Putting E3 2015 to bed, and more on why I picked Microsoft as winner this year

Horizon Zero Dawn
Credit: Sony

Well another E3 is history, and I thought I'd take a few minutes today to recap all the excitement.

I ruffled some feathers on Tuesday when I declared Microsoft the 'winner' of E3 (at least in terms of the ever-raging battle between Sony and Microsoft; I always kind of think of Nintendo as its own beast and Nintendo fans have some good things to look forward to this year).

It made me realize that I shouldn't have declared a winner without first establishing the parameters that I use for determining what makes a strong E3 showing. I'll do that now even though it's well after the fact.

I think of E3 as a preview for the upcoming holiday season so I give the most weight to titles coming out between now and then, or at the very least between now and next year's E3. That's the main reason I declared Microsoft the winner. Sony had a lot of announcements for games coming in late 2016 or beyond but they have very little on offer this year, at least in terms of full-game exclusives.

Xbox One owners will have Halo 5 and Forza 6 as exclusives, and Fable Legends and Gigantic as console-exclusives (in other words they'll be out on Windows 10 as well). About all Sony could offer was exclusive add-on content for third party titles and a few exclusive betas that were tied into pre-orders.

There is one exciting (to me anyway) exception and it is Q-Games' The Tomorrow Children which is coming this fall, but we didn't get that release date until yesterday; for some reason it wasn't even mentioned in the press conference.

At the end of the Microsoft conference we got access to the first Preview Program titles (Elite:Dangerous and The Long Dark), a beta started up for the remastered Gears of War, preview program members got to start testing Xbox 360 backwards compatibility and streaming from the Xbox One to Windows 10 machines. In the following hours Microsoft showed a preview of their new UI changes for the Xbox One.

Last year Sony had some surprises like these; remember that first Destiny playtest that only Playstation owners got to enjoy? But this year the only thing they dropped during E3 was their media player. I don't mean to make light of that; PS4 owners have been demanding the features that the media player brings pretty much since launch and I'm glad it has finally arrived. But it's just one thing.

So yes, while Sony had some great announcements for the future, in terms of this year I thought their E3 was a bit quiet. Next year, however, should be a huge one for Sony. Early in 2016 we'll get Uncharted 4, and by this time next year Project Morpheus should be taking Playstation Nation into the new world of VR. For holiday 2016 we should be playing The Last Guardian and possibly that Final Fantasy VII Remake, and my favorite new IP of the show, Horizon Zero Dawn (that's a shot from it at the top of this post) should be out in 2016 as well.

Basically I'm already predicting that Sony has a good chance to win E3 2016 but at the same time I'm standing by my opinion that Microsoft had a stronger show this year, at least in terms of what we can expect to be enjoying between now and next year's E3. And personally the game I'm most looking forward to is Fallout 4 which everyone except Wii U owners will be able to enjoy. It's awesome if you have a different opinion (and let's be clear, this is all just opinion), but try to keep in mind these are just video games; there's no reason to get nasty just because you disagree. 

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