Here we are, at the biggest week of the year for gaming, and I thought it was high time to have another little rant to go with it. You see, I’ve been trying to catch most major conferences live, not only to cover them, but because I’m a fan of the industry and I love it. This year’s big absentee is, of course, Playstation: they’ve relinquished their spot, being replaced by Square Enix (who had a fantastic showing). So, was Sony’s presentation missed?
Short answer is: no. The reality is that 2019 is a hold-over year while we wait for next-generation consoles and their games, so there’s not much that manufacturers can show us, or at least, we thought so. Microsoft actually had a great presentation late last week, where they threw “all the meat into the barbecue”, as we say in Paraguay, being one pinnacle VIP code 2019 away from giving us lock, stock and many smoking barrels. From Game Pass coming to PC (and that is a BIG threat to Google’s Stadia, by the way, who lack the game roster Microsoft have accumulated through XBox), to next-gen console details (like Scarlett’s upgrade from Project Scorpio, which are a huge generational leap), and if you include all the Halo stuff, as well as some third-party and indie things… it was way more than we expected to see.
Hell, even the Vita had a great E3, with Limited Run Games announcing no less than over half a dozen physical releases for the little handheld that could. Square Enix had an RPG coming to it! Ratalaika have announced over half a dozen digital games that are Vita bound as well. So, considering Sony have not paid any mind to the Vita for three years, in that respect, I don’t miss them at E3.
And the winner is…
Another reason I don’t mind they’re not there, is because I know they have nothing to show. And to be honest, I’d rather not have a presentation, than to have a lackluster one. I’m calling Nintendo out on this one, because while a lot of fans are happy about the Breath of the Wild sequel we all knew was coming being announced as “in development”, and Animal Crossing being delayed, there’s really not much in the Nintendo presentation that caught my eye. Sure, there are some cool things coming, but a bunch of ports of old games are just not enough to get my juices flowing. For any other time of the year, sure. For E3, though? Eh, no, I don’t think so. At least there’s a new Contra game coming. Hooray? Nah, it’s a 3D shooter.
Let’s not forget about the bleeding edge of gaming, though: PC. The Master Race is netting us huge advancements this year, from AMD’s RDNA technology, to their Zen 2 processors (both of which will be used to power next-gen Sony AND Microsoft consoles), nVidia’s Ray Tracing (however wonky it may be), new low-power anti-aliasing and sharpening, and more. This technology will trickle down to consoles in a major way, and will be used to bring bigger, more exciting experiences than ever before.
So, why did we need Sony at this year’s E3? We didn’t. We know there aren’t any major first-party titles in development for PS4 beyond what’s been announced. We pretty much got a complete list of major third-party titles through their publishers’ conferences. There’s no Vita successor in the works, and they were not going to announce the PS5 at the same conference that Microsoft was unveiling Scarlett. So, good riddance for this year, Playstation. Keep giving us your Nintendo Direct-inspired State of Play shows. At the very least, you won’t have to use up time at one of the biggest gaming conferences in the world to tell us about old ports, delayed first-party titles and some first-party stuff we already knew was coming: Nintendo filled that spot you used to reserve for the Vita… back when you almost cared about it.