This has got me thinking back to that solid month of doom & gloom in between the Xbox One’s announcement and E3 2013. Nintendo’s Wii U was a disappointment already and the Xbox One had just become a depressing look into the future of games:
- No backwards compatibility support (funny how now xbox one is the one with amazing backwards compatibility and PS4 still has none)
- Bloated with extra features no one wanted (remember when the console came with the Kintect and it would be necessary to even use the xbox)
- A required constant internet connection (at least once to check in on licenses per 24 hours)
- Disc-based games being bound to your xbox live account and being not resellable or lendable (essentially meaning you don’t own the games you buy, like digital games)
This was a dark time. I remember talking to a friend of mine and he was pretty deadset on just giving up on playing console games altogether. He planned to just stick with his 3DS and whatever Nintendo did next.
Right up until that Sony Conference, I was kinda with him. I had already bought a Wii U for Pikmin 3 and was just going to, I don’t know, ride this generation out. I never really thought that Sony would come out and not bend to the will of publishers cranky about used games eating into their sales.
But that Sony conference in 2013 was the single most cutthroat conference in E3 history. Even more than the famous “$299” PS1 conference. Sony came out and just went for Microsoft’s jugular.
Like fucking hell this video is still one of the most aggressively hostile things I’ve ever seen a console manufacturer do to another:
A lot of it was just messaging and Sony having the benefit of Microsoft showing their full hand and seeing the reaction to it. But, honestly, without that massive swing from Microsoft’s much maligned features planned for the Xbox One being doubled down on that morning to the just knockout punch Sony landed that night, I doubt this generation would have been the same. Seven years later and some people only tangentially interested in games STILL think the Xbox One requires you to be online.
Without those two conferences at E3 and Microsoft just being grilled for the next few days of the conference (with great missteps like “If you don’t have an internet connection, we have a product for you called the Xbox 360”), I don’t think Microsoft would have backpedaled so extensively on their policies so quickly, before and after launch.
Now, I don’t really think there is the same doom and gloom here. Nintendo is a fantastic place going forward, Sony has already announced that PS4 games will be backwards compatible, and Microsoft is trying to win back the people who fled the 360 for the PS4 last generation, so they’re going to try to be as appealing as possible.
But seeing that Sony won’t be there just kind of tells you how much has changed in seven years. Seven years ago they used that stage to completely changed the trajectory of the industry and now it’s not even worth it for them to show up. It just… makes me feel… apprehensive? Like are we losing something by having E3 die? I mean, 95% of me says no for many of the reasons stated here, but the other 5% is still thinking that, without E3 2013, console gaming would look so much different.