Ah yes, the ever so wonderful topic of the “Console Wars”, where people seem to think their preferred system they play on is the most superior and the only one that should be in existence. Alright, so maybe it’s not that drastic yet but you get the point. In June of every year the Electronic Entertainment Expo, most commonly referred to as E3, rolls around and gets everyone excited over new games and sometimes even new consoles. It also has the unfortunate side effect of fueling the “Console Wars” to an insane amount.
I have already discussed my viewpoints on the console wars in an earlier article I did. This time, however, I am here to continue that conversation and how it relates to this special time of year for us gamers. Prior to the keynotes provided by all of the various publishers and developers in attendance at E3; discussions from around the gaming portion of the internet start popping up as to who will essentially “win” E3 for that year. What does “winning” E3 mean? Normally, it means that whoever reveals the most stuff to get people excited during their keynote briefing had, well, the best conference and therefore “wins” E3.
While obviously I don’t believe there is anything wrong with thinking that one company had more exciting stuff to show off during their conference than the others is a bad thing, it is when you have us, as the players, start arguing as to who won E3 by having the “best” conference. While inherently these aren’t terrible in their own right, I guess I just feel like it’s pointless to argue over who had the better showing at E3, very similar to how I feel about the console wars in general. Who cares whether Sony, Ninentdo, or Microsoft had the better stuff to show off? We all should be happy that we are getting all the new things in the future to play with instead of trying to pound our virtual chests and yell “MY CONSOLE WON!”
I have to admit though, it was but a few short years ago that I was of the mindset that someone had to win E3. Back in ye olden days I was a huge Xbox fanboy; and by huge, I mean like nearly blind and yelling at my computer screen after every E3 that Microsoft won, huge. Those were dark times. It wasn’t until I started writing for a small time general gaming news site that I started to change my viewpoint of this. While helping cover the massive amounts of news that comes with the E3 time, I was seeing a lot of things I liked coming from the Sony and Nintendo camps. That is when I started adopting the point of view that the only people truly winning E3 are us, the players.
Getting back on topic here, much like the general form of the console wars you can have conferences that are better than others. As I mentioned before, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. When you have fans start arguing like religious zealots (pardon the harsh term) as to who had the better stuff, I just don’t see any point behind it. When it reaches that point, I feel it is just another part of the Greater Console Wars showing its ugly side.
Another thing I feel that contributes to this, and the console wars in general even, is that gaming revolves around rivalry to some extent. Not in just terms of who you like more, or who showed off the better stuff. No, I’m thinking even to something as complex as to how each companies’ sales do after the announcements post-E3. As we always say here at Frantic Talks, video games are a business and they need to make money after all. I’ll admit, I don’t have the knowledge of how deeply intertwined things that are announced at E3 are to the quarterly earnings of the companies; but I am pretty sure I can safely assume they rely on it heavily when they release.
“So what does that have to do with rivalries?”, you might ask. Since Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft all offer their own gaming systems and games, they are technically competitors in the industry. Thus, in a way, this makes them rivals to each other. As with any rivalry of any form, you are going to have fans that are loyal to only one side of a rivalry. Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that by itself, but when fans start who start trying to argue their opinion of who had the best show at E3 and present it as fact, it really doesn’t help with anything in my mind. You won’t truly find out who “won” until all the stuff that was shown off has been released and what each company has made for a profit from all of aforementioned stuff. Or, you know, who you liked the most.
If I had to boil it down to one simple statement, it would probably look something like this: Whenever I see people arguing that Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo won E3 because they had the most exciting stuff to show off for that year, I feel that it adds fuel to the already existing console wars. Of which, I have already mentioned, I think those should not exist and I feel that the “Console Wars: E3 Edition” shouldn’t exist either. Perhaps the next time you find yourself in the middle of a discussion like this, think about taking the stance that myself and many others do: the true winners are us as the players. We get all the cool new games and sometimes even systems to get excited for. Oh, and our wallets and bank accounts are the real losers.