By MICHAEL SORGE
Onlookers will be cheering for first blood at the next Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), where Microsoft and Sony compete for console supremacy.
This year’s E3, held in Los Angeles in June, promises to be one of the biggest and most important of its history. The annual video game trade event of the year has attracted millions of people since its humble roots in 1995.
Each year, E3 hosts an array of highly anticipated features, including conferences highlighting the future of video games on each gaming console, as well as game- and studio-specific booths where gamers can play demos of soon-to-be-released games. You may be one of the lucky few to have some time on an unreleased gaming console.
Most important, on this year’s E3 agenda is the unveiling of the next-generation consoles: Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s new-but-unnamed Xbox. Some details of the PS4, including its controller and some services and abilities, have already been unveiled during a Sony conference earlier this year, but not much at all is known about the next Xbox.
Nintendo will have to work hard to impress because most gamers will undoubtedly be paying attention to what presentation they thought was best between the other two console juggernauts.
Steven Terreberry, 25, a long-time gamer and musician from Fort Erie, Ont., says he thinks there will be a huge focus on the battle between Sony and Microsoft. “What each company needs to do is show how they stand out above the other competitors and how they can innovate to make for better gaming experiences. They need to listen to their fans and give them what they want, to ensure they keep their respective fan base.”
Dan Doan, also of Fort Erie, agrees the battle will “definitely be the biggest focus of all. However, I still think Sony has the upper hand, title-wise, so the PS4 should have better titles, even during its initial release.”
“I am looking forward to what Microsoft has been doing,” says Zack Hussey, a 17-year-old hardcore-gamer from Niagara Falls, Ont., “because I haven’t heard anything about their new console, so I am excited to see what they will come up with.”
On the topic of Nintendo, Terreberry says, “I feel like Nintendo and their Wii U doesn’t really try to compare to the other two. They try to innovate and come up with original ideas, and I feel like they cater to a whole different demographic.”
Doan says, “As for Nintendo’s Wii U, it’s all about the innovation of the controller. I truly think it’s on its way out because, even though the innovation is good, it will not match up to the likes of the Sony and Microsoft systems graphically. Also, in regard to the least exclusivity of games titles, the Wii U will not do as well when E3 comes around.”
Hussey’s view is even bleaker. “When it comes to Nintendo, I think they are going to stand in the dark, unfortunately, until they create another system everyone will be more focused on than the Wii U. It isn’t fair for them, but we’ll see what happens.”
“I think the biggest focus will be Microsoft and Sony,” says Danielle Mitchell, 21, of Welland. “Yes, the Wii has something to offer, especially to families, but the majority of players interested in E3 are older.”
One of the biggest offerings many gamers look forward to during every year’s E3 week is the games, whether they are confirmed, unconfirmed or rumoured to appear, or a complete surprise. One game sure to cause excitement among gamers is the just-rumoured Batman:Arkham Origins, a prequel to the recent and highly regarded Batman games that may be revealed at E3. Another sure to make a big splash will be the much-anticipated Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV).
“I’ve been a fan of the GTA series since the late ’90s,” says Terreberry. “The games have given me the freedom to do what I want to do, and I look forward to seeing what Rockstar Games can do with their next instalment. Expectations are high!”
Hussey is also looking forward to GTAV but mainly has his sights on Destiny, a next-generation, first-person shooter from the studio best known for the Halo series, Bungie.
“I’m sure Destiny will be a lot like my favourite series, Halo. Now PlayStation and PC gamers can also experience Bungie’s incredible creations.”
Mitchell says inFamous: Second Son is the game she’s most excited for. “The graphics are amazing, the story invigorating. It’s a series that, once I start, I won’t stop until I’ve played it through completely.”
Doan says he’s looking forward to Ubisoft’s impressive, next-gen game, Watch Dogs. “It seems like a new, innovative title with interesting story and appeal.”
Overall, Hussey says he has high hopes for this year’s event. “This year’s E3 will probably be the biggest yet, with the two new systems and huge titles to showcase.”
Terreberry’s view is just as optimistic. “This year’s E3 should be one to remember. The unveiling of new consoles is something to look forward to and something that big doesn’t happen every year. The gaming industry is so huge, and every E3 turns out to be a huge event, and I don’t see this year being any different.”
This year’s E3 will be held from June 11 to June 13 at California’s Los Angeles Convention Center and other venues in the downtown area. For more information on E3, visit the official site at www.e3expo.com.