E3 2016 – Indie Developer’s Perspective

I’ve written about each E3 event since I’ve started this blog. It’s over now, but I’ll continue the tradition here. Because I have a blog, darn it, so I can.

My general reaction? I’m excited to be a gaming fan. But also felt a little underwhelmed…

The biggest issue was that the press conferences didn’t have too many surprises during the press conferences. EA had Battlefront and Battlefield. Ubisoft had Let’s Dance and Ghost Recon. Microsoft had Final Fantasy demo. Nintendo had Zelda. It felt like most of the reveals were for games already long in development or were leaked weeks earlier. Square Enix had one of my favourite shows last year, and at the last minute I found out they had no conference at all this year.

So what is worth talking about? EA and Microsoft both are still trying to capture indie developers as part of their ecosystem (I’m curious for how “EA’s Originals” line will hold up). The new Zelda’s open-world looks beautiful, but I wonder if it will alienate old fans based on what was shown so far. Sony did have a bunch of surprises, from the rebooted God of War to Kojima’s game-engine trailer for his newest project. Even with Sony, I felt a little underwhelmed. E3 was definitely good this year, but compared to the last two year it dipped a bit.

The biggest thing for me is that Microsoft is essentially releasing a new console next year, and it sounds like it plans to be fully capable of providing full 4k rendering of Xbox One games. Sony hasn’t shown anything at their show, but confirmed months ago they are doing something similar. We haven’t seen Nintendo’s new console yet, but its coming next year. And all of this hints at compatibility with Virtual Reality, which officially came out this year from multiple companies but still hasn’t gotten the massive user revelation that makes it feel like it has released in our stores yet. For Nintendo, they might do something completely different. To have new hardware so soon into a generation, even if everything plans to be fully compatible with the same games, feels dangerous, and I hope we soon can commit to a final console that doesn’t need hardware updates, one that delivers all we need.

Most of this new hardware will be revealed in greater detail well before E3 2017, but it makes me think that every company is holding their cards back a bit for next year, knowing they will need to come out with their best to make us adopt the new high-end equipment.

So in general, good but not great show. E3 will shake the world in 2017. And I hope to see indie games with a bigger presence next year. Maybe my next game will be released by then.