The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is an annual premier event that displays new games and consoles to fans worldwide. It is usually streamed online and features exclusive looks at products and expansions that will be released through the year.
Each year at E3 there is an unspoken but palpable tension between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation as everyone waits to judge which major console provider will have “won” the conference that year. In comparison to many other years, this year’s performance was fairly weak in relation to the amount of games and consoles released and announced, although there were some definite highlights for both sides.
Microsoft began their presentation on a high as they finally released details surrounding their ‘Xbox Scorpio’ project, now known as Xbox One X. Their new console has been hailed as the most powerful console ever – beating Sony’s PlayStation 4 in multiple ways, including their impressive use of having games that can run at native 4k. As well as creating an extraordinary new console, Microsoft also released that their new console would be backwards compatible with all Xbox One games and accessories. To further their adventure into backwards compatibility they have also revealed a new selection of original Xbox games that will be joining the backwards compatibility list – a feat which Sony still has to add to their PlayStations. The Xbox One X has been unveiled as retailing at $499 and will be released on November 7, 2017 – perfect timing for a Christmas gift for many.
Unfortunately, at the Microsoft presentation there was a lack of new games shown to the audience, with the highlights of their unveilings being the new Assassins Creed: Origins, State of Decay 2, Forza Motorsport 7 – which was shown as being played on the new Xbox One X in 4k resolution, Metro Exodus and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. While many of these are impressive new games, it has to be mentioned that as the overall aim of their presentation seemed to be focused around revealing the Xbox One X there was less importance placed on the release of new games, leaving Microsoft with a rather dry year until the release of their new console.
Contrary to this, Sony spent their presentation revealing plenty of games, with a nice selection of entirely new games and DLC’s for fan favourites. With games like Hidden Agenda, Destiny 2 and Days Gone – a massive open-world zombie game) premiered there was a lot of buzz surrounding Sony’s impressive new game collection. As well, the featuring of their PSVR Virtual Reality system and it’s new additions like Skyrim VR joining Fallout 4 And Doom there is an impressive collection of new footage that will please any PlayStation superfans. With interesting new information like their experimentation with phone-controlled games and the truly mesmerising stagecraft they created to match the game footage shown (which including a sitar player and zombie actors hanging from the ceiling) there was a lot for everyone to take in, especially when their most popular new releases were debuted. Gods of War and the new Spiderman game excited everyone present as they presented impressive new gameplay footage, yet their 2018 release dates disappointed many as it seemed Sony missed the Christmas release list.
Some critiques of the two companies performances included the fact that while there was an extensive amount of new gameplay featured within Sony’s presentation, it seemed mostly to be filler content of new footage rather than focusing on real details and new announcements, as all of their game footage had been previously announced. Unfortunately, what Microsoft gained in debuting a new console at the presentation – the debut itself was sadly underwhelming to many – they lacked focus on one major game release to expand on and instead displayed multiple game releases for people to ponder over.
It can be argued then, that for showmanship and overall content provided, Sony’s PlayStation presentation could be crowned the winner. Yet, the introduction of Microsoft’s Xbox One X has fluttered the heart’s of many, especially thanks to it’s backwards compatibililty which will save precious money on games that will be spent on the actual console itself in the first place.