E3 2014: Console Makers Providing Entertainment Beyond Pure Gaming

E3 2014: Console Makers Providing Entertainment Beyond Pure Gaming
Bring On the Sony PlayStation TV
Microsoft Will Focus on New Games to Support Xbox
What's the Kinect's Future?
Nintendo Looks Like the Forgotten Game Company
Game Sequels Are Big Business
It's More About Entertainment Than Just Gaming
Latest Games Make the Most of 2013 Microsoft, Sony Hardware
It's All About Exclusivity and Being First
Portable Gaming Lives On
Sony Will Maintain Its Lead in Game Consoles
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E3 2014: Console Makers Providing Entertainment Beyond Pure Gaming

By Don Reisinger

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Bring On the Sony PlayStation TV

Sony at its press conference showed off the PlayStation TV. The hardware, which will launch in the fall for $99, will connect to a television and allow PlayStation 4 owners to stream titles and apps to that other set. It'll support more than 1,000 games at launch and promises to be a real competitor to other set-top boxes, like the Amazon Fire TV.

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Microsoft Will Focus on New Games to Support Xbox

Microsoft made it abundantly clear at its own press conference that games and the Xbox One would remain an important part of its corporate business strategy that is otherwise devoted to enterprise IT products and services. The company spent its entire two-hour press conference at E3 discussing games that will be coming to the Xbox One, and hardly even mentioned its hardware. In the coming months, Microsoft plans to win new customers by way of games.

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What's the Kinect's Future?

Now that Microsoft has launched the Xbox One without the Kinect motion-sensing peripheral, it's hard to tell exactly what that device's future is like. The games shown off at the Microsoft press conference didn't even mention Kinect, and it's starting to feel as though the accessory will be just another add-on that few pay attention to. That's too bad—the Kinect is still an innovative device.

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Nintendo Looks Like the Forgotten Game Company

Nintendo has largely backed away from E3, which would explain why it didn't create much buzz. But perhaps the more important story behind Nintendo at E3 is that few third-party game makers are actually supporting the Wii U. It appears at this point that third-party titles will be awfully light for Nintendo in 2014.

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Game Sequels Are Big Business

Sequels are everything in the games business these days. Sequels allow companies to make higher margins, since much of the game's design is already done and they don't need to educate the market on the value of a new title. That's precisely why so many companies—from Activision to Electronic Arts to Ubisoft—showed off sequels at this year's show. Expect 2014 to be a big year for titles you already know.

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It's More About Entertainment Than Just Gaming

Entertainment is going to play a crucial role in the future value proposition for game consoles and devices. The PlayStation TV is expected to come with support for entertainment apps. Meanwhile, Microsoft is making it easier for gamers to access content, like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Entertainment—how to keep gamers entertained when they aren't playing games—will play an important role in 2014, E3 has shown.

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Latest Games Make the Most of 2013 Microsoft, Sony Hardware

Although the high-end game consoles from Microsoft and Sony launched last year, it's really this year that we're seeing game titles that are capable of harnessing their power. Part of that is because game companies port many late-stage last-gen products to new consoles. It's also because game developers need to take time to find out how to make their games get the most out of the latest hardware. As the keynotes and games showed on the floor proved, the titles this year will look absolutely gorgeous.

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It's All About Exclusivity and Being First

Sony and Microsoft are in a battle not only for supremacy in the console market, but also their ability to attract third-party titles first and, if possible, exclusively. Indeed, many of the announcements at Sony's and Microsoft's events talked about titles that were either exclusive to their consoles or coming first to their hardware. The shooter game "Destiny," for example, will be available on the PlayStation 4 first, which was a big win for Sony and something the company brought up early and often.

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Portable Gaming Lives On

Although portable gaming devices such as the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita are losing market share at a rapid pace to casual gaming on smartphones and tablets, they're still being supported by their makers. Some could argue that Sony even doubled its efforts on the Vita front, promising many more games and better integration with the PlayStation 4. Are Vita and the 3DS in trouble? Sure. But don't expect Sony or Nintendo to admit it.

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Sony Will Maintain Its Lead in Game Consoles

The sales numbers are in: Sony's PlayStation 4 is outselling both the Wii U and the Xbox One. Going into E3, many industry watchers believed that Microsoft would have to have a big show to turn the tide, and some observers were left unsatisfied by what it showed off during its event. Sony, meanwhile, is changing the gaming paradigm with its PlayStation TV and also showed off some solid games. Was Sony's showing at E3 perfect? No. But it appears the company will remain in the lead at least for this year.

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