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E3 2013: Console wars, games displayed and who won E3

E3 week is nearly past us and as with every year there is a whole host of new gaming news to soft through to try and see just what happened at this year’s event. We at Gadget Helpline have decided to offer our own thoughts on what’s been going on in Los Angeles, including the first real round of the next-gen console battle.

We have separated our thoughts into four areas: Console Wars, Games To Watch, WTF Moment and the much talked about Winner of E3.

Jon Witcombe – Editor, Gadget Helpline

Console Wars:

Well this year’s E3 was always going to be a showdown of the next-gen consoles and with both Microsoft and Sony unleashing their offerings in the months and weeks before, E3 was set up to be an all-out brawl. Sony had the inevitable upper hand as Microsoft had already taken the tactic of unleashing all of the information on the Xbox One at its press event in May, whereas the Sony PS4 still had an air of mystery about it thanks to Sony’s secretive nature with the PS4’s finer points and console design.

Microsoft however came out fighting with gaming force, showcasing some absolutely stunning game footage (Ryse and TitanFall) and pulled one or two big names out of the bag with a Halo game reveal and Metal Gear Solid V coming to the console. Overall it was a great show with Microsoft impressing with games and a new Xbox 360 console, but the lingering DRM and online connectivity fiasco was always the elephant in the room and was never acknowledged.

Then, it was Sony’s turn. The company had a few more products to showcase with the PS Vita taking some time to cover but it was with the PS4 that you could really see the Sony step up to its knockout blow. Games-wise they showcased the incoming Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts 3 and much more but many of the games were already known about and coming to other consoles.

However, Sony had the biggest, most obvious ace(s) up their sleeve when they announced that not only was the PS4 not required to connect online periodically to play single player games but there would also be no restrictions on the buying and trading of PS4 games once purchased – POW. Microsoft was on the ropes… then Sony delivered the knockout blow with a pricing that saw the PS4 $100 (£80) cheaper than the Xbox One.

1…. 2…. 3….. Even Hulk Hogan couldn’t kick out of that!

Sony smugly finished their E3 conference with glee and a host of hollering fans cheering them on. Never has the most popular feature on a new console, been the lack of a feature.

Games to Watch:

There were so many games to see but the ones that stood out for me were TitanFall with its Call Of Duty/Mech Warrior gameplay, Ryse: Son of Rome which looked graphic and immersive and Dead Rising 3, which looked great fun. All ticked my boxes but Killer Instinct for me was the one. Seeing my childhood beat-em-up on the big screen delivered a personal Combo Breakerrrrr.

Sony also dished out some great looking games, with Batman: Arkham Origins and the double whammy of Final Fantasy 15/Kingdom Hearts 3 looking amazing, however one feeling I got from the Sony games was… underwhelmed. Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag was great but we know it’s coming on other consoles, as is Watch Dogs.

The PS3 games shown looked spectacular, but once again we had seen this all before. Then, Bungie came on stage and again I was underwhelmed. As much as I like the look of Destiny, watching 2 (then 3) people playing an FPS just took me back to when I went around a friend’s house to play games and they didn’t have enough controllers for all of us. Just. Sat. Waiting.

Then there was Nintendo. Nintendo did its usual by showing off a host of classics like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros. and Zelda, all of which are great, for 2014. The one message from Nintendo I got was… Hold on, we will be with you next year.

WTF Moment:

Well, there was a few. Sony’s crowd reaction to the used games and online connected consoles, the pricing of the PS4 or even Nintendo’s lack of anything really new. But the one moment for me that evoked the biggest reaction… Killer Instinct.

In a close second came the TitanFall gameplay.

Winner of E3?

Well its easy t say Sony, as its Console immediately points towards what I “Would Like” in a new console, the ability to sell on games and its pricing. The Internet Connectivity doesn’t overly bother me, but in the long run it might.

I’m willing to give Sony the win, but it’s on a technicality as I Feel Microsoft had better games and got me more excited. However Sony and the PS4, E3 2013 Belongs to you.

Dave West – Deputy Editor, Gadget Helpline

Console Wars:

Microsoft redeemed itself after a launch event which shunned gamers by going all-out with a pure games fest at E3, but its limelight was somewhat stolen by Sony. The whole fiasco surrounding DRM, used games and online requirements was duly lapped up by Sony who smugly confirmed that their next-gen console wouldn’t impose any of these restrictions on gamers. Sony undoubtedly drew more attention by revealing the PS4 hardware for the first time, whilst Microsoft, who had already revealed the hardware at the Xbox One launch event, focused on games. After the main events at E3 it still feels as though we know more about the PS4 than we do about the Xbox One.

Games to Watch:

The games revealed by both sides were impressive and there seems to be something for everyone on offer. It’s been shown plenty before but Watch Dogs still impresses me and on the new games front Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall looked absolutely stunning – definitely one to keep an eye on as we head towards the November launch of the Xbox One.

I still have a bit of a soft spot for Nintendo however, and despite them not officially being at E3 and the majority of their new games mirroring characters and titles we’ve seen before, part of me still can’t wait to play Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

WTF Moment:

Started from the bottom now we’re…promoting FIFA?

Winner of E3:

Every gamer will have their winner of E3. When it comes to gaming you have a favourite console, favourite developer and favourite game series and anything else is already at a disadvantage. However, the days ahead of E3 didn’t do Microsoft any favours, with gamers’ displeasure over the online requirements and DRM restrictions of the Xbox One fast becoming widespread. Sony didn’t need to do much to capitalise on this at E3 and win over the majority, and that’s exactly what it did. Sony won E3 simply by not following Microsoft’s restrictive lead, and that will be the opinion of many. This blogger grew up on Nintendo, went through the PS2 and has been an Xbox gamer since the 360 came out, but right now the PS4 seems more appealing.

Jamie Curd – Staff Writer, Gadget Helpline

Console Wars:

Having revealed its Xbox One hardware in full a few weeks before E3, Microsoft might have walked to the stage a little bit empty handed at this year’s annual expo compared to its rival Sony, which had a few cards left up its sleeve. I was pleased to hear they actually had some games to talk about after heavily emphasising the entertainment side of the new Xbox on its earlier outing and was particularly excited to hear about the return of old favourite Killer Instinct. After an all rounded presentation, Microsoft had provided a satisfying display, despite the price of its offerings being a little bit iffy.

But when Sony took to the stage it was really something else. New hardware was shared and an impressive showcase of games for the new PlayStation 4 as well as existing consoles the PS3 and PS Vita was witnessed, with the company having much to say about entertainment that was relevant to the interests of gamers and social online enthusiasts. The E3 presentation from Sony was exciting and enjoyable (complete with numerous jabs at its rival – pre-owned games etc.) and in retrospect I think it was a great idea to hold off the PS4’s full reveal until this ideal moment. And that price undercut was a welcome surprise too!

Games to Watch:

Lots of familiar favourites got a refreshing and exciting new spin at this year’s E3 such as Metal Gear Solid V on Xbox One and Assassin’s Creed IV, both of which got impressive demonstrations at the Sony stage. Nintendo also (safely) brushed off several of its tried and tested classics which delighted this Ninty fanboy. And then there’s Killer Instinct for Xbox One – it’s a shame this one wasn’t snapped up by Sony for the PS4 then it would be “PERFECT!”

As for new IPs, The Order: 1886 on PS4 looks like a really stylish, cinematic and original concept and one I’d be keen to play.

WTF Moment:

That Killer Instinct announcement and the unexpected PS4 design which literally put a different angle on things!

Winner of E3?

Sony’s PS4 and all who sail in her.

Ben Higgins – Technical Support Manager, Gadget Helpline

Console Wars:

Based on their respective conferences and the fact that Nintendo haven’t made an effort in recent times, Sony won the E3 battle. It’s all down to the DRM and once every 24 hour online connection that Microsoft have thrown in to the Xbox One that’s swayed my opinion so dramatically to returning to the Sony brand where it started, but it’s been difficult to stomach as I’ve been behind the 360 since its launch. Sony’s tactics have been a little questionable and I wonder if they ever intended to include the very same DRM and online connectivity restrictions that Microsoft have.

Games to Watch:

There are far too many to list in this short piece but one thing that seems to be clear is that developers and studios for the next generation of consoles are looking to delve into the MMO arena that’s been so prevalent on the PC scene.

Destiny has to be one the games to watch with the promise from the developers to evolve year on year with the community, Bethesda’s (my soft spot) Elder Scrolls Online and Ubisoft’s The Division are others that seem to share the same idea.

WTF Moment:

Sony undercutting Microsoft in price, no DRM, internet connectivity. I had whole heartedly expected Sony to announce the very same restrictions that Microsoft were taking so much flack about.

Winner of E3?

Sony and several of the developers with new IPs.

Conclusion:

Well, it’s a complete smackdown for Sony in terms of who won the console wars, but in all honesty it’s gamers that win this year’s E3, as what really stood out for the industry was the incredible amount of great looking games that are on their way to our front rooms in the next year. Who won E3 for you? What was your favourite game or moment?

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