the artistry and psychology of gaming


2013 Was the Most Disappointing E3

2013 Was the Most Disappointing E3

So we are moving into the next console generation eventually (Eight one? Ninth? Does it matter?) and it was fully unveiled at this year’s E3. I mean sure, Wii U is already out there, and it still appears to its core demographic, sure. But it was this year’s E3 where the three giants went head to head to show how they are going to continue their dramatic battle and my reaction was a big “meh”. Microsoft stole the show and the dialogue with their horrible ideas and created a safe margin for Sony and Wii U to throw around their weight and the real purpose of the show, and the real purpose of gaming, which is the upcoming games themselves, was obscured.

Basically, the fight was between a horrible console (Xbox One), a console which has no reason to exist (PS4), and another horrible console which already exists (Wii U). Yeah, I guess Sony “wins” this round. But I’m disappointed by how people clamored for PS4 and praised Sony. Sony’s motto was simple, “more of the same”. The same console as before but with more CPUs and stuff. An upgraded PS3. I know that this was eventually coming but I still can’t understand why was this necessary and why we have to move to the next generation now. I still think the graphics and the other technical aspects of both PS3 and X360 are adequate, that they are still just a little bit inferior to the best PCs, that the technology has not changed as much as it had changed between PS2 and PS3. There has been eleven years already, so it should have happened, I know, but it couldn’t have also. We still work with Bluerays and still the games take at most 30 giga bytes. The transition from the sixth to the seventh generation made sense because we moved from DVDs to Bluerays. Before that, PS1 to PS2 happened at the time of transition from CD to DVD. And before that from disks to CD. So until you show me a game which takes 50 terra bytes, I’m not sold. Call me crazy.

Anyway as I said Microsoft stole the show with their horrible ideas. From the very stupid name to the online DRM and the need to sign in every 24 hours and its bonus spying device to the stupid crusade on the used game, Microsoft pictured such a bleak future for the gaming that Sony suddenly became cool. The very famed Sony conference was only showing how stupid the new ideas are. It would have been a dull and uninspiring show if the Microsoft had not done them the favor to take a giant crap.

Here. please help yourself to some s***.

Here. please help yourself to some s***.

PS4 is so awesome! It doesn’t require online connection, you can play used game, and you can masturbate in your living room without the fear that your gaming console is taping you and your 10 year old niece might be online right now and your console is showing you in all your glory to him right now. You know what other consoles don’t have these features? PS3, Xbox, and Wii.

So this was an E3 in which we were cheering things we already have, hoping for things that are the norm. Of course, since these three companies have a monopoly on the console market, I guess Sony and even Nintendo could simply follow Microsoft’s lead and say “f*** you” to the rest of us, but the minimum free market existing right now did its job well and Microsoft backed down. Victory, yay. But the “victory” means that the next generation is going to be one exactly like this one. This is not a big victory.

In my country the elections were held at the same time as E3. The similarities were stunning. Six candidates who were hand-picked by the government itself were competing. Saeed Jalili was the scariest one. Hassan Rouhani was the best one. He was still a religious conservative loyal to the system who preached a return to 8 years ago before Ahmadinejad took a huge dump in our country. But he was the most moderate nonetheless. So when he became the president the Iranians were very happy. What I mean is, the E3 this year was as depressing as the politics of Iran, a scary prospect versus the old and tired but less scary ideas.

On the left, Sony. One the right, Microsoft.

On the left, Sony. One the right, Microsoft.

And this year was a year with least numbers of new and exciting IPs. I’ve never bought a console for the technology. I remember that the console wars also used to be a war of great exclusive games but none of them enticed me enough to buy a console.

Most games which were shown were sequels or prequels. These are Dance Dance Revolution: Classroom Edition, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black FlagSplinter Cell: Blacklist, Infamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow FallCall of Duty: Ghosts, Saints Row IV, Battlefield 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dark Souls II, Tales of Xillia, Tekken Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Mario Kart , New Super Luigi U, Pikmin 3,Pokémon X and Y, Super Mario 3D World, Sonic Lost World, Final Fantasy XV, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Kingdom Hearts III, Thief, Dynasty Warriors 8, Rayman Legends, and Batman: Arkham Origins.

Now don’t get me wrong, many of those games are great and I’m definitely excited about many of them, there’s nothing wrong with a good sequel. But the absolute dominance of them over new IPs shows how strongly the industry has stood on “the same old business” stand. Even among the new IPs  Deadpool, Mad Max, and South Park: The Stick of Truth are adaptations.

I don’t have anything in particular against the current generation and I’ll always enjoy playing these games, but I know it will take me some years to buy a new console. This does not look like a new generation of gaming but exactly the old one. So this round, unlike the previous rounds, I’m disappointed, not sad.

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