I don't think there was ever a time when games weren't big business. They always have been, but what seems to have changed recently is the theater of it all. Once a year, everyone from Reggie to that guy from those PlayStation commercials has to get on stage like Iron Man at a science fair and show off their new toy. They pick it up and tell us how much better it is that the last one, then they have fake families come on and pretend to play and show us how happy we will be once we buy the toy. Finally, after a brief appearance from Usher, the Internet analyzes everything to death, divining the future of gaming from an hourlong press conference. It's bizarre.
But what are we going to do? Between the musical numbers and the celebrity guests stands some real insight into the future of gaming. E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is where we find out a lot of good information and get a number of answers to important questions. For that reason, we have created The Top Eight Gaming Questions We Need Answered at E3. Be warned, gaming companies: if E3 fails to answer these questions, we will speculate rampantly until we all swear off of whatever product you haven't told us anything about. Tread carefully.
And as always, speculate rampantly in the comments section before these questions are answered. It is fun. Now, without further ado...
8. What does the PlayStation 4 look like?
So apparently everyone gets their own mini-E3 now. The trend seems dumb, especially since none of them made people excited about their console as much as they left people with too many questions and too much time on their hands to argue. Sony showed a handful of games, and even the new controller, but they didn't show us the actual PS4. It almost seemed like Sony executive Jan Brady had made the console up to compete with Marcia-rosoft but since the console didn't actually exist, she showed us some vague things it did and some of its accessories but then, would you look at that? We were out of time and we didn't even meet PS4. Oh well. Maybe next time.
Sony did release some pictures of pieces of the PS4, for some reason. The Internet put a few mock-ups together and one of them is probably pretty close. Sony is sending out emails with a picture of a sheet over a box, so it's pretty safe to say the PS4 will be shown at E3 and it will be some kind of box thing. I don't think anybody really cares about the shape because all of the attention has been directed at Microsoft recently (we'll get to it) but that doesn't mean that PS4 shouldn't matter. It is like that nice guy who did everything right, except maybe share too much, but gets no attention because of the bad boy doing donuts in the parking lot.
7. When Will Oculus Rift 2.0 be Available?
Gaming has gone in one direction for a long time. You have a screen that is stationary somewhere in front of you and you move something on that screen by interacting with a controller. This is how Tennis for Two worked on that oscilloscope. This is how BioShock Infinite works today. The screen is still not moving. And why not? My head moves in real life and the guy in the game's head moves. Yet in the game I move my thumb to move his head. I guess it was just an issue of technology not being caught up to the needs of the games. Well, about that...
The Oculus Rift is the coolest thing that has happened to gaming in a long time. It is a low latency immersion headset that rocks everyone's world. It even makes getting your head chopped off fun. So why can't I buy one. I understand. You guys are working out the kinks. That's fine, but when can I buy it? Just give me a rough estimate. Here's why: I may buy a console. However, if I can buy an Oculus Rift soon, there is no way I'm going to waste money on a machine that doesn't work with my fancy new Virtual Boy. So please just give me a day, and I will decide what I'm spending my money on besides alcohol and hot dogs.
6. Are PC or Mobile Games Going To Make a Showing?
The big three have proven that none of them really know what they're doing. Nintendo has a big dumb controller (we'll get to it). Microsoft...well, Microsoft...ugh (we'll get to it). Sony hasn't even shown us the thing they expect us to buy (we got to it). So with all of the confusion surrounding the frontrunners maybe it is time for a new challenger to enter the ring and make everyone else look even stupider.
There seem to be two candidates ready to dethrone the king. One is PC gaming. Steam could not be more popular due to recent events (we'll get to it) and Valve has a trove of new games that could easily be the most popular E3 games. A third Half Life, Portal, or Team Fortress would be a huge story and couple that with the fact that the Steambox should be inexpensive and easy to produce and PC games could win for sure.
Mobile Games are also out there, but besides this new Halo Spartan Assault thing, who really cares? Speaking of Halo...
5. Halo 5?
It's only been a year and Halo 4 is still running smoothly. It was a huge source of revenue for Microsoft and on top of that, it is a great game with tons of replay value. The only problem with replay value is that the game lasts forever and unless you release a new map pack every 30 seconds (which they do anyway) it's hard to see that revenue continue. That is why a new Call of Duty game that is incredibly similar to the previous one has been released every year since 2006. But Halo isn't about that. It is about making games that tell interesting stories and which you will play with your friends online for years to come. For example, the first Halo trilogy took seven years to complete. And sure, there have been small games along the way - Halo Wars and whatever Spartan Assault is - but for the most part Halo has taken it's time to create thought out sequels to it's mainstream games.
So then why is it that a leaked image points to an XBOne game that is clearly Halo 5? The source seems credible considering the image also leaked the name of Spartan Assault days before it was announced. So what gives, Microsoft? Is this game on the roadmap to come out in a year or two, or is Halo 5 the start of Halo trying to match right up to the CoD franchise by producing a new game daily. If Halo 5 features an "ultra realistic" dog, I'm out.