Posts Tagged ‘E3’

TV, TV, TV, Sports, Sports, Sports, Call of Duty.

What a letdown. May 21, 2013 was supposed to be the day when Microsoft would reveal a new generation of Xbox. Instead what I saw was a one hour tech demo starring my television. “Introducing Xbox One.” Xbox One! What a shitty name, but I did understand the eventual message of an all in one console. I thought I was going to see the next generation of gaming. Instead all I got was another high def cable box along with a new Kinect for me to issue commands to. This was what I was so excited about? What a bunch of horse shit! Where were the games?

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For an event that was being watched by gamers, Microsoft really showed that they were catering to a different crowd. E3 was less than a month away, and I figured that they would showcase the games there. That settled me down for a bit, but then the shit storm came. Draconian DRM policies, no used games, a once every 24 hour check in, no backwards compatibility, the always on Kinect listening and watching you. All of a sudden my rage kicked in. What was Microsoft thinking? For the next three weeks myself, along with the rest of the gaming community, were pissed off at Microsoft and began looking towards Sony for salvation.

When E3 arrived I still wanted to see what Microsoft brought to the table in terms of games. I had my olive branch in hand ready to forgive Microsoft for their stupidity. Hopefully they’ll answer all my burning questions after a nightmare PR statement revealed a week before E3. What they gave me was a 21 gun salute of game after game after game. I was overwhelmed! Titanfall, Dead Rising 3, Halo, Ryse, Crimson Dragon, and more. Microsoft’s show was impressive, but they still didn’t answer the questions that the gaming community wanted answered. Eventually Don Mattrick did answer the question about an always online console. “If you don’t have internet we have a console for you. It’s called the Xbox 360.” Not a good choice of words Don. Oh, and then there was the $499 price tag. This made me anticipate Sony’s press conference just a little bit more.

Once Sony took the stage I knew that I was in for a treat. Sure they talked a bit about entertainment, but this was really a night for the games. Oh, and they also showed the console which looked really sleek. Then again anything would’ve looked better than that Betamax Xbox One. The games were impressive, but what really got me was when Jack Tretton answered every gamer’s questions. No DRM, used games are welcome, I can share my games with anyone, and no 24 hour check in. The crowd erupted in applause, and I had a smile from ear to ear. Then came the bombshell of a $399 price tag. That made me even happier than ever. It also made my decision much easier, because that next morning I pre ordered a PlayStation 4.

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Considering the fact that I’ve been with the Xbox brand for the last decade, the tough decision to return to Sony had me branded as a traitor by some fanboys out there questioning my “loyalty.” Let me state for the record that I have no loyalty to anyone. Before I was playing games on Xbox I had the original PlayStation and the PS2. What I think about is what’s better for me, and Sony impressed me more with the PS4. Sony showed in both their February 20 reveal along with their E3 press conference that they realized they fucked up with the PS3. They also knew that what was important to them was the gamer, so they made a console tailored for gamers. In a way the PS4 is basically the PS2 all over again except for more power and a few new options. It’s simple, it’s cheaper, and I like it.

Now Microsoft may have reversed their policies last week, but this desperate 180 measure is not going to sway me back. The damage was already done. The bridge has been burnt. You just can’t all of a sudden change your policies and expect the masses to run back like the bandwagon Miami Heat fans did during Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Microsoft said that they were listening to their customers. The reality was that they realized they were getting gang raped by Sony in the pre-sale battle. So they abandoned their vision of the Xbox One just to cater to the masses and be just like the PS4 except more expensive and still having that spybot Kinect. Honestly, I think that anyone who all of a sudden crawls back to Microsoft is an idiot. Keep in mind that “Microsoft has the right to change their policies at any time without notice” meaning they could revert to all their original policies again in a few years. Well I don’t need to worry about all that crap, because I’m sticking with Sony.

Now that my decision is made, and my PlayStation 4 preordered for a day one pickup this November, I can finally focus on my next venture. The games. Now what titles should I buy first?

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Ok, so I’ve seen the the reveals. Each company has opened their argument  about why I should buy their console this fall. Considering the fact that I’ve been loyal to Microsoft for the last decade this should be an easy choice right? Well…not exactly. There’s also that part where before I was playing games on Xbox and the 360 I was playing games on PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Now I’m in a dilemma. Current loyalty vs what I enjoyed in the past. Halo vs Killzone. Forza Motorsport vs Gran Turismo. Owning both consoles will become a monster headache for me. I must choose one, but which one. I’m so confused.

Frankly I feel that a lot of you are in the same boat as me. Mulling over specs, controllers, games, apps, and other options while constantly trying to avoid all the ridiculously stupid fanboys and trolls that hang around the message boards of every website. You all know the trolls. The ones who always have an opinion, but mostly based in fanboyism as well as insulting everyone’s mother at the same time. PS4 fanboys call Xbox the “Darkside” and tell people to come back to the light. Xbox One fanboys…well you don’t hear that much other than loyalty. And what about Wii U? Wait! Does anyone actually own one? Honestly, I think that the Wii U has been rejected by Dikembe Mutombo while saying “Not in my house!” This is a two console battle, and only one juggernaut will be standing horizontally at the end. Let the console war commence!

So let’s begin. Here are my opinions on each company’s next-gen reveal.

Ok, so Microsoft revealed the console. Nice. Sadly, the first part of this reveal showed me that if I want to watch The Price is Right then the Xbox One is definitely the way to go. Oh and it also plays live sports including the NFL! Seriously, I’d rather go to a bar and have a few beers with my friends while watching sports instead of skyping them and letting them know that I’m beating them on a fantasy league. A Halo television show! If it’s anything like Forward Unto Dawn then count me in. Then after a half an hour of bullshit Microsoft finally addressed the target demographic (which includes me) that were actually watching the reveal, however most gamers were probably either bored or tuned out completely by the time they showed a game. Too bad they were all trailers. EA Sports…don’t care. Forza Motorsport 5…awesome! What is Quantum Break? Finally, there was Call of Duty where I’ll get to form a personal relationship with a virtual pet that’s probably going to get shot to shit. No thanks. I have a real dog.

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Name is consistent, but no console. Well at least they showed the controller which looks pretty cool. They talked about the PS4 specs, but still no console. Their showing games! Killzone: Shadow Fall looks sick! Infamous: Second Son sure looks interesting. Driveclub! Now this title is right up my alley and should be a lot of fun. Watch Dogs has been on my radar since it’s reveal last year at E3 and it was a must buy back then. Still is now. Knack is a pass for me since it’s not my type of game. Did Sony find a way to make the PlayStation Vita relevant? Blue balls and old man faces! Sadly, the motion control stuff was boring. More trailers. Bungie talked about Destiny. Blizzard announced Diablo 3. Why? After two hours of gaming bliss I was still waiting to see the console, but the PS4 was a no show. I guess I’ll have to wait until E3. At least the games were cool.

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So, with E3 now a week away the anticipation is killing me inside. Both companies showed their cards yet left me wanting more. Unfortunately Microsoft is still in damage control mode dealing with always online, used game fees, and the so called Kinect spy which I think really creeps me out. Sony, on the other hand, hasn’t said a word. Smart on them. After the reveals I was leaning towards Sony due to the fact that they seemed to have learned from their mistakes of the PS3 as well as catering their console towards me. Since then I’ve let my anger towards Microsoft subside and moved back to the middle of undecided. Both Microsoft and Sony will have their big E3 press conferences on June 10 and I’ll be watching both very carefully. I expect to see more games, features, a price point, and a release date. Then on June 11 my “decision” will be made. No big ESPN special. Just a decision.

So will it be the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or retire from gaming? I don’t know, but at least one thing is clear. With no backwards compatibility I’ll still have my Xbox 360. It does exactly what I want it to do. Play games and watch Netflix. That’s all I need. Why can’t these companies understand that?

Until next time. Xbox, Go Home.

On Monday, the extravaganza begins. The madness known as E3 gets underway. A week filled with games, press conferences, parties, getting together with old friends from miles away, and also meeting new friends for the first time. It’s also an opportunity to get up close and personal with the developers making the games that you love. It’s a week filled with fun and excitement that I’ll never forget.

Back in 2009, I had the chance to attend the big conference while I was with SFX-360 (now Digitalnoob) and it became the highlight of my journalistic career. It’s been a dream for me to attend the big show, and now I can say that I was there. All the big announcements, demos, surprises, parties, and tons of alcohol made for a week of unforgettable entertainment with a great group of friends.

After first arriving in Los Angeles on a Monday nignt from a long flight from Fort Lauderdale the first thing I thought about was “where’s the bar?” Trust me, after a long flight a cold beer feels so much better. LA is a huge city filled with so many bars both hot spots as well as hole in the wall dives. You can’t really walk around so getting a cab was the next best thing, and that’s not that easy to do. By the time you get to a bar you see that your not the only E3 media mogul in attendance. Plenty of other media members are around having drinks and are ready to welcome you. No shop talk this night. Just partying.

When the show finally opened the next day the excitement really kicked in. Being that it was my first E3 I was overwhelmed. You could get lost fast. Two huge buildings filled with publishers and developers who’ve spent tons of cash to showcase their games that would control the sales for the rest of the year and beyond. Posters, billboards, big screens. E3 is a PR reps worst nightmare due to the fact that it could become “make it or break it” for any new game that doesn’t have the name of Call of Duty, Halo, or Mario. Popular franchises sure had it easy as the media would flock to those locations leaving others in the dust.

So what did I do in this gamer’s paradise? Well considering the fact that I felt like a kid in a candy store I went with the goal of seeing everything. Booth babes attract your attention so that you approach their booth and check out what they had to offer, and the games too. E3 is such a huge show that distraction was everywhere. Yes, I had appointments to fill and developers to interview, but you just can’t help yourself when something cool happens like when a popular celebrity walks on by and you want to get a photo op, or maybe when I was in line for that free redeem code for Battlefield 1943 that EA as giving away at the top of each hour. There’s always something going on and it was important that I was a part of it.

With every booth I visited, I had my business cards going out everywhere. Getting my name out there was important so that the PR reps knew the person who was covering their company’s games. I wanted to establish myself as a member of the media, and not use is as a way to try and get a free handout like most others did. Don’t get me wrong, I did get some free review copies before their eventual release date for me to review, but I never asked them at the show. That was later through constant e-mails and promotion. There’s a good tip for all you young writers out there.

Along with the show itself, there was the parties. When the convention center closed the real action was taking place at every hot spot in the city. Various gaming studios threw lavish parties for all to see. Sometimes getting the invite for the bigger events was the only challenge. gaming may have been the focus of why I was here, but it was the parties that brought out the real fun. I was in LA so it was time for me to enjoy the moment because I won’t get to do this all the time. There was this one party I remember that I attended that was promoting Microsoft Windows 7. Then again the only thing I remembered was getting really drunk and then there was something about a rat in the middle of the street that everyone thought as dead and then suddenly came to life.

After three days and nights of endless work, press conferences, and partying (yes, you really don’t have time for sleeping) it was time to head home. Memories were made, new friends were found, tons of PR contacts were placed in my database, and back to reality was where I was heading. Back to the grind of the day job just wondering when you’ll return back to the madness. For three years I haven’t been able to come back to LA due to work, but I do have this feeling that a return visit may soon be on the horizon. E3 2013? You’ll just have to wait and find out.

In just one week, the gaming world will descend on Los Angeles for the 2012 edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo otherwise known as E3. It’s a week filled with big announcements, parties, and tons of games to play.  Back in 2009, I attended the E3 Expo and had one heck of a good time as I got the opportunity to meet and play some games with some of the big names of the industry. I also remember consuming a ton of alcoholic beverages as well. Still it was a great time that I hope to do again in the future.

Before the big show starts you get the keynote press conferences. Every year I check out the Microsoft press event to see what I can look forward to on the Xbox 360 for the rest of the year and beyond. Some things are rather predictable, but then there are times where they’ll throw in a surprise or two just to keep you on your toes and excited. However, don’t expect any news on a new Xbox console at least until next year. Well it’s time to make my predictions on what I can expect from Microsoft at E3 2012.

Right off the bat I’ll expect a demo of the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. For the past few years it’s been tradition for Microsoft to show off the game especially due to the fact that they have the exclusive rights to have the game’s DLC first before anyone else. Now it’s no surprise that I really have no interest in this franchise anymore, but I have to admit that I did like Treyarch’s previous Black Ops game especially in the single player and zombies mode. Call me slightly interested on this one, because if the campaign looks pretty good and zombies mode returns I might possibly buy this game.

Next up I have 343 Studios showing off the highly anticipated Halo 4. Last year at this time we got a teaser trailer letting us all know that Master Chief is back. I expect a demo of the campaign just to wet the appetite along with showing us some new features. I’m a big fan of the series even though the last two games in terms of the plot was a little far fetched. The multiplayer however is awesome and very addictive. I’m definitely looking forward to this game.

Next up I have Forza Horizon. This is a game that I don’t know much about. All I’ve seen was a teaser trailer with a few exotic cars (including the new Dodge Viper) and a crowd of people partying. So what kind of racing game is this? Arcade or simulation? Hopefully there is an answer on this one.

In the past few years Twisted Pixel has put out some amazing games for both XBLA and for Kinect including the Splosion Man games and The Gunstringer. Microsoft responded by acquiring the development studio. Just before PAX East last month Twisted Pixel hinted at a new game to be announced at E3. I would assume to hear what’s next from the studio during the press conference.

As usual we could expect plenty of Kinect announcements along with a demo or two hopefully free of fist bumping and terrible acting. I’m sure they’ll show  Fable: The Journey and Harry Potter Kinect, but what I really hope to see is Crimson Dragon. This game was worked on by some of the development team behind the Panzer Dragoon series. I know that most people hate the motion controlled add on, but keep in mind that Microsoft also wants to reach out to the casual players.

Finally, we can expect plenty of talk centered around the Xbox Live Dashboard as well as integration with Kinect. I also expect Microsoft to announce some new apps to make the Xbox 360 more than just a gaming console. Honestly, apps don’t concern me as much, because the only apps I really use is Netflix, UFC, and ESPN. I don’t see the need for anything else.

Other Games that may make an appearance include:

Assassin’s Creed 3
Rainbow Six: Patriots
Tomb Raider
Bioshock Infinite
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Rock Band Blitz
Deadlight
Avatar Motocross Madness

Well that’s my predictions for Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference. The spectacular kicks off E3 on Monday, June 4 at 1pm ET/ 10am PT. I’ll be watching this all unfold on Xbox Live, and see if my predictions hold water.

Oh wait…I just remembered. At the end of the show, Microsoft always surprises us with an unannounced game. It’s always a game from a popular franchise. Last year it was Halo 4. This year I have two possible predictions. One would be Left 4 Dead 3, but my money is on a prequel to Gears of War. Pendulum Wars maybe?