Each E3 gives gamers plenty to chew on, and this year was no exception as publishers added sequels, up-and-comers introduced new titles, and a cold console war grew hot again.
Big publishers captured most of the headlines, as Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) touted Arkham Origins, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) showed Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) previewed Titanfall for the Xbox One and teased Star Wars: Battleground, the first of what could be many genre games under a broad-based license with The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS).
Still tone-deaf after all these years ... You know it's bad when Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) denies there's a problem in the first place. (Cough, Vista, cough). But that's what we had from Mr. Softy at E3 last week: no response to gamers who hate how the forthcoming Xbox One console will require them to log in via the Internet once a day to check for rights violations. No sharing of games with others, either. Or selling used copies back to GameStop.
You can almost picture CEO Steve Ballmer speaking from the pulpit. "Gaming is a privilege, not a right," he'd say in defense of the Xbox's daily spying as gamers riot in the streets below. Or not. The picture is what matters here: Mr. Softy casting a pall over a graying, Orwellian crowd of former Xbox enthusiasts.
A perfect setup for Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) , which responded with an overhand smash of an ad:
Microsoft hasn't suffered a takedown like this since Justin Long and John Hodgman dismantled Vista in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s now-infamous "I'm a Mac" ads. How ironic that Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) threw the punch, since it was the iPod that killed the Walkman. A rumored TV could do even more damage to the Japanese consumer-electronics giant.
For now, it's the PS4 threatening the Xbox One. And, for that matter, the entire Xbox line.
Not that Mr. Softy is without allies. Notably, EA. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) touted Titanfall at its E3 press event. More will board the bandwagon as publishers come to realize the Xbox One's log-on requirement could lead to more direct relationships with players, less piracy, and more upselling of options and upgrades.
Presuming, of course, that gamers don't abandon the Xbox for the PS4 first. Both consoles will go on sale in time for the holiday shopping season.