The first day of E3 2014 is over and the usual debates have broken out as to who won the show. Unlike last year, both Sony and Microsoft put on great shows with a fine line between the two. Here we break down each of the conferences to discuss who was the overall winner.
I wouldn't say that 2014's show was one of the best E3's. The biggest disappointment was the lack of AAA surprises and the number of cinematic trailers vs gameplay. It's common to see CGI at E3 but there's usually more gameplay to show off.
The overwhelming number of leaks also dampened the E3 hype this year but that's no fault of MS or Sony. Both parties put on solid displays with neither slipping up. The speakers were good, presentation fine, there were just no big surprises.
Going first is never preferable at E3 but Microsoft did the right thing and stuck to games this time around. We saw many trailers including Forza Horizon 2, Halo Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Evolve and many others. Microsoft just kept rolling them out.
In my opinion Microsoft's was a safe conference, lots of game announcements but not many surprises. It was a steady and confident display, in contrast to last year where they went off on an entertainment tangent. This year they let Sony do the TV stuff.
Microsoft wanted to prove that they've got a diverse set of games coming this year, it's no longer just about shooters. Their racing game in particular will win over a lot of fans with Forza 2 looking spectacular.
One of the favourite announcements was the Halo Master Chief Collection which combines Halo 1 - 4, all remastered with extra content on a single disc. There's a unified UI with everything unlocked including playlists so you can play all the warthog missions or tank missions, together with over 100 multiplayer maps all running on the original engine with 1080p 60fps.
There were no megaton moments though, no surprise reveals from Microsoft. Just a lot of trailers and CGI moments, which are ok but we expect and need gameplay at E3.
Microsoft set the bar really high with their morning conference - their display was fast flowing and constantly about games. On paper, the Sony display was solid but a little elongated. There were parts that didn't flow well but these were things that Sony had to talk about.
If you look closely, there weren't many Sony made exclusives for 2014. Instead Sony's strategy was to tease gamers in by offering content that's only available for PS users. "You could buy this game on another platform but here's why you should buy it for ours". They also focused a lot on indie games, of which there are many lined up for the Playstation.
Whereas Microsoft opted for CGI trailers, Sony went for gameplay in their presentation and that's always good. We got to see gameplay for Destiny, Little Big Planet 3, Far Cry 4 but there was a little too much focus on Destiny (7 min trailer). They did show a lot of games that people wanted to see including The Order 1886 and some games which are available to play soon such as the Destiny Alpha.
Bizarrely they took the decision to dedicate 20 mins of their presentation to stats and TV, something which 90% of gamers couldn't care less about. This unnecessary sideshow disrupted the momentum of the Sony's conference which until that point was really good.
Unfortunately, the reveal trailer for Uncharted was poor for one of their top game franchises. It revealed nothing and gave no clues on the direction the game might go in. The Order 1886 was the same as it didn't show nearly enough to get anyone excited and it definitely didn't live up to the whole new way of using QTE as we've been told.
There were no huge surprises from Sony either as half the games they showed we already knew about even before E3 started. Uncharted was announced last year, project beast was leaked before the show, No Mans Sky was announced last year and even Batman was announced before too.
DriveClub, the delay ridden game for PS4, was suppressed from the show proving that Sony has little confidence in its racing game in comparison to Microsoft's Forza series. That game is supposed to release this year and the absence of a mention is worrying.
Overall - Who Won?
As much as fan boys love to argue, Microsoft edged it this year.
They won it because of the number of quality exclusive titles coming this year backed up with a substantial amount of timed DLC. They also have the best genre spread for the next 6 months; there's a fighter, FPS, open world, racer and an adventure game.
Microsoft Exclusives and Release Dates
Some of the Microsoft exclusive games coming soon are:
- Forza Horizon 2 - Sept 30, 2014
- Sunset Overdrive - Oct 28, 2014
- Halo Master Chief Collection- Nov 11, 2014
- Fable Legends Beta - Fall, 2014
- Halo 5: Guardians Beta - Dec, 2014
Sony Exclusives and Release Dates
In contrast, Playstation owners have a few exclusives but mostly multiplatform titles to look forward to for the next 6 months. Exclusives shown below:
- Destiny Alpha - June, 2014
- Far Cry 4 - Nov 18, 2014
- Little Big Planet - Nov, 2014
- Driveclub - Oct 8, 2014 but no trailer at E3
- TLOU Remastered - July, 2014
That said, both parties did enough to sail through unscaved but neither of them made it an E3 to remember. Instead we got a bunch of games were already knew about and a tonne of 2015 releases which E3 2015 will cover again next year anyway.
Too many CGI trailers and limited gameplay did little to increase our hype for upcoming games. I wish there was that one bomb of a moment that revealed a new IP but there was nothing.
E3 24014 - Games
Here's the list of games revealed at E3 2014:
Due for release in 2014
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - DLC on Xbox first
- Forza 5 Free DLC - Available now
- Forza Horizon 2 - Xbox One exclusive
- Evolve - BETA Xbox exclusive
- Far Cry 4
- Assassins Creed: Unity - multi next-gen
- Dragon Age: Inquisition - DLC first on Xbox
- Sunset Overdrive - Xbox exclusive
- Dead Rising 3 DLC - Available now
- Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved - Xbox exclusive
- Dance Central: Spotlight - Xbox One exclusive
- Fable Legends - Xbox exclusive
- Project Spark - Microsoft exclusive
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Xbox One exclusive, retouched, original Halo 2 Multiplayer
- Halo 5: Guardians + Halo: Nightfall (live action series) - BETA starts December
- The Last of Us Remastered - PS4
2015 and Beyond
- The Order 1886 - PS4
- Unchartered 4: A Thief's End - PS4
- Rise of the Tomb Raider - Xbox One
- Bloodborne - PS4 exclusive
- Dead Island 2 - exclusive PS4 content
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - multi next-gen
- Kill Instinct TJ Combo DLC for Season 2
- Phantom Dust - Xbox One exclusive
- Tom Clancy's The Division - New content first on Xbox One
- Scalebound - Xbox One exclusive
- Crackdown 3 - Xbox One exclusive