Off the Chest: E3 console wars, more GW2 events and Rift going F2P

Summer has finally found its way to my place which is why this week was generally dedicated to sudden-heat-lethargy and watching E3 streams until late, late into the night. Morning really. And how much fun that was when my entire twitterverse was watching the big Sony reveal this last Tuesday “together” – booing (who cares about the PS Vita?), cheering and mostly snickering for good reason.

E3: Revival of the Console Wars

It wasn’t hard to leverage on Microsoft’s recent lapses in regard to their Xbox ONE policies and general marketing angle, but Sony literally crushed their direct competitor at this year’s E3 in the notable absence of a Nintendo conference, leaving out nothing and taking shameless stabs at what the vocal public conceived as MS’ greatest transgressions. Sharing and always-online DRM issues aside, MS seemed to try appeal to a surprisingly limited demography and didn’t blow anyone away hoping for at least some diversity in terms of game leads in upcoming launch titles – an oversight that led Spinks to coin the term “XBrone”. E3 female protagonist spotlights: MS: zero / Sony: two.

transistor
Transistor, feat. Squalla Leonheart

Sony started their two-hour press conference stating how their target audience were video gamers first and foremost. From there, everything was a well-orchestrated and calculated effort of showing why the PS4 was the more appealing (and affordable) product for a wider gaming audience – men, women, casuals, hardcores, offliners, onliners, indie game lovers. And that last point makes a lot of sense; who in their right mind would leave the rising indie game market to platforms like Steam without a fight?

Sony delivered a political masterpiece at this E3, quick and not so subtle. Yet, as pointed out in this interesting article on buzzfeed, some of the fanboyism stirred by the console staredown feels gravely out of proportion. It bears reading the fine-print in Sony’s press conference. The PS4 isn’t marketed the way it is because they’re trying to win the BFF contest. In the end, we’re dealing with companies looking to maximize profits or as the article states “Sony versus Microsoft is not good versus evil. It’s money versus money”. To believe the XBox ONE is “done” at this point would be naive as we’re only standing at the beginning of a years-to-come battle for market shares. All the while, Nintendo is smiling because they’re likely going to “win” again anyway.

All that said, if I was to buy a next-generation console, it would most definitely be the PS4. As a commenter at buzzfeed observed, the PS4 is positioning itself as a diverse platform with a spirit for art and smaller projects (need I say Journey?) while being more inclusive to mature titles. Also: Square-Enix and Last Guardian hoping!

GW2 goes Dragon Bash

ArenaNet continue their ludicrous speed of releasing new mini-content and sadly also their penchant for inconsistent quality. Between wacky Halloween and a rather sobering Lost Shores event, the great Living Story and back-to-more-Karkas Darksun Cove update, I find myself presented with a lot more of the same at Dragon Bash and horribly mislead by what sounded like such an exciting new addition to the game. More mighty dragons to shoot down from the sky  – more massive outdoor content? YES please! No?

This leads me to formulate the following GW2 events formula: a ton of achievements which can be finished in one or two days, more slightly frustrating arena-based minigames, random drops of something in a box, oh and back items and weapon skins! I can barely restrain myself. Also, dragon piñatas – now where have I heard that before?

dragonbash
Yeah, maybe not!

Rift entering the F2P scene

Trion have officially given their free-to-play debut this June 12th and much will yet be discussed about how well they’ve made the switch, implemented ingame shops and most importantly, just how much (or how) that changes the general direction of the game – because that was going so well before. Positive as I remain on this matter, I’d like to think that not all that much will change for Telara as we’ve also seen with other MMOs going F2P half-way through in the past (as opposed to MMOs actually designed around the concept).

Belghast is one of the first to comment on his “new” Rift experiences and a rather enthusiastic early adopter by the looks. No doubt there are right and wrong ways to realize F2P in MMOs and as someone who wants to see games like Rift survive rather than disappear from the face of the market, I hope more people will follow in his general footsteps.

6 comments

  1. Redbeard

    I suspect that Sony is also going for broke because, well, if PS4 is only so-so, Sony as a company is sunk. They’re in deep financial trouble and getting their clocks cleaned by Samsung in other areas, so they’re banking on the PS4 to win the console wars.

    That said, PS4 is very much in the “don’t rock the boat” and “don’t look forward” vein. Microsoft, of all people, is the one putting forth a bold vision with their XBone. And even though they have women in key positions in XBox/XBox Live development and leadership, they had a big miss on the lack of female protags in their presentation. (Of course, to the average guy, that’s not on their radar at all, but it is to me.) I think the always on Kinect is more annoying than anything else, and that will be the thing that might hurt XBone more than the Steam model.

    • Syl

      I think people are unhappy about the sharing and online policies the most. also, I find the way MS are positioning this new console weird, considering where they came from. the PS3 used to be a console people bought ‘for movies’ a lot and that didn’t deliver the diverse gaming and online coop experiences that XBox360 did with Live. MS had the ‘gaming console’ where Sony had the more multimedia oriented concept. now, it feels like both of them are out to copy the other’s last generation. of course, there’s a ton of money to be made from dudebro gaming and sports channels, so it’s not like MS is going anywhere.

  2. Tesh

    Kingdom Hearts 3 and FFXV. On games alone, PS4 wins for me. MS’s oddball almost anti-consumer stance sours their product, too.

    • Syl

      As I only just read yesterday though, both titles are also going to be released on the XBone. I guess it makes sense for Square.

      • Tesh

        Yes, it does make sense for SE to expand their potential customer base. I guess I can’t really complain… but I’m still more inclined to get the PS4 because it seems less annoying. Of course, I’ll wait a few years until it’s on deep discount anyway. *shrug*

      • Syl

        Same. not gonna buy any of the consoles any time soon. once the PS4 is around or below 300 I’ll reconsider.

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