Ben’s 2019 E3 Review

I was going to do an article about each event but that would be too long and uninteresting so I will condense it into one. It will only be on the conferences and not the directs.

E3 2019 was pretty unspectacular. There weren’t many surprises as most of the games showcased had been announced in some far (Cyberpunk 2099, Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Halo Infinite were all announced last year). Maybe game companies are trying to move away from announcing their big games at E3. Electronic Arts and PlayStation didn’t present at E3 this year. Nintendo no longer has a press conference and has moved to a Digital Direct.

Microsoft –

Link

Bethesda 4/10

Besides Ikumi Nakamura being adorable and excited to talk about her new horror game, Ghostwire Tokyo, Bethesda didn’t show anything. The new games were cinematic trailers with no gameplay.

Ghostwire Tokyo

  • A new spooky game from Shinji Mikami. Details are still unknown but the trailer shows people being raptured and spooky ghosts appear. There seems to be a faceless protagonist who encourages people to fight against the darkness. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any gameplay shown.

Fallout 76 DLC

  • Battle Royal for dedicated fans of FO 76. Considering the poor reviews, glitches, and gameplay, I’m not sure this will attract any players back to the game. They are also adding NPC’s with actual dialogue trees. Hopefully, it will have better dialogue choices than Fallout 4.

Deathloop

  • A new game from the Dishonored and Prey team. The game involves two protagonists who are living in a crazy world where they have to kill each other. However, each time they kill each other they wake up anew and start all over again. The trailer looks colorful and fun but it was a cinematic trailer.

Ubisoft 6/10

Watch Dogs Legion

  • Looks like an interesting take to an Open World game. I haven’t played any of the series but the ability to control NPCs is interesting. Being set in a semi-modern London is surprisingly refreshing scenery.

Zeus, Gods & Monsters

  • Many demo players at E3 has reported the game is similar to Breath of the Wild. It is an open world game where you explore the world and fight mystical monsters. It is made by the same team as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Square-Enix 6/10

Final Fantasy VII Remastered

  • Yay Tifa. I am actually blown away with the visuals and gameplay. Although the first episode will only be Midgard, you can tell there is a lot of love put into the game. The battle system is created by the guy that made Kingdom Hearts 2’s battle system which is the best version of the series. I wonder how many episodes it will be considering how massive the original game is.

Xbox Live comes to Nintendo, iOS, and Android

You’re reading that correctly. Xbox Live services are coming to Nintendo and phones. Microsoft announced that they will release their own SDK (Standard Dev Kit) that will allow game developers to integrate Xbox Live into any titles that run across PC, Xbox, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch. It will be fully announced during GDC (Games Developer Con) in March 22nd.

What will this do?

Xbox Live will provide achievements, friends list and Xbox Live functionality to existing mobile video games. Microsoft has been trying to reach out to a broader audience outside of PC and Xbox Users. Last year they announced their CloudX services that will provide will stream Xbox games to PCs, consoles, and mobile devices later this year.

It’s clear that Microsoft is moving toward a subscription-based service. They are one of the biggest revenue generating services in the industry (think Amazon Prime and Netflix). While Xbox has been losing in the exclusive game markets, perhaps this will be their new competitive advantage. The mobile gaming market makes over $1 billion in comparison to the hundreds of millions in consoles.

Sources:

GDC Schedule

Gamespot

The Verge

Eurogamer

Sea of Thieves’ Player Pool Expands

Sea of Thieves release this March and was criticized for the lack of content. It found a niche with players and content creators who took advantage of the cooperative gameplay and quick gameplay. According to Xbox News, Sea of Thieves racked up 300M views on YouTube and more than 40M live broadcast hours on Twitch. With weekly challenges and a consistent stream of free content, Sea of Thieves continued to grow and now has 5 million “pirates” spanned across Xbox and PC platform.

Upcoming Content kept the game afloat

The early criticism was justified on Sea of Thieves. Considering the game was released for full price, players skeptical of the luster of the game. Microsoft and Rare announced released six free DLC at E3 which kept players invested in the long run. The Hungering Deep was released earlier this year and added more dangers to the sea. Cursed Sails releases today, July 31st, and will add time-limited content to bring players back. It will also have Skelton Ships, ghost bullets, and alliances to shake up the world.

Players raise their own stakes

The biggest gameplay influence is actual players. Forming crews, exploring islands, collecting treasure, attacking other player ships, and open negotiations are unique game features that players control. There is no set meta or a “proper” way to play Sea of Thieves which gives players the freedom to play however they like. Gameplay is fairly simple and it is easy for new players to jump in.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t think Sea of Thieves was going to do well but I am glad to see the game become a success for Microsoft and Rare. Many old fans of Rare worried that the company had died under Microsoft‘s acquirement. Rare’s most recent success was their Rare Replay which is a just collection of their past games. Hopefully, Sea of Thieves brings new energy to the studio. I hope to sea future impressive changes to the game.

Sources:

Xbox News

Polygon

Sony responds to Fortnite Complaints

Epic’s Fortnite is quickly becoming the biggest and most popular game in the world. Fortnite released in 2016 and is now on every major console, PC, and iOS. However, recent discoveries by users noticed that they couldn’t use their Epic accounts (Epic studio’s log-in) on other consoles. Sony and PlayStation have received massive complaints from Fortnite players regarding their accounts. If you connected your Epic Account, you were unable to use that account for the Nintendo Switch or any other platform and vice-versa. If you try to log in, you’ll see this image below.

The Nintendo Switch’s version of Fortnite allows you to play with Xbox One, PC, and iOS players while PlayStation players have no cross-console options. Sony didn’t inform players that they would be locked into one account. Essentially, all progress on PlayStation is non-transferable to other platforms including in-game items. Many players are frustrated, including fans of PlayStation such as Gameover Greggy and the PS4 subreddit.

 

Unfortunately, Sony didn’t really respond to the feedback. On the BBC, Sony’s stated “”With… more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles.” So not really a response but essentially they want to keep their players sticking to PlayStation.

Why did Sony do this?

The marketing answer is that Sony wants to focus on expanding their community. Fortnite recently reported that they have 125 million players. While the amount of each player per consoles remains to be seen, Fortnite is heavily promoted on the PlayStation Network and has been seen as the secondary platform to play it after PC.

Sony has a history of not allowing cross-platform for many of their games such as Rocket League and Minecraft. The business answer is Sony doesn’t want their player base to potentially switch to other platforms. By keeping their players to PlayStation consoles, they are less inclined to change over.

While Sony is stating this is for their community, it’s not good for consumers. Preventing players from playing with other consoles is harmful to their image especially if the Switch and Xbox One allow cross-platform play.

Sources:

BBC – Playstation statement

PSU – Fortnite Playercount

Reddit community backlashPolygon – Epic account locked due to PlayStation