Every year, there can only be one winner of E3. That much is clear. And during E3 2018, there were plenty of major announcements, reveals, and gameplay trailers to take in. Microsoft brought Cyberpunk 2077, Sony finally unveiled gameplay for Death Stranding, and, perhaps most exciting of all, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received an extensive preview along with a Dec. 7 release date.
By far, E3 2018 was an incredibly memorable event. But who won the conference? The OP’s writers sat down after the press conferences to talk about the show and declare its winner. If you’re aching to read up on what you missed, here’s our recap of the entire expo, from Devolver to Sony.
Microsoft decided to go all-out with its E3 press conference by showing off 50 games throughout a two-hour show. Trailer after trailer popped up for everything from Cuphead DLC to the Xbox One’s upcoming Halo release, Halo Infinite. But most of all, Xbox brought in Cyberpunk 2077, one of the world’s most highly-anticipated video games. In short, if you were looking for worldwide premieres and exciting new titles for the next few years ahead, Xbox was incredibly entertaining to watch.
“I thought Microsoft’s conference was the most typical out of all three, and I felt more comfortable and familiar with it because I knew what to expect,” The OP’s Brittany Vincent said while discussing the conference. “I liked the more grandiose scope of the show and the confidence Microsoft had in all its exclusives, though I would have liked more information than I got with most of the games.”
On that note, while Microsoft revealed plenty of interesting titles, very few were Xbox exclusives. Scott Duwe, a writer for The OP, similarly pointed out that Microsoft’s conference left Xbox One owners out to dry while the entire gaming community received multi-platform announcements.
“There were a lot of awesome games and cool reveals, but very few games that I need an Xbox One to play,” Duwe said.
Instead of going with a traditional showcase for its E3 press conference, Sony decided to focus on four core PlayStation 4 games: The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Spider-Man.
To some extent, PlayStation’s approach this year worked. The Last of Us: Part II amazed fans thanks to its character development, immersive gameplay, and realistic animations. Plus, for Hideo Kojima fans around the world, Death Stranding’s gameplay reveal was a fantastic first-look at the upcoming game’s world.
But on the other hand, by focusing on four core experiences and throwing in a few trailers for other reveals like Resident Evil 2’s remake, Sony downplayed some of the PlayStation 4’s upcoming catalog in exchange for four titles that may not appeal to all PlayStation owners.
“I personally disliked the show’s format,” The OP’s Adam Newell said. “I feel there was a lot of filler time that could have been used for titles like Red Dead Redemption 2. It almost felt like they didn’t have much to show other then those core games.”
Duwe, on the other hand, pointed out that Sony has “won” the current-generation’s console wars, so there’s no need for Sony to go all-out to impress gamers that don’t own a PlayStation. Sony knew that it simply needed to appeal to its base.
“I think Spider-Man and Ghost of Tsushima were two of the best gameplay demos we’ve seen this year overall,” Duwe said. “I’d still love to know way more about Death Stranding. And The Last of Us: Part II will be a masterpiece. Sony didn’t have to do anything more than they did.”
On one hand, Nintendo’s E3 2018 Nintendo Direct was amazing: Nintendo fans saw just under half an hour in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate news, revealing that the game will feature every single fighter in Smash Bros. history. Plus, Nintendo finally showcased a new Fire Emblem game for Switch and Super Mario Party for the console.
But while Nintendo brought a decent showcase for E3, it just wasn’t as exciting as it could have been for Nintendo fans.
“While what was shown was impressive, I think holding back some games like Metroid Prime 4 and not showing at least some kind of concept or gameplay, even if Nintendo’s a ways off, was a poor choice,” Newell said. “While Smash is great, it doesn’t have the appeal that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey had the previous years.”
In fact, many core Nintendo games were missing from this year’s Nintendo Direct, leaving some Nintendo fans feeling left out.
Who won E3?
Almost every year, one press conference stands out as the “best” during E3. But E3 2018 was different. Every publisher brought something interesting to the table. Microsoft had 50 game reveals and premiered Cyberpunk 2077, Sony featured Death Stranding gameplay and Resident Evil 2’s remake, and Nintendo gave the world its first look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But each platform had its issues too, with Sony appealing to its base, Xbox showing few exclusives, and Nintendo dedicating way too much time to Super Smash Bros.
In short, perhaps no one won this year because everyone did a decent job showcasing its platform’s strengths, and every conference had its weaknesses, too. While no press conference really stood out, each one had just enough exciting content to keep gamers across all platforms interested.
“I feel like no one ‘won’ the show this year since everyone had both interesting and snooze fests at their shows and each show had a standout game,” Newell said. “It’s very rare that I don’t choose a winner but looking at the show this year, I’d have to say everyone was pretty level and you don’t see as much hype about one show over the others like in previous years.”
So while E3 2018 might not influence consumers to buy a new console, it certainly gave Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo fans plenty of reasons to feel like they made a smart choice in purchasing the consoles they already own.
“I know whatever consoles are coming next, I’ll be buying them, and whatever The Last of Us: Part II happens to come to, I’ll snatch that up too,” Vincent said. “So I guess it doesn’t really matter to me if I know or not ahead of time, because I want to own everything and hoard it.”
“That’s the thing,” Newell said. “It’s all down to your personal preferences, what you like as a gamer.”
But who “lost” E3?
E3 hosted plenty of third-party conferences, and some were better than others. But this year’s press conferences revealed a fundamental truth: Just because you can host a conference doesn’t mean you should.
Devolver Digital and Square Enix’s press conferences had few interesting reveals, with Devolver in particular showing off three games while relying too hard on edgy humor to appeal to viewers. In the end, the worst of E3 easily goes to Devolver’s show. There was simply no reason to host a conference in the first place.
“Devolver really needs to stop trying so hard,” Duwe said.
“I’m excited for Metal Wolf Chaos XD, but not enough to sit through that show again,” Vincent agreed.