It looks like none of E3 2014’s press conferences have allayed my main concern I voiced last week: almost everything is coming out next year, especially the biggest console exclusives. I think these conferences can convince a lot of people to finally upgrade to the new consoles, but not just yet.
Last week I basically said the number of exclusives Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have for their consoles this fall is slim, and it remains slim today. I think all the conferences were pretty good, but if there were any real surprises, they were all leaked beforehand. Still, those exclusives will sell some people on these consoles.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is undoubtedly a big deal for a lot of people. It ain’t Halo 5, but it is going to bring back some of the most beloved online multiplayer on consoles with better visuals and dedicated servers. I kind of see this as Microsoft finally unveiling Office for its latest operating system — resurrecting cherished features of the software for which people buy Xbox. Forza Horizon 2 is the same for some people but to a lesser degree. Sunset Overdrive looks like a nice departure from typical shooters, but to me it looks like a game that’s nice to buy when you already own an Xbox One, not a game that sells Xbox Ones.
I would say the same about all those indie games. They’re great for console owners, but don’t really sell the consoles so much as enrich the experience after you buy them. Plus, whenever someone at the conferences said “Its console debut…,” I immediately thought to myself “I can’t wait to get this game… on Steam.”
Sony’s one legitimate 2014 surprise at its conference was LittleBigPlanet 3 (which might also be on PS3). Including every level created for the first two games is real nice, but I don’t know how the playerbase of those games has held up since the first one. One thing I noticed is since the conferences were pretty much all about the games, Sony and Microsoft didn’t really talk about big changes to the PlayStation and Xbox platforms themselves. Microsoft didn’t talk about any significant new things for LIVE (maybe because it already announced the big changes to Gold), and Sony really only confirmed that PlayStation Now is moving along smoothly.
As I said last week, the most significant console exclusive this fall is probably going to be Super Smash Bros. on Wii U. Even that game isn’t a definite immediate purchase for me because of the 3DS version in October. Bayonetta 2 including the original and coming out in October is great, but it’s also a niche game. It’s great content to fill out the lineup, but it’s still only for a specific audience. I don’t know about anyone else but I think Captain Toad looks really fun.
Predictably, almost all the real hits coming out this fall are third party and multiplatform… and mostly cross-generation. When you think about it, Assassin’s Creed Unity might be the biggest help to the PS4 and Xbox One this fall. Market-wise it’s probably the most significant title that’s only coming out for the new systems. The only other big new-console-only game for this fall is Evolve, the success of which probably depends on how well it can capture the Left 4 Dead fanbase (which was fairly significant on Xbox).
I guess we can still debate how many people bill buy games like Far Cry 4, Destiny, and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare on the new consoles as opposed to the old. So far the answer to that is a mishmash for recent cross-generation games. According to NPD results in North America for most games the Xbox 360 version still seems to be the top-seller, but PS4 versions of these games seem to be pulling ahead of PS3 versions.
Unless you’re a big fan of one of the 2014 games shown at the conferences, it seems like the best time to upgrade your hardware is in 2015. I’m not a big fan of the Batman Arkham games but I have to admit that Arkham Knight footage looked dope, and I’m pleasantly surprised we got Witcher 3 gameplay footage, no matter how short it was. I already did a whole post on Rainbow Six Siege.
Right now 2015 exclusives seem scant, but significant. I’m definitely going to keep my eye on Scalebound. We may have seen effectively nothing of the real game from that CG trailer, but director Hideki Kamiya hasn’t let me down yet. Crackdown 3 is of course a fan favorite. There’s probably a lot more time to see what else could pop up before Halo 5 looms on the horizon. Uncharted 4 predictably looked like an incredible showcase for the PS4, and as I said before, the game that became Bloodborne is looking like it’s going to be a big deal for me. I think I’m going to wait until there’s more actual gameplay footage, but I’m a bit surprised it’s set to hit as soon as Spring 2015.
The dilemma of Nintendo is that even though the Wii U is getting basically none of the multiplatform third party games, it may have the most colorful lineup of games you can’t get anywhere else for 2015. Mario Maker looks like a sleeping giant that Nintendo maybe should have done years ago. games like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and Yoshi’s Wolly World should nicely fill out the platformer lineup, and Splatoon looks like a genuinely fresh addition. Zelda looks to be pretty much exactly what I hoped it might be.
A kicker here though is so far E3 2014 has made an excellent case for upgrading to the new consoles next year… if you haven’t or aren’t willing to drop $800+ on a PC with a decent graphics card. If you have or plan to, then those exclusives are pretty much the only reasons to buy any console at this point. A few exclusives and a bunch of multiplatform games are a great reason to buy a console, but how well do those few exclusives alone justify the $400 purchase if you’re going to play everything else on PC? It’s been something like a year since I’ve purchased a PlayStation or Xbox game.
- There’s evidence that the Steam summer sale is brewing…