PS4 and Xbox One reveals set the stage for 'do or die' E3 presentations
The lights on yesterday’s Xbox Reveal event have officially dimmed, and the world has formerly met Microsoft’s next-generation, entertainment juggernaut, Xbox One. Already, the comparisons between Microsoft and Sony’s reveal events have begun to roll in, recapturing the reality of the oftentimes-absurd console war. Sony followers claim, cheekily, that today’s event wasn’t about the hardcore audience, while Microsoft admirers note that Microsoft actually revealed their console at their reveal unlike Sony and the Playstation 4. However, behind all the commotion stands an absolutely striking fact: both parties have set themselves up magnificently for an astonishing E3 that can cater to each group’s fans – casual and hardcore – accordingly.
Looking back three months ago (to the day) at Sony’s Playstation 4 announcement, fans, enemies, and tech-gurus alike critiqued Sony’s decision to not actually show off the console, while praising the company’s focus on the games themselves. It seemed as though Sony’s plan was to simply insinuate the entertainment features to come (e.g. Share button, Playstation Move) when the console launches this holiday season, and then turn the audience’s eyes to what the machine can do on the games front. It was less about what the tech can do and more about what the tech will bring. This delighted the “hardcore” gaming crowd and set in motion the skeptical attitude that Microsoft will somehow miss, or overlook, this vital crowd.
Fast forward to today – to this post-event scene – and many claim that Microsoft squandered the hardcore for the casual just as they predicted. “It took Microsoft nearly a half an hour to get to the games,” claims this party, and to be fair, they’re correct. However, to be fair to Microsoft, this event wasn’t aimed at games, and they were outspoken about that before the event ever went live. This spectacle was for the hardware. It was about furthering Microsoft’s plan to “take over” the living room all in one place. And on a very conscious level, they succeeded.
So, if you look at what went down in Redmond today and New York three months ago, there’s much to be ecstatic for in 19 days when both companies take their respected stages in Los Angels at perhaps the most anticipated E3 in the tradeshow’s history. Why, you ask? It’s simple. For Sony, they can use this massive platform to reveal their console in all its glory. They can touch on what their consumers can expect from an entertainment and online perspective. In a nutshell, they can accommodate the crowd that’s less interested in playing Infamous: Second Son and more concerned by how the hardware looks and the features that it’ll bring outside of just the “gaming realm.”
Microsoft, on the other hand, can use their limelight to focus on the games. We know what Xbox One looks like – the massive entertainment scale it will convey – but E3 can truly show us what Xbox One will bring on the games front. This is a colossal chance for Microsoft to confidently assure their hardcore crowd that they’re still at the forefront of this new console. E3 is an opportunity to show the power behind the 15 exclusive, first-party games that will be coming to Xbox One in its first year on store shelves (eight of which are new franchises). Ultimately, to show where the heart of their future console plans lie.
Indeed, Sony and Microsoft can make their E3 press events one for the ages but it’s important to note that it’s not a certainty…by any means. Nonetheless, February’s Playstation 4 announcement and today’s Xbox One unveil have produced an extremely rare opportunity for each console producer to handle their fans’ burning questions and concerns in a separable atmosphere from one another. Is it do or die for Sony and Microsoft? On some levels, I believe emphatically that it is, but that’s what will make this E3 one to not overlook for a second.