The Five Biggest Missteps of E3 2017’s Conferences

I took a look at my favorite things to come out of this year’s E3 press conferences yesterday, and there’s a lot more to be happy about going forward. Today’s going to be about a different side of E3, though. These aren’t necessarily mistakes, and they’re unlikely to be make or break moments for the companies mentioned here, but there were a few rough moments spread across the conferences and showcases.

Xbox One X

Xbox One X
Xbox One X

Before you get pissed off or call me a fanboy: relax. The Xbox One X looks like a great console, and it’s undoubtedly the most powerful console ever made. But I didn’t see a single reason to buy it during Microsoft’s E3 press conference. Sure, it’ll make games look better and play better—but that messaging hasn’t provided much incentive (if any) to get a PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One X carries an extra $100 in its price tag. It’s more powerful than PS4 Pro, but is it worth $100 more? Or more than that if PlayStation drops the price by November 7?

And that name isn’t great. It would be fine, though unexciting, if they didn’t already have the very similar sounding Xbox One S on the market. I’d like the Xbox One X to be more necessary than it seems at the moment, but I don’t have much hope on that front.

Star Wars Battlefront II

Again, hold on. The game looks great, but the half hour of multiplayer EA showed to close their EA Play show was completely unnecessary at best. Yes, it was nice to have Janina Gavankar talk about the campaign mode she fronts. But having that lead in to an extended look at the game’s multiplayer with YouTubers providing commentary was almost mind-numbing.

Nobody was asking to see Battlefront II multiplayer going into the show, and I can’t imagine anybody’s opinions on it have changed since. There’s been a lot of demand for single player content since Battlefront released in 2015, and that’s what should have been shown here, even if only for a couple minutes.

Bethesda’s Absurdly Late Show

I really enjoyed a lot of what Bethesda showed Sunday Night. Skyrim on Switch has some much needed unique content, which is the sole reason I can see for anyone to play that version over the others already available. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider seems like must-play content after how quickly I sped through two times through Dishonored 2, though I’ve yet to play any of the first game’s DLC. The Evil Within 2 seems creepy, terrifying, and 100% worth it, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus ranks among the best things coming out of E3.

But showing off a bunch of things people already knew about, or at least knew were coming, could have happened at a much more reasonable time. It wasn’t too bad in LA, but the show aired at midnight on the east coast and in the early morning in Europe. There could have been some justification for that if there had been a major surprise or two, but there wasn’t.

PlayStation’s Lackluster Showing

Looking back, I might have been a little too hard on the PlayStation Media Showcase. It lacked the excitement, buzz, and one-more-thing nature of the company’s last few shows, but all of the show’s content looks high quality and most of it appeals to me. The big issue is that we’ve seen almost all of it before.

Yes, this is more of an issue of PlayStation failing to live up to the high expectations set by the past few year’s conferences than actually putting on a bad show this year. But it was lacking.

Demos for God of War, Days Gone, and Detroit: Become Human all looked excellent. The problem is we’ve known about these games for a while and they still don’t have release dates beyond God of War‘s early 2018. A Shadow of the Colossus remake is nice, and I’m hopeful it’ll get me to finally play the game, but it’s inherently not new—and also not coming out until 2018. Spider-Man looks amazing, spectacular, and sensational (I’m sorry), but it’s also scheduled for 2018.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds are the only exclusives (true or otherwise) coming this year—at least of those shown on stage. Knack 2 is out in September. Ni No Kuni 2 is out in November. Gran Turismo Sport is (supposedly) coming this year. Why weren’t those at least mentioned during the show instead of the pre-show? Why was Undertale coming to PS4 and Vita, which seems like a huge get, revealed on the pre-show?

We definitely didn’t need a one-more-thing reveal of a new game (though I’d love to know what Sucker Punch is working on), but having one or two more of this year’s titles get some stage timewould have made a significant impact on the reaction to the show. But I guess you have to make that Activision deal for Destiny and Call of Duty worth it.

Microsoft’s Nebulous “Exclusivity” Continues

Would it really be so hard to be open about exclusivity? If you were to base your answer to that question on the way it’s been handled at Xbox events over the past few years, you’d probably say yes. The word exclusive is thrown around for games in entirely different categories. Whether it’s a true exclusive (which means it’s still coming to PC), a console exclusive (which means the game will be out on PC at the same time), or a launch exclusive (which means… something), the same single word is used to describe it: exclusive.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is coming to Xbox—as a launch exclusive. How long is that exclusivity window? No idea. The same goes for the other launch exclusives, including The Last Night, Ashen, and Tacoma (a console launch exclusive, releasing the same day on PC). Exclusive games shouldn’t be this confusing. They shouldn’t be confusing at all. They don’t need to be. But Microsoft insists on making the situation as confusing as possible.

Just stop. Tell us in clear, plain language what’s only coming to your console, what’s coming to your console first, and what’s going to be available elsewhere.


 

There were a few other moments I could have done without (Ubisoft’s awkward Just Dance 2018 promo, anyone?), but these five were the toughest pills to swallow for me. What parts of E3 let you down? What do you wish had gone differently? Let me know in the comments.

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