E3 2014: So Who Won E3 This Year?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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E3 2014: So Who Won E3 This Year?

It's a question that becomes pretty inevitable these days when talking about E3. We saw very clearly last year how possible it is to “win” E3, to walk away from the Electronics Entertainment Expo with the biggest swelling of consumer sentiment. Opinions run high on this topic, and you can generally find that, where someone says one thing, another says something wholly different. But who do I say won E3? It's probably not who you think.

Microsoft had an amazing show this year. It brought out plenty of games from major developers and the indie field alike, and got me to the point where there were easily more than five games I wanted to try. Microsoft knew it was coming from behind this year, after the disaster that was the last E3, and indeed, Microsoft delivered on a great many points. The presentation was on message and unmistakable: Xbox One is a gaming platform and here are the games. Some even posited that there were too many games; Microsoft wheeled out a reported 36 titles in just 90 minutes. That's an average of one game every two and a half minutes. That's overwhelming, but man, it was nice to be overwhelmed for a change. Everything else was—and is—secondary. Cool, no mistake, but secondary, and that's the message Microsoft buffs desperately needed to hear.

Sony already had an advantage going into E3 2014. It had pretty much won E3 2013, so all it had to do was not drop the ball to stay ahead of Microsoft. Indeed, Sony not only didn't drop the ball, it also had some exciting pieces follow it. The PlayStation TV alone was worth showing up for, and the array of games in the near-term future would be nothing short of a joy. Games were well in attendance here, with big names and decent indie fare rounding out the package and making Sony's presentation not only the competent it needed to be at a minimum, but also the sound and exciting presentation that it should have been. Some believe Sony got a little off-message for a while with the TV talk and the like, but Sony had slack to spare, and as such, put it to work.

If Microsoft was coming from behind, Nintendo was coming from the other side of town. Nintendo has had troubles with its games since the word go, so no surprise here, but Nintendo also made it all about the games. Nintendo rolled out not just games, but games that weren't only video games. The Amiibo system was quite the surprise, even if we kind of knew it was coming what with the success of “Skylanders” and “Disney Infinity.” But Nintendo had a clear winner going, with a host of games, and that was going to quell one of the biggest problems it had. Better yet, Nintendo has a bundle of games slated for 2014, which actually puts it up a bit on the competition. Granted, Nintendo basically had in 2013 what we're seeing now in 2014, but the end result is the same. Nintendo's game famine is over. Sony and Microsoft's is just starting.

The winner here? The winner is clearly the gamer. It's a thought that's been expressed on several fronts, but really, this was an E3 that it was hard to walk away from unhappy. There was something here for sports gamers, indie gamers, retro gamers, bro gamers, fantasy gamers, franchise gamers and every breed of console gamer in the field. I'm deeply spoiled thanks to the Fallout / Elder Scrolls series, and there were things here that even had my interest. The open world concept is still alive and well, and there's a lot more yet to do here. I was always kind of astonished that more gaming companies didn't see the kinds of sales that the “Fallout” and “Elder Scrolls” lines created and say, hey, why not us?

Some may call it a cop-out. Others may call it a dodge. But really, at the end of the day, we won this E3. There's something here for everybody, and that's hard not to call a win.