Jun 8, 2013

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E3 2013: This Isn’t a Console War

E3 2013: This Isn’t a Console War

xbox one reveal

So here we are, just days away from what should be one of the defining moments of the 8th Great Console War. As an active participant in at least the last three it’s safe to say that I’ve fought my fair share of flamewars, tried desperately to avoid the trolls and have memories of dignity lost when proven wrong by someone with the username L33TS<0PEzxx34.  But what with all the excitement going around the internet at the moment I can’t help but think that a little bit of calm reflection (and acerbic cynicism) is required before the level of mouth-frothing meets critical mass.

I’ve always tried to avoid the “dribbling-on-self” fanboyism that can afflict large swathes of our community around this time of year and attempt to take a somewhat considered approach. That hasn’t stopped me ridiculing the XBONE’s release in recent weeks however.  Not that I have any definite allegiance to Sony and particular affection either way. Whilst it’s true I now own a PS3 in the past I’ve owned Sega’s Megadrive and Dreamcast, Nintendo Gameboy’s, a DS and 3DS as well as Microsoft’s XBox360 and a gaming PC. Hell I even considered buying a Wii-U before realizing what a colossally idiotic decision that would have been.

Usually by now I’d have fully bought into the new console hype, enjoying watching the respective sides braying for blood and yet this time around I can’t help but feel that the magic is missing somewhat. Perhaps the over-saturation of content and constant update via all manner of social media and websites has simply lead to a frazzling of the sense, perhaps I’m just a bit more cynical this time around after Sony’s $599.00 and Giant Enemy Crabs. Microsoft’s fistbump and Nintendo having a world class drummer do something resembling the dance moves of someone after too many illicit substances on stage.


I think ultimately my jaded approach to this year is caused by the fact that it doesn’t seem like this particular retail slugfest will be decided by periphery. By decisions concerning DRM, used games and “always on”, not by the games that either system will play. Gone are the days of cheering a swashbuckling Miyamoto and an exciting new title and now we find ourselves exploding into rapturous applause at the thought that I can lend my friend a game and he can actually bloody play it.

Would it be too much to ask to let the games take center stage? Not the TV functionality, the sharing features or whether I can shuffle my fantasy sports teams around while I ask my console to do my shopping for me. I understand that we’re moving into a brave new world in terms of technology, in fact I wholeheartedly embrace and encourage anything that keeps making the world smaller and helping us to interact with incredible people we’d otherwise never have gotten the opportunity to. But I can’t seem to shake this nagging feeling that we’re detracting from what we’re supposed to be there for, the games.


Instead I predict a scenario where Sony continue to foist the long dead Vita on us, promising it’s come up with some super awesome ways to use a back touchscreen that nobody ever wanted while trying to convince us that they aren’t quite as terrible as Microsoft.  Microsoft will spend their time trying desperately to refrain from saying TV or television while letting us know that all our data is now being sold to the government, but it’s okay because Steven Speilberg is directing a live action Halo.  Nintendo will continue to pretend that there are games for the Wii-U, making it possibly the most farcical of the bunch.

I can say that in recent years, excluding Kevin Butler, the only genuine standout moments at any E3 for me has been the unveiling of The Last of Us, complete with face removing shotgun finale, and Watch Dogs demonstrating that yes, The Grid is out there, and it is monitoring us. Always.

Hopefully though my naysaying ways are completely obliterated come Tuesday morning and I find myself in a state of giddy ecstasy, and not just from the sleep deprivation I’ll be experiencing by then caused by the numerous E3 presentations taking place all Monday.  Though I predict more a disgruntled shrugs, followed swiftly by catatonic sleep.