E3′s Press Events Do Not Represent The Gaming I Know

By John Walker on June 5th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Gaming.

After alternately watching live feeds of the press conferences last night, and watching colleagues’ reactions to them on Twitter, I awake with a heavy cynicism for the entire industry. While a couple of new IPs were announced, and they were perhaps even interesting, the overwhelming message of the LA evening was one of partisanship, stagnation, and a disturbing lack of awareness of what is most problematic in the gaming world. Which can pretty much be summed up in the frighteningly repeated phrase, “With exclusive DLC for our console.”

This is, of course, in a large part due to our being in that final vigil beside the deathbeds of the current generation of consoles. With pretty much everyone certain that both the PS4 and the Xbox 3 (let’s not embrace the moniker “720″ until such a point as Microsoft are insane enough to adopt it) will be out for Christmas 2013, it’s obviously too early to make significant announcements about them. But both Microsoft and Sony are making announcements about games that will likely be out then. Which leads to a confusing, stilted release list that has to pretend the current consoles are the state-of-the-art must-haves for every excited kiddy, while everyone knows they’re bargain bin material about to be superseded.

The frustration of this from our perspective is of course that the PC is perpetually at the cutting edge, its latest model released each and every day, and the need for this peculiar behaviour completely absent. Which is why, of course, that 2012 and most of next year are going to be brilliant years for the PC. As developers grow frustrated by nearly decade-old tech and next gen devkits that aren’t yet reliable, the PC looks like a promised ground of being able to realise their ideas. For at least a year the definitive version of any cross-platform game has been the PC, and now we’re seeing increasing numbers of PC exclusives. It’s a great time for us. A time, of course, ignored by the E3 noise and pomp.

But perhaps even more egregiously ignored is the prevailing attitude of gamers toward the way they’re treated by the bigger publishers. Let’s break down that DLC thing.

Announcing DLC many months before a game is released ignores the ever-larger realisation that this is an affront to those who are paying full price for a new game. People have long since sussed this, and while arguments about how DLC development keeps developers in employment after the main game is finished can win some sympathy, it’s not really a very relevant factor to the customer. The customer who is asked to pay another chunk of money for what has previously been given away free, or rolled into a later, more worthwhile expansion pack. That’s pretty much a given now, so it was peculiar to see DLC so loudly boasted during many of the events.

But worse is the boast that it’s exclusive to a particular console. Of course, if you’re Microsoft and you’re having a Microsoft show, you want to boast about what 360 owners will get that others won’t… So long as you don’t actually stop to think about your customers. It plays into the very dated notion of console loyalty, at a time where people can pick up either of the big two models for under £100. Gone are the days when a £400 investment meant people would become tribal and defend their choice, to start with. And more frustrating, if you don’t happen to own the console that’s currently hawking the third-party cross-platform game, you’ve been just been given a hefty middle finger from the developer/publisher responsible. It doesn’t say, “Hey, the X version of this game is superior!” It says, “All other versions of our game are inferior.” Which is a pretty bloody weird message to be sending out to customers.

And that’s just one example of the hoary, outdated tone all these pressers took. Embarrassing moments were scattered throughout, from a peculiar display of esports in tight-fitting clothing, to hosts declaring that they’re “a gamer first and, er, er, a woman seventh”, all punctuated throughout the night by producers holding controllers and pretending to control cutscenes like kids in a service station yanking the steering wheels of the driving arcades while “INSERT COIN” flashes on screen. The message is a peculiar contempt for the audience – of course they’re not really playing! In any game where you can get killed by the enemy, or, as so many of those shown wished you to believe, events are procedural and unscripted, not having a pre-filmed sequence in a live show would be just stupid. Stop pretending – it’s embarrassing.

While games like Watch Dogs and Far Cry 3 definitely look interesting, it was a night of primarily sequels of men shooting guns at men shooting guns, those two included, representing an industry that just is no longer familiar to me. The games I consume, both mainstream and indie, offer me an incredible variety of genres and themes, and while I’m not in mad denial of the volume of manshooters, I’m also conscious of an industry that offers so much more. Yet the outward facing presentation from all of these publishers was one of a dinosaur that hasn’t noticed the gaming world isn’t entirely made of Gears Of War, occasionally intercut by a grinning lunatic waving their cartoon arms at their Kinect. Oh, and that’s when they’re not completely distracting themselves by trying to be Apple and declare they’ve invented the future of technology. How unbearably embarrassing was Microsoft’s declaration that SmartGlass was the “first time” we could control our TV’s using our smartphones? Er, that’s weird, because I’m fairly sure I remember using Unified Remote on my Android to control Windows on my TV last night.

I wonder if part of it is due to the Peter-Molyneux-ism of recent years, where developers have stood up to announce games that would change the way we live our lives, see the world, peel our oranges, and perceive colour, with pseudo-experimental concepts that eventually go on to be mediocre social games. There has been a steering away from “Gaming will ascend us beyond mere humanity” and back to, “MAN SHOOTS MAN AND BUILDING FALLS DOWN!” Excruciatingly dull footage of CODBLOPS2 was the peak of this brown drear, as we realise that watching someone else pushing forward between cutscenes is almost no different an experience from being the person holding the controller. And even the now-much-vaunted Watch Dogs’ potential is being celebrated mostly in people’s heads, rather than based on what we saw: a man walking painfully slowly through a pretty city, listening in to a phone call, walking painfully slowly around a building, and then shooting some men.

So I’m delighted to say that what we saw at E3 last night was not representative of the gaming industry of which I’m a part. And I wonder how long it will be until the reality of the industry will be represented in these events. Although so long as the attending press sit there whooping until they vomit, perhaps that will be a bloody long time.

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286 Comments »

  1. absolofdoom says:

    This is why we /can/ have nice things.
    And why I read this site everyday.

    • Gesadt says:

      but we do have nice things – i read this site everyday

    • phenom_x8 says:

      Yeah, it’s the same with me. I’m ended up reading this site more and more and more than actually playing any game nowadays. Never knew why! (just realize that the article already answer my question)

      • mike5 says:

        I think this site is the the equivalent of the Hollywood blockbuster “trailer effect” – you know, where you just watch the trailers and go “This movie will be complete crap. And I saw all the ‘interesting’ parts in this trailer anyhow. Why pay money for the ticket?”

        • max_1111 says:

          Yep!
          And as the years go by, the stink of that crap gets more and more obvious.
          It’s really crummy that things are getting to be like this, but at least it’s easier to tell when to hold my wallet shut.

    • Ginga121 says:

      This article both depresses me and reminds me of why I love RPS so much!

      • Dobleclick says:

        +1

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Yep. When the publishing (both games and reviews) industry seems to be caught up in violent modern military shooters that you’ve played 10 times before it is nice that there is at least one fairly popular site crying foul. Makes me feel my views on gaming is somewhat represented by the media.

    • Smashbox says:

      Me too – Thanks for the writeup. It’s very frustrating when opportunities to celebrate what makes gaming great, say, like these press conferences, are squandered. Pure marketing department drivel. Utter nonsense. People who like games do not like games because of the junk that surrounds it.

      Also, how can knowing that your platform is getting DLC and your friend’s isn’t make you feel at all good or proud (or loyal to a company that would pay for that)?

  2. Inglourious Badger says:

    Oh wow, Angry! But also completely true. I’ve never been, so I have no idea, but E3 has always seemed like this to me. Just an enlarged GAME shop with a few people talking about exclusivity and making up unrealistic release dates. And totally agree about Watch Dogs. It just looked pretty. Having hacking does not make it Deus Ex. It looked like GTA crossed with Splinter Cell to my eyes. Perfectly enjoyable but watching that vid I can’t help thinking how annoying it would be everytime you failed one of those tasks and had to replay it from the last checkpoint.

    • PitfireX says:

      well we NEED to stop buying games that suck! People will buy ANYTHING regardless of quality and thats case and point for why they are making a Sniper Ghost warrior 2! I mean yeah SOME people are going to like it, but its a shit game made by shit devs who know nothing, and when you tell em how shitty their game is they just point to all the money they raked in……. I remember when being a gamer was looked down upon, and seeing another gamer was glorious. now every toolshed with $200 gets to be a “hardcore call of duty machine” and thats exactly why im selling my systems and getting into mountain climbing….so i can be away from all the asshats lol.

      • undead dolphin hacker says:

        what

      • Apolloin says:

        Thank you for ably demonstrating how Mr Walker and his supporters missed the point far more succinctly than I did when I tried to rough out a response the first five times.

        E3 is a celebration of the mainstream. The kind of people who read RPS and research their purchases before hand are not the kind of people that E3 is for. In the last couple of months RPS has focused mainly on the XCOM retread, a mod for an already niche shooter and Schadenfreude caused by the Diablo III debacle – it concentrates on Indie releases and Kickstarter projects. If you find yourself reading RPS more than gaming, if you find yourself mountain climbing (for the love of god) more than you game, because you like to get away from people, if the concept of DRM and Day Zero DLC take up more of your attention than Gears of War 4 or where the Halo franchise is going next…

        Attending E3 was probably a huge waste of time.

  3. OfMiceAndMods says:

    I take my hat off to you John, this is exactly what was going through my head last night.
    Oh and SONY saying that the PS3 was the best platform for Indie games.

    • GamerOS says:

      Yeah, It as if they where completly oblivious PC existed.

    • AmateurScience says:

      How did they manage to pull off that bon mot without spontaneously combusting in a puff of pure outrage?

      • marach says:

        I wish MS had gone after Sony yesterday and ripped them a new one…

        “Sony claimed today they were the best platform for indie games… Here’s what they missed!” and throw up a bunch of stuff from PC and XBIG

        • malkav11 says:

          That would never have happened. Microsoft refuses to acknowledge that Windows is a gaming platform of theirs, or that XBLIG still exists.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Did-….. they actually said that?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think big companies feel that if they put their hands over their ears and sing LA LA LA enough then maybe the PC will go away. In any case, I suspect the main platform for indie games might be iOS or Android in terms of volume of sales.

      • S Jay says:

        Nah, the problem is the speech is written by marketers. The same marketers that decide CODBLOPS2 should be released.

        I can’t blame they, those guys seem to make a lot of money with this crap (so does crappy blockbuster movies we can smell are crappy before the trailer even starts). Maybe we are just “too niche”. Large niche, but still, not CODBLOPS2 / TITANIC sized.

    • The Greatness says:

      Bahahaha, they said that? Wow.

      • OfMiceAndMods says:

        It was 3:30 in the morning and I was quite tired at this point but I’m 99% sure that they did. I’m also 50% sure I heard them say that it was all due to them being an open-platform too but don’t quote me on that D:

        • Fuzzball says:

          I hope, for their sake, that they actually said “the best CONSOLE for indie games,” which would certainly be true and less ridiculous.

          • neolith says:

            I don’t play on consoles, but I was under the impression that xbox live arcade was a pretty big thing. Has it been superseded?

          • OfMiceAndMods says:

            It was definately Platform rather than Console – I’m sure of it

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Yeah, XBL has loads of indie games in their “indie” section. Lots of Minecraft knock offs and very low quality games, but a few gems also. Not sure what PS has, but I doubt it’s as many as XBL. Perhaps the same amount of “good” indie games.

    • Rii says:

      Grr, misreply.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      Well, I thought it was pretty funny when they introduced that Call of Duty game for the Vita and only two or three people in the front row clapped.

      • OfMiceAndMods says:

        Did anyone see the incredible Wonderbook? That was beyond incredible espoecially when it didn’t work on the demo :P

    • MadTinkerer says:

      To be fair, there are a bunch of Indie games on the PS3, and I’m sure they’d love to have more. (There’s even a remake of the classic PC DOS game Digger on there, and I don’t know why it’s not on Steam) They just need to make sure the PS4 is engineered with this in mind, and make their marketplace even friendlier to Indies than XBLIG, and next generation they might indeed have the best console for indies.

      Or maybe they were referring to the relative ease you can make downloadable games for the PSP / Go / Vita compared to the non-existant portable Microsoft system or the relative pain in the butt 3DS. Because that is a thing. The PSP really is a fantastic platform for downloadable Indie titles from a pure ease-of-development point of view, and it’s relatively simple to make a game that works on both PSP and the PS3.

      And meanwhile Microsoft doesn’t seem to be treating the Indies as well as they used to, and everyone’s jumping ship from XBLIG to PC. But also sometimes PS3.

      So I can understand why Sony might make that statement, even though it’s not quite literally true.

      • RobF says:

        Yeah, Sony are making great moves at getting more indie content for their devices. They’ve already got some excellent titles and with stuff like The Unfinished Swan and others coming up, that looks set to continue. PS Suite/Mobile will open that up further too, I imagine. Pub fund will help keep that ticking over for a while.

        MS are nearly spent. So they’ve got a great catalogue of existing titles but the well’s pretty much dry there now give or take the odd last gasp title (Dust:AET and Spelunkey). I doubt that’s a situation that’s set to improve any time soon also.

    • InnerPartisan says:

    • SiHy_ says:

      Silence…
      The industry bigwigs look around with smug satisfaction.
      A solitary slow clap eminates from the back of the room.
      This is joined by another and another.
      The applause becomes uproarious as people begin to stand up and whoop.
      The bigwigs look around in dire confusion.
      People are now openly weeping, embracing each other in elation, the sound of the crowd is deafening.
      The bigwigs fight their way to the fire escape, turn back with a scowl and mutter “You win this round John Walker but we’ll be back!”
      John takes a bow.
      Exit stage left.

  4. Clavus says:

    It’s exhausting to watch these press events sometimes. Stupidity galore. Lots of fancy words and awkward claims that will entertain the internet for weeks to come. Luckily the little jewels like Watch Dogs and SimCity make it worth it.

    • Toberoth says:

      I don’t know if you can really count them as “little” in any sense, seeing as they’re both being developed and published by enormous companies. Personally I’m cautiously excited about Watch Dogs, although I’m not keen on the fact that it’s Ubi, who have a history of screwing over their customers, and I was also very disappointed when the trailer swiftly degenerated around the halfway mark from intriguing sneak/hack-em-up to standard manshoot.

      • Octopi says:

        I feel exactly the same way; cautiously excited for Watch Dogs. It looks like a great game, but it’s difficult to trust Ubisoft after their past history of general crappiness. I just hope they don’t ruin it :(

    • Kollega says:

      Don’t you remember the Sony presentation from 2006 that gave us “Real-Time Weapon Change”, “Giant Enemy Crab”, and “Attack It’s Weak Point For Massive Damage”? I don’t think the mainstream stupidity at E3 is really that new. Not that it isn’t stupid, mind you.

      • Milky1985 says:

        Don’t worry, sony managed to beat that bit of car craash tv with an even bigger crash this year , with their wonderbook presentation, it was so bad i had to keep watching to see what the hell they were going to do.

        Apparently they are hedging there bets on AR books (and a use for the move again)

    • Acorino says:

      If UbiSoft could do something like WatchDogs without feeling the need to include the obligatory shooting then I’d be more excited. Sure, it has the potential to be great anyway, but it’s far from extraordinarily unique otherwise. Just a new mix of already familiar ingredients.

      • ttcfcl says:

        Yea I thought the whole point and premise of the game was that you were Super Hacker Extraordinaire and didn’t need brutish guns to take people out. I dunno, use your Super Hacker Abilities to override Bad Guy’s cruise control and assisted steering module to drive him into the gas station pump. Then overload power to the nearby lights and marquees to send sparks flying to ignite the leaking fuel. That is cool to me.

        • eclipse mattaru says:

          Well, for what it’s worth, the game is still at the point where we can hope the shooting is an optional path and you can choose to smart your way through, right?

          Then again, I was stupid enough to hope Syndicate 2011 would also give us such possibility, so what do I know. Damn you, stupid Eidos Montreal, for raising my standards like that ¬¬

  5. Zarunil says:

    That’s the mainstream.

  6. vodka and cookies says:

    The MS ones was really bad, the best part was the South Park guys trolling smartglass. Also that Nike guy is a Matthew McConaughey clone he looked and sounded like him plus he even had super shiny teeth that reflected the lights in the video stream.

    The whole remote thing isnt true either even if you discount the PC, Sony have an app that controls the web browser on Bravia TV’s, I’m guessing MS will say console only.

  7. ThTa says:

    I was particularly amazed by EA announcing 50 dollars of DLC – of maps and guns – without even having the courtesy of throwing in four hours of singleplayer like Activision does.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      That’s just a waste of 4 hours

    • ttcfcl says:

      Wait, what CoD DLC includes single player components?

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      I think this makes ME3 officially the best EA product. Yes, the crappy ending of the year is better than everything else EA has to offer. Did they not realize that BF3 (suggested alternate spelling courtesy of RPS spell checker: BEEF) is a game? Y`know, one that will only be popular until something better comes along? And to think that I can name 3 much better games off the top of my head that cost a lot less: Section 8 Prejudice, Tribes Ascend, Red Orchestra 2, and so on and so forth. Good job EA, can we please get an actually good game?

  8. Gap Gen says:

    I think part of the reason I love the Ubisoft press conference so much was because it wasn’t as horrible as Microsoft’s and EA’s. But yeah, the South Park guys talking about playing games on your TV from the comfort of your fridge was entertaining, if brief.

    • serioussgtstu says:

      The Ubisoft presentation was fairly awful. For example after the Assassin’s creed 3 gameplay footage when the hostess said that it gave her a “lady boner” or something sililarly tastless. Or when the same woman complemented the dancers at the start of the show by saying that all women were “a bit lesbian for that kind of thing”. It just left me wondering, is this what developers think appeals to people (like us) who buy games? Some lightheartedness is fine but some of the things said yesterday were just infantile!

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I believe the phrase was “girl wood”… frankly something akin to the Chinese whispers 5 doors down from the internet culture it was trying to invoke.

        • serioussgtstu says:

          No wait, the “girl wood” wasn’t the worst part. At one stage the two hosts sarcastically bantered that the whole presentation was completely scripted. As if it were anything but 100% scripted!

      • Gap Gen says:

        To be fair if you’ve voice acted on Archer for 3 seasons you’d probably say that kind of stuff in polite conversation all the time.

        My favourite part was where they actually read a tweet saying “Why do you hate British people” and the guy replied “Uh, well, you’re fighting all sides, you uh, you fight a bear,” and then they showed more footage of redcoats being butchered. Was kinda odd that they dodged answering their own question in their own scripted press conference.

  9. byteCrunch says:

    The thing I found most amazing, a lot of which was present in the Ubisoft presentation was the use of CG trailers, and people were cheering like no tomorrow at it, as if what was being shown was even remotely representative of the game.

    That and a number of gameplay demos being shown on a PC, but using a controller as if to pretend this is the visual fidelity that you will get on consoles.

    • Fuzzball says:

      I suspect they use console controllers because it’s more convenient than having a desk, chair, keyboard, mouse and all the associated clicky clacky noises up on stage. Plus, one minor advantage controllers have that nobody can dispute is joystick movement; I’m sure being able to move at slight angles to the camera appeals to bigwigs everywhere.

    • sexyresults says:

      I don’t get it. Who are the people wildly cheering, almost maniacally, at every drop of information and cinematic footage? Are these journalists? It feels like someone used the cheering version of canned laughter.

  10. Seboss says:

    And yet, they’ll all make millions out of DLC and most customers will be asking for more. Hmm.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Same is true about cigarets. Don’t mean it’s right.

      • Unaco says:

        Mainstream games give us cancer now?

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          No, they -are- cancer, my son. *pope benedict smile*

        • Latterman says:

          SHOCKING RELEVATION ABOUT GAMING:

          “Mainstream games [have given me, my family and my five year old baby] cancer” says recovering gaming-addict Unaco. Read all the shocking details in the Daily Mail tomorrow.

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            Words cannot express the sheer awesome of that post. You just won an internet, good sir!

      • Seboss says:

        Not saying it is. But since it proved wildly successful commercially (against all my own biased odds), I don’t see publishers stopping making Day One DLCs anytime soon, nor people getting excited about them.
        I’m thankful some companies still make full-blown expansions.

    • lijenstina says:

      Argumentum ad populum. DLCs are rational from the points of developers and publishers because they reuse most of the assets that are already made, cut the costs of development. However, they also do make gaming as a whole stagnant. Systems where actors operate rationally in their own interest but the entirety of the system doesn’t improve are those destined to crash someday if we can make a somehow flawed but essentially similar parallel with economics.

      • PopeBob says:

        Certainly, if one makes an argument about “customer service” or “right versus wrong,” then the DLC question becomes more muddled. But those things are entirely irrelevant at the moment. They could be relevant, sure, but the consuming public doesn’t make that the case. If you hand a small child a jar full of his favorite candy, don’t be surprised when he eats it all in one sitting- so it is with companies and money. So long as it is economically viable and legal (there is some wiggle room on the legality thing, but that rarely comes into play in video games) then people in sales will do it. It’s behavior modification on the part of the consumers that’s necessary, because the producers will never make the shift on their own.

    • Brun says:

      A few years ago there was an article somewhere talking about monetization of games, and how (at the time) gaming was at a crossroads and that there were essentially 3 paths forward – subscription service, DLC, or microtransactions. I think DLC has definitely won that battle.

      That said, DLC wouldn’t even exist if publishers could get their houses in order. Their development process has become so bloated and inefficient, so burdened by marketing and ancillary expenses, that the $60 price point is insufficient to cover the cost of making a AAA game and likely has been since around 2009. They know that the market is not ready for another price point increase, however, so they have to recover those costs some other way – hence, DLC, DRM, more intense marketing, and pretty much everything else that ails the gaming industry today.

      I still hold out hope that maybe publishers will come around and address the root of their problems – that is, fix their broken process and drive their own costs down. But at this point I’m almost convinced that it will take a catastrophic industry crash to force them out of apathy. I think that day will come though – such a crash is almost certain if the industry continues down its current path.

  11. TechnicalBen says:

    “The PSVita it the only handheld gaming machine out today. It is able to tell the future and you can play all the exclusive exclusives that are exclusively exclusive to the exclusive handheld.”

  12. Mbaya says:

    Absolutely spot on John. I look forward to these events each year, even though they’re cringeworthy throughout and I never quite understand who the event is for. The suits care about the numbers, the press know the routene and the gamers seem to often be taken for idiots.

    Recently, I’ve slumped a little in the enjoyment I’m getting from games although I couldn’t quite figure out why until your comment “we realise that watching someone else pushing forward between cutscenes is almost no different an experience from being the person holding the controller.” This really hits the nail on the head for me – quite frankly, I think I’d get more enjoyment from reading about a players experience in games rather than actually playing some of the new games themselves.

    • Toberoth says:

      I’ve found that Psychonauts and Dungeons of Dredmor have helped to cure that particular malaise for me, recently. The former because it’s extremely charming and harks back to the golden age of thoughtful, funny platformers that also make you think, and the latter because it’s a fucking hard dungeon crawl that doesn’t hold your hand and lets you make decisions that actually matter.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I bought the recent/current humble bundle… and basically completed Limbo, Bastion, and Sword and Sworcery over the weekend (already completed Psychonauts a couple of years ago). Then promptly stopped playing all my other “pointless time-filling” games.

        It’s just nice to play something which feels gratifying, and a little bit more intelligent… where it’s not “time-filling” but something that develops and changes until you reach a solid conclusion (like a good book, or film).

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          Well said! I have had a similar experience albeit with different games. I’ve slowly uninstalled the “block buster action movie” titles such as Assassin’s Creed and DX:HR from my steam library, in order to make time for titles like Crusader Kings 2, AI War, and Dwarf Fortress. Games which are challenging me intellectually with new concepts and complex strategic thinking, while exploring the outer bounds of simulated/emergent storytelling and living game worlds.

    • Soon says:

      I’ve had this too, actually. And maybe it’s just become more noticeable because of it, but both RPS readers and writers seem to be filled with more cynicism and less sparkly-eyed enthusiasm. It’s often just draining to read a thread about a game now as I feel any interest I had being sapped away.

      It’s left me with more time to develop other hobbies and skills, though. And having that motivation back to be doing something new and exciting is most refreshing. I’m rediscovering my artistic talent and love for music. I suddenly want to do everything and I’m pretty sure less gaming time will now be a permanent fixture.

      Saying that, Deadly Rooms of Death 4 is a solid, rewarding challenge (albeit, one that starts at a glacial pace for experienced players – which oddly makes number 4 to an ideal introduction to the series).

  13. Aemony says:

    I tried watching a couple of live streams but couldn’t take more than a few minutes of anyone. Pretty much every interview really tried to hammer down how BIG, COOL, AWESOME, EPIC, HIGH PRODUCTION VALUE, MASSIVE BUDGET, UNPRECEDENTED, INNOVATIVE, whatever game they were talking about was.

    As of now the only games which slightly interested me was Halo 4 (I hope they do Cortana justice) and Far Cry 3, actually. FC3 was surprising, but that trailer was weirdly attractive in an insanity kind-of-way.

    On that matter, what the heck did they do with Tomb Raider? If anything, my previous halfish interest in the game was quenched rather quickly.

  14. lijenstina says:

    Marketing and reality don’t mix. * Insert Bill Hicks rant here*

  15. Namey says:

    This years E3 has left me with a very strong feeling that the mainstream blockbuster gaming has completely passed me, and I’m fairly glad I no longer really bother with console gaming.

    • Toberoth says:

      I feel exactly the same. Haven’t actively played consoles since 2007 or so and I don’t miss them one bit. There’s far too much interesting stuff happening in the PC indie/mod scene at the moment to bother with blockbusters that treat you like a fucking moron.

  16. Ridnarhtim says:

    Yeah, it really does seem like we’re just not the target audience anymore.

    Well, I’m stupidly excited for Dishonoured and Darksiders 2 this year (hopefully), but apart from that, meh.

  17. Resurgam says:

    I was waiting for the moment in any of the press conferences after a trailer or demo had been shown and the lights came back up where the audience would sit there in silence, bored out of their minds with kinect / dated graphics / linear gameplay.

    I was shocked, they woop and cheer and clap at every oppertunity when a man gets gunned down in a brown or grey world, or when some people pretend to actually play the game on stage with a controller. It’s just horrible.

    Watchdog could have been quite nice since it was clearly running on a PC, but the moment the ridiculous firefight ensued I couldn’t be bothered to watch the rest.

    I am holding out for Planetside 2 and ARMA 3 to save us.

  18. Hoaxfish says:

    Possibly the most laughable thing about Microsoft is their complete inability to remember they effectively “own” the PC gaming platform (ignoring the slow march of Linux and Macs actually getting better support, especially with cross-platform stuff like Unity, Steam, Humble Bundles, etc).

    “Microsoft exclusive” somehow doesn’t included Windows.

    IE on the Xbox, for Paying Gold Live only, so you can use a tablet with your Xbox… ignores everything outside of the Xbox. Tablets can already use the internet for “free” (ignoring your ISP’s bill), Windows 8 is all tablet-ness, and of course GFWL is now “Xbox live” for some reason (ignoring their complete inability to move beyond universal disdain for the thing).

    There was some call for a sort of “PC represents” section of E3… like you have XBox, Sony, Nintendo all hyping their hardware and exclusive games. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone is willing to foot the bill.

    • Namey says:

      It might be for the best that they do not realize this.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Not to go too far into the nuances of Windows 8, but I think they’re messing it up whether they realise it or not.

        The whole Metro/App-store thing:
        1. Metro apps can only be installed via the app store (security reasons apparently)
        2. MS take a cut of all sales through the app store (not something I think they’ll revoke like “GWFL gold”‘s subscription fee), as well as a listing fee.
        3. The latest free version of visual studio can only output Metro apps.

        Basically, the horrible walled-garden you get with iOS, or XBox (where MS charges devs for patching, and players for even minor DLC that is free on PC)

        • byteCrunch says:

          Wait what? The Express versions can only output metro apps, I find that very hard to believe.

          Edit: Ok free Visual Studio is Metro only, but does that apply to the Express versions or are they now one and the same?

          • Hoaxfish says:

            Going by an article on Ars Technica, you better pony up for the Pro version, do a metro app, or use an out-dated version.

            Sorry, I’m not too clear on what the different version are… isn’t express the free version?

          • Robbert says:

            The Express version is the only free version and always has been.

    • Docslapper says:

      Different departments of Microsoft are effectively different companies. The people who own and control the Windows platform have almost nothing to do with the people who own and control the Xbox and Godawful for Windows Live.

      Similar things happened in the dev world, where the MS development people who own and control C#, .Net and Visual Studio wanted to develop some neat new XAML display tech that Windows would use natively (along with the neat new-fangled managed code .Net framework thing they’d built), but the Windows department effectively told them to go boil their heads and built the Win7 interface in C++ as normal.

      So yeah, same logo, different company for all intents and purposes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah. And they’re in danger of it being one of their remaining valuable assets for why people use Windows, since the whole Metro-is-the-future thing is the beginning of throwing out the huge bulk of effort in existing Win32 apps and developer training, and web web cloud web webs is also pickling away at that.

      I honestly don’t get Microsoft’s strategy right now.

  19. MadTinkerer says:

    Actually, E3′s press events don’t even represent E3.

    While I was a Game Design student, I had the opportunity to go to E3 in 2009. The reality of the situation is that unless you have a Press Badge, or you are an executive doing a conference for the press you are not even allowed on the same floor as the press conferences. So you hang out at the exhibition halls and talk to folks who make games all day. There are other side attractions, like small art exhibitions for the concept artists and such, but mostly you go and you meet and talk to folks who are being completely ignored by the cameras and do the actual grunt work.

    Also, you usually get to play tech demos and such of games that are not released yet. This is cool too, especially when the dude who actually made the game is standing right there. This is extra cool when you randomly realize “Hey, I recognize that guy from that magazine interview!” or “That’s the dude from that site!” and so on. I even got to shake Zachary Levi‘s hand. He wasn’t doing any kind of press event, just keeping a relatively low profile and trying to hang out with the nerds instead of doing the celebrity thing (with some success).

    Oh, and I got to play Torchlight before you. ;D

    That is the most interesting part of E3, The “Real E3″ as I call it, and I keep waiting for someone to do some kind of not-bombastic, not-televisiony, just-plain-sitting-with-folks-and-talking-shop type of coverage of E3. You could quite easily get enough material for several full length documentaries just sitting down with the smaller, up-and-coming, and completely Indie developers and ignoring the circus part of the show that all the big developers and the mainstream press try to convince you is happening at E3.

    But really, it’s just an illusion. Unless you’re a member of the press, none of those press conferences have anything to do with the actual show. The real show is the folks in “the trenches” hanging out with other folks in the trenches and maybe getting to play early demos of stuff.

  20. applecado says:

    Best article I’ve read in ages. Perfectly sums up my thoughts after watching the streams last night. Great work.

  21. McDan says:

    CODBLOPS: press x to be awesome.

  22. Rii says:

    TL;DR: Why won’t someone pay attention to me? /cry

    This is pretty low-hanging fruit, RPS. I’ll refrain from counting just how many articles about men shooting men have been published on this site in the past week.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m not sure your summary is *quite* accurate.

      And we love games about men shooting men! We also love other games too.

      • Rii says:

        And there are other games at E3 too. On consoles even! I didn’t actually watch any of the conferences (of course the most important is yet to come) but I know that Beyond and The Unfinished Swan ran past in Sony’s presser (God knows what has happened to The Last Guardian).

        This article strikes me as little more than an invitation for PC gamers to flaunt their superiority over those drooling console gamers. That there are any number of console games that don’t fit into the ‘big and dumb’ model and that those same ‘big and dumb’ games being mocked are some of the most popular titles on PC as well being apparently neither here nor there…

        But y’know, need to get those hits one way or another, appealing to PC elitism never goes astray.

        • The Hammer says:

          You realise the article is called “E3′s Press Events Do Not Represent The Gaming I Know”, right?

          Yes, the Unfinished Swan ‘passed by’ on the screen. Yes. It passed by. It was mentioned, and then it was gone.

          EDIT: These press events, which the article you’re commenting on is about, are meant to sum up a console manufacturer’s future output. While Sony’s try was far better than Microsoft’s, neither made much of the interesting games they DO have on offer. Sony’s was bookended by Beyond (demonstrated entirely in one large cut-scene, together with a short trailer where it was impossible to tell what was gameplay and what wasn’t) and The Last Of Us, which, to this fooled-many-times gamer, looked meticulously scripted.

        • elevown says:

          LOL are you a moron or something? Shooting down an article you TL;DR – about a stream you say you didnt watch?? When its a really well written article about the stagnation of mainstream gaming and how it is presented in media?

          Im sure you can find a few exceptions but that dosnt make what was said true. Or you any less of a dope for talking about stuff you cant even be arsed to read/watch.

          Please go find a site to play with that has pretty vids and pictures but saves the text for snazzy headlines and nothing else lol..

          • Rii says:

            lol @ elevown

            Crawl back into whatever dumb manshoot hole you came out of kid.

            @ The Hammer

            Yeah I haven’t seen The Last of Us footage to comment upon it yet.

          • Toberoth says:

            Rii, dismissing people with valid counterpoints as “kid” doesn’t make you look superior or more mature, it makes you look silly and unable to engage with their comments in a meaningful way.

          • Rii says:

            @ Toberoth

            I agree, except for the minor detail that he doesn’t have any valid points.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Yes, he does. You are whining about RPS having a negative opinion of several press-conferences you haven’t even seen and then you insult anyone who disagrees with you. You know what that makes you? A troll.

          • Rii says:

            This is hilarious. Please, do tell me how watching the Halo 4 presentation (for example) is going to do anything to mitigate or alter the criticisms of this article that I have expressed thus far. Be specific.

            And I have only insulted one person in the course of this exchange, and that person insulted me first. The peculiarly one-sided nature of your objection to such behaviour is noted, however.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            Go watch the streams. They’re irrelevant, cringeworthy, full of bad jokes and sexist bullshit. They expect mountains of clapping for the most bog-standard BS.
            It’s just so bloody daft. I would have loved it if I was 13. Actually, that’s such a lie. Even my 13 year old self would fail to be excited at the announcement of Bing on Xbox in multiple languages.

          • Phantoon says:

            Welp, that’s all the injected outrage we need for the week. Thanks, there.

            And they’re STILL pushing Bing? Really? Do they still not realize no one cares?

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          “But y’know, need to get those hits one way or another, appealing to PC elitism never goes astray.”

          So then what exactly are you criticizing?

      • Jimbo says:

        Forza, Need for Speed, Madden, FIFA, Just Dance, Rayman, UFC, Beyond, Sim City, South Park, Assassin’s Creed, God of War, Playstation AllStars, Book of Spells, Ascend… Lots of non-shooters on show at the conferences.

        If you exclusively like romantic comedy adventure games about french speaking, monocle-wearing puppies (which probably aren’t what they used to be) or whatever the fuck it is you do actually enjoy, then I can see why you might be feeling left out by E3 nowadays. It’s a trade-show; they’re gonna show off games which are capable of selling more than four copies.

        • Yosharian says:

          Woahhh those games are truly amazing and revolutionary, JW is being totally unfair by dismissing them!

          • Jimbo says:

            He was dismissing everything as being Gears of War / shooters, not for being unamazing or unrevolutionary. There were plenty of non-shooters, and plenty of those are apparently ‘amazing’ enough to keep selling in the millions year after year. You might not like them, but apparently lots of other people do.

            Of course E3 conferences aren’t going to represent ‘the gaming you know’ if ‘the gaming you know’ excludes virtually all of the popular genres. If not FPS, TPS, ARPG, motion games, Sport (various), Driving, Music etc. (which were all covered), what exactly could they have got up there and talked about that John wouldn’t have dismissed? The show would have been about two minutes long or had a worldwide audience of about 8 people.

    • Grygus says:

      Go ahead and count them. Then count the total number of articles. Then compare the two numbers, re-read this article, and consider that maybe you missed the point.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Oh now come on, you start by saying “TL;DR” and then say you didn’t actually watch the conferences.

      You completely undermine your own opinion!

    • sexyresults says:

      I can’t fucking stand this type of snarky tl;dr summary that seems to purposefully misrepresent an opinion.

      You could actually contribute something, like I don’t know, why you think it’s a cry of attention. Instead you offered a vapid wank of superiority.

  23. BobsLawnService says:

    I’m quite happy that a large chunk of the games I play have nothing to do with the Soulless, Money Grubbing, Dead Eyed marketing drones that infest E3 like pus filled STD warts upon a rottenanus.

    No offence to the aforementioned marketing drones, mind.

  24. Blandford says:

    There was one feeling that resonated through me the entire evening. Not about DLC, buzzwords, lack of innovation or any of that nonsense.
    But rather, the question of “Why is everything so ridiculously violent?”
    It’s an odd question to come up during a conference for an industry that seems centered around shooting games, and perhaps i’m a bit late to be disturbed by this specific aspect of gaming, but almost all of the games that were displayed last night just seemed so over-the-top violent. Blood spurting everywhere, knives being shoved into places, quite a bit of screaming. It just felt too much.
    And this is coming from someone who is familiar with the gaming world, and to an extent already accommodated to it’s obsession with violence. I can only imagine how someone outside of this gaming world, if they were to watch the conferences last night, would feel about this stuff.
    Perhaps to an extent this feeling stems from the audience reaction to this stuff, cheering gleefully for every stab and bullet wound.

    • Namey says:

      I found the Tomb Raider promo pretty uncomfortable to watch, even if most of the violence in it was environment based. Still left a pretty strong feeling of “Do we really want to watch Lara suffer grievous injuries for minutes and minutes?”

      • Xardas Kane says:

        While I actually agree that there was a pretty big array of violent games, I actually DO want to see Lara get hurt. I like the whole direction they are opting for, throwing in horror, survival and generally trying to humanize a character that has been perceived a sex-object and nothing else for far too long. It’s also the first Tomb Raider that didn’t make me want to scream :Crystal Dynamics, enough with this shit and get back to finishing Legacy of Kain!”

        On topic though – most developers are trying to make mature games, but because a lot of them don’t really know what “mature” means, they throw in violence to give it an edge. It’s alright, I don’t mind it that much, and it will pass. It’s happened in the past after all.

        • Mman says:

          The problem with how it is in the E3 demonstration is that it’s basically the same “Teflon Lara” (as the developers put it) problem from before but in a different way; in earlier games Lara never got tarnished at all, but now, in the new one, it seems she takes about ten times more punishment than any Human could survive and then walks away just fine after a little groaning. Plus it makes the combat parts where she gets shot in the head multiple times and doesn’t even flinch look even more silly than they already are/were.

        • kud13 says:

          ” It’s also the first Tomb Raider that didn’t make me want to scream :Crystal Dynamics, enough with this shit and get back to finishing Legacy of Kain!””

          ….. this is why we can’t have nice things. if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go cry now.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        While I actually agree that there was a pretty big array of violent games, I actually DO want to see Lara get hurt. I like the whole direction they are opting for, throwing in horror, survival and generally trying to humanize a character that has been perceived a sex-object and nothing else for far too long. It’s also the first Tomb Raider that didn’t make me want to scream “Crystal Dynamics, enough with this shit and get back to finishing Legacy of Kain!”

    • Rii says:

      Yeah, I’m not quite sure what to make of it either. Grit was big *everywhere* for most of the last decade but for other media forms it seems to have at least levelled off of late, whereas games are still digging to ever grittier depths. Are games simply lagging behind the times or is it rather a function of gaming’s more adolescent tilt?

    • Kollega says:

      My guess? The excessive violence is there because the developers are bored out of their minds, either can’t think of anything new themselves or aren’t allowed to, and as a result just ramp up the amounts of blood and gore in an attempt to do something that wouldn’t feel stale.

      • Soon says:

        Seems to happen to writers. Especially fantasy writers. They just repeat themselves but increase the perversity and sadism because they’re basically running on empty as they ran out of ideas in book 2 of 10.

      • Phantoon says:

        Sounds about right. Look at Mortal Kombat. It got more and more ridiculous as time went on.

    • John Walker says:

      We have a post about exactly this coming up on the site later today.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      If it makes you feel any better it is not just gaming. My wife watches British crime dramas on TV and reads British crime dramas and they are also guilty of trying to find the most violent, disgusting, sadistic descriptions of murder and mayhem.

      I think it is a case of people trying to one-up each other to try to get a shocked reaction from an increasingly jaded audience.

      As I mentioned, it’s not just an issue with games but with society as a whole.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I like that there is an actual company called “Visceral”, and that Ubisoft showing tits for Far Cry 3 has caused more “outrage” than the drugs and violence and tiger-killing.

    • golem09 says:

      I had the exact same thought after seeing the Last of us Demo. I am used to a lot of violent games, but when the protagonisct carefully built a molotov cocktail, threw it on this dude who then cried out in pain while being burned alive. And all of it in a seemingly “realistic” context.
      I wasn’t sure I would ever want to do that, and I have hacked thousand of zombies to pieces.

      • PopeJamal says:

        Coincidentally, I was watching that in the living room when my wife asked me: “Why is he killing those guys?”

        I didn’t really have a good answer because the dialogue lead me to believe that the “heroes” hadn’t been spotted yet. I can imagine how the conversation went:

        Girl: “What should we do? I don’t think they’ve seen us yet?
        Man: Good! That means I can kill them all and lot their limp bodies. Filthy savages!
        Girl: *Look of horror and general concern for her well-being*

        • ttcfcl says:

          They’re killing those guys because they say they killed 5 “tourists” this week already. So typical post-apocalyptic survival “I have to kill everyone because everyone is going to kill me for my stuff”

    • PopeJamal says:

      ” But rather, the question of “Why is everything so ridiculously violent?” ”

      I was wondering the very same thing as I watched Kratos pull the horns off of bull men and dig the brain out of the skull of an elephant-man. I like a good action punch/slash-em-up as much as the next guy, but I like my violence vague and generalized. I don’t need to see my enemies brain plop out of his head. I was perfectly OK with the generic blinking corpse and then it fades and disappears, winking out of existence in front of my eyes.

      And what the hell is up with Metal Gear: Butcher Simulator? Do I really need to slice a man in half and rip his spine out as the primary mechanic? The Halo folks say the secret to good games is finding a few seconds of a fun mechanic and repeating it every thirty seconds or so.

      Am I supposed to enjoy graphically dismembering people every 30 seconds as the primary game mechanic?

  25. goatmonkey says:

    John Riccitiello’s statement that “the box you buy is no longer it” just summed up why I rarely bother with games at launch now.

    Just watched the Sony presentation and The Last of Us looked fantastic just enough of a step up from Uncharted to make it seem like plausible gameplay.

  26. jhng says:

    I find this quite exciting. Usually when the establishment loses its fizz, you start getting game-changing disruption round the edges. Can’t wait to discover how this whole stale mess will be blown apart — hopefully it won’t be long now…

  27. Kollega says:

    Torch-and-pitchfork moods aside, the mention of next-gen consoles makes me wonder what they’ll be capable of. If Battlefield 3 (on the PC) is a good example of today’s visual fidelity level, i could perhaps get behind it… but to be honest, it seems that graphics have begun to plateau. Last year, i’ve been playing some Ratchet & Clank on PS2 (the first three games released in 2002, 2003, and 2004), and it still looks surprisingly decent. I can still play, for instance, Bioshock (2006) or Half-Life 2 (2004, although it was developed for PC) without vomiting my internal organs out. Of course, i’m not really demanding when it comes to graphics, but it still says something.

    My guess? Instead of revelushenaree noo grapheex, we are going to have way more expansive levels, way more physics effects like realistic water, cloth, and destruction, and perhaps more interesting enemy AI. Not even the dominance of Call of Duty can hold these innovations back.

    • jrodman says:

      Plateauing of graphics has been a long time happening. Just look at the c64 (1982) vs Commodore Amiga (1986) to see how much 4 years did for us in those days. By 1990, VGA was commonplace, and by 1994, hardware accelerated graphics were common. By 1998 we’d moved into 3d acceleration (for the first time).

      A few more polygons and some extra shader magic is just not that impressive by comparison.

      As for the physics, I’m kind of ready for games to incorporate them in some totally different way. As decoration I find them forgettable, and as puzzle elements they frequently are fragile. Is that all they can offer?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I really, really hope they’ll massively shunt the amount of system RAM up. The 360 and PS3 are at sub-GB levels, and that really does cramp how much of a world you can have at once. It’s not as loadarama as things used to be (mostly because of better streaming), but there’s always more scope for simulating more stuff, larger areas, and whatnot.

  28. Jimbo says:

    “For at least a year the definitive version of any cross-platform game has been the PC, and now we’re seeing increasing numbers of PC exclusives.”

    Up from zero to two! That’s an infinity % increase!

  29. phenom_x8 says:

    Yeah, I watched MS press conference last night (its already midnight in my country) just to knew all the fuss about E3 (also to test how decent my new internet connection handle livestreaming, this my first time you know), there’s halo 4, and some unneccesary XLIVE features that have been done years ago on my PC . Nothing special there, even the Halo I saw are not the same halo I’ve been played on PC long time ago (there’s no more grandiose feelings when watching it) with cortana that seems overreacted with everything happened toward master chief. Meh, I didn’t feel any tension by that.

    Btw, ubisoft have done a few great things in the show(with Shootmania, Ass creed 3 and watch dogs ) .Kudos to them. I hope Rezzed can do much better than this (and livestreaming please, I’ll watching it, I promise.

  30. oceanclub says:

    I’m glad someone else is saying this. I’m a gamer – it’s my main hobby along with reading – yet am always completely underwhelmed by and alienated from these launches, which seem to consist mainly of marketing droids attempting to foist yet more plastic trinkets that will gather dust on us.

    P.

    • Phantoon says:

      Because E3 hasn’t been marketed or targeted at gamers for years.

      It’s been targeted at the call of duty 13 year old crowd, and the shills that give Dead Island a 10/10.

    • PopeJamal says:

      In all seriousness, I think E3 is primarily for people in the game industry and the retailers. It’s basically a giant winter holiday sales catalog for Walmart, Gamestop, and any big retailer that sells games.

      The gamers are the secondary audience and more realistically, a part of the “product”:

      Look at how they whoot, holler, and salivate: We promise you at least 500,000 of these if you buy x copies of our game! Order today!

  31. Maldomel says:

    A grim and sad perspective. I don’t really bother with following or watching stuff about consoles anymore, but I still wonder how those dudes can just ditch up computers and forget about them like that.

    I’m totally gonna sound like an elitist prick now, but I’m glad PCs are advancing so fast, and are always ahead from consoles in many aspects.

    Also, fuck DLC.

  32. Lars Westergren says:

    >”Gone are the days when a £400 investment meant people would become tribal and defend their choice, to start with. ”

    God, I wish. I may have a selection bias from hanging out on the wrong sites, but if anything it feels like it has gotten worse? And let’s not mention iOS vs Android vs Windows Mobile. I can’t read tech sites comments anymore.

    >”all punctuated throughout the night by producers holding controllers and pretending to control cutscenes”

    Heh. Awkward.

    Suggestion – is it possible that the intended audience are not journalists and definitely not gamers, but actually investors who don’t know much about these things but think the are market savvy? So when Microsoft triumphantly announces 30 sequels and a couple of hardware peripherals, analysts go home and write stuff like “We give a strong buy recommendation on Microsoft due to excellent monetization of established IP and innovations in motion control”..

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I can’t remember where I heard it, but someone said we’re the only entertainment industry where the customers use “investor jargon”…

      i.e. you don’t hear film-goers talk about “3rd fiscal quarter release dates” (“Summer Blockbusters”) or “new IP” (a “new film, that is not a sequel/prequel”).

      • jrodman says:

        A thousand times this. Why can’t we call it a ‘setting’, instead of “an IP”, which .. doesn’t even SCAN reasonably. “An intellectual property.” What? It’s euphemistic and linguistically broken. We normal humans can do better than that. Leave that dross to the corporate boardroom, please.

        • MD says:

          Yes. I think I’ve had a whinge about this sort of thing somewhere else on RPS, maybe on the forums. But this cannot be commented on enough. If we can’t stop people from doing it, we can at least retain the awareness that it is ridiculous and silly and depressing.

        • Toberoth says:

          I get pissed off with people referring to “franchises” all the time as well. It’s a series of games, not a fucking McDonalds.

          • Jay says:

            I’m sure I’ve even heard ‘products’ used unironically, once or twice. Jesus wept. They are ‘games’, or failing that, ‘titles’.

            At least we’re spared the console gamers’ argument of who has the best ‘attach rates’.

            Edit: Thinking about it, it kinds of lends credence to the idea that a depressing amount of gamers are happy to lap up PR bullshit verbatim, to the point where said bullshit has entered the common vernacular. See also: the tendency to violently defend things they haven’t played yet.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            It’s one way you can tell what games you should buy (or not).

            “Please buy our lovely game. We put a lot of love and effort into it!” = buy
            “Here’s the latest product in our successful franchise!” = not buy

            :D

      • tossrStu says:

        Also, referring to a game as having different “SKUs”. WHAT’S WRONG WITH CALLING THEM “EDITIONS” OR “VERSIONS” YOU COCKS

  33. Xardas Kane says:

    The Microsoft conference was, to put it mildly, embarrassing, and the one by EA was so much by the book I could have sworn it’s just a tape-over from last year.. Now, I am a somewhat selective gamer, I breathe RPGs old and new with the occasional action/adventure or stealth game to add some flavour, and watching these conferences at one point actually made me question if there is any point to continue being a gamer. I have consistently shown my disinterest in shooting with guns guys with guns, and yet every demoed game was either that or some Kinect ****. Medal of Honor, Battlefield 3 DLCs, CODBLOPS (great acronym btw), Halo 4, Resident Evil 6 getting stripped of anything that even remotely resembles horror, like a nerd kid trying to look cool to fit in with the crowd, I am honestly sick of this! And what the hell did they do to Dead Space?! Sure, the series has never been truly a horror one, or at least it never managed to scare me, but it’s somewhat feeble attempts at doing the closet-monster act did add atmosphere and flavour to what could be yet another shooter. And they are adding co-op to it?! A co-op SURVIVAL HORROR?! What the hell were they thinking?!

    Thankfully, there was the other side as well. I actually really loved what I saw from Watch Dogs. Yes, they did show us a guy walking around and shooting at people, but there was a commendable attention to detail, an at least at first glance beautiful open world and some pretty cool mechanics. It’s also probably the first kekekekeke game where you can rescue a freaking civilian, was that so hard to figure out all this time? It’s supposed to be an open-world stealth action with some hacking thrown in, and if it delivers on that promise, colour me interested.

    There was also Far Cry 3, the only FPS that actually looks, well, good, and managed to somewhat surprise me two E3′s in a row. The Last of Us is either shamelessly scripted or Naughty Dog are on to something, sure as hell hope it’s the latter, and I can’t wait for Beyond. I am a big fan of Cage and his team ever since Fahrenheit and with Ellen Page on board it just might turn into something special.

    Overall this E3 so far feels pretty much like last year’s – Microsoft screaming their lungs off about how big they are and how Kinect is going to revolutionize everything we do, from talking to our TVs like some kind of a lunatic, to, presumably they keep this for next year, lending us a hand when we are peeing; UbiSoft showing off some cool games and destroying any positive buzz with the by far worst presenters ever; EA demoing a wide array of military shooters and announcing next to nothing; and Sony standing on its hind legs with big sad puppy eyes whispering “wuv me”, because their stocks have hit yet again a new low. And yes, Sony’s was the most enjoyable and I certainly do like it when on an E3 conference they talk about games and not Nickelodeon, but the problem was they talked, and talked, and talked, and talked and never seemed to shut up. I get it, you want me to love you, stop pestering me Sony, show me some games!

    And to backtrack a little bit here, where the hell are the RPGs?! Not a SINGLE ONE?! Screw that, AC3 and presumably Beyond aside, did they show any games where you weren’t shooting at people or waving your hands/a stupid-looking wand around like an idiot?!

    Like Walker summarized in a much more coherent and grammatically correct fashion (hey, I’m not a native speaker, sorry for any mistakes) – “what we saw at E3 last night was not representative of the gaming industry of which I’m a part.”

    • Resonance says:

      “Screw that, AC3 and presumably Beyond aside, did they show any games where you weren’t shooting at people or waving your hands/a stupid-looking wand around like an idiot?! ”

      Well technically in AC3 you were steering a boat so it could shoot at another boat…and Beyond was simply a cut-scene so I guess it doesn’t really count. I don’t recall a single gameplay demo that didn’t focus heavily on violence, or motion controls, no.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        That was the PSV game, not AC3 mate. And yeah, Beyond was actually just a trailer, jeez… But I actually meant any game shown at this E3, period, demo or no demo. So far it’s pretty much all shooters with the very rare exceptions of a SimCity or Sony Smash Brothers Brawl here and there.

        • The Hammer says:

          Naw, it was ACIII proper. They introduced that bit RIGHT after showing the first gameplay trailer of the PSP off-shoot. I’m not surprised there’s confusion about this, because the structure of the conference was very ramshackle.

        • Resonance says:

          The ship section was AssCreed 3. Not only does the commentator reference the character as ‘Connor’ [the games protagonist] but there’s no way they could get that level of graphical fidelity on a handheld anyway.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Ok, guess I was wrong :) But the actual gameplay is NOT about shooting people with a gun, is it? That was the point I was making :)

    • PopeJamal says:

      “A co-op SURVIVAL HORROR?! What the hell were they thinking?!”

      They were think about all the money that Gears of War made.

      • Brun says:

        This. Small-group co-op survival a la Left 4 Dead is the next “big thing” in multiplayer. In 2004 it was MMOs, in 2008 it was competitive matchmaking, in 2012 it’s co-op survival.

  34. Edeph says:

    I hate it how everyone is presenting their product like it will change the world right away, and how they wait for the public to applaud after every phrase they say. I think that E3 is more about the show (a really bad one) more than the industry itself, since most gamers know that Microsoft, Nintendo,Sony or any other big company would ever come with a product and say “Hello, this is our product, it is beta, it will be released in a year and we hope it will be a good piece, though we can’t say yet if it is groundbreaking or not”. They come with prerecorded ingame footage that makes you think of a complete game, and they only focus on graphics or sound, but barely on smart gameplay.

  35. Chaz says:

    Yeah it is kind of depressing. Very little at E3 this year that was interesting, zero excitment from me this year and yes it does feel like the industry is stagnating some what. Has been for the past few years as far as I’m concerned. It has to be said though that Farcry 3 and Watchdogs do look very good though, but I’m a huge sucker for open world sandbox type games. It’s funny seeing the applause DayZ is getting right now, because that’s what I was more or less expecting of Stalker to be like.

    One of the reasons I switched back to PC from my console was because a lot of the creativity of the old days of bedroom coding and modding seems to be having a resurgance in a time when all the consoles are offering is a steady stream of sequels and bland big budget releases. It’s important not to forget though, the reason I left PC gaming for consoles a few years back was because PC gaming had pretty much gone down the same path. Only the lackluster big budget releases required you to keep updating your hardware on a yearly basis. About the time when Crysis came out was when I decided I’d had enough of it and could no longer afford to stay in the hardware race. Thankfully things seem to be a lot better now in that respect.

    I think another problem the game industry has right now is money. I mean that in the sense that big corps have finally come around to the idea that there’s big bucks to be made from games. There’s only one thing these folks are interested in and that’s soaring profits and cash for the shareholders. As long as they’re making money these people couldn’t give a fig about the actual games themselves. It’s all about nickel and diming the consumer now, and that makes me sad. The likes of Facebook and Zynga in my eyes are to blame for the rise in DLC’s and micro transactions. It will become all the more prevalent since the consoles have now begun their transformation from games machines into streaming media hubs. Almost can’t bare to fire up my 360 now since the Metro update. Streaming movies and music have now taken center stage; what happened to my games console, I didn’t ask for all that other shit!

    At least with my PC I can choose to make games its primary focus. Well for now anyway. Unless Windows 8 provides a way to junk all that Metro bollocks I’m sticking with Win 7.

  36. rustybroomhandle says:

    Microsoft also claimed that Windows 95 was the first multitasking operating system. They just seem to be like that.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      they did?! Wow, that’s rich!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Citation needed, since 16-bit Windows was too*, i.e. it wasn’t even a first for them, on PC. Microsoft did a lot of dumb/evil stuff in the ’90s, but I doubt that one.

      * Pedant’s corner: 9X was pre-emptive; 1/2/3 were co-operative. They might played up that it was vastly improved at multitasking, because it was.

      • jrodman says:

        The pedants corner can be kicked to the curb, as Windows NT 3.1 / 3.5 / 3.5.1 all predated Windows 95.

        • LionsPhil says:

          True, but they had that whole weird schism pre-XP where they sort of pretended that NT didn’t exist while claiming that 9X was the most advanced/stable/whatever Windows yet. (Usually in the installer.)

  37. sophof says:

    I just never understand, and to be frank, I’m not sure they do themselves, who the target audience is for these things. It is not so surprising it doesn’t excite RPS readers much, but this kind of thing also doesn’t work for teenagers or the suits. It only serves to insult the intelligence of pretty much anyone watching this stuff.

  38. Earl-Grey says:

    I couldn’t possibly agree more.
    -Unless you had ended the article with “now go away before I am forced to taunt you a second time!”, then I would agree a smidgeon more.
    God how I despise that whooping…

  39. WinTurkey says:

    I will say this though. In EA’s defense I’m quite happy with the BF3 DLC situation, including premium which I’ll probably buy. If we think of premium not as a DLC pack (DLC being a bad word nowadays) but as an expansion pack which is released incrementally and which you can buy in parts it’s actually pretty good value, it’s the biggest (if we believe the numbers) expansion pack a BF game has ever received and the bang for your buck isn’t too bad. Compare it to BF2, which had the Special Forces expansion pack and the 2 totally-not-DLC-guys “booster packs”, together the 3 cost more than $50 on release and gave less maps and vehicles, although more playable factions. The Vietnam DLC for BC2 I thought was good value, Back to Karkand I found to be worth the price (although I got it for free anyway), Close Quarters delivers what it promises if you’re into playing BF3 like CoD and the available screenshots for Armored Kill are mouth-watering.

  40. Kinch says:

    Having watched a few broadcasts and seen the dudes in their top-notch suits, telling their hoary old jokes as part of their awfully pre-made speeches, I realised E3 isn’t about gaming itself and not about gamers. It’s all about SELLING games to CUSTOMERS.

    So, we’ll get another metric tonne of Kinect games that suck balls, a new iteration of “state-of-the-art” fitness games, or more painfully mainstream CoD/GoW clones. Need… more… fresh… air…

    The overwhelming consolitis is so very annoying, too. Meh.

  41. frenz0rz says:

    I think thats the first article in a while in which I’ve agreed with everything John said.

    What annoys me most about these events is the complete lack of acknowledgement for the PC, and the vast popularity of games with a huge playerbase that are very much “PC”, and couldnt exist on any other platform. Why should that even bother me? Because of the effect it has on the perception of PC gamers by culture as a whole.

    I was having a (to me) very surreal discussion with a friend last week who was completely unaware that people played games on PC with a mouse and keyboard. How absurdly silly, she said! You never see that on TV or in films. Surely nobody really plays games on computers?! Whats wrong with an Xbox?

  42. Spooty says:

    Brilliant article! It expresses much of how I feel about the current state of the industry.

  43. Drake Sigar says:

    It’s quite worrying that gaming’s biggest event is basically a slightly less offensive Spike VGA.

  44. Lolmasaurus says:

    PC exclusives you say? I’d like to direct you to Tribes:Ascend, An excellent game that deserves more players. Speaking of which, does anyone know of an RPS crew playing tribes? That would make my day.

  45. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    PC is the developers/publishers best friend when it suits them. That has been proven time & time again. When you want that low sales game on consoles to break even what do you do release on PC.

    Dark Souls coming to PC (100% using GFWL still BTW) is more to do with it being easy profit than any petition. Namco know from Capcom PC can be easy to get a game onto using GFWL then sell a few 100 thousand copies no fees to pay MS/Sony just Steam or retailers=easy profit.

    When next gen consoles arrive PC will most likely NOT get many games for a while as the transition will drive games away from PC they will all be clambering to get the latest on next gen as piracy will be non existent. PC will as in 2005-6 see a dip in volume unless next gen uses DX11 friendly gfx (not sure it will either).

  46. D3xter says:

    Thanks for this, it’s exactly what I thought during most of it (albeit I DID like UbiSoft’s Press Conference somewhat).

    Weirdly, it also seems to be what most of the Gaming Audience seems to think, just nobody with a “press badge” has enough balls to say it amongst getting a year of free PSN+ and new consoles for free…

    This was the Live vote after the Microsoft Press Conference ended on GameTrailers: http://www.abload.de/img/75a2vhoc2c.png

    The vote on the EA one was 65% Hate and 35% Love

    This was the vote for UbiSoft: http://www.abload.de/img/ubisofteeum7.png

    Also for perspective, a selection of E3 1999 titles:

    Thief 2
    Omikron
    Anachronox
    System Shock 2
    Dungeon Keeper 2
    Shogun Total War
    Nox
    Drakan Order of the Flame
    Pharaoh
    Homeworld
    Diablo 2
    GTA 2
    Unreal Tournament
    Quake III Arena
    Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
    Kingpin
    Planescape Torment
    Soulbringer
    Outcast
    Giants: Citizen Kabuto
    Age of Empires 2
    Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Weirdly, it also seems to be what most of the Gaming Audience seems to think, just nobody with a “press badge” has enough balls to say it amongst getting a year of free PSN+ and new consoles for free…

      Definitely part of the problem.

      Another problem is this:

      So I’m delighted to say that what we saw at E3 last night was not representative of the gaming industry of which I’m a part.

      Is it too much to expect journalists to consider themselves outside the games industry, and able to offer disinterested criticism of it? This attitude that journalists and game companies are All In This Together is what leads to IGN and whoever simply being industry mouthpieces.

    • Toberoth says:

      Man, 1999 was a good year…

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Oh God we’re so old.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Screw that. Party like it’s 1999!

      Memories of my misspent youth. For all the blustering rhetoric that is usually employed when this or that person talks about a golden age of gaming, it’s damn tempting to think of the late 90s as the golden age.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        This may be a strange comment in context of the article, but I often consider today a golden age of gaming. I’ve never played so many indie titles that are this good. Sure most of them aren’t much, but just the six or so that I love are all fairly new. I think before this era there might have been six indie games that I played, total.

  47. Runs With Foxes says:

    E3 is a congregation of shit of course, but are you going to criticise the general bankruptcy of game design on show? It seemed like every other game was an Uncharted clone.

  48. Crazyfoolgaf says:

    Thanks John, its great to hear at least one Journo call this whole sham of an event out for what it is : shallow fascade that hideously misrepresents the industry.

  49. elevown says:

    Great article – well written and I agreed with almost everything you said- except the xbox 3 :)

    Sorry, but you dont know much about marketing if you think they can call it that. That would put them behind the ps4 from the get-go (from a marketing perspective).

    I know gamers wouldnt care- the sony fans would use it in endless jibes but thats about it lol..
    But to the none gaming public- including moms who go buy/order little johny a new console – the ps4 MUST be newer and better than the old xbox 3..

    It might well not be the 720 – they might go for xbox (insert snazzy word here) or who knows what.. but I realy dont think just 3 will fly. Because 3 is LESS than 4.

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