It’s that time of year again. It’s time for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. Every year all of the big video game companies come out and show what they are going to offer in the near future. E3 is always exciting, and it is even extra exciting when new consoles are about to be released. Well this E3 is even more interesting than that because “the big three” are releasing new consoles in an unusual manner.
There are so many layers to this E3, I can barely contain myself. Let me start by giving a quick overview of what has happened at this E3, and then I will explain what it all really means. I am going to give you the truth behind these new consoles, because the big three are all presenting one thing, but something else entirely is going on.
First there was Sony’s press conference. They showed off a ton of great games, many of which are going to be coming out before Christmas this year. More importantly they revealed that later this year they are going to be releasing what they call the “PS4 Neo” (which will likely get a name change, but is “PS4 Neo” for now). This PS4 Neo is really just an upgrade to a normal PS4. It features 4K resolution and has virtual reality capabilities. However it still plays the exact same games as the PS4. Anyway, Sony’s press conference looked very impressive and many people will probably be declaring them the “winner” of this year’s E3. (Don’t be fooled by this. There is more going on here than meets the eye, so keep reading!)
Microsoft had a very similar press conference where they showed off a ton of games and their new console upgrade which they are calling “Project Scorpio”. It is also will have 4K resolution and virtual reality capabilities, but it will not be released until late 2017. Microsoft also talked a lot about platform compatibility between their consoles and the PC, and they kept saying they are “beyond generations”. Anyway, by all appearances they also had a very good showing at E3.
Then there is Nintendo. They only showed off two games and that is it: a Zelda game and a Pokémon game. They did almost nothing this E3.
Now here is the really ironic thing. This E3 is actually all about Nintendo.
“What? How can it be about Nintendo? They didn’t even do anything!” asks the reader. The truth is Nintendo is actually doing a lot right now. They just aren’t doing it at E3. See here is the elephant in the room for this E3:
Nintendo is working on a new console right now, and they keeping the details of it very secret. Right now it is code named “NX”. This console actually is a new console. It isn’t just an upgrade like what Sony and Microsoft are offering, and that difference is all of the difference in the world. This new console has Sony and Microsoft scared. That is why they are offering these console upgrades. They are trying to desperately come out with something to differentiate themselves from the new Nintendo console.
Why would they be so scared? While we don’t know all of the details of the NX, one thing that is very likely is that its system specs will be in the same ballpark as the current PS4 and Xbox 1. Furthermore, many gamers agree that Nintendo makes the best first-party software, but they are often lacking in third-party software. But what if the Nintendo console has the same system specs as the PS4 or Xbox 1? Third-party developers will want to release their games on all three consoles. That means Nintendo will have a console with great first-party software and great third-party software. Gamers will want the console with the best games, and that is what Nintendo will have. So basically Nintendo will come in and dominate the second half of this console generation.
Sony and Microsoft are responding to this predicament by releasing console upgrades. In my opinion this is a terrible idea, because hardware upgrades have never really had an impact in the past. Sega actually released two upgrades for the Genesis: the 32X and the Sega CD. Neither one really helped the Genesis. Likewise, a few years ago Sony and Microsoft released the Move and Kinect, respectively, to respond to Nintendo’s success with motion controls. Both the Move and Kinect were flops. Upgrades to hardware have never helped sales. I don’t expect them to do so this time either.
The only variable at this point is the gimmick that Nintendo will use in their NX console that they are going to release Spring 2017. It could make NX amazing like the Wii, or it be a drag on the system like the touchpad was for the Wii U. Only time will tell.
But right now Nintendo is in a very good position to put themselves back on the top of the console market and have a console that will have all of the best games on it.