E3 2015 – The Biggest Year Because…?

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, often dubbed “The Superbowl of Gaming.”

It is Arguably the most important electronic trade show of the year. Can’t afford the sub-one-thousand-dollar exclusively inclusive ticket? No problem. Your favorite websites live blog conferences while the biggest companies live stream them for you.

It’s a realm for the geekiest and most passionate gaming enthusiasts. Hopefuls expect games like Shenmue III and The Last Guardian to have proper announcements, but their wishes are constantly left unfulfilled.

The same people crown “winners” based on fandom, with little to no merit. Votes are cast purely on loyalty and indulgence. Hype trains and band wagons have plenty of room for everyone.

Disagree with the majority and be lambasted for a different opinion! Celebrities like Usher attend to advertise dancing games, while developers dig themselves into holes that gamers unrelentingly throw verbal grenades into.

It’s more of a combat zone than a trade show, and that’s what makes it the fun adventure that it is. This year will be no less different, and will once again be considered “the most important E3,” until next year.

Courtesy of NeoGaf

Gamers everywhere anticipate the latest and greatest software at E3 conferences.

Websites post clickbait offering suggestions that this is the year “YOUR FAVORITE GAME HERE” will be announced, fueled by those who clicked ironically posting “Half Life 3 confirmed” on “Sega Dreamcast 2” if you preorder “Battletoads 2!”

These comments are slices of humor that the community regurgitates to cope with the idea that expected video games are probably going be left unseen – again. However, there are times the industry surprises us. Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy 15 were among games promised for a number of years and revealed at the most recent expo.

The announcements with footage of the respectful games brought tears to all who were watching.

A simple YouTube search will confirm that.

Although it’s a satisfactory feeling that overwhelms us when a game we want to see appears, it’s wonderful practice to avoid boarding band wagons. Sure, do your research, but avoid not researching information the conglomerates share with you.

Courtesy of Square Enix
Courtesy of Square Enix

A few years ago, Microsoft had a conference that has gone down as one of the biggest conference failures in expo history.

Weeks before the event, websites shared rumors that Microsoft and Sony were heading to an all digital future where DRM laws would be heavily enforced. Come conference time, the rumors seemed to be come to life.

Microsoft announced the X-Box One with nifty features and strong DRM which some may consider a swell idea today. At the time, cries of enforcing digital draconian laws were heard across fiber optics and wireless signals.

In fact, some of these ideas, like game sharing, were thereafter introduced in Steam’s digital platform to applause. The price tag of the “x-bone?” A whopping five hundred dollars in the USA. Gamers were having a combined conniption.

They took to forums to share their support or hatred of the scary new ideas. That same day, these same people, you and I, were impatiently awaiting Sony’s conference. If the rumors were at all true, then they too would be mimicking Microsoft’s self-proclaimed innovation and it would be a turn in the video game industry that we would be forced to endure.

Employees of major retail outlets shared that they had official meetings with Microsoft and Sony at one time or another telling us, the already frightened consumers, that Sony was about to follow suit. Sony was set to talk to us at nine o’clock, PM. They were late by about fifteen minutes. Then it happened.

Courtesy of Jocchan and Whitehawk of NeoGaf

Sony, having already shown off the Playstation 4 at their own event a few months earlier, finally shared what the Playstation 4 would look like to the world. They talked, and talked, and talked. We didn’t listen.

All we cared about was the price tag. We knew this spiffy new gizmo would be able to play all the latest and greatest games, so the care wasn’t on the specs at all. As a matter of fact, in sheer raw power, we knew the PS4 had the X-Box one beat, even if by a micrometer regarding performance.

Four – hundred – dollars. That was it.

The crowd went wild. You’d think your favorite MLB team just won the world series, as our wars ended, all while simultaneously evolving into a space-faring race. None of these things triggered the emotional response.

We only looked at the price tag. To rub salt in wounds, Sony announced that all of the DRM practices that Microsoft put into place that same day were not going to make way into their camp.

That was enough for preorders on Microsoft’s new product to be canceled.

It didn’t matter that conspiracy theories flooded the world wide web insinuating that the reason why Sony’s conference started late was to discover a way back down on their never-to-be-seen DRM policies which wouldn’t allow purchasers to share physical copies of their games. Sony “won.” It didn’t matter that you were interested in software for X-Box One. Sony won. It didn’t matter that there weren’t any games being announced. S o n y  w o n.

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About one week later, as predicted by communities everywhere, Microsoft totally backed down on their previous statements and made it so their new console, to be shipped mere months later, was on par with DRM standards of competitors.

That’s a taste of a morsel of E3 drama. The sad thing was, the seemingly underwhelming minority of consumers who were down like clowns for the new X-Box One were spit at. You weren’t allowed to have a mind of your own.

Fast forward to today, we’re sharing our Steam libraries of over one thousand personal computer games with friends and family everywhere, while console owners are stuck with remasters. Go figure.

So why so important then? As we’ve just realized, it’s a whimsical tipping scale that we have full voice and control over. Companies usually listen to the collective and try to cater, sometimes pander, to the sub-audiences of the overarching player bases, as pointed out above.

We receive our visual gift basket of upcoming annualized franchises like Call of Duty and Assassins Creed, obscure role playing games, CGI trailers full of bull shots, and slightly different pieces of hardware we haven’t seen the previous year.

There’s something for every gamer, and that’s why it draws the attention it does. Yet, it has been argued that we’ve been seeing more of the same year after year. So what actually makes twenty-fifteen special?

Two-thousand-fifteen marks the year that companies that avoid the caustic arena of gaming announcements will in fact jump in full force. Rockstar Games and Bethesda are set to make what may be some of the actual biggest reveals in reveal history.

With murmurings in the background that Grand Theft Auto 5 DLC, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Dishonored 2 will be at the forefront with the already known Fallout 4 triumphantly breaking the internet as of late, these strangers to E3 will be most welcome in addition to the already vast number of development teams overflowing the Los Angeles Convention Center halls!

What makes all of this thrice as exciting is PC gaming won’t be banished to the dark corners of the building. PC gaming is having a conference, and there’s a lot of people involved. Does that like tremendous news to you? If you pay attention to E3, it might. If you pay attention to who is in which sub-community, then it will.

Steam, a management system for Windows, Linux, and OS X, is home to over onehundredtwentyfivemillion active users. That’s active users. That means that those don’t include dummy accounts, banned accounts, or people who forgot their passwords.

What’s even more astonishing is that Steam claims that there are close to nine million concurrent users accessing their network. The numbers absolutely obliterate those of console gaming networks.

There are more games and ways to play on the platform with more people to connect with. There are of course alternatives in the space too. More flavors include Desura, Origin, and Uplay, all of which have similar framework designed to fit specific needs of the organized gamer.

The newest member is GOG, which now has a graphical user interface and is home to those who enjoy cleanliness of their DRM free games. That means there are hundreds of millions more unaccounted PC gamers.

With that information in front of us, it makes sense to see the undeniably largest part of the community finally get a proper slice of E3 deliciousness. Gamers are poised to expect only quality announcements. But who knows, it could be another X-Box One announcement fiasco, and the adventure would continue down another treacherous path. That’s what makes E3, E3.

Will this year go down in history as one of the biggest events in the area we vehemently protect in adoration? That’s really up to you. I suggest you sit back, relax, and enjoy what’s to be seen June 16th, 17th, and 18th.get.e3gif

Daniel Mihailescu
danjamllc@gmail.com