The winner is the Sega Neptune, the true console war winner.
E3 2013 has come and gone and of course, every little teenage boy and girl is warring over “who won”. Well, only one way to find out, so let’s cut to the chase and dive in!
Let’s look at each of the three companies.
CRITICAL EDIT: As of June 19, 2013, Microsoft has REVERSED their DRM Policy rendering the following as VOID
Ouch, Microsoft got some critical damage. They’ve been getting a lot of flak for their DRM policy. You cannot trade your games freely to your friends and the console must connect the the internet once every 24 hours. Well, there is a method to this madness actually. Microsoft’s aim is to reduce the costs of games between licenses and accounting for used resales to drive down costs similar to Steam; a novel idea with one mistake, consoles are not PCs, they’re two different animals. More on this in a future article, but PCs are used to stricter DRMs. (Don’t copy that floppy, anyone?) Unless you were an ardent “PC Master Race” numbskull from birth and never soiled your hands with a console/handheld in your life, you would feel cheated if your childhood copy of Final Fantasy VII (which I know you still break out on your PS1, emulator, or PSN copy) could not be lent out to your classmate, so what’s going on here?
In the gaming world, your profits come more from sales if anything. No box office, no merchandising, and very little corporate sponsors. Discs = revenue. So the game’s price tag has to come from all that development and distribution cost. In PC game land, there’s a PC around every corner to put a DRM-less game onto. So by going full digital and by having these protections, profits are safe and prices of games themselves are driven down. Consoles on the other hand, can have their games be lent out like DVDs and videotapes because there are fewer consoles around and you never have to be online to enjoy them. By having an online check system, that edge is being removed. Even a simple license key system would be more effective a la the PC. Unless the most technical Xbox One games can drive prices from $60 to say $20, Valve has the better model because its environment is different.
The PS4 conference more or less destroyed Microsoft, especially in this clip. PS4 responded last season with its social features and its distinction from the PC market by streamlining gaming community under one machine. The Wii U attempted this but its execution left much to be desired at least at point of the market. Vita streaming games from your PS4 does create an incentive for the Vita, essentially turning your powerhouse of a console into a mobile device, unifying PC-esque power and the convenience of the mobile market. Should this execute well and be properly marketed, it could be a game changer.
Though the real shining gem of the Sony portion was Square-Enix’s reveal of Final Fantasy Versus XIII or now as its rebranding Final Fantasy XV. Kingdom Hearts III was also revealed. Essentially, in spite of a very lackluster few years for the company, Square’s big thing was actually keeping to promises they made six years ago, and some skepticism may indeed be warranted. However, many are hopeful and it really could be a comeback for the company.
Nintendo did what it did best, it dropped big name title after big name title. We had new Mario, new Zelda, Monolith, Sonic, Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, Pokemon XY, and countless other titles that would actually bring out the Wii U potential and continue the 3DS’ power in the handheld market. This is Nintendo’s claim to fame, their ability to make the most of what have. Maybe Miiverse will finally mean something? Maybe a price cut is in order? Regardless, the most powerful showing at E3 was Smash Bros, and from expert opinions, the development of the game appears to have less of the failings Brawl introduced, no tripping being one of them. In the end, while not having the technical aspects, it is games that are important when it comes down to it.
From a naive standpoint it pretty much looks like Microsoft curbstomped by Sony and Nintendo, and there’s reason for that assessment. However, a lot of big talk was made especially from mainline Nintendo devs and Square-Enix. Should these pay off, then I would say PS4 and maybe Wii U would have taken down Xbox One, but I’d reserve that judgment when I can actually play a decent Final Fantasy again. Join me next time, when I teach body preparedness.