Well that’s all folks, E3 2019 has drawn to a close and has provided gamers plenty to delve into. The biggest players in the industry put on a show, albeit with the absence of Sony, so the debate is now open to decide who won and who lost as this year’s E3.
CD Projekt Red.
It would not be hyperbole to call this moment…well…”breathtaking”. Kudos to Microsoft and CD Projekt Red for keeping this one under wraps. Not only did Keanu Reeves get revealed for the hotly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, the audience go-ers were graced by his physical presence at the Microsoft press conference. It was revealed that Keanu would play Johnny Silverhands in the game, an integral role, or so we are told. This is a man that seems to have captured the hearts and minds of…everybody in 2019; his ascension only progresses with the addition of Cyberpunk 2077 to his resume. This will go down as one of the biggest moments in recent E3 history.
Microsoft didn’t knock it out of the park with their press conference. As expected, we saw a lot of third party and a lot of games we already knew existed. However, my mother always said you have to be in it to win it and Microsoft at least showed up. Let’s face it, as this generation dawn’s to a close both Microsoft and Sony will keep their cards close to their chest and unleash that war chest of new announcements when they fully unveil their respective next gen consoles.
Moreover, Microsoft’s stock hit an all time high and this has been linked to the excitement generated by their E3 press conference. After all, it was not just games they showed off but also their next-generation hardware currently known as Project Scarlett. Whilst the details were scarce, Microsoft did a good job at hyping their next console up.
Ubisoft had an awesome press conference. Yes, they revealed yet another Just Dance game on the ancient Nintendo Wii system. However, Ubisoft showed off some very promising games. Primarily, that came in the form of the highly ambitious Watch Dogs Legion. The game set in a near-futuristic London which has become a surveillance state. Most impressively, the game features the ability to play as any NPC you encounter in the world. Moreover, Ubisoft also had strong showings from Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Rainbow Six: Quarantine and a brand new IP in Gods & Monsters. Whilst there were a few games missing, notably Beyond Good and Evil 2 as well as a few other previously announced Ubisoft games in the works, it was overall a solid conference.
You have to be in it to win it and at this year’s E3 Sony was not even in it. In the gaming world, E3 is the biggest stage of them all and Sony gave their rivals, Microsoft, almost all of that stage. With the world’s press all attending and covering E3 it provides the perfect opportunity for exposure. Microsoft revealed their next gen hardware and some games at E3 2019, which has and will continue to provide a ton of exposure. Sony, meanwhile, opted to skip E3 2019. This is likely in favour of their own event later in the year but it is undeniable that E3 is the biggest stage of them all and not even bothering to show up is definitely a loss.
It appears to have been the E3 of cinematic trailers. From the feedback seen online, gamers are not fans of this method of revealing games. Sony did a good job at E3 2018 with extended gameplay demos. It seems with their absence at E3 2019, they took gameplay demos with them.
Games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Halo Infinite, Gears of War 5, Marvel’s Avengers, just to name a few all lacked gameplay demos at E3.
So, why is it there has been a noticeable lack of gameplay at this year’s E3? Well, it seems developers are worried about the potential scrutiny that comes with showing gameplay. For instance, even a trailer of the new Avengers game has garnered a lot of scrutiny online for the way that character models look. The “downgrade” debacle has been feverous in recent years; as a result it would appear that developers are now more reluctant to show off gameplay demos at E3.
Cloud gaming has been touted as the future of gaming. In fact, in our own article ‘Google Stadia Is the Future of Gaming, but Will It Work in the Present?’ we note that:
[Cloud gaming] shows incredible promise for gaming’s future, but with the limitations of current technology, it might not be an accessible and viable platform for everyone in the present day.
Notably, a report emerged detailing how Google Stadia at 4K could use 1TB of data in 65 hours. Essentially, it would decimate data caps.
Google says it can provide a steady 60fps 4K stream with a bitrate of 35Mbps. That’s the high end of the streaming requirements, while 1080p at 60fps drops the bandwidth to 20Mbps, and 720p 60fps requires just 10Mbps. That works out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p.
Microsoft’s cloud gaming alternative, dubbed xCloud, does seem to have had a more promising debut at E3 2019. However, big questions remain over cloud gaming and its showing off was not particularly impressive. Latency issues and data usage seem to be the biggest issues the platform will face in the short term. This definitelty seems like something that may come to fruition in the future but is, presently, not where it needs to be.
Well that’s all folks. The winners and losers of E3 2019 is, of course, subjective. If you have differing views do not hesitate to let us know and join the discussion below.