Friday, June 7, 2013

Countdown to the Thunder Dome

It’s about that time of the year again, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3 is just a stone’s throw away. E3 is the gaming world’s version of the Super Bowl, with Titans battling it out for all the glory under the sun. Greatness at E3 doesn’t necessarily mean success down the road but the gaming industry doesn’t have many stories of dark horses. A game that wows at E3 usually brings dividends both critically and commercially, though there are always pitfalls to success.

E3 has lost some of its shine the last few years; this year will see Nintendo not attend in any real capacity. The Wii U is struggling and is seen by most as the lesser cousin to the PS4 and Xbox One. Nintendo is seeking to cut out the middleman to its consumers directly with Nintendo Direct. Nintendo Direct is the new online home for all news Nintendo, almost like the Nintendo Power days of old, whether this strategy works out for them in the short or long-term remains to be seen.

PlayStation is the front favorite on the gaming side of the next generation. High profile flubs by Microsoft have shown the difference in strategy between the two behemoth companies. Sony is looking to differentiate itself from Microsoft with the PS4 by being friendlier to indie companies, having less intrusive business practices, and keeping the focus of the business solely on games.

Microsoft on the other hand is going in the opposite direction, the Xbox One looks to make revenue from the non-gaming side of the industry the number one priority through various apps and business partnerships, they are also looking to keep a firmer hand on indie development and how gamers spend their dollars. It’s hard to argue the numbers in Microsoft’s case, the later years of the Xbox 360 saw revenue from the non-gaming side of the business surpass game revenue.

Not to be forgotten are the publishers, EA, Ubisoft, SquareEnix, Capcom, Activision amongst others and the developers Bungie, Respawn, Naughty Dog, and others like them; all trying to wow the populace to win that golden ticket to riches and fame. It’s a spectacle worthy of the Super Bowl or the Thunder Dome, and we all have front row seats. So sit back, relax, and get your popcorn the show is just about to get started.

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