There isn’t much needed to get me excited about E3. The fact that this year was going to feature the first real glimpses of Sony and Microsoft’s next gen systems just made the anticipation and excitement for this year’s event even more hyped than usual. Earlier, both companies had surprised by making their next gen system announcements before E3 rather than at the con at their respective press conferences. Unsurprisingly both companies faced fierce criticism after their announcements. Sony failed to show the actual system, negating anything else that was announced. When Microsoft finally did reveal their new system, they faced criticism over the bland, seemingly-VCR-looking design. This was then followed by more intense criticism from the various rumors on their policies about used gaming and the need to “always be online” leading up to E3.
The day before E3 typically is filled with press conferences from game companies such as Ubisoft and EA as well as Sony and Microsoft. Microsoft usually has their press conference before Sony’s and this year was no different… and actually seemed to really favor Sony as they could almost counter anything Microsoft announced and have the last word.
The rumors that gamers all over the world were worried about turned to reality as Microsoft confirmed their policies on used gaming and the need to “check in” at least once every 24 hours a day in order to play games. Needless to say, gamers were not happy. In case you lived under a rock and have not heard what these policies were, in short, Microsoft requires owners of the Xbox One to “connect to home” once a day on order to play games and also gave game publishers the ability to decide for themselves whether they want to restrict their games from being resold or shared. In response to the criticism about the need to always maintain an online connectivity, Microsoft’s Xbox Head, Don Mattrick stated that if gamers wanted an offline device or didn’t have the ability to always be online, then they should purchase an Xbox 360. Gee, thanks Microsoft.
Even before Sony’s press conference, several articles appeared online about how easy it was going to be for Sony to win the console wars be simply opposite of what Microsoft announced. And they did just that. No need to “check in” periodically to play games and no restrictions on used games. Not to mention $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. Did they win the console wars? Well, no of course not. Not yet at least. They however did grab a huge lead in the race. They also had an amazing sense of humor about the whole situation based on their hilarious youtube response. Just walking around E3, I overheard several conversations amongst people that they would buy the PS4 over the Xbox One. I did find it interesting that some of those people were our service men, which makes a lot of sense. If they are stationed over seas and are in a location that may not have an Internet connection, because of Microsoft’s policies, they cannot play the Xbox One. Sony also finally revealed the look of the PS4. Smaller than the Xbox One, and sort of resembling a parallelogram, the PS4 is somewhat similar in that there aren’t any curved areas and has both glossy and matte surfaces. Some have also described the PS4 as monolith-like.
I did get to play games on both the Xbox One and the PS4. Not major games, as those lines were a little too long. I liked both of their controllers because even though they were redesigned, they are essentially the same as their predecessors. The PS4 controller features a new touch pad sensor on the front, but it was not utilized in the few games that I played.
Who will win the console wars? It’s too early to definitively say. But Sony has taken a very real and very large step forward with its consumer friendly policies as well as undercutting the Xbox One by $100. So far Xbox One hasn’t changed their mind on their policies and whether they ever will remains to be seen. Ultimately I believe it will come down to the games despite all the negative press that Xbox One has received and all the positive press that Sony got. Which system will have the more sought after exclusives? Will Microsoft’s current policies regarding their Xbox One doom their system, or will the fact that it’s going to be an all-in-one media center be what makes it win the war? Did Sony take a commanding lead that they won’t relinquish? Who knows? All I know is that it will be fun seeing how it all plays out.