A lot has happened in the 24 hours before opening day. We’ve seen keynotes from Xbox, EA, Ubisoft and Playstation, as well as Bethesda who ran their first ever showcase the night before. Every year, there are common themes that pop out from and this year there seems to be three: Nostalgia, Virtual Reality and simplicity.
This year we’re seeing LOTS of remakes and revivals – far more than we have at previous E3s. This includes Rare Replay (which includes more than 30 games), Gears of War [Ultimate Edition for Xbox One], Final Fantasy VII remake on PS4, Shenmue on PS4, the announcement of backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games on Xbox one and lots more.
There seems to be a result of two main factors. First, the teething phase of Next-Gen consoles seems to be over, and now that developers are familiar with the platforms they’re more ready, willing and able to bring their legacy forward – this is illustrated in the difference between what Square Enix presented last year for Final Fantasy VII compared to this year.
Second, is that there are two key active markets that nostalgia appeals to. Old school players who remember playing these games 20 odd years ago will jump at the chance to play updated versions of the games they loved. Also, the children of these players and other younger players who weren’t born when they were originally released. This gives younger players to experience modern interpretations of classic games that defined the genre.
We’re seeing very different plays from Microsoft and Sony here. Microsoft has partnered with Oculus (announced last week) and now also Valve VR (announced today). This means that each are betting on a different success strategy.
Microsoft’s decision to outreach to Oculus and Valve VR developer communities, rather than just looking in its own Xbox and windows developer communities is an interesting move. It’s likely to capitalize on the flourishing dev community and existing assets that exist there, and by focusing on first party hardware sony will produce a very different result. We’ll have to wait and see which is the better bet.
The experience of being an attendee this year has been very simple – which is great. Last year we saw a lot of new elements introduced into the attendee experience, like L.E.D. Bands and other interactive elements. This year, Xbox was the only major platform to do so and publishers really just focused on the content. This kind of speaks to a less is more philosophy/mentality and it worked great.
Playstation is where the big difference in attendee experience is for the keynotes though. Their pre-show was amazing, and very different compared to the other keynote/briefing events.
Where all the other keynotes ran lines and allowed people to wait around before heading in to get their seat, Playstation had what felt like a festival outside their briefing pre-show. There was lots of food, bars, and tables for people to enjoy and socialise. This changed the attendee dynamic a lot and made people a lot more excited about being there and sharing their experience with all the other attendees.