E3 2016 May Be Too Much About Hardware, Not Enough About Games

I’ve just booked my ticket to the world’s biggest video game convention, and there’s a thought I just can’t seem to get out of my head. Undeniably, this is going to be a big E3. There’s a wave of half-systems on the way. Nintendo is teasing their NX console like the captain of the cheer team on prom night. PC gaming is cheaper than ever, and there’s a whole new generation of tech available with the new VR craze. It concerns me though. Last year was a hell of an E3. There was a massive focus on games, the fans out there were given some much asked for titles and everyone felt the warm tinglies after the show. This year is going to be a mess. Why? We’re front loading an entire year with new hardware.

ps4kimageI’d never be one to stand in the way of innovation and evolution. That would be unfair and irresponsible. However, I want to express my concern in overpriced VR headsets and odd half-gen consoles. As I just said, E3 last year was a great show. There were plenty of great games and a lot of hope of seeing consoles deliver at full-stride. Now, we have taken a step back and said “Oh great, here’s some new hardware with no new games to buy.” Awesome. If you haven’t played this game yet, Nintendo’s New 3DSXL seemed like a really cool idea, one dedicated game later, I really miss my limited edition Pokemon X/Y 3DSXL.

Speaking of Nintendo, they will likely be bringing the Nintendo “NX” to E3. Early rumors certainly make the NX look like a good system, but Nintendo has been playing game production incredibly safe. Some of their biggest releases lately have been simple HD remakes and their new titles, with the exception of a few, are unfortunately quite uninspired (looking at you Star Fox Zero). The NX has to have a massive launch line-up if they want to make a huge impact. Nintendo’s current gen track record of console announcements hasn’t been great. It’s likely the console will be the main attraction for them, not whatever launch titles they throw together.

960-will-the-nintendo-nx-change-the-industryAs long as we are talking about consoles, the PlayStation 4 NEO and the Xbox 1.5 (Next) are an unfortunate topic as well. Both major consoles are supposedly releasing buffed up versions of their systems. Here’s the major oddity here, both of these consoles will not feature any new titles, just offer them a little prettier or faster. This is dangerous ground here. First off, if current gen consoles aren’t currently powerful enough, why did they already get released? If they are just to make games a bit faster and maybe offer 4k resolutions, it seems like that could have waited until the next generation. This too will take the spotlight from many games. We haven’t heard many rumblings, nor has there been a ton of excitement outside of games announced last year that haven’t had releases yet. This isn’t good.

Finally, we also have the VR headset craze. If you haven’t used a VR headset, it’s a pretty fun and unique experience. The thing is, this games are essentially little tech demos. If you like the idea of dropping $800 on a “system” that only plays tech demos, that’s on you, but I wouldn’t advise on it. Sony will be making a HUGE stink about their fancy new headset that will be a fraction of the competition’s price. We are going to see a bunch of games that will be like different variations of the same flavor. It’s the big thing right now, so we are going to see a whole bunch of low effort releases on it. I expect that there will be a bunch of indie titles coming out for them, with very little AAA support. Real games are still taking an unfortunate backseat here.

heroI could be amazingly wrong. Hell, I hope I am. I really want to see a bunch of amazing and cool games with new hardware as an appetizer. I’d love to talk about how exciting returns of some great titles. I’d love to drool over crazy and exciting new IPs that are mind blowing. You all, I absolutely want to see sequels to my favorite titles. Hotline Miami, Lost Oddyssey, a REAL Valkyrie Chronicles titles, etc. I’d love to see all this stuff, but honestly, the odds of a half-gen console circlejerk is too damn high.

However, if cross-console happens…

Hold onto your butts.

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