TRIPLEPOINTS OF INTEREST: JUNE 10

This week’s TPoI, we break down the key takeaways from E3 2019.

CYBERPUNK 2077 BOOTH:
Days after Keanu Reeves blew fans away in the middle of Microsoft’s Xbox press conference, CD Projekt Red exhibited a grungy underground nightclub “covered wall-to-wall with awesome references” to Cyberpunk 2077’s dystopian future.

CYBERPUNK 2077 BOOTH:
Days after Keanu Reeves blew fans away in the middle of Microsoft’s Xbox press conference, CD Projekt Red exhibited a grungy underground nightclub “covered wall-to-wall with awesome references” to Cyberpunk 2077’s dystopian future.

UNREAL GARDENS:
The Entertainment Software Association and Onedome showcased The Unreal Garden at E3, a 6,000 square-foot version of their San Francisco-based augmented reality exhibit. Unreal Gardens was located at West Hall and featured new scenes that revealed hidden messages and content.

  • General Sentiment: While Twitter chatter was quiet, press such as NextGov identified E3 as one of the most exciting trade shows to demonstrate the latest capabilities of virtual and augmented reality. While press do note that AR is generally less developed than VR, the potential is there for it to make an even greater impact on gamification (e.g. military training).

THE PC GAMING SHOW:
The PC Gaming Show, hosted by PC Gamer and sponsored by the Epic Games Store, discussed a total of 30 game titles and their subsequent announcements. While big titles like Borderlands 3 and Baldur’s Gate 3 made cameo appearances, the PC Gaming Show was all about new launches, new gameplay trailers, and sneak previews of future titles — many of which were exclusive premieres to the show.  

The most notable titles on display included:

  • General Sentiment: Press noted the PC Gaming Show as “not the highest-profile conference at E3 every year” yet still concede it to be a thrilling experience for PC gaming enthusiasts as it remains the premier time to announce new PC games in trailer form.

UBISOFT PRESS CONFERENCE:
Ubisoft’s press conference this year included new footage of Watch Dogs Legion and new games such as Gods and Monsters and Roller Champions. Spin-offs to franchise favorites such as Rainbow Six: Quarantine and Watch Dogs Legion were also revealed.

Of note, Ubisoft announced a new subscription service called Uplay+ during its E3 press conference. The subscription service will launch in September 14 for $14.99 per month and grant unlimited access to over 100 Ubisoft games, including new and upcoming releases, premium editions and DLC and post-launch content. UPlay+ will additionally be a part of the Google Stadia game streaming platform

Games shared during the Ubisoft press conference this year:

  • General Sentiment: Press claimed to be genuinely pumped by this year’s Ubisoft Press Conference and surprisingly pleased by the games they demoed behind closed doors. With Ubisoft now releasing a subscription program for its growing games catalogue, press are increasingly noting E3 2019 to be “the year of subscription services,” with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Google’s Stadia Pro subscription, Sony’s PlayStation Plus, EA Access, and the Apple Arcade subscription all making appearances this weekend. While press are not yet desensitized by the crowded space, they are becoming increasingly curious by differentiators beyond the catalogue.

AMD NEXT HORIZON GAMING KEYNOTE:
Today during its E3 2019 press conference, AMD’s featured announcement was the Ryzen 9 3950X— the “World’s first 16-core Gaming CPU.” Blasting past Intel’s 8 and 12-core gaming CPU, AMD stated the chip will boast “the highest boost frequency” going up to 4.7Ghz, 72MB of cache, and 105 watts.

In addition to the Ryzen 9 3950X, AMD introduced its Radeon RX 5700 graphics card. While many claim AMD’s new line of video cards are now competitive enough to compete with Nvidia’s racers, other tech-savvy outlets were more mixed as its new line of graphics cards   

  • General Sentiment: Press are growingly impressed with AMD as it makes headways past its competitors Intel and Nvidia. The Ryzen 9 3950X in particular was the stalwart of the show, with press calling its demo on the frame rates of ultra high-quality videos using both Intel and AMD  one of the most impressive on stage. The line of video cards AMD showed however had mixed impressions due to debunked rumors leading up to the show as well as questions whether this would finally be AMD’s opportunity to compete with Nvidia and Intel.

SQUARE ENIX PRESS CONFERENCE:
Fans of Square Enix were long anticipating details to the Final Fantasy VII Remake and Marvel’s Avengers – and Square Enix delivered, along with a plethora of other games. From remastered JRPGs to new co-op shooters, Square Enix delivered one of the most packed shows at E3. Besides the two aforementioned titles that took center stage, other games such as Stormbringers, Life Is Strange 2, and Circuit Superstars were showcased to cater to varying audience members and their particular interests.

The most notable titles displayed Monday included:

  • General Sentiment: Following a disappointing E3 press conference last year, Square Enix surpassed expectations this year according to press. In an hour long conference, Square Enix’s multiple announcements had fans “cheering from start to finish” as it became one of its most delightful E3 shows yet with a 74.72% approval rating (second only to Nintendo’s 88.67%).  

Some fans have reacted negatively towards Marvel’s Avengers, claiming the character designs don’t feature the likeliness of the MCU actors fans have grown accustomed to seeing in the movies over the last decade. While Twitter blew up over Marvel’s Avengers, the majority of press and gamers remained ecstatic over the breadth of Square Enix’s lineup.

Microsoft:
During Microsoft’s E3 2019 conference, 60 new games, new software services, and new hardware were announced. The following contains the key takeaways from Sunday’s conference.

  • Project Scarlett: Xbox’s next generation console, dubbed Project Scarlett, will be available during the holiday season of 2020. The console will feature a custom-designed AMD processor, 120 FPS, 8K graphic capability, next-generation SSD, and more. Microsoft stated that the console will be “setting the bar” for console power, performance, and speed. Additionally, Halo Infinite will be available with the console upon release. Sentiment from the press was mixed. Some outlets expressed excitement over the console’s alleged power capabilities while others were unconvinced of the need and availability of 8K graphics.
  • Project xCloud: A new streaming service, called Project xCloud, will be available for Xbox players to preview beginning in October of 2019. Project xCloud will enable players to stream their Xbox One library – including Xbox Game Pass – directly to their mobile devices. While the press was optimistic about the software’s possibilities, the most widespread caveat was Google’s Stadia, which currently poses as the service’s largest competition.
  • Xbox Game Pass: Multiple updates were announced for Xbox Game Pass over the span of the showcase. First, the beta of Xbox Game Pass was announced for PC through the Xbox app. Xbox Game Pass for PC offers over 100 titles from over 75 developers. Next, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was announced, which includes an Xbox Live Gold membership and access to Gears 5: Ultimate Edition alongside Xbox Game Pass’ expansive library of over 100 titles. While the original price for this package is $14 a month, players can sign up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $1 for the first month. Finally, Microsoft showcased a lineup of 25 titles from the ID@Xbox program coming to Xbox Game Pass. The press was widely neutral regarding the updates, but GameSpot was positive and claimed that the latest Xbox Game Pass news was exciting.

Bethesda:

  • Orion: Bethesda has announced a new software program, called Orion, that is set to improve cloud gaming performance. According to Bethesda, Orion will offer users an improved streaming speed and quality experience even if they are far away from a server or share internet bandwidth with multiple parties. Later this year, users will be able to test Orion by demoing Doom Eternal at 60 FPS and in 4K resolution on the device. Similarly to Project xCloud, the press were optimistic about the possibilities of Orion but were concerned that it may not be able to compete with Google’s Stadia. Polygon stated, “We’ll have to see if Bethesda’s business folks — and its lawyers — are able to convince other developers to license this technology, and whether or not that helps accelerate adoption of streaming technology. Right now, it’s still just a pitch.”
  • Doom Eternal: Doom Eternal will be released in October of this year. The highly-anticipated title will include new enemies, new locations, new weapons, and new play modes for players to experience. The press is looking forward to the release of the title, with Ars Technica going as far as saying, “I don’t often get as jazzed about an in-development video game the way I have about DOOM Eternal. After playing its 20-minute E3 demo to completion for my first time, I yelled, ‘AGAIN! AGAIN!’ like a child unwilling to get off of a rollercoaster (and was thankfully granted another go at the fun).”
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