Sunday, June 02, 2013

1 week to E3

In about a week I get to fly all the way to Los Angeles to witness the most epic battle of the video game corporations, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. I've made a lot of preparations so far. Going to another country is a lot of 'work' but I am glad that I'm just going there as practically a tourist. It's a bit exciting.

I don't recall an E3 where two big console makers actually will release something in a few months at nearly the same time. Yes, MS and Sony did do that somewhat back in '05 - '06 but the atmosphere with this E3 is really different. They're both under pressure to start the next-gen NOW. And as we've seen with the last generation, whoever releases first has a huge advantage. Sony delayed their PS3 release and that hurt them somewhat. They used exotic hardware specifications and that did not win them any favors with game developers. On the Microsoft side, they released too early and that gave their console a LOT of hardware problems. I was a victim of the RROD as most 360 owners are, and I'm not going to forget that easily. Honestly I have a hard time trusting Microsoft at this point, after the whole RROD incident. From what I've read before, it was more important for them to be first, so important that they disregarded the quality of their product because they thought they could just replace it for users anyway. While that was true for all the lucky gamers in the United States with their unbelievable return policies with stores, that wasn't exactly true elsewhere. Here in the Philippines it is an incredible hassle to return a defective item. Stores aren't just going to give you another piece of hardware; they will ATTEMPT to fix it, even if they don't know what they're doing, just to save money. Without any degree of official support, you can't really blame them for that policy.

And I think that is another thing that has to be addressed by the industry now. We're not living in the 90s anymore. Games are EVERYWHERE. I can't believe how many requests for Candy Crush Saga I get on my Facebook---and these are from people I'd normally think wouldn't play games initially. Gaming is practically ubiquitous now, thanks to phones and tablets. So console makers can't really just see their market as just the hardcore players anymore. Everyone in today's generation plays games. The technology has changed. The game has truly changed...

So when I go all the way to E3 I hope that that shift in consumer behavior will be a positive one for hardcore players like myself. The hope is that Sony and Microsoft will understand these new trends and see the opportunity in them. They have to compromise somewhere if they want their market to become wider in reach.