The Winners & Losers of E3 2013

By Phill Powell

Another E3 is in the books. The 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo wowed attendees from around the world with a future of video games that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

The drama at the show this year centered mainly around Sony’s response to Microsoft’s Xbox One announcements. Calculated and carefully crafted, Sony’s response definitely won over the press. But there were plenty of other winners, too—gamers mainly—who have a whole host of great games (and new systems) to look forward to…

Titanfall‘s player mechanics are a combination of platform action and first-person action with mech warfare. The game amazed even jaded industry insiders.

Xbox One
Thanks to knock-out first-party titles like Forza Motorsport 5 and third-party games like Watch Dogs, the Xbox One did make a strong showing. The Xbox One and the next generation of consoles promised a truly photo-realistic gaming experience—everything looked so real—right down to pebbles in the streets you’re driving on. Games like Ryse: Son of Rome, a sword & shield actioneer and Project Spark, a game which reminded us of Minecraft, made us want to believe in the platform. Gamers can preorder Xbox One now. The system, which arrives in November, will sell for $499.

PlayStation 4
The PlayStation 4 received such a strong reception at E3 that Sony actually upped its revenue forecasts to Wall Street analysts after the PlayStation 4 E3 announcement. But real gamers know, the name of the game is games. Games sell systems and the PS4 will definitely have a ton of great games.

Nintendo Wii U
Even though the video game game giant didn’t have a new machine to promote and it was easily the most underestimated company at E3, Nintendo is still sitting high on the mountain. It has consistently better revenues and cost management than Sony or Microsoft—and it has the kind of legendary characters other publishers would kill for.

Mario Kart 8, is the first HD Mario driving kart game, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze takes the big ape on an adventure both underwater and even to frozen lands. A sequel to Super Smash Bros. also showed attendees that Nintendo knows exactly what gamers want.

Destiny is Bungie’s first unique IP since Halo.

Name of the Game? Games
E3 showcased a ton of new games. However, these six titles really caught our attention:

  • Titanfall (Electronic Arts) Everyone at the show was buzzing about this multiplayer combination of first-person shooter and mechanized warfare. How does it play? Storm the battleground as a free-running soldier or climb inside mech-style walkers and fight enemies as a human robot. (Xbox One; Winter 2014)
  • Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo) Nintendo’s all-star slugfest features Mario, Donkey Kong and Pikachu. Plus, surprisingly, the Villager (from the “Animal Crossing” series) and…drumroll, please…Capcom’s legendary Mega Man. (Wii U; 2014)
  • Destiny (Activision) Echoing classic sci-fi themes and visions, Destiny explores strange new worlds in an action RPG that’s also a first-person shooter. (It’s been called a “shared-world shooter” because it’s massively multiplayer.) Developer Bungie claims the Destiny universe will be “alive”—and unscripted events may happen. (PlayStation 4, Xbox One; 2014)
  • The Division (Ubisoft) Based on a nightmarish Tom Clancy storyline, The Division begins with a pandemic that turns New York City into a post-apocalyptic warzone; where a heavily armed band of self-supported tactical agents tries to restore order. Mix in astounding graphics and blood-and-thunder gameplay and you have an exciting, open-world RPG experience. (Xbox One, PlayStation 4; 2014)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront (Electronic Arts) “Star Wars” fans rejoiced seeing a teaser for the game, which included a first-person battle on Hoth. The game will use EA’s Frostbite 3 engine and comes from EA’s developer Dice. (PlayStation 4, Xbox One; 2014?)
  • Watch Dogs (Ubisoft) An action-adventure stealth game with a story ripped right from today’s headlines—including hacking and other forms of information warfare. Along with the data they collect, players will rely on stealth actions (such as parkour) in this third-person shooter. (Xbox One, PlayStation 4; Fall 2013)

    Expect something epic when Mega Man battles Mario in Super Smash Bros.

    The Trends
    Several key issues remained hot topics throughout E3 2013, including:

    Disc-Based Games are Dying
    Expect this to be the last generation of consoles with an optical drive. Console manufacturers are driving players toward online-based, game-delivery systems.

    The Used Games Market
    From the perspective of developers and publishers, they lose revenues from used game sales. Gamers say once they’ve bought a game, it’s theirs to play, resell or loan. Microsoft added fuel to the debate fire when it announced the Xbox One would impose certain restrictions and regulations on how used games Xbox One games could be played—including charging gamers a fee to play used or borrowed games. Crowds cheered when CEO Jack Tretton made it clear that PlayStation 4 games would carry no such restrictions and that the company regarded sold games as the private property of their customers.

    Nintendo challenged both companies with this statement: “If you’re worried about used games, maybe you should make better games.”

    Big Brother Kinect
    Microsoft’s Kinect will be an all-knowing, all-seeing device. In light of recent privacy concerns, that made gamers feel…very uneasy. Kinect’s microphone remains “live” at all times, which means that it could be used to record gamer conversations. The new Kinect sensor is so complex that it can be used to gather detailed personal information (including user eye movements, mood and heart rate), which could help generate consumer data for advertisers.

    DRM (Digital Rights Management) and Required Internet Connectivity
    Get banned from Xbox and you lose all your games. Don’t let your Xbox One connect to the internet once every 24 hours and it won’t work. Issues like these and how they will really impact gamers will become much clearer as we lead up to the launch of the consoles.

    New York City completely loses its appeal as a tourist destination in The Division.

    Play Games…or Make ‘Em?
    E3 2013 proves that the battle royal for the U.S. videogame market is escalating, and with $17 billion in annual videogame revenues, it’s no wonder that some of the world’s biggest companies are slugging it out and trying to capture as much of the market as they possibly can. And even though Sony may have had the best E3, that doesn’t mean this war is at all decided. Far from it, in fact.

    But two things are certain: Gaming is here to stay and the videogame industry will continue to grow for decades, as it has done. Given that game developers and publishers are going to need skilled and creative workers for the foreseeable future, the question for gamers becomes would you rather play video games this summer, or learn how to make them instead? You could become a videogame developer, starting this summer at Digital Media Academy tech camps in US and Canada. It could be the start of something big.

    E3 2013 now belongs to videogame history, but we’ll be looking forward to next year’s show—when we again get to glimpse into gaming’s bold new future.