Why Microsoft didn’t win E3 2019 – Reader’s Feature

A reader gives his verdict on E3’s winners and losers and explains why he’s disappointed at how Microsoft handled Sony’s absence.

My biggest regret about E3 is that I didn’t write a Reader’s Feature before it happened, in an attempt to predict what would occur. Because what did happen is pretty much exactly what I expected. Microsoft was in a position to dominate the entire show, especially as Google weren’t really there with Stadia, and what did they do? Pretty much the minimum effort, with no major announcements of any note except what was already rumoured – and even then they left a ton out.

Thinking about it for this feature I don’t even know what was meant to be the biggest annoucement. When the two main options are Lego-themed DLC for Forza Horizon 4 and Phantasy Star Online 2 you know something, somewhere has gone drastically wrong. The Halo Infinite trailer was weird and boring, and all the best stuff, like Cyberpunk 2077, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and The Outer Worlds were multiformat and nothing specifically to do with the Xbox.

In hindsight it’s now obvious that they didn’t want to show off anything that was only going to be on Project Scarlett, like Fable IV and Forza Motorsport 8, but I really don’t think they were sensible to be so coy. This was their moment to go all in and they bottled it. I’ve seen quotes from a Microsoft exec saying they didn’t want to ‘empty the tank’ but that’s exactly what they should’ve done. Now Sony has the chance to trump them at the next E3 and/or at their reveal event and any advantage Microsoft could’ve gain from having this E3 to themselves has gone.

Sure, they announced Project Scarlett and showed a bit more of Project xCloud, but none of the information was particularly useful or interesting. Just some vague technobabble about their new console and confirmation that xCloud works in extremely controlled conditions – a revelation that is absolutely no good to anyone.

So who did ‘win’ E3? Well, I thought Nintendo, Square Enix, and Bethesda all did pretty well. While Ubisoft did uncharacteristically poorly. Despite still managing to have a few surprises the sci-fi Rainbow Six looked horribly derivative just from the trailer and the Elite Squad mobile game I can still barely believe is true; it looked so bad and seemed to be purposefully trolling Splinter Cell fans.

Bethesda did much better and while some thought they’d fast track more info on The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield I think they did the smarter thing of announcing new IP. They clearly weren’t very far along, and I suspect they wouldn’t have been revealed this year if Bethesda didn’t need to regain the trust of fans, but I certainly appreciated knowing they were on the way. And while I’m not interested in it either way I also thought they made a solid effort in redeeming Fallout 76.

Square Enix also did well. I don’t remember them having a show like that before at E3 but they totally justified it, with a whole bunch of games and major reveals but still the sense that they’ve got a lot more they didn’t mention. The Marvel’s Avengers reveal was slightly underwhelming, although GC’s preview of the behind closed doors stuff was reassuring that they just pitched it slightly oddly.

I still don’t like the look of the characters though, which is too close to the movies and yet not close enough. They should’ve either gone comic book style or create a unique look of their own, although I suppose that in itself is going to encourage buying outfits.

All of which leaves Nintendo, who… did great. They really are the masters of the livestream event, to the point that all others get compared to a Nintendo Direct. And for good reason: this one was jam packed with announcements and reveals and yet didn’t go on forever and wasn’t just all CG trailers (I was so sick of that by the end of Microsoft, long before you got to the other companies).

The Zelda reveal at the end was the perfect cap to a really solid line-up and I absolutely don’t mind that Animal Crossing has been delayed till next year as this time it looks like they’ve actually shaken up the formula. Luigi’s Mansion 3 looked good, as did Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Pokémon. For what it’s worth (which is almost nothing without Sony) I think Nintendo won E3, but Microsoft, for me, wasn’t even in the top three.

By reader Ashton Marley

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter.

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