Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    

PixlBit's Final Impressions of E3

Read how the staff reacted to this year's big show.

Mike Wall - Staff Writer

The video game industry is in a state of flux. With the emergence of the mobile platform and compounding costs burdening even the most successful publishers, it is apparent that drastic changes are ahead.  Some changes are welcomed, such as the emerging indie scene which has proved a boon for creativity and ingenuity; but others, like the continued reliance on invasive DRM polices proves far more troubling.

The latter took center stage at this year’s E3, as the discussion of consumer rights was just as topical as the new cutting edge games and each system’s respective hardware. A large portion of the dialog revolved around Sony’s and Microsoft’s new consoles, but that’s only half the story.

The line has already been drawn (at least in the public’s perception) when it comes to DRM practices; with Microsoft originally planning to employ some cryptic form of built-in DRM and Sony effectively becoming the “white knights of gaming” by simply staying the course.

Sony was brilliant to deflect the pressure back to publishers, refusing to play the DRM game, but I’m not so sure this is the end of the story. Simply take a look at some of the most well-received games this year and it’s to see that always-online is a trend that is here to stay.

Titanfall and Destiny both made big waves at this year’s E3, receiving high praise and amassing a number of “best of E3” accolades. What intrigued me about this, is even though both of these titles will require players to be online, neither game has received the vitriol that often accompanies such a claim (see Sim City and Diablo III).

Perhaps gamers are getting used to the idea. Or maybe it’s because we collectively feel that these games have a justifiable reason to always be online. I certainly don’t mean ill-will towards either of these titles. In fact I’m sure I’ll eventually end up owning both of these games, but I think it’s foolish to simply shrug this off as happenstance. There’s a reason Respawn and Bungie are opting for online titles: the companies are hedging their bets. Being online ensures that players are more likely to continue to play these games and are less likely to sell them.

It may seem like I’m being pessimistic, but I think this is more an issue of pragmatics. It’s no secret that the current AAA model isn’t sustainable. When games sell millions of copies and are deemed failures, it’s evident of a systemic issue. Part of the issue is bloated costs, and surely publishers will have to reduce expenditures, but there is room (and perhaps a necessity) for other solutions.

I’d be hesitant to propose a system such as always-online as a possible solution, but in the case of popular MMOs, no one seems to mind. Again, this is likely because players are willing to make the tradeoff; they see clear benefits of what they are getting for remaining online. Titanfall and Destiny may prove to introduce such a model to the home console.

With so many market factors placing pressure on the industry, there is no question that we are going to see dramatic shifts. New models are springing up in the traditional console space. Just think about it, this was the first year that we saw free to play titles announced for consoles and it was the first year that we’ve seen indie developers highlighted in a big way.

While things are certain to change, I don’t think that means we’ll see an end to the traditional single player experience. Look at The Last of Us or BioShock Infnite. There’s certainly room for single player narrative in the traditional console space, but it’s naïve to think that the status quo will remain.

If E3 proved anything it’s that big changes are in store for us this console generation, and I’m both hopeful and cautious as to where they may lead.

8 Pages «  4   5   6  »




07/08/2013 at 02:13 PM

It will be interesting to see where the industry goes. I agree with Mike Wall, the AAA model is not sustainable and the knee-jerk reaction companies have taken to restrict consumer rights to squeeze pennies that will ultimately not fill the void is the elephant in the room. Which way are we going? Can more and varied games save the day? Will there be a competitive market to purchase them in? That's what I'm looking at this generation.

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.