Photo: Allen J. Schaben, Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Column: ‘Disappointing’ E3 2017 suggests gamers are spoiled

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3, has been more exciting than Christmas for gamers for years. Although the event itself lasts three days, most people tune in early for the press conferences and presentations by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, plus other third-party publishers like Ubisoft and EA, that go on through the week. 

E3 has always been something to look forward to, but the last few years have been especially kind to fans as they were treated to enormous surprises. Re-revealing games stuck in development hell (“The Last Guardian,” “Final Fantasy XV”) has recently become a trend, and announcements of brand new intellectual properties or sequels to beloved games are expected. Surprisingly, for the first time perhaps in this console generation, gamers are declaring this E3 a disappointment.

I lacked some of the same satisfaction I had as previous years, but the question is why? This E3 saw the reveal of the most powerful console of all time (Microsoft’s Xbox One X), gameplay of previously announced titles (“Spider-Man,” “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” “Super Mario Odyssey”), awesome game announcements (“Anthem,” “Skull and Bones,” “Kirby”) and even teases of a couple games fans have been pining for (“The Evil Within 2,” “Wolfenstein II”). So, what exactly about this E3 made it lackluster to so many people?

Microsoft’s Project Scorpio (now the Xbox One X) was revealed in full and seemed to capitalize on its promise to be the most powerful console on the market, yet fans (myself included) were dismayed by a high price point and lack of exclusive content. 

Meanwhile, Sony showed gameplay for many of their upcoming exclusives, but apparently, that was not enough to temper gamers’ vicious appetites. Nintendo and Ubisoft should have even quenched the thirst for surprises with their exciting reveals of “Beyond Good and Evil 2” and “Metroid Prime 4,” but we, the fans, were still not satisfied. While all the various announcements sound great on paper, there was something clearly missing. It’s very likely that expectations were too high on this year’s expo, but regardless, E3 2017 has shown that we as gamers are spoiled.

To be fair, it does seem like that there should have been hard dates for some games shown (I’m looking at you “Days Gone”), but was this year’s E3 actually “disappointing” because there were no surprises or nothing new, or because we have been spoiled with spectacular shows the last few years. From the surprise reveal of “Fallout 4” and its quick release date, to the announcement of “Shenmue 3,” there have been some really amazing moments at E3 the last few years. Additionally, we are currently in one of gaming’s best years in quite some time. There have already been several critically acclaimed games released (“Zelda,” “Persona 5,” “Nier: Automata”) and numerous big releases to look forward to as well (“Destiny 2,” “Assassin’s Creed: Origins,” “Crackdown 3”), yet we still want more. Instead, we should be excited at how good 2018 looks to be for gaming as well.

I understand the anxiousness to play the games that we have heard about for the last couple of years, but the industry is in a tough spot. Show a game too early and gamers complain that it was shown too far ahead of release. It also runs the risk of building too much hype and letting down fans. Conversely, wait too long to show something, and gamers grow tired of waiting and demand something to fuel their excitement.

It’s not a crime to say that E3 2017 was disappointing. I would tend to agree. But perhaps we all should count our blessings and look forward to the releases in the near future instead of looking for the next big announcement or surprise. Maybe we could also think about the predicament publishers and developers are in when they try to please us. Hopefully, we can all watch E3 2018 together in the middle of another monumental year and receive more exciting news for the years to come.

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