The Big 3 at E3

Ricard Julianti is back for another opinion piece on Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Gaming Expo. Get the whole article past the link. 

E3 is upon us. In two weeks Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will gather in Los Angeles to reveal the secrets they have been hiding from the public. For all three, it means showcasing major system selling software that will convince the masses to buy into the next-generation. Now that Sony and Microsoft have officially revealed their new consoles, the time is right to discuss what the “Big 3” will bring during the show. Let’s get started.

Sony - June 10th, 6PM PST:

Sony revealed the Playstation 4 on February 20, but somehow forgot to show everyone that there is indeed a console. This will be one of the first things they show during their press conference, unless of course they start by talking about the Playstation 3. You see the PS3 still has a pretty big year ahead of it even though there is a new console coming out. The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, Tales of Xillia and Gran Turismo 6 are all releasing by the time the PS4 launches exclusively on the Playstation 3.

Sony probably won’t spend much time talking about ‘The Last of Us’ considering it hits stores four days after their press conference. At the very least it will be mentioned in passing, and at most there will be a new launch trailer shown. This will likely hold true for Beyond: Two Souls as well, and honestly, Tales of Xillia might not even get a mention if Sony decides to leave marketing that up to Namco-Bandai. Gran Turismo is a different story however as it was only announced on May 15th. Sony will spend some time talking about the improvements made to the game over 5, show off gameplay, announce a release date and so on.

They’ll likely talk about the PS3’s “comeback” (that cost them ~$6bn), and how it helped shape the PS4. Then Sony will finally introduce the new console, talk about a release date and lastly, the price. It will not cost “$599 US Dollars” that much is certain, Sony learned their mistake with that one. During the reveal they teased that it will launch this “Holiday” which usually means in time for Black Friday; any later than that and they miss out one of the biggest shopping days of the year. My personal guess is that they will try to capitalize on the release of Watch Dogs, which Sony is heavily promoting, and launch on Nov. 19th for $400-$500. They’ll tout it as a premium device with a premium price, and as an upgrade over the competition.

As far as games go, Sony will talk about several things shown at the reveal and possibly could have some really great surprises in store. Knack, Killzone, Drive Club, and inFamous Second Son will all get gameplay videos preluded by a story trailer. I would be honestly surprised if any of them weren’t day 1 releases, other than Drive Club. DC is in a weird place considering GT6 will undoubtedly be releasing this fall and while they will be on separate platforms (pending a port of Gran Turismo to the PS4), they will still cannibalize sales of each other if released too close together. When Drive Club was announced, it seemed the general consensus was that it would be releasing in lieu of Gran Turismo not launching until a couple of years into the PS4’s life.

This type of confusion may be Sony’s biggest problem at E3. They have to hype their new console, while still preparing to release stellar games on their old one. Many of the titles shown off by other companies at E3 will be coming to the PS3 in addition to the PS4 such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Watch Dogs. Then you’ve got Gran Turismo and Beyond further decreasing the “need” to upgrade systems.

Because of this, Sony will have to have at least one big surprise, maybe two. The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy Vs XIII are both supposedly still in development, and it’s possible that part of the reason for the delay was a switch to PS4. After all, the brand manager for Final Fantasy got on stage at the PS4 reveal and told everyone, “Please be excited.” This suggests the there will be a Final Fantasy game shown for the PS4 at E3, what game it is remains to be seen. Releasing either FFvsXIII or The Last Guardian on PS3 at this point would wreck early sales of the PS4, so I don’t expect that to happen.

Microsoft - June 10th 9:30AM PST:

I’ll try not to dwell on the reveal too much, but it all boils down to one thing. Hubris. If there is one thing Microsoft has at this point, that would be it. It is really the only thing I can come up with that would make them think revealing the XBOne the way they did was a good idea. If the reveal is meant to be seen as part one of a two-part E3 conference, why separate the two parts by three weeks? It probably would have been much simpler to reveal the console June 9th as they did last week, and then have the game focused press conference the next day. Instead they chose to have 3 weeks of negativity that they blame on the media when their message has not been clear from the start.

Let’s look at a few numbers. There have been ~77 million 360′s purchased, including ones re-bought after hardware failures (RRoD, E74, spilled orange juice, etc). Out of those 77m users, 46m have some sort of Xbox Live account, whether full Gold or a limited access Silver variant (3 day gold account or what was included in Halo 4). By requiring online, Microsoft potentially cuts out about 40% of 360 owners…before getting into 360′s that have multiple accounts attached to them and limited time/access Silver variants which help offset the inflation of the hardware failure re-purchases. It could even be closer to 50%.

Granted not all 40-50% of 360 owners that don’t pay for Live don’t have internet, but if they aren’t willing/able to pay for XBL and it’s online features now, why would they want to buy a system that requires them to connect to the internet every so often to validate? Alienating that much of your user base in one fell swoop isn’t exactly a smart business decision. Then you’ve got to take into account the lack of backwards compatibility and the whole, used games thing and you’ve angered a majority of 360 owners. MS needs to clear all of this up, not whether or not the console can stand vertically (pro-tip: It can’t) Every moment that goes by, there is more negativity.

They are really going to need to bring the heat at E3 if they want people to even care about the console. Oddly enough, it seems like they could be doing just that. MS announced that they will have 15 exclusives, 8 of which are new IP’s, launching in the first year of the console. The question is, what are they and what will be shown in two weeks? New IP’s are great, but they are a much tougher sell than established franchises which is why we have seen so many sequels in the last few years.

Sadly, about 80% of those exclusives are predictable, including a few of the new IP’s. We’ve got; Ryse, Black Tusk Studios’ shooter, Quantum Break, Respawn Entertainment’s “Titan”, Forza 5, Halo 5, Fable, Kinect Sports (of some kind), Crackdown 3, Gears of War/New IP from Epic, a “Historic IP” from Rare, probably at least 1 other Kinect-only IP, and what will likely be third person shooters, or first person shooters. Doesn’t seem nearly as exciting anymore does it?

As far as the Rare game goes, Killer Instinct seems likely considering Microsoft renewed the trademark recently. However, Rare does have a few other franchises that could generate a lot of buzz. Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Conker, Kameo, and Viva Pinata could all be considered “historic” in their own way. The problem is that none of those sold exceptionally well and none of the most recent entries even broke a million units. With today’s budgets spiraling out of control, the game would have to be absolutely phenomenal in order to break the misconceptions about Rare (if they even are misconceptions at this point) and turn a profit.

One franchise that is overlooked in these discussions, is Battletoads. That game was the epitome of hardcore gaming, with a few levels being next to impossible unless you put in massive amounts of time. Ever since the last entry in 1994, people have been wanting a reboot of the franchise. Even if I never play it (as I don’t plan on buying the XBOne), it would be great to see it come back….as long as the difficulty remains. None of that “appeal to the masses” junk that ends up ruining franchises.

As for the system itself, Microsoft might try to beat the Playstation 4 to market. I have a feeling they will try to launch November 5th alongside CoD:Ghosts in order to try to draw as many customers as possible. The problem with doing that of course, is any launch titles would get overshadowed in favor of Call of Duty. On the price front, I wouldn’t be surprised if MS launched two SKU’s at $300+ a two-year contract at $10-15 a month, and $450-500. Bundling Kinect won’t be cheap and Microsoft will try to reduce losses wherever possible so expect the current format of XBL to stay, and the price may or may not increase.

The question is, will Microsoft be able to generate enough excitement to negate all of the negativity AND get people to genuinely want the console regardless of their methods? Only time will tell.

Nintendo - June 11 7AM PST:

2013 has been an extremely weird year for Nintendo so far. “Nintendo is Doomed!” articles left and right, blind hatred and misinformation on forums, claims that the Wii U isn’t as powerful as the 360, EA and everything they’ve done, rumor after rumor after rumor, slow sales due to a lack of games and “launch-window” games being delayed until Q3 of this year. Going into the Xbox reveal, many were claiming it would be the final nail in the Wii U coffin regardless of what Nintendo shows.

My how things have changed in the last week. Wii U sales have spiked on Amazon in the UK, and eBay Germany has begun promoting the Wii U while taking jabs at the Xbox at the same time. On forums, people have been proclaiming a WiiU/PS4 future if not a Wii U/PC one. Rumors about what Nintendo will show at E3 have ramped up significantly as questions loom. One thing is certain though, Nintendo is and always has been about the games.

Nintendo caused a little bit of controversy when they announced they wouldn’t be holding a standard E3 press conference. This drew the ire of many people across the internet and only fueled the “Nintendoomed” fires. Instead of spending wads of cash on a big presentation with celebrities and large set pieces while catering to everyone in attendance all in the span of an hour and a half, they are doing something different. In my personal opinion, it is a much better strategy.

Basically, Nintendo is giving everyone that attends E3 exactly what they want out of the conference directly. Business partners are having a meeting with Nintendo executives to discuss the marketing strategy for the year and view footage of the games that will help sell the system. The press is getting a Software Showcase where Reggie Fils-Aime and Shigeru Miyamoto will present games and there will be hands-on demos available before the show floor officially opens. Gamers are being shown exactly what we want, games.

There is a Nintendo Direct planned for 7AM PST on June 11th that will focus on Wii U. Having a Direct instead of a press conference allows Nintendo to devote the entire time to games rather than having to discuss any of the other things business partners or the press would be interested in such as sales or marketing buzzwords. Best Buy has partnered with Nintendo in order to bring an E3 experience to everyone at home. 100 Best Buy stores across the country will feature Wii U kiosks that will have demos of some of the games shown in the Nintendo Direct. This is has never been done before by any of the Big 3, and frankly it is a genius move. Get the games in the hands of people so that they understand the Wii U, get excited for the fall, and quite possibly purchase one on the spot.

In their last investor meeting, Nintendo said that they will be focusing on games coming out this fiscal year, while planning to have 10m Wii U’s sold by next March and generating 100 billion yen in operating profits. In order to do this, Nintendo really has to market the system well and provide stellar titles.Nintendo has already confirmed a few of the games that will be shown in the ND such as the new 3D Mario platformer, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. The first two will probably be featured in the Best Buy kiosks and are more than likely coming out this year. However, that is only the start of what Nintendo will bring in the Direct.

Most Nintendo Directs have been around half an hour-long, but considering everything Nintendo needs to do, an hour to an hour and a half seems likely. Wind Waker HD will likely be shown in motion and given a release date as it was announced to be coming this fall. Pikmin will be touched on, Wonderful 101 will probably get a new gameplay trailer, Bayonetta 2 might get a gameplay trailer considering Nintendo has been hyping it since it was announced. Monolith’s new game “X” will at least be given a title, maybe a story trailer and if we are lucky…a Japanese release date with a localization window.

Supposedly, whatever game Retro is working on was supposed to be shown at E3 last year but was pulled at the last-minute. That would explain why Arkham City was given so much attention and why Nintendo Land seemed to take up half the show. Whatever it is, the anticipation is reaching critical levels. Nintendo has said that they hope to reveal it “in the not so distant future” and that it is a “fantastic project” that has made them “too busy to work on Zelda”. Retro has been expanding by hiring former members of studios such as Naughty Dog, Bioware and Vigil. They have also hired a couple of artists whose past works help give some insight into what the game is. To me it screams Metroid, anything else in the Nintendo library would have to get fairly twisted to make full use of the talent they have hired. Unless it’s a new IP of course.

Next up, is the issue of third-party support. People like to claim that third parties are abandoning the system left and right, that the Wii U has no support at all and that it can’t even run “true next-gen games” all of which is simply not true. Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence. In fact, Climax Studios is currently working on two new titles that will appear on Wii U, PS4 and the XBOne, dispelling the claim that it “can’t run next-gen games.”

Rumors have been swirling about Bungie’s title “Destiny” coming to the Wii U ever since the reveal trailer had some minor Nintendo references. What’s interesting to note is that when there were rumors about Destiny coming to the PS Vita, Bungie debunked the rumor in less than a day. Call of Duty: Ghosts has been rumored for the system and listings have even appeared on the internet, yet no announcement has been made. Activision waited to confirm Black Ops 2 was coming to the Wii U until after Nintendo held a preview event in NYC in September, even though there had been rumors since June so we could have a similar situation here for both titles.

Nintendo also has 3 exclusive Sonic games coming to the system, while only two of them have been announced. Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem is apparently only one of “many collaborations with outside development partners”, and Iwata said that “[in the future] we will also provide more information about the efforts of our third-party publishers on Wii U”, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see an entirely separate Nintendo Direct purely focused on third parties during the week of E3.

. . .

Whatever ends up happening at E3 in a couple of weeks, it is sure to be an exciting show. It is the start of a new generation of consoles, where the big 3 come out and strut their stuff in an attempt to convince people to buy the consoles. Rarely is there an E3 that brings as much attention as one such as this year’s. The next two weeks are going to be filled with rumors, speculation, previews, trailers and more. Hopefully the time passes quickly…

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Author: RicardJulianti (11 Posts)

28 Responses to The Big 3 at E3

  1. jay says:

    I agree with you but there is another scenario

    Sony shows everything the PS4 does and takes 80% of the press conference only leaving 20% for games. They reveal the same used game system as microsoft (this is highly probable) and the always on PSEye for motion control. So exactly the same of what MS did on their presentation last week

    MS trying to satisfy gamers, show tons of games.

    Nintendo just ignores E3 and down plays it, since the other big 2 are coming out with new consoles they know they cannot win.

    So I'm concern Sony commits the stupid mistake of feeling confident we are all buying their console and blew everything.


  2. koopzilla says:

    Great article as always.

    I think Microsoft only has 2 choices:

    Either try to deceive and confuse their way out of the situation they are in, which they already seem to be doing. By doing this they can hope that some people who haven't heard about the things they are trying to pull, and extreme hardcore X-Box fans that just don't care what they are trying to pull will buy the system. Although even if that works out better than expected for them they will still fall far short of their 1 billion units sold.

    The only other hope they have is to delay the system at least another year (possibly 2), and go back and fix everything. I don't see this happening though. For one they already have developers making games that they expect to be selling this year. Also I don't think they want to fix the problems. They want to squeeze every cent they can out of you by charging for internet, TV, used game activation, rebuying 360 games on their online store since it's not backward compatible, new controllers, not allowing rentals or game lending, etc…

  3. Intel says:

    Another great article Ricard. It’s a great scope on how the three game companies are going to bring it at E3. Man I can’t wait for it start!

  4. timg57867 says:


    • RicardJulianti says:

      Share it everywhere! It's relevant to gamers everywhere, so there's no reason it can't be up on anywhere that will take it. N4G, Xbox Forums, Playstation Forums, NeoGAF (maybe), Nintendo such and such, VGChartz and so on.

  5. timg57867 says:

    Even the Wii U is the console in a rough spot, the 3DS mustn't be ignored. This year will be the true test to see how the 3DS can stand up against smartphones and tablets. The 3DS needs to get hyped a lot for it to explode like the DS. Mario and Luigi Dream Team should be marketed well to keep up the Animal Crossing momentum. Have 1-3 more first and third party games out in September. As for October…HYPE TO THE MAX! Pokémon X and Y are the 3DS's ace in the whole. Market the freaking heck out of it. Posters and ads in all the places gamers and kids will see it. Mock battle demos in 3DS will help. Also release no new games around it to avoid cannibalism. Now keep the momentum going with Link to the Past 2 and Mario Party 3DS in November and December. Also draw attention to the eShop. Be sure to market older games too.

    3DS bundles galore and news colors in all regions is a now brainer.

    Do something like what I said and it should turn out great. PUMPED FOR E3!!!!!! :3

    • Furious Francis says:

      3DS needs to be pushed just as hard as the Wii U. Nintendo makes quite a bit of profit off the 3DS XL's. And with Pokemon X and Y coming this fall, Nintendo needs to bury the PS Vita once and for all in Japan.

      The Wii U has more competition and it will be tougher, but I have confidence in Nintendo. I think they will have new marketing, more games, and a price cut some time before the end of next year.

      • Rpx says:

        3DS won Japan pretty much especially with Monster Hunter 4 coming out in the Summer and Pokemon in the Fall. Also, did not SMT4 just came out recently in Japan.

        Vita is likely a niche product for Japanese consumers, Sony ignore the product for too long and lack any “must-have” games for the Japanese audience, maybe except Persona 4 Golden. Vita is in Life Support right now unless Sony bring an A+ game for the system. It might happen if that game in development by Sony Japan Studio is well-received.

        • Matthew Wesley says:

          The problem with the vita is Sony's need to make everything propriatary and obscenely expensive, and I don't know if Sony realizes this, but having better technology than Nintendo doesn't work; almost every competitor Nintendo's had with handhelds had better tech and still couldn't get it off the ground against their pocket systems. Sony should've gone for a different part of the market or not charged as much.

    • Matthew Wesley says:

      I don't think that comparing the 3ds and a smartphone or tablet is a fair comparison. Have you ever tried to play a platformer or really good rpg on a tablet? It's like trying to watch netflix on a smartphone: you can do it, but it isn't the most optimal experience. The 3ds may be forced to compete saleswise with the tablets and smartphones amongst the casual market , but for intermediate and advanced gamers, the 3ds offers experiences that tablets and smartphones just don't have.

  6. timg57867 says:

    Pikmin 3 and the Wonderful 101 need A LOT of hype as the former isn't a big seller and the latter is a new IP and launching near GTA V. As for the 3D Mario, that obviously needs to get hyped like crazy and a bundle should be considered along with Mario Kart U which HAS to come out in November. Wind Waker HD should be marketed like DKCR 3D: almost like a new game. Make sure the ads are approachable. 2 games that would be AWESOME getting out in the window are Monolith's X in Japan and Retro's game in the West. "Hardcore gamers" or whatever should drool over those. I see Wii Party U and Wii Fit U as crucial to attracting the casual Wii audience to Wii U and away from Kinect. These should actually get TONS of marketing and they should be bundled with the Wii U Basic as they are much more safe than Nintendo Land. As for third parties, make sure to emphasize exclusives and multiplats to show people that Wii U has more third party support Watch Dogs, Rayman Legends, ZombiU, Lego City Undercover, Arkham Origins, and Call of Duty should be at the front. Make sure to do everything you can to explain Wii U is a new console and outline the features.

  7. Ogya says:

    Nice read Ricard, there is a lot riding on E3 for the big N and other 2. I hope we get surprised by the Nintendo direct like we did in the January Direct.

    I hope the indie games for the eshop also get some love.

    Let the games begin.

  8. timg57867 says:

    An article that gives a fair outlook on each of the Big 3, stating the odd position Sony's in, the huge damage control Microsoft will have to do, and giving a much more truthful picture of Nintendo's challenges. If I had the power, I'd fire all the IGN, Craptaku, and N4G is writers and give your own website.

    I'll just speak for Nintendo here. Clearly Nintendo is gonna bring it when it comes to software. The question is how they present it. Here's how I would tackle. Have Best Buy keep those demos up for 1-2 weeks (if not the whole time) to give as much people as much chance as possible. Once Best Buy get's their chance on eager buyers, go after Wal-Mart, Toys R US, Target, K Mart, and hell, pretty much ALL the big retailers worldwide that'll stock the system. Get those games in as many hands as possible. Gamestop will probably get rolling on its own. All near future first party games should get demos. Mabye have a video for far off titles. As for third party games, make sure Rayman Legends, Sonic Lost World, and ZombiU get demos. Also team up with third parties to market the games on the console as third parties dropped the pooch almost as badly in terms of marketing. Make sure there are plenty of events, flyers, Internet ads, ad presence in magazines, etc. to explain the features and that it's a NEW console. Also consider a price cut of $30-50.

  9. Furious Francis says:

    Amazing article Ricard! E3 is going to be fantastic.

    • RicardJulianti says:

      Gah!……I messed up… " I felt the time is right to take a closer look at what and what each…." should just read "I felt the time is right to take a closer look at what each"….no idea what happened there, haha.

      E3 is going to be ridiculous. There is very little chance for disappointment this year….and we have had to put up with some seriously lackluster conferences the past few years.

  10. Matthew Wesley says:

    If Nintendo weren't a japanese company at E3: " I have come here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I'm all outta bubblegum!" Unfortunately, Nintendo is a japanese company, they're too polite to let you know when their about to drop the bomb. Sony better watch their butts, and Microsoft unfortunately (snicker), will be stuck trying to dig themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves.

  11. bigchad says:

    Nice piece Ricard, good job! here is a couple more portfolios from the artists working on Retro's project referenced in the article.
    E3 can't come soon enough.

    • RicardJulianti says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I could have included every hire, where they worked before, and what their specialty is…..but the Nintendo section is already pretty lengthy, not to mention the article.

      Can't wait for E3

  12. Ray01 says:

    Microsoft is already dead to me.
    I hope Sony shows at least one exclusive game that interests me.
    And Nintendo needs to go all out this E3 with their IPs.

    I may be a bit biased but i'm gonna guess that Nintendo will win this E3(Whether the Sony drones want to admit it or not).
    All I know for sure is that Microsoft has already lost.

  13. bytemanbz says:

    Microcrap will be backpedalling like a backwards cyclist, Sony will be all "Gran Turismo! And CoD Ghosts as well!", and Nintendo will be all "Directly to you! And to the customers at Best Buy! No used game manipulating, no forced online, no creepy camera watching you and your partner! Also, Mario, Sonic, Retro, and BAYONETTA!!!"

    Nintendo wins by not doing the big show, and bringing it to the people, Sony wins because of Sony, And Microcrap can't win no matter what. Oh, and drags EA down with them.

    Just a prediction…

  14. Titan64 says:

    So to sum up Ricards article:
    Sony would need shows games and the console itself.
    Microsoft will have to do some serious damage control.
    Nintendo will have market like a mad man.

    All I can say is……END MAY

    • routerbad says:

      I'm dying for June to begin as well. This is going to be a great e3.

    • Rpx says:

      It seems everyone related to the gaming industry and the gamers themselves is focus on this E3.

      This E3 could be going to be outright amazing because of what the gaming companies doing for this upcoming generations of consoles.

      Hopefully, people do not have overexpectations of E3 OR they might be disappointed.

    • Liquid-Sun says:

      It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
      E3 can't come soon enough! :D

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