Sup console fanboys (and girls)
Welcome back to GGAL for the penultimate event of GGE3!
So far on your all-access, backstage GGE3 pass we’ve had a look at some of the best that E3 2018 has had to offer (and it has been a seriously nifty year). But today, we are gonna be talking about something slightly different. You see dear reader, I have stumbled upon something rather intriguing. Now as any console player/zealot knows, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have rather different approaches to the gaming market. What’s really cool is how these differences came through in watching their E3 spots. So step aside PC master race, now is time for a good ole fashioned Mexican standoff: console edition.
It’s hard to remember now but once upon a time Nintendo consoles were a staple in serious gaming. The N64 was a hardcore system that could easily go toe to toe with the PS1. Add in the unparalleled lineup of exclusives led by the formidable little Italian plumber and Nintendo looked set to dominate. But as sales of the GameCube began to tank, Nintendo decided to take a very different approach; the Wii. And henceforth (love a bit of hence) Nintendo became the family gaming company. Party games, family titles and a clear move away from the hardcore scene, Nintendo has reinvented itself as a bastion for fun, family good times, which is exactly what we got from their show. Lighthearted and comedic and above all a focus on their exclusive IP’s. The fact that it ended with a look at the new Smash Bros game is indicative of where Nintendo is at (and probably will be for a while); creative, fun ways of smashing all their beloved characters together, heck that might as well be their slogan (and its awesome).
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Sony won this generation’s console war, it wasn’t even that close. Ever since the PlayStation came about through a bitter divorce from Nintendo (yup, look it up), they have been the mainstay of the serious gaming scene. And this console generation has been won largely because of Sony’s focus on taking gaming really super serial! While Microsoft have been messing around with creating “an entertainment system”, Sony have been focusing on their games (funny how this succeeds in selling a GAMING system), with several acclaimed exclusives including The Last of Us, Bloodborne and Shadow of the Colossus. This strategy has been very successful in the past and going by their showing at this year’s E3, there are absolutely no signs of them changing tact. The show was… weird to say the least. It was very artistic with long game play trailers and musical set pieces as the crowds were moved between immersive sets. But really, that’s the perfect personification of what Sony are doing; their focus, right now, is their art. It certainly works for now, but what about the future? To understand that, we need to examine our final contestant…
In my opinion, Microsoft are doing the most interesting work right now. As I’ve highlighted earlier, they clearly fell behind this generation as the’y’re focus strayed away from the one thing you’d think they needed to care about: the games. But what were they doing instead? Microsoft have a unique vision for what they believe there consoles to be moving forward, not simply gaming systems, but rather the entertainment hub of the household. In order to achieve this goal, they’ve been pushing some interesting policies. When the Xbox One was originally announced, it was intended to be completely online, with no offline support and physical disks largely done away with. As the great Pewdiepie once said, “the internet did not respond well”. Eventually the negative response led them to backtrack . But the hiccup hasn’t stopped Microsoft’s attempts to redefine home entertainment, one of their most impressive/controversial features has nothing to do with the Xbox itself at all. I’m talking about the Game Pass; a Netflix style subscription service that offers a range of titles (including some of Microsoft’s heavy hitters) for a monthly fee. Now this is something I’ll likely talk about in more detail in a future article, but for now I just want to highlight the effort Microsoft is putting into laying a groundwork for a different gaming future. And that’s what we got from their press conference, an emphasis on new studios, the game pass and even… uh faster disk reading? They’re show was less about games and more about the gaming infrastructure they are building. Microsoft are up to something, and it might well trigger an earthquake.
Anyway, we are almost done! The conclusion to the first GGE3 is almost here, but of course I’ve saved something awesome to finish. All I can say is keep your eyes peeled for the fallout of what’s to come.
[Featured image owned by GGAL]