii U it's first true 3D Mario experience with Super Mario 3D World which is set to feature four-player co-op. Mario Kart 8 was Nintendo's biggest game on the showroom floor and the nice sized lines proved it. Third party support obviously wasn't much compared to Microsoft and Sony but, that's fine. Though the case is to be seen considering the reasoning behind re-releasing Deus Ex: Human Revolution almost two years after its release, Beyonetta 2 and Sega's Sonic Lost World are awesome third-party exclusives. Of course, Nintendo continued to dominate the portable field with its 3DS. This year, Nintendo had a lot to prove this year and succeeded for the most part.
Sony positioned the Playstation 4 as the console for gamers and corrected every one of Playstation 3's mistakes. Playstation Network has truly flourished as a true rival to Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony improved its online offering considerably. They did so well that many didn't mind that multiplayer on Playstation 4 will require a purchasable subscription.
Then there's the used and trade-in game policy that single handedly made Microsoft look foolish and out of touch. When it comes to third-party multi-platform releases like Call of Duty Ghost or Need For Speed Rivals, why should one buy the Xbox One version over Playstation 4? Xbox One requires users to be have a constant online connection (with an every 24 hour check in) and can't be traded with friends at a moments notice while the Playstation 4 doesn't. Now that Playstation 4 has been solidified as the popular choice for third-party releases when it comes to consumers, then there are the exclusives. The exclusives are the one thing that holds Sony back because they really lack the punch that Nintendo and Microsoft brought to E3. Driveclub is fun but doesn't scream next-gen visually and the Killzone series would be better off if it stopped going after Halo. Many of the free-to-play exclusives games like Warframe and Blacklight Retribution easily outclassed Killzone: Shadowfall's bland video presentation. Though the Playstation 4 was the star of Sony's booth, it didn't forget its Playstation 3. Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6 are just a small number of great games that continue to elongate the console's lifespan.
Microsoft truly shot itself in the foot multiple times at E3 this year by being unnecessarily arrogant. The always on requirement, used/trade in game restrictions and high price of the Xbox One allowed Sony to swoop in and take even the most dedicated fans of Microsoft's home console. However, the Xbox One is a premium piece of hardware that just feels equally feels expensive and luxurious. Xbox One's first party exclusives were quite unremarkable besides Project Spark and Killer Instinct (which is a stretch). Forza 5 felt like a serviceable visual improvement and nothing more while Ryse: Son of Rome was a buggy unoriginal mess from Crytek outside of being somewhat stunning visually. Xbox 360 felt almost like an afterthought besides third-party releases which doesn't make sense considering its lead this generation.