The sales of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 continue to move rapidly with a sense of transition looming over the video game sector. The cumulative sales of PS4 and the Xbox One are higher by over 40 percent compared to their predecessors after two and a half years in the market. The impending kick-off of Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3 on June 14, 2016, emphasizes the turning point in the gaming industry. The annual trade fair in the gaming industry takes place in Los Angeles. Video game publishers and manufacturers of accessories use this platform to advertise and introduce game-related merchandise and upcoming games. E3 is an industry –only trade where the individuals who want to attend have to verify that they have a professional link to the video-game industry.
According to the managing director at Equity Research for Wedbush Securities, Michael Patcher, this year’s E3 is set to have a notably different feel to it. In 2015, E3 was more about big games such as Star Wars: Battlefront, Halo 5, Fallout 4 and the long-anticipated return of the Last Guardian. The later was initially introduced in 2009 but has been MIA since then. The 2016 E3 is rumored to be more focused on hardware.
Industry giants such as Microsoft and Sony are expected to both launch updated versions of their console systems. Patcher mentions that it is not clear if the new hardware from Microsoft will be considerably stronger than the existing versions of the Xbox One. However, he does state that Sony is expected to launch a PS4 that is more advanced and optimized for 4K gaming and Virtual reality. The two features would need significantly resilient computer and graphics processing chips. Sony is also set to display its PlayStation VR headset. HTC, Samsung, and Oculus will also be present at the show as a result of the virtual reality headsets they recently launched.
Virtual reality is still a few years away from becoming mainstream and is still in the phase of attempting to demonstrate to people what the prospects are. Eric Handler who is a senior equity analyst at MKM Research thinks that companies are likely to use E3 to lay the groundwork.
Amidst all the focus on hardware, Nintendo has stated that it has no intentions of divulging any details related to its looming new system. The system, code-named NX is set to launch in early 2017. As an alternative, the company has adopted an all-or-nothing strategy to this year’s E3. It has focused on one playable game, The Legend of Zelda. The Wii U version of this long-awaited game will dictate Nintendo’s presence.
Another aspect that makes this year’s E3 a different looking show is the fact that the two largest publishers in the industry, Electronic Arts, and Activision have opted not to host booths. Instead, EA is scheduled to host a competing show across the street that is open to the public. These moves have brought up queries about the future of E3 with some people wondering if it is losing its spot as a tent pole event in the video gaming industry.
Analysts are split with some like Handler pointing out that there are still many games that people would want to see, so there is no need to downplay E3. Here are some of the anticipated games in this year’s E3.
l Crackdown 3 (Microsoft)
There has been little said about the most recent title in the incredibly destructive, open-world gun romp by Microsoft. However, we hope for a surprise appearance on the floor of the show. Have a look at this podcast on the creative process by Reagant Games, the developer to see how integrating things look.
l Detroit: Become Human (Sony)
The intriguing Sony exclusive which is the newest title from Quantic Dream is a timely tale of intelligent human-like droids that are in search of acceptance and purpose. They are more likely to discern tragedy and quick-time events. Here is a sneak peek into the game.
l Legend of Zelda Wii U
The latest title in the renowned role-playing series is likely to be something of a last hooray for the besieged Wii U. With an aptitude of massive open environments and a nearly Ghibli-like visual sheen; it ought to be a magnificent send off for the machine.
l Dishonored 2 (Bethesda)
The follow-up to Arkane’s visually unforgettable stealth adventure adds new locations and an innovative playable character, Emily Kaldwin. It also promises a familiar mix of fascinating narrative and stimulating mechanics.
l Kona (Parabole)
The mystery survival adventure is set in a snowy 1970s Nothern Canada. It promises a cross between The Long Dark and Alan Wake, making it more intriguing.
You can see more anticipated games here.
On the other hand, Patcher feels that the separate event hosted by EA and others by publishers outside the E3 timeline can hurt the industry. He argues that as EA attempts to have the best of both worlds, abandoning the E3 floor is a threat to the well-being of the industry since they are among the largest players. If other players follow this choice, E3 is likely to suffer tremendously in future. Patcher is, however, less worried about Activision’s resolution to bypass the trade show. He says that this year, the company has a light lineup of titles, and he expects that it will return to E3 in 2017 in force.
With the absence of EA and Activision, Ubisoft and Take-Two Interactive Software will be more poised to gain additional attention. Take-Two has shifted to the prominent floor space where EA previously was, saluting people as they go into the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall. The company is set to showcase Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and Mafia III. Ubisoft is undergoing a battle for the company’s control with Vivendi and will showcase the sequel to Watch Dogs and South Park: The Fractured But Whole. It will also display Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands and an innovative intellectual property. Additionally, Ubisoft will also shine a spotlight on its PlayStation VR title, Eagle Flight.
The E3 show floor does not open until June 14th, but E3 begins unofficially two days before. On June 13th, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Sony are all set to hold press conferences.