Winner – Bethesda
Honestly Bethesda was the only conference I truly enjoyed 100 percent. I’m not a Fallout fan, couldn’t care less about Fallout 76, and yet they still had me excited and had a bunch of titles I wanted to buy right on the spot. If you didn’t like Fallout you probably liked Doom, or Rage, or whatever else they had. They even touched base on mobile just fine, and then skipped years ahead with two new games so we can get a glimpse of the future. Bethesda has something to be excited for this year, next year, and years down the road.
However the best thing about Bethesda was their timing of everything. Yes they had a band come out, but they didn’t have magical dance numbers and random cringy stunts all throughout. The most important thing was how they showed a game, showed gameplay, and then talked about certain games for a short period of time. Some games only got a trailer, while other games got a more in-depth review. This is why I like conferences. Simply tossing together a show reel of CG trailers really does nothing for me, but Bethesda knew how to time everything right.
Loser – Sony
It’s hard to say it, but their flubs outweigh the positives. They tried yet again to do no talking and only show trailers, but it was for games we already knew about. Last year I was okay with this formula because they followed it up directly after the show to do interviews with developers and go more in-depth. This year they failed to do that with anything other than Spider-Man. Then when I watched these throughout the day I noticed the developers basically repeating the same lines in each interview. While The Last of Us got a little more in-depth, other games like Death Stranding didn’t. In fact I turned in to what Sony called a full hour segment of Death Stranding and they didn’t mention the game at all.
One key thing with this is you need to spend all day, or all E3, paying attention to when your game is on the schedule. I personally wanted to see more about Firewall: Zero Hour, but Sony only dedicated a 15 minute time slot while I was at work so I missed it. It’s a lot easier prepping your schedule and setting time aside for one conference and not 16 hours of 15 minute interviews.
And let’s not talk about them spending half an hour (or more) “transitioning” from The Last of Us to the rest of the conference…..It’s not to say their conference was terrible, it just could have had more to it.
Winner – PC Gamer Show
I was made fun of for being the only one here watching this conference, but to be entirely honest I enjoyed it more than most of the others. They had a lot of games to show off, and it was rather rapid fire with quick interviews between each one. Similar to Bethesda they were getting the timing down right, and had an assortment of games worth checking out. I think this show is evolving better than any other conference. It might just be a highlight next year.
Loser – EA
Honestly spending too much time on a mobile game, and then other games people fear them spending time on like casuals or sports titles. EA was lucky Battlefield showed up. I don’t want to harass them, it was just boring. Bad pacing, hardly anything worth showing, and targeting the wrong audience.
Plus we can tack this one on the board for yet another conference EA said they were working on a Star Wars game and still didn’t show anything other than Battlefront….Maybe they should ask DICE to work on a new one since they are the only ones that seem capable of making a game on time.
Winner – Microsoft
I will tip toe around this one to call them a winner. While I wasn’t too thrilled with their conference, I will say they did better than pretty much everyone else, plus it was a huge step up from previous conferences. What I really enjoyed about their conference was that they know this is about THEIR CONSOLE and not just the games. So, they spent some time telling us about new features and services coming to Xbox, and they even teased a new Xbox was in development. They had some good timing with key games getting a little more explanation or live gameplay, and other areas where Xbox engineers would talk about something new. So we got a little taste of rapid fire trailers along with exciting announcements.
Their downfall was games though. Again riding on the back of Gears of War and Halo, while surprising both were shown at once, they really had nothing else entirely exclusive worth talking about. Plus Halo : Infinite isn’t even a game yet, it was just a teaser to show off a new engine. Though with 5 new studios under their belt, they can truly be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. However one strike going entirely against them was they didn’t really push Xbox One X for some reason.
Loser – Ubisoft
Similar to EA, this just wasn’t interesting to me. The entire show felt like it was just waiting to reveal Assassin’s Creed, which was already leaked, and if you are not a fan of that franchise there was really nothing mind blowing elsewhere. I was waiting patiently for Splinter Cell to come on my screen and it never did.
Ubisoft was also appearing in other conferences to show off games and once again they had terrible voice actors showcasing some imaginary gamers that don’t exist. We don’t communicate like you want Ubisoft! I honestly think they should pull up random gamers when showing their online games and let it feel a little more authentic. Personally the terrible voice acting is what hurt The Division 2’s showcase for me.
Winner – Nintendo
While I prefer live conferences, I kind of like Nintendo’s pre-recorded approach too simply because I can skip all the stuff I don’t care about. While Nintendo may have spent a little too much time on Smash Bros, that’s seriously all I really wanted. I even went out and got a Switch because of it. Yet all the other stuff looked interesting to me too. Key Fire Emblem games and Pokemon at home, that’s way bigger than what we are making it out to be. The interesting thing about Nintendo was it was the only conference where I felt comfortable letting a kid watch, while also having games I was interested in as an adult.