Another year of the world famous Electronics Entertainment Expo — better known as E3 — is kicking off next week in LA. There, gaming big wigs from all around the world are gathering to show off their latest wares and yours truly will be in attendance, scouring the showroom floor in search of anything Android related. As an Android fanatic first, and “gamer” second, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jazzed at the prospect of playing the latest from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s next-gen offerings. Like myself, I’m sure more than a few you guys out there are also gaming enthusiasts, so let’s get to talking about what we can expect from not only Android, but the Big 3 at this year’s E3.
At the Xbox One reveal, Microsoft received a lot of heat after they showed their system (a big, black box), revamped controller, and how could anyone forget — their TV features. Sure there was a nice featurette on the next Call of Duty game, but the de-emphasis on games (and over emphasis on TV) left a lot of gamers wanting and prospective buyers still wary.
Microsoft was left playing damage control, letting everyone know that with 15 exclusive titles coming down the pipeline and that their second E3 keynote on Monday would “kill” Sony. Big words from a company that only showed 3 games at their reveal. We’re not sure what they have up their sleeve but rumors point to unannounced titles like a Crackdown sequel, the leaked Titanfall, Banjo and Kazooie: Grunty Land, Fable IV, and more. We’ll have to wait and see what their E3 showing will be like, before making any judgments, but games might be the last of their problems.
A media firestorm of sorts was centered around Microsoft’s imposed DRM model where they briefly mentioned charging used game buyers a “fee” in order to transfer over ownership of a given title. It felt like Microsoft had been avoiding the issue since then, but they finally came clean, announcing all their games can be shared with up to 10 people, but need to connect to the internet every 24 hours or so in order to keep playing.
We still have no idea on pricing or release date for the Xbox One but it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer before we get all the details. Stay tuned to XboxOneDaily for the latest from the Xbox One — including their own predictions — at this year’s E3.
Sony wasn’t immune to memes after their PS4 reveal forgot to reveal, you know… the actual console. No matter, gamers had their sights locked onto the promise of more than 40 different launch games. Titles like the confirmed Infamous Second Son, Knack, DriveClub, Watch Dogs, and Killzone Shadow Fall give Sony the slight upperhand, and arguably the best chance at having the strongest initial showing. I still feel like they’re going to have to leverage some of their bigger franchises if they’re hoping to hammer the final nails in Xbox One’s coffin (if that’s even possible).
Lack of backwards compatibility also isn’t sitting well with Sony fanboys who’ve built up a healthy PS3 game collection. Sony might offer a way out via their newly acquired Gaikai streaming service, but that’s all speculation at this point. Moreover, Sony has plans to release a few “free-to-play” on the PS4, with Planetside 2, DC Universe, and Warframe being the first freemium titles.
While Sony has been basking in Microsoft’s DRM sh*t storm, they’ve also announced they will follow a similar model for used games, one that’s entirely up to the publisher (who typically aren’t too keen about losing potential millions of dollars to used game sales). Exactly which publishers will be the first to implement a DRM system remains to be seen, but you can start placing bets where EA stands on the issue. We’ll have to wait for official details from E3 to learn more.
Of course, still very much up in the air are pricing and release date. Some are guessing Sony will do whatever it takes to strike first, and launch ahead of Microsoft, even expecting a summer release date. We actually talked about this in length during our GameFans podcast. Because Sony doesn’t have a mandatory motion camera bundled with their hardware, it makes sense to assume they might even undercut Microsoft on pricing. Just keep in mind they need a big enough pricing gap to push gamers from the already successful and inexpensive PS3 and PlayStation Vita consoles, and onto their next-gen system.
While Sony and Microsoft are busy duking it out with their newly unveiled consoles, one might say Nintendo has it the easiest. They’ve already revealed their console at last year’s E3 and now can simply focus on games. The absence of an keynote at this year’s event was definitely surprising and has some feeling like it could be a bad omen for the Japanese game maker. Instead of a big keynote, Nintendo will be streaming all their new developments online via Nintendo Direct. There, Nintendo can do what they simply do best — hop on Mario’s back and let him do all the heavy lifting.
Make no mistake, Nintendo will still have a huge presence at this year’s E3 at their “booth,” bringing the magic with their biggest Nintendo franchises. We expect to see heavy hitters like an all new Super Smash Bros., Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, Yarn Yoshi, and more. If we’re really lucky, we may even get a glimpse at the next Legend of Zelda already in progress.
To top it all off, Nintendo has opened up booths in select Best Buy stores around the country allowing gamers to play their newly announced games the day after they’re announced. It’s a bold move, one that’s never been done before and could give consumers that little nudge they need to purchase a Wii U before the Xbox One and PS4 arrive on the scene.
We’ve been on top of the NVIDIA Shield since the device debuted in January back during CES 2013. NVIDIA’s venture into mobile gaming headed with their upcoming Tegra 4 processor, Shield progress on the device has continued on a steady pace with NVIDIA finally opening up pre-orders to the tune of $350. Only a vague “June” release date given, but we’re sure they’ll be announcing an actual shipping date in the coming days.
We’re expecting NVIDIA to go all out with Shield for E3 — it is, afterall, the world’s biggest gaming convention. We’ve already confirmed with NVIDIA that they’ll have a few new playable demos but they wouldn’t specify if these were from new titles, or just new levels to play from games we’ve already seen in previous conventions.
NVIDIA still has an uphill battle ahead of them. While the handheld has a lot of potential, going up against heavy weights like the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS will be no easy task. But Shield’s use of the Android OS and full access to the 500,000+ games/applications from the Google Play Store could be the ace up their sleeve. Combine that with Google’s newly announced Google Play Games API, and they might just have themselves a full house.
OUYA has been a huge success since it hit Kickstarter in the middle of 2012, and that momentum is still rolling. Aside from the $8 million the company already raised through early backers, OUYA has attracted a decent amount of pre-sale interest, and have even caught the attention of angel investors. Their recent $15 million round of funding means they’ll have all the capital they need to address all their aspirations, but what, exactly, is the company going to do in its first big showing since the gaming console’s conception?
Well, let’s get one thing out of the way right now — they won’t have a booth inside the main conference hall. Instead, OUYA is setting up shop right outside of E3, in a parking lot across the street from all the festivities. I know, I know. It sounds pretty whacky. But such a setup could give OUYA more visibility than they could possibly imagine compared to being on the show floor pitted up against heavy hitters like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and all the big game publishers showing off their latest wares with huge flashy booths.
We’ve already gotten an up-close and personal look at OUYA for ourselves, with coverage from the console’s earliest games being put up for your perusal. We know what the console is and what it’s all about, so now it’s time for the folks at OUYA to show us why it deserves the millions of dollars it has already earned.
OUYA still has a few surprises up its sleeve, with exclusive games from well-known gaming designers and industry veterans said to be on their way. We’re not quite sure if they will reveal anything on any of that quite yet, but it would be a “fail” not to.
After all, it’s E3 — if you’re not here to show your biggest guns and flex your biggest muscle, then what are you even doing there? We’ll be stopping by the booth to check out everything they have to show off, of course, so if there’s news to be made we’ll make sure you’re apprised on all the details.
Wikipad, Google TV, Android Gaming and Beyond
Let’s now forget the wildcards who could announce some big things at E3. We know WikiPad is gearing up to release their $250 7-inch gaming tablet on Monday, the same day E3 kicks off.
UK-based PlayJam and their GameStick — an Android micro-console — wont be in attendance at this year’s E3, but they’re currently booked for an alternate event dubbed EToo taking place in London on June 10th.
Google TV has huge potential to take Android gaming from the small screen and onto our televisions. Android’s television fork has finally been brought up to speed with the rest of the Android, recently receiving the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update. If Google could introduce a universal controller support API for their games, we could see Google TV becoming a real contender in console gaming.
We’re also hoping OnLive will come back with a vengeance. The company went though some financial troubles last year, finding itself bought by another company. Although there’s still a faint heart beat, we think a bigger focus on bringing game streaming to more mobile devices could be the defibrillator needed to bring the company back to life, and that could give Google TV some footing in gaming.
The latest company to jump onto the Android mini-console bandwagon is Mad Catz. During their earnings call, Mad Catz CEO let it slip that they’ve got plans to introduce an Android console of their own, dubbed M.O.J.O. Not much is known about the device, but if their recent recent partnership with NVIDIA is any indication, we’re hoping it’s — at the very least — packing a Tegra 4 inside and priced affordably (sub-$100).
All-in-all, it looks like there will be a lot to see at E3 and whether you’re a die-hard Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo fanboy, we’ll have you covered with our sister sites XboxOneDaily, PS4Daily, and WiiUDaily, churning out the latest news as it happens. As always Phandroid will be holding it down on the Android front. Stay tuned for more, and let me know what you’re most looking forward to seeing from E3 this year.