Who Won E3 2015?

It’s such a small and petty argument to have, but the notion of one particular company “winning” E3 crops up each and every year. It’s driven by the fanboy attitude and playground politics of a console owner whose greatest desire is that the hardware manufacturer they’ve chosen to support is able to wow them with new announcements and games that are somehow able to best those of rival manufacturers.

Now everybody is getting in on the action, with press conferences for many of the biggest companies in the games industry. EA and Ubisoft have been joined by Bethesda and Square Enix, to sit alongside and compliment their featured appearances at the main Sony and Microsoft events. Nintendo’s step to having a simple Nintendo Direct broadcast was greatly expanded upon with a bonanza of other events, including the return of the Nintendo World Championship, and then there was the grab bag of the PC Gaming Show. It all added up to a seemingly non-stop event that meant that, while they all had very different approaches, there were realistically no losers, only winners.

Of course, the last decade has really been dominated by the rivalry between Sony and Microsoft, and you could see some of that back and forth at play here as well. Microsoft are still very much on the back foot in this generation, even as the Xbox One manages to outperform the Xbox 360, but they really came out swinging with a very strong line up of games to close out 2015, as well as major announcements for the console as a whole.

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Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Fable Legends and Forza 6 are all strong game series that make the Xbox One a much more appealing platform to invest in, but with the huge announcement of backward compatibility to the Xbox 360’s vast catalogue of games – which is a truly impressive piece of software engineering – there’s nothing stopping you from upgrading.

They also looked to the future, with Rare’s return to form with Sea of Thieves and a new Gears of War game announced, but Microsoft’s focus was really on 2015. Sony, by contrast, have admitted that the end of 2015 will be a slow one in terms of exclusives, and this certainly coloured their press conference.

The Last Guardian, Shenmue 3 and a Final Fantasy VII remake have been the stuff of dreams for the last few years, with only a re-announcement of Agent missing from Adam Boyes’ checklist of wish fulfilment. But that wasn’t all, as Media Molecule were finally ready to present Dreams, an evolved form of that raw tech demo – nicknamed by us as Puppet Rock Band – that was shown at the PS4 announcement, Guerrilla Games’ new IP, Horizon Zero Dawn, takes the studio in an exciting new direction that blends pre-history with the far flung future, and plenty more.

The defining characteristic was that this was Sony showing us what to be excited for in 2016 and beyond. It was necessary for them to do so, but this was really a starry eyed look into the more distant future, rather than what you’ll be able to play any time soon. Not so with the third parties, though.

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Bethesda dropped the bombshell that Fallout 4 would be out this year, while Square Enix’s new Hitman game and Just Cause 3 both land in December. EA wowed with their gameplay footage from Star Wars: Battlefront, and the Rainbow Six: Siege demo from Ubisoft also looked mightily impressive. The end of 2015 is going to be jam packed with games from these major publishers, but so too is the start of 2016 with Doom, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – which looks and sounds fantastic – The Division and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

There were, of course, a few low points and disappointments. It was sad, but positive to see Ubisoft acknowledging the bad press they’ve had over the last 12 months, and although Square Enix’ lineup of games and renewed focus on RPGs is fantastic, their conference itself dragged.

Nintendo also disappointed, with few announcements to be excited by. However, this is a company heading into another transitionary period, as the Wii U fades and the amiibo rises, while the ‘NX’ console lurks on the edge of your vision. Their Nintendo Direct was poorly received, but the party atmosphere and the celebration of fun was clear to see through the brilliant muppets used to open their E3 stream and their 25th anniversary Nintendo World Championships – if there’s one single person who won E3, it would surely have to be John Numbers, the 2015 Nintendo World Champion.

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Yet there were notable omissions across the board. Bethesda confirmed Dishonored 2, but little else, Microsoft deliberately held back on showing Crackdown or Quantum Break – though they did present an impressive HoloLens demo with Minecraft – Sony had relatively little to say about Morpheus at this point, while EA and Ubisoft had things like Visceral’s Star Wars game and Watch Dogs 2 that have been kept waiting in the wings.

Even then, this E3 has been marked by a truly astonishing number of announcements that were deemed not worthy of the stage time. It has been, to put it bluntly, exhausting. The mad rush to announce games in advance of E3 so as not to be lost in the mad rush that is E3 merely served to create a chaotic and impossible to follow frenzy of game announcements. At the same time, it was all quite simply fantastic for gamers who are always looking for something new and exciting to play.

So who won E3 this year? We did, the gamers.


While I’ve aired my thoughts on this year’s E3 in this blog post, you too have the opportunity to share your view on the E3 conferences with this week’s WeView asking you to share your personal highlights and impressions of the show.

If you need any reminders or are looking to catch up on what’s going on, we’ve a list of all the important news and trailers from the last few days.

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30 Comments

  1. Yes we did! The whole thing was megatons! I’m just worried about next years E3 – can it be as good as this year?

    • Next E3 for Sony, it will be hard to beat that level of excitement, but they can just show the people more of what they want with more FF7 footage, possibly some game play shown? And maybe some footage of Shenmue 3. And I can see them announcing some new IPs in 2016 as well, new IP from Naughty Dog, new IP from the inFamous team, new IP from the Heavy Rain team. That’s some strong stuff, I think they’ll be fine.

      • “Worried” was probably too strong a word to use, but yeah there’s some great potential for next year too.

  2. Excellent E3 showing all round bar Nintendo probably. I was happy as a PS4 gamer and a good friend of mine who owns the XB1 is also happy as I’m sure many others are.

    Things looking up this year compared to what gaming gave us last year in the form of many buggy releases and broken promises.

  3. Nice mature article, Tef. Good on you. Far more important issues in the world to argue about than shit like this.

    I, personally, thought it a very strong showing for most of them. The best in years, in fact.

    • As silly as it sounds. On the flip side of it maybe talking bout games / arguing is a good get away from the amount of shit going on for some.

      (Not me)

      I personally wasn’t bothered bout E3 this year.

      I know what games I want, Shenmue was a shocker though.

      • Talking about games? Love it. Acceptance of other people’s preferences? Love it. Arguing and wishing death/terminal illness and general name-calling? No chance. People should be ashamed of how they carry on. IGN has some disgraceful arguments about the most tragically stupid things.

        I’m right, you’re wrong.
        It’s an opinion… it’s not right OR wrong!
        I’m still right.

        Ah, the internet. :-\ :-)

    • You’re wrong ;)

  4. An interesting thought follows – just what purpose does E3 actually serve then?

    If publishers are having to announce titles in advance of the show so they don’t get lost in the noise, yet the show itself is still chaotic and causing the press a nightmarish amount of extra work then why do it? Why not just have your own events spaced throughout the year where your titles can shine for a decent amount of time and not be eclipsed by more announcements and demos mere hours later?

    The amount that publishers spend attending E3 surely can’t be any more expensive and not much less work than hosting your own event? Although arguably it’s a good/cheap way to get the press all in one place at the same time but if the best they can do is “this has been announced, handful of details and here’s the trailer” (not criticizing your efforts here, it’s perfectly understandable and much appreciated :D) then is that really better than giving them the chance to write a decent writeup with some worthwhile details and their impressions whilst they’re still fresh in the writers mind?

    • Cheaper for devs to showcase all of their products in one sitting (read: one week). Cheaper to arrange as group bookings make it easier with venues. Easier for access as larger places means more people can see their games/hardware/etc.

      Massive focus on the event because everything is happening in the space of a week. Even with the tsunami of titles being shown off, you’d probably find that you don’t get truly lost in the overwhelming amount of information at hand simply because there’s even more attention being paid than normal.

      At least… I think that’s how it works. :D

    • All of these press conferences are then followed by the actual E3 show itself, where press can go hands on with a lot of these games and see them in action up close and personal. However, while E3 and Gamescom have turned into a bonanza of game reveals and the like, which have been geared specifically to whet the appetites of potential customers, there’s also a huge amount of stuff that goes on with the business side of things.

      • Oh I know that, but realistically how much time do you get to spend hands on with each title? How many staff from the TSA attended and how long was spent queuing followed by some actual “stick” time? If each publisher had their own, and perhaps regional, shows then you could conceivably have more machines available per title, and with potentially fewer people to cater for you’d get longer playtime per session.

        My only experience of such things was ECTS in 2000 and that was chaotic enough, I can’t imagine what E3 is like, especially if you have a job to do.

      • The vast majority of hands on demos at E3 and Gamescom are done away from the show floor, scheduled in advance – even if you don’t know what the game is specifically – and so on. In other words, the amount of time queueing and waiting around is much lower and you get a decent amount of time with the game to play through a level or see what it’s about.

        These E3 demos also last for a long time, and can and will be taken around to other shows over the next few months. A lot of demos at Gamescom will be the same E3 build, for example, especially because they are a fortnight closer to one another this year, and it’s not unheard of for E3 builds to then make the trip to EGX or PAX.

  5. Thought I’d clicked IGN by mistake when I read that headline :) You just need voting buttons, MS bias and a blonde babe holding a gun or something.

    Good games all round. I preferred Sony’s lineup (always have) but that’s just personal preference.

    I think there’s something for everyone no matter which console you own.

  6. Microsoft won

  7. Yay, we win! I think it was a good one, plenty of excitement, lots of nice trailers and a good spread of genres. Also, plenty of Guardians.

    Got a question about Battlefront, wasn’t it supposed to NOT be first person?

  8. Well it’s clear Microsoft won on terms of media buzz after the backwards compatibility reveal, though both them and Sony had decent games on show to look forward to.

    • Hey, I agree with you on this one..! ;o)
      MS was really strong in my view, and the top headline of all E3, actually the only one I’ve seen in mainstream media, was ‘MS announced backwards compatibility’.
      Last guardian, some FF remake and Shenmue doesn’t bring anyone to a PS4 from the XBone camp. Of course, this attracts folks in the Japanese market, but there MS is irrelevant anyway.

      The show overall was really good, and I said it before, I hope it gets MS back into the game, as competition can only be good for Playstation gamers.

      • I think that’s the first time, ha ha!

      • I know 3 people who have bought PS4’s purely for the Call of Duty timed content.

        There wasn’t a lot for me from Sony this year, but my younger brother was blown away by Last Guardian and FF7.

        Me, I was happier with the MS stuff as I thought the last Tomb Raider game was excellent I want the new one. Also the Rare collection and gears of War are more up my street.

  9. I don’t really like this who wins stuff much. Everyone has their preferences, and so they’re going to want the best for their console.

    For me, MS reaffirmed my choice of console as the X1, and Sony continued to be lacklustre AND made sure they have fully abandoned Vita. Did MS win, not really. All companies had a fair share, and from what I’ve seen have satisfied their customers/supporters.

    • You win cause it’s ya birthday! ;)

      • Ha fantastic, completely wasn’t expecting that, so you win the award for most unexpected announcement. Thanks mate :)

      • No probs hope you have a good one!
        On another note, I finally platted ghosts, only 2 more trophies for 100%.

      • Happy birthday, fella. Hope you had a lovely day. :-)

  10. I think Bethesda won E3! I didn’t watch the Sony and Microsoft conferences but there didn’t sound like much that interests me came out of them – but props to Microsoft on backwards compatibility, though I think it doesn’t matter that much in the long run. I was more excited at Bethesda and EA’s conferences cos of Fallout and Battlefront, and they delivered.

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