E3 Specials: Why Competition Matters

If there is one thing this E3 has proved, it’s that we as gamers need Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to be doing well. Why? Because if they have a reason to be at war, then we are the winners.

I am not a fanboy, I own all three major consoles, a PC and both the Vita and 3DS. I want great games to come out on all of them, to make my investments worthwhile. I need to see a mix of big Triple-A titles, Indie games and even ‘experiences’, because I love having as many options as possible and as many games as possible to match my current mood.

When both the Xbox One and PS4 were announced, it looked every bit like the PS4 would run away with the plaudits and the sales. However some internal changes at Microsoft has seen the Xbox One gain a lot of traction and help Microsoft get back to the top of their game.

Microsoft showing fight has seen Sony also needing to up their game, otherwise they stand to lose a lot of potential custom to their main rival. All whilst Nintendo do what Nintendo do best, make wonderful first party games that continue to be timeless.

As I said, this E3 is proof of why they need each other. Microsoft came out early and hard, with 2015 release dates for Tomb Raider, Forza 6, Halo 5, Fable Legends, as well as getting Rare back to what they do best, a new pro controller, backwards compatibility, HoloLens and much more.

Seriously, at this point it already looked like E3 was ‘won’ by Microsoft, it was a hell of a presentation and it ticked all the right boxes, getting the attention of everyone. It actually made me concerned that Sony would not be able to top it and would be on their heels a bit.

Then in the early hours in the UK (2am to be precise) Shaun Laydon walks on stage and after a brief welcome builds up a game, we all recognised what was being described, but we have been burned many times before. Not this year though, we only went and got THE LAST GUARDIAN, right at the very start of the press conference.

For me, this was it, the reason I wanted a PS3, so many years in the making, eight years of hurt. The light of belief fading away year on year, but here it was, it was real and I will soon finally be able to play it.

Sony wasn’t done there though. Back at the Playstation Experience we were left dumbfounded by a reveal of a port of a PC version of Final Fantasy VII. This isn’t what we wanted, not like this. However that ‘reveal’ seems like it was a massive troll attempt and maybe even designed to lead to this moment.

Final Fantasy 7 is getting a proper remake. We are getting something else we have wanted for years, but perhaps had given up hope of ever getting. So talking of losing hope, there are two other games that leave that massive hole in our gaming hearts. Half Life 3 being one, but hey that was never happening.

So how about Shenmue III… take that in for a second. Shenmue III is real and can finally give us closure. Now this isn’t an announcement of a release, but for a Kickstarter to get the game made. Yet it meant something, it meant we can get that game we have dreamed of. If it reaches the funding goal it is coming to PC and exclusively to PS4 on console.

Will it make the funding goal? Well it set a target of $2m and as I am writing just an hour after the end of the conference, it is already approaching $900,000 and by the time you read this it will have likely broke $1m and maybe even be funded.

This is going to break records on Kickstarter and to understand just how big of a deal this is, within minutes of the announcement Kickstarter itself was brought to its knees, because that many people flooded the site wanting to put their money down to get this done.

It is currently 04:15 GMT as I write this article, yet I am too hyped up to sleep. This for me is probably the best E3 I have ever seen. Not only has competition allowed Sony and Microsoft to push themselves even further, we also have Bethesda and Square-Enix giving conferences at E3 for the very first time.

Bethesda launched E3 with details on Doom and Fallout 4, including a 2015 release date, but also topped it off with an announcement for Dishonored 2 which, based on the original, will be another cracking title.

Square also must have something big up their sleeve. because why else would they choose to do this? Why now? Why this year? Plus we had EA giving us Mass Effect 4, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 and Battlefront. Then Ubisoft with the wonderful Aisha Tyler providing more The Division, Rainbox Six: Siege and also a new Ghost Recon.

Add to all of that we also have a 3 hour PC presentation to come. This shows me that PC gaming is getting back to the top and has some special stuff to show also. (Half Life 3?) It again is competition that is driving this, giving more reason for developers, publishers and platform holders to want our custom.

As I said at the start, all of this sees only one winner. Us! The gamer, we are being tempted with our wishes being granted, free games and innovation to drive us to certain products. It is impossible to now side with only one for the entirety of a generation, which is why the big hitters are doing so well.

I’ve not even mention the likes of No Man’s Sky, Recourse, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dark Souls 3, Mirror’s Edge, For Honor, South Park, Trackmania and so much more. Because this E3 more than any other has just blown me away, made me excited for the coming months and even years with the variety of wonderful looking games we have to come.

Oh and also, Unravel, a game about a teddy bear(?) shaped piece of yarn that looks adorable and simply joyful, which came out of the EA conference of all places.

It’s a great time to be a gamer and if this competition heats up anymore, then we are in for a special few years.