The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, had the usual hits and misses this week, and more drama than most of the games on the screens. With a strong lineup of first-party titles plus better third-party support, Nintendo has proven it is capable of more comebacks than Elvis Presley and John Travolta combined. However, the battle for hardcore gamer dollars continues to be fought between Microsoft and Sony.

With no new hardware news from the companies, this was another year about the games, but for every hit there were apparently a few misses — and no doubt many of the games shown this year won’t be released by the time next year’s show kicks off.

Fan Faves

Anyone expecting notable new titles may have been among the losers, as this was a year of sequels. Among the biggest announcements were Microsoft’s Halo Infinite, Sony’s The Last of Us Part II, Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls VI and Fallout 76, Disney/Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 3, Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

“The game industry loves sequels,” remarked Ted Pollak, game industry senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research.

“It is very much like HBO, which has so much success with Game of Thrones, season after season,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Why would the industry stop making sequels? These aren’t really a surprise,” Pollak continued. “What can hurt a sequel is if the quality goes downhill or the gamers get fatigued; so a good sequel needs to have great individual characteristics that make it more than just more of the same.”

Many of the new titles are from longstanding and popular franchises that show no signs of slowing down.

“One of the biggest announcements was Fallout 76,” Pollak said. “It is just a franchise that does everything right. It is cross-platform, so PC gamers love it and console gamers love it.”

Game On

Without next-generation hardware to hype, this year’s E3 was about games — loads and loads of games, even if most did seem to be sequels or the latest in long-running franchises. Yet, even among the sequels there seemed to be a lack of really big or splashy announcements.

“There were a few less triple-A titles than might have been expected,” notedPaul Semel, freelance gaming editor.

“Generally most attendees were a little under-impressed by what Microsoft had to offer with its first-party lineup too,” he told TechNewsWorld. “There were a lot of games, but at the same time it almost seemed that the companies were holding back a lot this year.”

Speculation is that Microsoft and Sony may have been holding their cards closer to their respective chests until later this year or even next year when new hardware finally could be on the horizon.

“There is this feeling that the big games in development could be the next-generation systems, even if those weren’t announced,” Semel said.

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, had the usual hits and misses this week, and more drama than most of the games on the screens. With a strong lineup of first-party titles plus better third-party support, Nintendo has proven it is capable of more comebacks than Elvis Presley and John Travolta combined. However, the battle for hardcore gamer dollars continues to be fought between Microsoft and Sony.

With no new hardware news from the companies, this was another year about the games, but for every hit there were apparently a few misses — and no doubt many of the games shown this year won’t be released by the time next year’s show kicks off.

Fan Faves

Anyone expecting notable new titles may have been among the losers, as this was a year of sequels. Among the biggest announcements were Microsoft’s Halo Infinite, Sony’s The Last of Us Part II, Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls VI and Fallout 76, Disney/Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 3, Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

“The game industry loves sequels,” remarked Ted Pollak, game industry senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research.

“It is very much like HBO, which has so much success with Game of Thrones, season after season,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Why would the industry stop making sequels? These aren’t really a surprise,” Pollak continued. “What can hurt a sequel is if the quality goes downhill or the gamers get fatigued; so a good sequel needs to have great individual characteristics that make it more than just more of the same.”

Many of the new titles are from longstanding and popular franchises that show no signs of slowing down.

“One of the biggest announcements was Fallout 76,” Pollak said. “It is just a franchise that does everything right. It is cross-platform, so PC gamers love it and console gamers love it.”

Game On

Without next-generation hardware to hype, this year’s E3 was about games — loads and loads of games, even if most did seem to be sequels or the latest in long-running franchises. Yet, even among the sequels there seemed to be a lack of really big or splashy announcements.

“There were a few less triple-A titles than might have been expected,” notedPaul Semel, freelance gaming editor.

“Generally most attendees were a little under-impressed by what Microsoft had to offer with its first-party lineup too,” he told TechNewsWorld. “There were a lot of games, but at the same time it almost seemed that the companies were holding back a lot this year.”

Speculation is that Microsoft and Sony may have been holding their cards closer to their respective chests until later this year or even next year when new hardware finally could be on the horizon.

“There is this feeling that the big games in development could be the next-generation systems, even if those weren’t announced,” Semel said.

Some E3 attendees thought differently.

Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the big hits of the show,” said Semel.

“William Gibson didn’t think much of it, but that just increased the interest,” he added.

“Gibson is being a little harsh,” suggested Enderle. “Cyberpunk is hard to pull off visually, so they’ve had to simplify it a bit to make it playable. The fans of the genre might have some issues, but it will come to what the gamers think and how playable it is.”

Stream On

The next-generation hardware could still be a ways down the road, but game companies may be thinking beyond hardware. One interesting trend this year was Games as a Service — the concept of streaming content to gamers instead of selling them like physical media.

The electronic entertainment industry could be watching the way the movie and TV industries have adapted to Content as a Service, and how the business world has adapted to Software as a Service.

“At E3 we started to hear about Games as a Service and how streaming will be a part of this,” said Pollak.

“Think of it like how an insurance company gives you a policy for five motorcycles but you can only wreck one at a time,” he quipped.

This business model wouldn’t be much of a leap beyond Steam, the online game service, or even what EA has done with its Origin service. The biggest difference is that content might not be stored locally but could be streamed as needed by the player.

“That is what a lot of game companies are already talking about,” said Pollak.

Less Wasn’t More

One complaint often heard at E3 concerns the format of the show, which has grown well beyond being an industry trade event. This year, as in recent years, the show opened up to the general public.

That has turned E3 into a Comic Con-like event — and as a result, game publishers may be trying too hard to appeal to the masses rather than previewing what’s coming soon for the gaming media and retail buyers.

“There are three hours for the press and industry insiders, but E3 has really been turned over to the gamers,” noted Costello.

“At the same time, there was this hype that gaming could become an Olympic sport, so maybe this plays into that,” she added.

“However, this year was still about what we didn’t see — including new hardware,” Costello said.

“There was a lack of [virtual reality] content or hardware,” said Enderle.

“I expected this to be the VR breakout year, but even what Microsoft showed was underwhelming,” he observed.

“It was a lot of the same,” said Costello. “However, we kept hearing it takes time to develop a game.”