It is officially the second most wonderful time of the year: E3 week! This is a time where all gamers unite to be given presents after presents of gaming related announcements. It is also where publishers attempt to “win” E3 in gamers’ minds. With that said, each conference in itself features winners and losers. So, we will be recapping each day featuring conferences by picking our own winners and losers! We kick the slate off with Saturday and the lone EA press conference.
Winner: FIFA 19
The UEFA license is officially with EA Sports and FIFA! It was rumored last year before being cemented last month when it was announced that Konami and PES had lost the license. As a huge footy fan (an Everton fan, if you must know), this makes me extremely happy to see and further perplexes me as to why Konami still makes an attempt at releasing PES. There was a bit of bad news that slid its way in during this block: Alex Hunter will have a third installment. I am just not a fan of continuing his story for a third year in a row.
Loser: The Crowd
They started off low and then, while host Andrea Rene was trying to get through the opening of the presser, they kept interrupting her with half-hearted attempts at cheers. This caused her to go off-script to accept the cheers and try to hype them up louder. However, every attempt at amplification was unsuccessful and really made the crowd come off as rude. I understand it is the first conference and it was still morning when it started, but, sheesh! Show some energy if you are going to cheer.
Winner: PC Gamers
Not only do they get their first Madden game in a decade, they are also getting Origin Access Premier. This subscription tier is in the same vein as Xbox’s Game Pass where you get access to the new EA published games before launch. It really shows how Microsoft, when in the right hands and not forcing everything on a gamer at once, can and has impacted the gaming industry. This subscription model mixed with the current games as a service trend is going to be the future.
Loser: EA Access
With the above said, there was no mention at all about EA Access during the entire press conference. The service that birthed Origin Access, but has been neglected recently, was a forgotten entity yet again. It is a shame that EA did not test run the Premier subscription tier on EA Access, or at the very least merge the two into one entity and go fully into Game Pass territory.
Getting outright acquired by EA was a good move in itself, but it has quickly paid further dividends as they have announced that their Star Wars game will be named Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and that it will be released Holiday 2019. While Titanfall 2 was released in the holiday frame and thrown to the wolves, EA knows they need to get back in the good graces of LucasFilm. This game will have the best release date possible and likely the entire holiday marketing budget from EA.
Loser: Fans wanting Titanfall 3
Now to the bad news of that announcement: no Titanfall– at least, not in the immediate future. Hopefully the series is not completely dead and will reappear once the Star Wars game is released. That said, fans will begin to lose hope each year that goes by with out a mention of the series. If it ever does come, I hope its release is better scheduled by EA and gets a larger marketing budget.
Winner: EA Originals
Between the announcement and immediate release of Unravel Two, though it did break the rule of put every game on the Switch, the massive success of A Way Out, and the announcement of Sea of Solitude; the EA Originals initiative has been a massive success for EA and the indie developers involved alike. It tells a lot when you see how passionate the developers get when they are announcing their games on EA’s stage during E3, or when they are doing an interview drunk at The Game Awards.
Loser: Non-Sports Fans
It initially looked like EA had learned their lesson on the extra long EA Sports blocks by first splitting the games up and making each one a quick hitter, but then we got two Madden players stepping onto the stage for some banter. It was awkward and then it was followed up by a mini esports broadcast of a new mobile game. It was a mess and shows that EA still has some ways to go to present viewers and the live crowd with a nonstop enjoyable experience.
All in all, EA had a solid press conference and would have been hard to beat. That is, until after the EA Originals block was finished. Then came the awkward Madden onstage segment followed by the mini esports segment and was capped by the comic-con-esque panel on Anthem. EA halted the press conference to a standstill and ultimately made it just plan bang average. With that said; FIFA getting UEFA, the success of EA Originals, and EA jumping into the Game Subscription arena are all major news items, and Anthem’s release date being announced for February was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise.