15 answers E3 2019 gave us

Well E3 has come and gone, another year another heap of spectacle, crowded convention halls, and game demos. We had more questions this year than usual for the biggest gaming convention of the year. Did any of them get answered? Let’s take a look.

Here are the biggest questions on our mind that we hope E3 2019 will answer.

What are Sony and Microsoft’s next generation console plans?

Sony was absent from the show and while we expected them to be dropping info while the show was on, they did not. So we only have the details we already know about the PS5.

Microsoft, on the other hand, made Project Scarlett their end show stinger at their press conference. What do we know about it? Well a lot of numbers. Supposedly it’s capable of 8k resolution, 120 frames per second, and it’s four times more powerful than the current generation. We also know that Microsoft seems to be going all in on game streaming as well. They announced one game for their new Project Scarlett: Halo Infinite.

It’s still not a lot of info, but it’s more than we had. Microsoft announced that Project Scarlett will come out in holiday 2020 and we are almost certain that the PS5 will come out around the same time.

If Sony isn’t going, what are they going to do?

Absolutely nothing… and it’s kind of genius. The more we think about Sony’s plans, the more we realize that they are letting their competitors do the marketing for them.

Just think about it for a second. Prior to E3 they released a new trailer for Death Stranding that gave us more info about the game than ever before. That game? PS4 exclusive.

One of the biggest games at the show was the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. That game? PS4 exclusive.

And it’s not like Sony was inactive during the conference. Any time a new game was announced that was being released cross platform on the PS4, they uploaded a trailer for it. Shenmue III, Tales of Arise, Elden Ring, Watch Dogs Legion, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Trials of Mana, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, even indie darlings like Cris Tales, all of these names are coming to the PS4. Heck, Sony even showed off trailers that didn’t even get to be in press conferences, like a new Persona 5 Royal trailer which, by the way, is another PS4 exclusive.

The Sony lineup was absolutely stacked, but it was showcased through people other than Sony. There were more press conferences than ever before this year, and every one of them, including Microsoft and Nintendo, showcased a Sony product of some sort.

Simply put, first party E3 press conferences are places where you get to show off first party games, and Sony didn’t have a lot of first-party titles to show this year. The one we care about, Death Stranding, got a trailer, and all of the awesome third party stuff got shown at third party conferences. E3 passed and Playstation users aren’t worried about a lack of content at all.

Our guess? Sony will be back next year to show off the PS5.

Will Microsoft get into the VR game?

Doesn’t look like it. VR had no place in the Microsoft press conference and it doesn’t look like they will be supporting VR headsets on their Xbox platform any time soon.

Is this truly the second generation of VR?

So we didn’t really see software that absolutely needed the power of second generation VR headsets, but what’s interesting is that we saw way more VR games than we had in any other year. In fact, VR had its own conference hosted by Upload VR, and plenty of games in other press conferences had VR modes or were VR games in their own right. So while I wouldn’t quite say this is really the “second generation” of VR, it’s clear that VR is here to stay.

What will Nintendo do to compete?

Breath of the Wild II. That’s enough.

I’m kidding. Nintendo went all in on software this year, highlighting titles like Luigi’s Mansion 3, Link’s Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Maker 2, a host of amazing third party titles, and of course Smash DLC. To be honest, nothing Nintendo showed was unexpected. In fact, they mostly treaded over ground we already covered in past years. However, even without a brand new title to show they still had one of the strongest software lineups at the show.

So many this wasn’t Nintendo’s year to compete. Maybe next year, being the year of the PS5 and Project Scarlett’s release, will be Nintendo’s year to really blow us out of the water. However, with no new announcements they will either have to deliver on a lot of existing promises, like Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4, or they are going to have to have an entire year filled with new software announcements to keep us going.

Is the 3DS Dead?

Sort of? Nintendo had no announcements for the 3DS, so for the most part support has ended. However, Limited Run Games had a ton of 3DS games to announce. They are all physical versions of indie games that had already been released, but hey, it’s something.

Fun fact, they also announced the very last Vita game as well. Remember the Vita? Yeah neither do we.

Has progress been made on Nintendo’s AAA titles?

Nope! We didn’t hear a single peep about Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4, or Shin Megami Tensei V. We did, however, see a lot of progress on Nintendo’s other more recently announced titles and we got an official confirmation of Breath of the Wild II. Just where are these games that were announced alongside the release of the Switch? No one knows. Maybe they will be Nintendo’s ace in the hole next year.

Will we ever understand what the heck Death Stranding is about?

Just prior to E3, we got a huge Death Stranding trailer that revealed more than we ever saw before about the game. Our very own Justin Woo went in deep, decoding the meaning in the trailer.

… He hasn’t been the same since.

That being said, the game looks pretty awesome. We got a good long look at its shooter and stealth elements, and it’s really amazing concept of having no death state. There’s still a lot of pretentious hand waving “ask me what it means” moments, but at this point they’ve at least got us hooked to the point that we want to play the game to figure out more.

Is Battle Royale still the future of the shooter?

It doesn’t look like it. While we did get a preview of new content for Apex Legends, and Fallout 76 got its own battle royale mode, we didn’t see any new and notable battle royale games. In fact, it seems like the realm of the shooter is regressing a bit. Borderlands 3 is going back to the looter shooter formula, Square Enix showed off military shooters and sci-fi shooters, and Microsoft’s big games were Gears and Halo, which are about as traditional as shooters get.

That’s not to say that battle royales were a flash in the pan. We are certain that Fortnite will still be going strong after this year’s E3, but it looks like the era of developers trying to jump on the battle royale bandwagon is over.

Is the era of “mini” consoles over?

Seems like it. We went through the entire show and not one company had a mini-console to show. Looks like it was just a fad.

Is game streaming all talk?

This is actualy a challenging question to answer. We finally did get some hard number which shows that even people with low grade internet connections can play games at 720p on streaming services like the Stadia. That’s not horrible, and it doesn’t take too much to at the very least get to 1080p with supposedly a very stable connection.

But…

If you actually want to play at maximum settings, you’ll need something around 35mbps in speed. Without that not just your video will suffer, but your audio too. Then there is the matter of space. Streaming games so heavily will use up about 1TB of bandwidth in 65 hours. That’s basically one AAA game hitting your bandwidth cap and shutting down your internet in 65 hours if you are, say, somewhere in rural America. You can play at lower settings, but you’ll still hit your bandwidth cap in a depressingly low 114 hours at 1080p or 228 hours at 720p.

Of course, not everyone will have bandwidth caps, but this still vastly narrows the audience for the Stadia.

It doesn’t help that the Stadia’s pricing. Controllers cost a whopping $70, and the “Founder’s Edition” which includes everything you need to play is about $130. Then theres the monthly subscription fee of $10 a month, and then ON TOP OF THAT you have to purchase individual games for the same prices you’d find on other platforms.

Here’s some math for you. After 17 months of Stadia monthly service, you have spent as much as you would have on a Switch. After two years and change you end up spending as much as you would have on a PS4. In short, if you adopt the Stadia early, you will inevitably spend more money than you would on a console, if you play it heavily.

So yeah, game streaming still feels a bit undercooked to say the least, but everyone seems to want to get in on it. The Stadia is just one outlet. Microsoft has it’s own xCloud service that will let you stream games from your Xbox as well as from a central service. Sony still has PlayStation Now and is going to announce later this year a massive improvement for it. Amazon has a streaming service, Verizon may be cooking up  a streaming service, even Ubisoft announced a proprietary type of code that will optimize games for streaming.

In short, it’s certainly not all talk. Everyone wants to get in on it, but it’s nowhere near proven yet. We will likely get a definitive answer at the dawn of the next generation. For our money, as much as everyone tries to say this is the future there’s still too many ways for it to go wrong for it to hit the mainstream.

What the heck is Neftlix up to?

Stranger Things 3: The Game and a new strategy game based on The Dark Crystal. It’s nothing big, but it’s a neat little venture into the gaming market.

Are we really moving toward a “games as service” model?

On the bright side, we didn’t see a whole lot of AAA games fiddling around with microtransactions this year. We did, however, see titles like Commander Keen go free-to-play mobile with microtransactions, which might have been a little disappointing for some of the older gamers in the audience. For the most part, it looks like “games as a service” games are sticking to the mobile sphere, but there are a lot of them. Also it’s worth it to remember that some games, like Borderlands 3 had “games as a service” elements announced before E3.

It does appear that announcing any sort of microtransactions or “games as a service” elements during a press conference is becoming a bad PR move though, which might signal that we are, in-fact, moving away from that pricing structure.

Is that a good thing? Well gamers think so, but game developers and publishers still profess that games are too expensive to make, and with some of the crunch horror stories surfacing recently, we are inclined to believe them. Then again, companies like Nintendo have taken a hard anti-crunch stance, and still seem to be doing fine, although this means that their games are frequently delayed. Perhaps it’s not that gamers have to pay more money for the games they love. Perhaps they just have to pay in time.

What major titles will we be talking about in the coming year?

There are too many to count. Final Fantasy 7 Remake may have been the biggest title at the show that people could actually get their hands on. However, Halo Infinite is the first game confirmed for the next generation of consoles and Breath of the Wild 2 might be the title drop that caused the most buzz.

 There’s also Baldur’s Gate 3 which is a PC and Stadia exclusive along with being a revival of a much loved isometric RPG franchise. Cyberpunk 2077 probably had the biggest stage presence due to the appearance of Keanu Reeves. Yes, it’s a cheap marketing trick but it got everyone to take notice. Finally Watch Dogs Legion was the most ambitious game by far, allowing you to play as and recruit literally any character in the game.

But even beyond these there were tons of titles to get hyped over at E3 2019. Some, like Fire Emblem Three Houses and Borderlands 3 are coming out soon, while others, like Elden Ring and Ghostwire are just concepts right now. Despite being on the cusp of a generation turnover, there doesn’t appear to be any noticeable drop in available hit software titles coming up in the next year.

What fresh new madness will Devolver Digital bring to their press conference this year?

Devolver now has their own software distribution platform which you can only download via Steam and which exclusively hosts bootleg copies of their own games. Also, there is a $5,000 Enter the Gungeon: House of the Gundead arcade cabinet that, yes, you can only encounter in arcades and has no home version. Also, the Big Fancy Press Conference is now called Devolver Direct and it took place directly in Nina Struthers’ mind.

Did E3 answer all of your questions? Let us know in the comments.