SuperBunnyHop: Lies & Hype: The E3 2015 Story

By Shamus
on Jun 19, 2015
Filed under:
Movies


Link (YouTube)

George gives us another smart, thought-provoking video, and I thought it was so interesting that I wanted to give it its own thread here. Also, a lot of what he discusses involves the non-journalist, non-developer, non-publishers out there – the gaming public at large – and how they respond to this sort of advertisement-as-news.

Like George, I kind of feel like it’s my job to follow this stuff. Not because I think you folks want to be deluged in screenshots, trailers, and marketing speak, but because it’s kind of required to be part of the overall conversation. For a lot of people, there’s an expectation that I ought to know about all this stuff already.

“Shamus, I can’t believe you’re never heard of Gunface III! It’s been at the last two E3 shows!”

“It’s totally unfair for you to ding this game for having too many jump scares. The trailer they showed at E3 made it clear this game is ALL ABOUT jump scares!”

“I think you’re being unfair to Headshot 3. Remember when Adam Sessler interviewed the developer and they said their budget had been cut? Everyone knew this was coming.”

It’s important to understand what people are talking about when they say, “Riiidge RACER!” or “Five hundred and ninety-nine US dollars”.

It’s not that I need to ride the hype train, but when the train finally arrives I need to be able to know where it’s been and who was driving it. And to be fair, sometimes knowing this stuff is really useful. Every game has an arc from inception, to teaser, to hype, to release, to Metacritic, to legacy. Being able to follow those points can make for some great stories. It’s rewarding to understand why a game changed direction, lost it’s way, become an exclusive, wound up canceled, changed studios, or was undone by an influx of poorly-managed cash.

Josh and I did our livestream of E3 earlier this week. That was me taking a stab at making this obligation more fun, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Not a ton of you watched it, but some of you did and I got to see your reactions in chat. That’s part of the story too, and in a lot of ways those reactions are going to be more rational than the audience that’s sitting in front of the jumbotron, drinking hype directly from the firehose.

But I’m curious what you think. How do you feel about shows like E3? Do you follow them because you’re excited to see the games? Do you follow them because you don’t want to be left out of the conversation? Do you hate-watch them? Ignore them? Cherry-pick through the best bits days later? Do you think it’s healthy? Bad? A farce? Do you wish you could go?

Don’t feel obligated to answer all of those questions directly. Just consider this an open thread regarding E3 and George’s video.

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A Hundred!202There are 122 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. A few “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” videos.

    20 minutes of Alpha game play https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh-iX2bxOjI

    Game engine tech demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-epev7cT30

    Behind the scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pro2L3Wyvb4

  2. Thomas says:

    I think it’s important to be on your guard of course and to make sure you’re not letting go of your reason, but I really don’t see whats so bad about enjoying E3 if you’re up for it.

    As it is I think George’s video comes off as just a bit too bitter. People have wanted a FFVII remake for years and years, why is it not cool that one gets announced?

    And a lot of the things he was calling deception were openly talked about on stage. They said the pip-boy was a phone casing (and you know what? It’s still a really neat thing. Howard said something like “it’s junk, but isn’t it the coolest junk we’ve ever made?”). They kept cutting to shots showing the Minecraft thing wasn’t a hologram and theres an actual working demo of what they were showing off.

    It feels like the video of someone who was burnt out, and really didn’t need or want to watch E3, but was forced to because he kind of felt it was his job and then unsurprisingly hated it and made a video about how much he hated watching the thing that he didn’t want to watch.

    It sucks having a job in gaming sometimes. I watched the E3 press conferences that I wanted to watch, only if I felt like watching them at the time they were on (this year it was all but the Nintendo one). If you have a job you feel like you don’t have the luxury to take a break if actually you really need one

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      but I really don’t see whats so bad about enjoying E3 if you’re up for it.

      Nothing.You can enjoy any crap you want.But having so much revolving around e3?There is lots of bad about that.

      People have wanted a FFVII remake for years and years, why is it not cool that one gets announced?

      Its not.What is uncool is the reason why it is in the works just now,and not a bunch of times before,when the fans were crying for it.

      And a lot of the things he was calling deception were openly talked about on stage. They said the pip-boy was a phone casing (and you know what? It’s still a really neat thing. Howard said something like “it’s junk, but isn’t it the coolest junk we’ve ever made?”).

      Phone casing and an app.And whats important about that is not that its cool (for a one time use,like George said),but that they admit it is useless crap they are more than happy to sell us for more than its worth.You can polish a turd to a mirror shine,but it will still be just a turd.

      It feels like the video of someone who was burnt out, and really didn’t need or want to watch E3, but was forced to because he kind of felt it was his job and then unsurprisingly hated it and made a video about how much he hated watching the thing that he didn’t want to watch.

      Yes,and?He said so at the very beginning of the video.And I share his sentiment.Only I didnt have to watch it,and so I didnt.I only listened to Josh and Shamoose in the background,because those two I do like.

      • Piflik says:

        “Phone casing and an app.And whats important about that is not that its cool (for a one time use,like George said),but that they admit it is useless crap they are more than happy to sell us for more than its worth.You can polish a turd to a mirror shine,but it will still be just a turd.”

        If you get offered a shiny turd, don’t buy it. I certainly won’t. But the are enough idiots out there, with more money than brains, so it would be stupid of them to not produce some turds for these idiots to buy.

        • Thomas says:

          Come on, it’s not about idiots. And it’s not about taking advantage of idiots.

          Like Mumbles has a giant Riddler trophy. You know the people who’re going to buy this are going to love it and there’s nothing idiotic about loving it. It’s kinda silly to disapprove of people for liking memorabilia attached to a product they love.

          (And like you said, it’s more condescending for the hidden assumption in what DL and George said, that people are just blindly going to buy this stuff if it’s not something they’d get enjoyment out of. )

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            I dont care about people buying it.I care about it being used to hype the game instead of gameplay.

            • Thomas says:

              You didn’t even watch E3. He just hyped the pip-boy and the companion app.

              None of us were sitting there going “oh wow that plastic thing looks cool, Fallout 4 must be an amazing game”

              That’s also not what George was saying. He was just saying “look how rubbish this pip boy is and all the people who were fooled into thinking it was cool” with screenshot of commenters

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                So I imagined the cheer it got after being described as “crap,but cool crap”.

                • “Crap, but it’s still cool,” which I suppose it is. The previous Pip-Boy clocks from F3 were either thrown out or used for cosplay. At least this one looks like it could actually fit on the average forearm.

                  It’s neat-looking and completely optional. It’s like cheering that your favorite movie is getting an action figure line. You don’t have to get them to enjoy your movie, but it’s nice that if you want some stupid plastic stuff for your desk, you can buy it.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Sure.But when I am lets say at a movie festival,I want to watch a bunch of movies,not see snippets of a few of them,and then the last one in its entirety,followed by display of all the merchandise based on that one.

                    • Then you’re not at a movie festival. You’re at some kind of promotional event trying to get people interested in upcoming unfinished releases. E3 hasn’t changed what it’s always been: A corporate event made to generate buzz and hype products.

                      What happened was video game fanatics wanted to go to E3 and experience what had previously been a rather exclusive event for industry people, insiders, and select media where one could play unreleased games or demos of unreleased games and walk out with a ton of free swag.

                      The event hasn’t changed. It’s the attendance and expectations that have changed. You’re walking into a convention where moviemakers show off the bits and bobs of their unfinished films demanding finished products.

                • BeCeejed says:

                  Companies know the items bundled with pre-orders are “crap;” Cheap to mass produce out of affordable materials. They intentionally want it to be cheap to produce in a single manufacturing batch so they can earn $$$ off of it.

                  For the most part, consumers know this. You look at a statuette of the main character and know it’s going to be molded plastic “junk.” The sword will be soft and flexible and it’s not gonna look great next to your significant other’s classy vase on the mantle. But by your gaming desk or on your shelf of novels or game cases, it will look pretty cool.

                  The company wants pre-orders because that’s how their business model works. People want pre-orders to be made worth their time and extra money. Gimmick editions are this attempt to meet both desires. Some companies do this better than others. Some games within companies do better than other games from the same company and success involves an understanding of your fans and what they like out of your franchise and how to sell that.

                  The acknowledgement by the developer that something is crap, but cool crap, and the approval from the audience is basically all industry professionals acknowledging these facts and appreciating that the design and idea of the pip-boy is clever and hopefully mutually desirable within the confines of this relationship. Seeing as its already unavailable and they may be looking into more production, I think they hit the nail on the head.

                  You could argue that participating in pre-order culture and this “bonus bundle” practice is damaging to both the consumer and the industry in the long term. It’s certainly been argued before. But in this case I think Bethesda did a pretty decent job within the realm of the market as it exists. They’re not finding new and better ways to market games. They’re just being smart and understanding something that most fans of the franchise will likely enjoy.

                  So…yeah.

                  “It’s crap (like all other preorder bundle crap), but it’s the best crap I’ve seen (But it manages to be cool and cleverly thought out cheap plastic crap that I think people are going to like.)”

                  “Wooooo! (We have already seen this product on the screen, it looks kinda cool, this line gets a cheer from us because we liked the acknowledgement that you’re not going to sell us ‘the most amazing thing ever’ like a vault boy bobble head or something but this one looks like it serves multiple uses both as decoration and as cosplay and as a fun tie in with the 2nd screen app, here have some good karma for being not so horrible as the rest of the industry at this moment.)”

                  Now my Galaxy Note 4 won’t fit in the thing, likely. But as a not so crafty person, if I had an iPhone, I would likely try for the pip-boy edition. I’m going to buy the game even if it’s glitchy as hell because I want to try some of the new features that they described, so why not treat myself to a fun gimmick item while I’m at it?

                  A lot of companies act in a very predatory manner to their fans and that’s where George’s journalistic cynicism comes from, and he’s not entirely wrong. I think that the pip-boy edition is one of the few cases where the practice was done well and the little back and forth between the industry professional on the stage and the professionals in the audience was an acknowledgement of that.

                  Then, of course, there’s certainly something to be said about the fact that “I’m not like the guys who’ll take all the clothes off your back if they can manage it, I’ll just take the money in your wallet.” Being better than horrible doesn’t equal good. Pre-order bundles and hype trains are ripe for criticism. But also maybe acknowledge some people like hype, at least or especially concerning a few of their favorite franchises, and some bundles to be worth their money. The better the franchise and the better the gimmick, the more people will fall into this category.

                  Considering all the people wanting a pip-boy edition “Crap, but cool” is a pretty apt description.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              They put plenty of emphasis on gameplay. We saw openining cinematic, character creation, guns, base building, some scenes and environments. They spent a lot of time on the base building as its the new feature. We saw the Fallout Shelter app. It was almost entirely about the gameplay. Its fanboy media thats latched onto the Pipboy. Both those that wanted to geek out about it and those who wanted to be cynical.

              And I’m with Thomas, why not let people be enthusiastic about it?

              There was one thing George revealed in the video that I didn’t know and that was the limited FOV of the Hololens. Then again I hadn’t actually watched the hololens demo so it could be that, like the other things George was complaining about, that it was completely evident and not being hidden from anyone watching.

              We get it George, at least some of this stuff will turn out to be crap. Thats part of the thrill of this. What will live up to the promise and what will fall flat on its face. Afford us a little more credit for intelligence.

              And maybe look into antidepressants? I don’t want to be an armchair psychiatrist but its apparent from several of his recent videos that he might could use something.

              Weidman is young. I think he’s a couple of years out from college and missing the stimulation and feeling locked into a specific mode. He’s possibly discovering that his life is more about video games than he wants it to be, or that focusing on major commercial releases is a more limiting experience than he had imagined. Something like that. I may be off the mark but I’ll bet I’m at least in the ballpark here. He’s at the right point in his life for this kind of bitterness.

              Also, I agree with what Thomas said in the forums. I think George was mistaking comments. After the seeing the Fallout segment, I might have said to a friend “OMG they made a Pipboy” knowing full well that they made a plastic pipboy prop to stick my phone in with an app. I don’t mean it literally nor do I think my friend would take it literally.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                They put plenty of emphasis on gameplay.
                .
                .
                .
                And I’m with Thomas, why not let people be enthusiastic about it?

                Fallout 4 was not the only game they were presenting.But I guess as long as the “Fuck this game,bring out fallout 4!” crowd was satisfied,it doesnt matter how snubbed those other games were,right?

                Afford us a little more credit for intelligence.

                Judging by all those comments he showed,many dont deserve that luxury.

                I don’t want to be an armchair psychiatrist

                So why are you doing it then?

                • Wide And Nerdy says:

                  I did it because I hadn’t seen it said. I think he ought to consider the possibility that he’s going through depression. Sometimes its not obvious to the person experiencing it right away. We just know we feel tired or irritable or we think our irritation over a specific thing is at the correct proportion and if the rest of the world doesn’t feel it, thats because they don’t see what we see.

                  I went through this. Even after being diagnosed and medicated, I felt like the meds were numbing me to things I should be more bothered about. Quitting the antidepressants and returning to my bothered state felt natural because it was what I was used to. Its hard to step outside of your own head.

                  And if you’re smart like George is, its hard to trust other people’s conclusions when you aren’t seeing what they see. You’re used to picking up on things others miss. You assume that’s why you’re more bothered than other people and sometimes that’s the truth. But sometimes its also the case that you’re going through depression and are thus more disposed to be bothered.

                  As smart as George is, its one thing that might elude him. So I’m raising the possibility. If I were actually playing armchair psychiatrist, I’d just up and say “you need help.”

                  But maybe George was just playing a persona on camera and lost sight of how it would come off to his audience. Thats as likely as anything.

          • Bropocalypse says:

            I think it’s pretty unfair to refer to people who willingly buy things that I don’t want as “idiots.” Is it a novelty, a curio? Basically useless beyond that? Sure. But it’s a pretty cool-looking one. It’s really not much different than a collector’s edition that offers you a small resin statue or something. My parents buy small decorations and such like that, but I don’t consider them idiots for that reason.

            • Crimson Dragoon says:

              Thank you. As someone who is getting the thing, I don’t particularly appreciate being called an idiot for it. I know what it is (they were very clear about that in the presentation), I can afford it, and I like it enough that I’m willing to pay for it. What is wrong with that?

              Everyone has individual tastes. No reason to start name-calling because someone’s taste doesn’t line up with your own.

              • Trix2000 says:

                And I’d assume we ALL have things we buy that we really don’t need. Heck, one could make the argument (and in fact, it’s certainly been made) that buying and playing games instead of getting out and doing things in real life is just as ‘idiotic’.

                Toys, stuffed animals, shiny cars, popcorn flicks, kitschy furniture, etc etc etc. We all have different emotional needs and desires which these logically ‘useless’ things can fill.

    • Kevin says:

      I feel the same as you do.

      I personally enjoy the deluge of game information that comes out of E3. I watch the press conferences of the companies I’m interested in (this year, Bethesda for Fallout, and Sony) and will catch highlights of the others to see what else is coming. I do find the hype and cheering at the conferences a little strange, because I know the whole thing is a big ad. But, clearly there are fans in those conferences who are excited for what they see. If someone wants to spend $120 so they can get a cheap plastic PipBoy, that’s fine with me. Todd Howard was right, it is a gimmick, but it is really cool looking. There are fans who want that kind of stuff and I think it’s ok if it exists. Last year I bought my daughters each a Minecraft stuffed animal and got myself one too, because Minecraft is something we like to play together. If they can exist, why can’t a PipBoy.

  3. General Karthos says:

    I don’t watch E3. It’s not because I’m not a gamer. I am, albeit I’m pretty casual if “casual” means I prefer RPGs and Turn-Based Strategy to shooters and real-time strategy. RTS and shooters are more about coordinated reflex than actual strategy, and while I have great reflexes, they’re more of the “get out of danger” variety, rather than the “thumb movement/clickiness” variety. I didn’t hear about Mass Effect until a week before its release, (though I got it day one) and the same applies to Dragon Age. I hadn’t even HEARD about KOTOR until about a month before KOTOR II hit shelves.

    I just don’t follow the gaming news very much at all, and with MOST games, I will wait until their release and some reviews by people/groups I respect before buying anything.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      “I will wait until their release and some reviews by people/groups I respect before buying”
      This right here, is what I do now, almost exclusively.

      I’ve been burned several times, each a couple years apart, basically when I forgot the last time I got burned. I’m pretty tired of paying $60 for games, then feeling like they’re worse than something that cost $20. Honestly, a lot of the games with the best gameplay, and sometimes story, are ones with small budgets. Teleglitch, FTL, and Don’t Starve are games I’ve played for a metric ass-tonne of hours, but which were all put together by indie studios of varying sizes. Heck, Teleglitch, and FTL have better sci-fi than most of what I’ve seen from AAA studios in the last decade, and their teams were what…three people each?

      I still wish games had proper demos, but I guess Valve’s new refund policy can fill a lot of the void left, when devs stopped making demos to play. I really hope 100% of games distributors have good refund policies within the decade. :)

    • Dev Null says:

      I will wait until their release and some reviews by people/groups I respect before buying anything.

      Yep. Chalk another one up for the “ignores e3” camp. I don’t have any problem with other people getting excited about the hype, but I much prefer to come into a game relatively clear of expectations. If the publisher lost their funding halfway through the process, not only don’t I care but I actively don’t want to know; all I care about is whether the game is good. I trust in people like Shamus to dig through and find the interesting stories about the industry, and tell me about them.

    • Grimwear says:

      I’m right there with you fellows! I ignore it as much as I can though I mean with the posts that get put up everywhere (9gag for me) I end up seeing a lot of the stuff anyway which can result in a case of the blind leading the blind. Which is why I was glad when Superbunnyhop did the video on it because prior I’d seen some gifs of the “hologram” and was all what that can’t be right but maybe I’m wrong and these random internet goers know more about it cause they followed E3? Nope, they’re wrong too. I’m at a point where I rarely buy anything not on sale. My last game I paid full price was Darkest Dungeon even though it was in Early Access and I do not regret it. Thanks real people who care about letting consumers know how the games REALLY are!

      Edit: I spelled bunny wrong…hang head, feel shame.

    • Thomas says:

      Even if you do follow gaming news, I still think it’s silly to buy a game before hearing reviews and opinions of people you respect.

      I guess that’s why I find it really hard to feel ‘burned’ by E3? Because they can make pretty trailers and I’ll enjoy watching them, but if the game comes out and isn’t like that I’ll read the reviews and just not buy the game?

  4. Kand says:

    Usually I don’t bother watching E3, living in Europe, conferences start very late anyhow.
    This year however I’ve watched your stream for the E3/Ubi conference and enjoined your comments more than the actual conferences. Seems like I haven’t missed much in the past.
    For future events like this I’d however still be interested to hear your thought right next to the conferences, preferably if it could be made available as VOD,

    After E3 I however tend to check some summaries and cherry pick updates to games that interest me.

    Regarding Georges video, while I think that he may take a too cynical outlook to the whole conference, I can clearly see where he is coming from.
    Stuff like the Shenmu Kickstarter just reek of corporate PR bull, and I fear that behavior like this will keep rising in the future, while companies try to off load more and more of their risks to customers.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    Batman’s plan to restore backwards compatibility to the Capital Wasteland by remaking FFVII was moronic!

    Sorry – so much content; I think I might be getting a bit confused. I don’t follow E3 as such, but I enjoy hearing/reading the thoughts others have on it – but I guess that’s just a special case of enjoying their thoughts in general. (Although E3 in particular seems to bring out the kind of snarky humour which I’m quite a fan of; a nice counterbalance to the SUPERHYPE-MEGATRAIN which seems to be fairly standard during the actual presentations.)

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      “Batman’s plan to restore backwards compatibility to the Capital Wasteland by remaking FFVII was moronic!”

      That sounds like an episode of Batman The Brave and the Bold.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      There was so many widely-varying themes, gameplay types, etc. That could be amazing, but since the underlying tone of “all our games are stuff that’s just rehashed from earlier works” pervaded the entire show, it all was really a blur. Shoot shoot, photorealistic, slightly-filtered, less dark, but still pretty gritty, bland bland bland bland…

      Then the truly baffling thing, was that a lot of the videos they showed off at E3 were something like 5 minutes total, but only showed 10 seconds of gameplay for each game, and they didn’t have any titles. Like, if you saw something you liked, you had literally no way to find out more information, or know when/where to purchase it.Shamus actually mentioned it when they were commenting overtop of E3. It was basically your joke opening, but not meant as a joke. “Batman plays baseball pixel art shooting demons 3D graphics cartoon shaded gritty photo-realistic romantic artistic neo-noir detective cooking simulation.” Are these going to be covered in future talks on stage? Will there be a webpage for each of these? Or are they simply games that may or may not come out in the next year? Or maybe they’ll be at next E3. WHO KNOWS!

  6. The Rocketeer says:

    I really hate this idea that uncouth “other people” need to be protected from hype, because they can’t recognize it for what it is or are just naturally more susceptible to it. There’s nothing more tedious than someone droning on about “the masses” and why companies need to be stopped, not from false marketing, but from any marketing because the proletariat simply can’t help themselves and need to be sheltered from the abuses of stimulus.

    This is an affectation of habitual masturbators, people who believe themselves to be exceptional and extraordinary. Of course, this kind of ego makes you more susceptible, since you come to see yourself as being above having your reason swayed. Even if you think, no, you’re sure to remain aware of it. Especially then.

    No one takes cinematic trailers and industry spokespeople without a shaker of salt; some of us just choose to get excited anyway sometimes. That’s not a failing on the part of the system or the individual, even if it doesn’t pay off every time.

    • sv_blond says:

      > habitual masturbators

      If the statistics are to believed, this group includes most people. :]

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Don’t be coy. Tell us what you really think. ;)

      I basically agree with you, though I’d put it a little more gently than this. Its a pet peeve I share.

      I probably find it so annoying because, as someone who was told he was smart, I used to be more often guilty of not giving others enough credit for their intelligence. We often find our own flaws shown back at us the most annoying.

      • Trix2000 says:

        I think what really shook me out of the mindset (and I still don’t claim to be rid of it entirely) was when I went to college and shifted from ‘top of the class’ to ‘struggling to stay average’.

        It was quite sobering, realizing how much I was wrong about my own capabilities. But at the same time, at least in retrospect, it’s nice to know that there ARE plenty of good/smart people out there.

    • Anonymous says:

      But how are you supposed to enjoy video games without huffing and puffing on the internet and looking down your nose at other people?

    • Not to mention that AAA-games whose performance doesn’t live up to so-called “in-game footage” from their E3 appearances get pretty roundly lambasted. Watch_Dogs and Colonial Marines are two nice big trainwrecks that got quite a lot of comeuppance for what they pulled.

    • Shamus says:

      “No one takes cinematic trailers and industry spokespeople without a shaker of salt;”

      I wish that were true. But if you read and talk with people, you find there are indeed people who fall for it. Try to look at it from the perspective of the journalist. We can agree that SOMEWHERE in the crowd are a few people who had a little too much hype-juice, and were going to be very foolish with their money.

      For example, my daughter went *bonkers* when she saw the Pip-Boy. She’s now saving her money for the special edition, which means she’s effectively paying $60 for a bulky plastic phone case she’ll never use. $60 is a lot of money for her and I’m not even sure her phone can run the app. She’s a smart kid, but she’s young and has no frame of reference.

      (For people wondering how I handed this: I very gently urged caution, but I’m not going to try to stop her from getting it. NOW is a great time in life to learn about this kind of thing and make these kinds of mistakes. If I shield her now, then she’ll make these blunders in 5 years when she has bills to pay.)

      Now, the audience of E3 isn’t 15 year old girls. But there are young or foolish people out there, and it bothers me when I think that I might be helping some huge company dupe a young adult out of their hard-earned cash.

      I’m not saying E3 shouldn’t exist. And I’m not saying E3 should change “because young people might be fooled”. And I don’t want to shame people who enjoy E3, or tell people they’re dumb. It’s just the nagging worry that somehow I might be complicit in the whole thing.

      I think that worry is healthy. If it’s your job to be cautious about how much unfiltered hype you believe, then it’s my job to be cautious of how much unfiltered hype I repeat to others.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        All I’d say in rebuttal is George made it sound worse. There’s only so much game companies can help it. They made it clear the Pip Boy is a hunk of plastic you stick your phone in. They can’t much help what you do with that info. They made it as clear as they could.

      • Trix2000 says:

        Thing is, I can’t help but treat it almost like a Darwinian thing. Maybe not so… harsh, but basically like you said with your daughter – urging some caution, but not taking the decision away from them.

        I expect many will get burned, and yes… they may have wasted good money on something that turns out to be crap. But when someone gets burned (figuratively AND literally), it tends to push them away from repeating the experience (even if sometimes it might take a few tries). So they can end up smart consumers on their own, without needing to be shielded continuously their entire lives. And if it turns out they like the thing anyways, even if it’s crap… I don’t see a problem.

        I think worrying about it is fine – I’m a little worried too. But I don’t believe a few bad game purchases is going to wreck anyone (and if it gets to the point where it does, I suspect they have other problems), so all in all I think things are pretty okay.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        Of course that worry is healthy. I bear it too. But I bear it because I’m not perfect, and I’ve been fooled before, and I’ll be fooled again whether or not, I’m not careful, but keeping a close eye might save me once or twice.

        Of course, it’s a good and admirable thing that you hold a more paternal view when it comes to your daughter, because you are her pater; it’s one of your big jobs in life to play linebacker between her and the kinds of temptations she hasn’t built up a big enough callus to hold onto herself.

        But when someone my age or older looks at the audience of something like E3- journalists and industry folks in the audience, people spamming the chat and message boards, and people excited for premium-priced lagniappes they’ll drag to a couple cons and then hold pride of place on a bookshelf- they should see themselves, people with the same information, experience, and cognition, and likely more in many, many cases.

        The reflex, instead, to see all of those people the way you see your own daughter- as people who haven’t developed the sense they have and need to be sheltered from the predation of people grinning through gritted teeth about their new products- is either a gross underestimation of everyone else or an oblivious overestimation of their esteem among everyone else. It’s my contention that there are far too many people voicing these kinds of concerns for all of them to have Ric Flair’s glasses from They Live, and Übermenschen would probably be spending their time better.

        You are correct that it’s irresponsible to repeat and push unrealistic hype and optimism on others, who might be much more likely to believe it from you than from a pullstring doll at a press conference. But I can never endorse the idea that unfettered negativity and bitterness is any wiser or more constructive than unfiltered optimism and over-eagerness. Neither is more honest than the other, and both are the product of the same reflex: impatience, the inability to condition your reason to be counseled, not controlled, by gut reflexes and the pull of momentary feeling. You might recognize this impatience as the same weakness the paternally cynical purport to be protecting everyone else from.

        And for the defense I foresee of cynicism: that habitually underestimating everything will only ever leave you surprised for the better, not the worse: Who do you think you are? Are you Joel, from The Last of Us? Are the you subject of a country song, whose heart done been hurt too much, and you can’t love again cause you’re scared to get hurt again? Sounds like a miserable way to live. If that’s what you need to get by, I hope you someday claim the strength the rest of us exercise daily.

        I don’t consider myself a confrontational person. It’s rare I take this kind of tone. But if there’s going to be a glut of condescending paternalism, then I’d rather it be urging circumspection and humility rather than a facetiously prideful bitterness.

        • Shamus says:

          Me: There are sometimes young or foolish people around.

          You: HOW DARE YOU CALL ME STUPID. I AM NOT YOUR CHILD!

          I very, very carefully said I wasn’t regarding everyone like that. You’re projecting shit onto me that I’m not saying. So I dunno man. I don’t think you have a lot of room to be complaining about tone.

          • The Rocketeer says:

            That’s not what I was saying at all. If that’s how you take it, I’ll back out; I don’t mean to make trouble.

            • Shamus says:

              Ok, sorry I misread you.

              Looking back through the exchange, the whole conversation looking like this same misunderstanding, looping.

              I don’t know where it’s going wrong.

              • The Rocketeer says:

                It’s probably going wrong in my using too many words and in acting too high and mighty. You can’t claim that someone else is wrong without claiming to know better than them. If you claim that someone is wrong for condescending, you’re essentially claiming to know better than them because they claim to know better than others. It’s a difficult position to maintain without looking arrogant, and I muffed it.

                All I really mean is this: Companies like game publishers will take our credulity when they can get it, so it is good to watch out for each other. But doing so by being reflexively cynical and negative is as wrong as holding blind faith in every promise. I don’t accuse you of that, specifically or generally. But I think George embraced it in this video.

                I think when someone looks at another’s excitement and good faith in something like a game announcement and believes that they’ve been ‘taken in,’ they’re asserting that their own values are closer to an objective truth, and that where others have been led to hope, they’ve diverged from that truth. Even if the other person is eventually disappointed, I don’t think that egocentrism is proven right, for the same reason that a broken clock isn’t proven reliable when it’s checked at the time of day it happens to be correct.

                I try to give people the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’d want the same- to be granted the assumption that my own conclusions for good or ill are based in reason and not the sum of external manipulations. When people couch their pessimism in terms of how “the masses” are led and how “other people” get tricked, I don’t think that alludes to the idea that we all get fooled sometimes, and need to watch out for each other in a fraternal sense; I think it betrays pridefulness, the idea that the common must be overseen by the exceptional, and that the latter comprises the speaker. I don’t get that angle from George. But I do hope something lifts him from these doldrums soon.

        • Aldowyn says:

          “But I can never endorse the idea that unfettered negativity and bitterness is any wiser or more constructive than unfiltered optimism and over-eagerness. Neither is more honest than the other, and both are the product of the same reflex: impatience, the inability to condition your reason to be counseled, not controlled, by gut reflexes and the pull of momentary feeling. ”

          Quoting this because I think it’s the most relevant paragraph in that whole comment.

      • Galad says:

        This post is part of why I read your blog. Where else would I get such wonderful insight combined with my favorite form of entertainment? :)

  7. Alex says:

    I watched the Bethesda presentation with you because I was (and still am) genuinely looking forwards to Fallout 4, and wanted to find out more about it. The same goes for Rise of the Tomb Raider, although that was much less content-rich. I haven’t watched the XCOM 2 videos yet because the direction the developers have taken has been pissing me off (think of your recent Fallout 3 articles, and that’s my reaction to everything except the technical side of XCOM 2), but I will eventually get around to it. A few other videos I watched out of curiosity.

    I won’t have the opportunity to watch SuperBunnyHop’s video today, but I am pretty happy with E3. Even a presentation deliberately engineered to make a game look the best it can is still useful, because if a game fails to appeal to me even under such generous circumstances, I know I can write it off completely. Anything else is at least worth checking out later under more balanced circumstances.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      Could you elaborate on what you dislike about the new direction for XCOM 2? Like, there were some things that annoyed me*, but overall, I don’t mind the idea of a rebel/hidden group of humans, trying to overthrow the new alien dictators. It actually fits in with the player’s practice of hiring random dudes to throw into their squad. Instead of them being mercenaries for hire, or soldiers with top recommendations, it’s the people who are fighting the aliens in their own cities/towns, and who are good enough that you want them in your larger group.

      * Arg! That damn sword and those snake-boobs! That just screams “teenage-male fanservice”. Teenage males would already be interested in this game, for all the cool lasers and aliens and pew pew explosions! What demographic do you think was playing the original games, devs?!?! :S

      • Syal says:

        Just because you aren’t a teenager anymore doesn’t mean you have to stop liking snakeboobs and impractical swords. I get the impression the devs know the plot barely matters and are putting this stuff in because they like it. I appreciate that attitude to storytelling.

      • Alex says:

        Here’s a start.

        1. I’m fine with the idea of XCOM working to overthrow the alien occupation, but I hate the backstory for that occupation. If XCOM 2 was the result of the aliens being sneaky and pretending to be peaceful until they had mind-controlled our leaders and started covertly abducting people for their experiments, I would be happy with that. It would provide a good reason why XCOM is starting the fight now: the council never unleashed their secret weapon against the alien invasion because there was no overt invasion. I hate the idea that the aliens could do all of the things they did in the first game and have any significant number of human sympathisers even 20 years later.

        2. I hate that two of the more interesting aliens have apparently been removed from the game, with human mooks taking their place. XCOM:EU had both Greys and David Icke’s reptilians – “real” species of aliens – in the form of their Sectoids and Thin Men. Genetically engineered Sectoids would have been a fine addition as a Sectoid “hero” unit and a better execution of the Vipers would have been good as the species that was genetically engineered to create the Thin Men, but not if it meant losing the originals.

        3. The impractical swords. The only good reason to give XCOM melee attacks – so we can sneak up on some hapless Advent soldier and slit his throat – has been specifically called out as not being in the game. The reason Firaxis went with instead – so we can have some dumbass running up to an entire fire team of soldiers and machete them all to death – goes against the tone of XCOM.

        4. The Vipers. I’d be fine with some sexy aliens if they were actually sexy aliens. Green-skinned alien babes are as much a part of pop culture as Greys are, after all. And I do like looking at attractive women, so I’m not going to complain just because they are appealing to the eye. The Vipers don’t achieve either of those goals – naga are much more a fantasy trope than science fiction, and the snake head is very much fan disservice for me. Also, the idea that the Thin Men – which have legs and no tails – are disguised or modified Vipers – which have tails and no legs – is annoyingly stupid.

        • Gruhunchously says:

          As someone whose only experience with the series in Enemy Unknown/Within- while I’ll admit the swords are pretty dumb, I don’t really have a problem with melee units in principle. Enemy Within already had something similar with the MEC troopers with the Kinetic module, and the aliens had the Muton Brutes as well. That said, unless they have a ton of health and do crazy damage, I can’t see how using them to slice fire teams to death could at all be a viable strategy, especially in a turn based game. I’d imagine they’d be better used to pick off wounded and isolated enemies without having to waste ammo or movement for the ranged units.

          • Alex says:

            EU and EW had MECs, Mutons, Chrysallids and Zombies. I have no problem with the first three, because they have good excuses for being better in melee than a human is. A human or humanlike alien should not be using melee as an overt weapon – they should only be using it against things that can’t effectively fight back – but a mecha with a hydraulic ram, an alien much bigger than the humans it’s smashing, or a predatory monster like a Chrysallid is perfectly reasonable.

            Zombies, on the other hand, should suck. It would make a lot more sense if they only did 1 damage per hit, not 9, with their threat primarily coming from the fact that at any moment, a Zombie in melee range might burst open to reveal a Chrysallid.

  8. Nimas says:

    This was the first time I’ve ever watched any of E3, and that was mainly to have a sort of semi-podcast thing as I didn’t even know anything else that happened once those first few twitch things finished.

    Honestly all it did was make me annoyed because the 2 interesting things I saw were Horizon and For Honour, which being as I don’t have a console, I will likely never play.

    yaaaay

    • Supahewok says:

      You almost made me cry by implying For Honor would be consoles only, but I went looking and found happy news for both of us. This is from a PC Gamer article: “I played For Honor on PS4, and that seems to be the platform Ubisoft plans to use for the game’s upcoming beta. No word on when the game will be available, but it is confirmed for PC.”

      Shame about Horizon though. That game is the only PS4 exclusive that appeals to me, which is not enough to buy a whole console for, but it really appeals to me.

  9. kunedog says:

    This was the best E3 in a while, and the vid is too negative. IMO the #1 story is that the industry is slowly coming back to acknowledging its core gamer audience (there’s a long way to go, but it’s a clear trend).

    Doom 4 seemed like the most useful and informative of the trailers since it showed the most gameplay, so he singled out the brief (QTE?) cinematics to complain about. I hate them too, but everything else looks fantastic and more evocative of Doom than Doom 3, including the violence (Hell, even the reactions to the violence were authentically early 90s).

    The biggest example is of course Microsoft . . . just compare how much their tune of two years ago (attempting to leverage a new console generation as an excuse to kill 2nd hand games and force always-online DRM and the Kinect onto gamers) changed last year and this week. In 2014 they finally gave up Kinect and now . . . backwards compatibility? NO ONE saw that coming (even though we knew Microsoft was lying before when they said it was too difficult to be worth it).

    The vid seems too bitter and cynical for the sake of it, when there’s (IMO) a LOT more worth celebrating if he felt like doing so.

    • Phill says:

      It’s hard to know on the backwards compatibility. It probably wouldn’t have been that hard to do it if it had been the plan from the start, and had hardware accomodations to support it.

      But once the design was set with the initial goals of the XBone, then by all accounts it was indeed extremely hard to do backwards compatibility. I’ve heard snippets here and there that the team investigating the implementation of it that has turned up now didn’t think it would be possible at first, but managed to scrape together some limited capability.

      (Whether those are genuine snippets of information rather than a viral PR exercise, I couldn’t begin to guess).

      At any rate, I don’t think it *would* have been worth it for microsoft, except for the fact that they are getting stomped by Sony in the console wars and desperately need some gamer-centric, customer pleasing stuff like this. As a feature on its own, its quite probably a loss maker for MS. As a PR move to appeal to gamers and dispel some of the hostility that still lingers after the XBone launch, it probably pays off.

      • Thomas says:

        I believe someone on the forums knows a guy who works for Microsoft and that guy told him that they genuinely believed BC wouldn’t be possible

        • Supahewok says:

          That was me, and what Phill said about “the team investigating the implementation of it that has turned up now didn’t think it would be possible at first, but managed to scrape together some limited capability” was basically true. They kept a small team hammering away at an impossible problem, just in the hopes that they could find a way to make it work. Took them probably 2.5 to 3 years.

          As to what exactly they’ve done to enable BC, my friend isn’t 100% sure. He’s interning on the Xbox team, but on a different feature. All he could tell me was that they’re doing all sorts of “crazy conversions at runtime,” and that it was essentially “black magic.”

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Often “backward compatibility” is hard to do for an “everything” but turns out to be possible for a particular subset of product. Some games just use things and documented, and those tend to take to emulation well. Some make assumptions, like Shamus’s story about finding his old Tetris clone that ran unplayably fast and those don’t, or don’t without a much more sophisticated emulator.

        Nintendo’s been solving this problem by customizing their stock emulators for the quirks of the particular game, which is why most of theirs have been having a token charge associated. There’s work being done for every re-release.

        Which is why I don’t think we’ll ever see a PS3 emulator. The architecture is VERY weird and a LOT of the programming involves some orderings of moving things around from processor to processor and buffer to buffer and emulating THOSE limitations is VERY complicated. The 360 had a lot less of that, and it’s a matter of having a enough hardware to emulate the PowerPC at an acceptable rate.

        • Lalaland says:

          Yeah I absolutely agree the two architectures are very different. Cell was a PPC core + 6 SPUs (ignoring the reserve for O/S) each of which had a small area of super high speed cache before needing to hit system RAM. This meant that the SPUs were surprisingly well suited to being used as for traditionally GPU driven tasks but also means that raw PS3 code hates x86. That’s before we get to the different GPU vendors meaning that a chunk of the ‘free’ b/c that MS enjoys by virtue of having an AMD GPU in the 360 is flat out not there especially because so many titles broke off chunks of the GPU workload to the SPUs.

          TLoU ran at <10FPS or so on the PS4 before having a lot of the codebase re-engineered to leverage the GPU and fit better on the 6 available x86 cores. Now the fact ND ot their game to 1080p 60fps vs. 720p 30fps (77% more pixels in <50% of the time) while also improving a bunch of stuff like lighting means that yeah games can be ported the 12 month turn around shows it ain't a simple job.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Its been said several other places but it bears repeating. I think if XBone had had backwards compatibility at launch, they’d be owning this generation. But now, I’m afraid its too little too late, at least for this particular feature.

      What really might save them is the free Windows 10 upgrade and the promise of apps that work across all of their hardware platforms. They’re promising a rollout of hundreds of compatible games at a time. If they can do some of these rollouts fast enough to coincide with Windows 10, it might count for something.

      Lots of aggressive plays going on here. I feel like Microsoft is finally hungry and finally got that eye of the tiger back.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        I’m not certain of that. I think it would have given them a big boost, but it’s hard to hold in your head all at once the miserable state of Microsoft’s PR at the time of both systems’ launch. And it wasn’t just backwards compatibility that differentiated the systems; aside from the whirling MS hate-storm, there was the mandatory Kinect which earned them nothing but bad press, and the XB1’s higher price despite its weaker hardware, solely because of that mandatory, creepy peripheral that no one wanted.

        Meanwhile, Sony’s profile had done nothing but soar in the public mind, partly because they weren’t Microsoft (and all they had to do to capitalize on that was remind people of it), and because they showed contrition in admitting their three big mistakes with the PS3: being late to market, being overpriced, and alienating developers with their system architecture. With the PS4’s standardized architecture, lower price point, competitive release date, and higher raw power, they not only gained goodwill for making good on past errors, but for bringing a dynamite system to market.

        What strange days those were. It’s too bad they haven’t amounted to much.

        • Supahewok says:

          Also: The Xbox’s current backwards compatibility is the result of a software solution, one which in all likelihood took 3 years or so of dedicated research and experimentation. In other words, this moment is the soonest that it could achieve BC.

          The other route to BC would’ve been a hardware solution, i.e. having some of the old Xbox’s hardware or something included in the new Xbox from the get-go. I’m not an expert on this subject by any means, but as far as I know, in order to make this option work it would have meant an increase in price by at least $100, unless they figured out something really, really clever. (obviously, they didn’t) An extra $100 can break the sales for a console: just ask the PS3 what its first few years were like.

          I don’t really think Microsoft made any out and out wrong decisions in the design of the initial Xbox One package. I wish they hadn’t forced the Kinect onto it, but its obvious someone at Microsoft wants Augmented Reality to hit it off big (and profit off of it), and motion controls could’ve been the way to go. Now I think they’ve mostly abandoned the Kinect and put its development resources into the Hololens instead.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      I’m pretty doubtful that DOOM was actual gameplay. All of that looked completely scripted, if not outright pre-rendered. It probably was using the actual in-game engine, but still probably pre-rendered. Definitely with the graphics turned ALL the way up, on some super-machine that wouldn’t fit on a desktop at ALL. The aim of that space marine was faaaar too accurate and smooth to be a real player. So, since so much is faked, how can we know that any of that gameplay will actually end up in the game? What if the AI, and the scripting for the rest of the game turn out terrible?

      • Trix2000 says:

        The encounters and levels along with some of the actions may have been scripted (falling off things, jumping gaps, etc), but I think the core shooting/moving was not.

        Course, even if they had shown all straight gameplay, it could still easily change before launch for some reason or another.

  10. Smejki says:

    I watch it all in aticipation of what is is coming at us. Through many itteration I learned to filter all the crap out of it.

    Though I think paying attention to the form is useful as well. That way I learn which companies are still not trustworthy (like EA conference full of feedback, passion and listening while the yesteryear was full of telling customers they don’t get the innovations and whatnot), which are out touch with reality (like EA giving sportsgames half the time while these games are mostly bought by casuals who don’t even now E3 exists, or like the bizzare Sqeenix conference), which are prone to primitive manipulation (all the dogs. Mainly looking at you Fallout 4), and which are doing just fine.

    And sometimes I simply enjoy the art of clipmaking. For me this year it was Hitman who won the prize. I don’t care for the game, I never cared for the series but the trailer is a masterpiece I like to watch and listen to again and again.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      E3 is a trade show, or at least that’s the founding principle. They probably only let the plebs in so investors and stock controllers can get an idea of what is actually getting people hyped. EA would be dogmeat if their sports franchise money didn’t keep rolling in, so the sports franchises get exposure proportional to their effect on the bottom line.

      This is the whole reason PAX exists, E3 is a product being consumed by an audience its makers aren’t especially interested in serving, so someone decided to compete in an easy fight.

  11. Majere says:

    I mainly watch E3 just so I know what’s in the gaming pipeline so I can see what games look like they might interest me enough to be worth keeping an eye out for actual reliable information about. Also, so I can mock it pretty comprehensively for the stiff, trying-to-hardness of the whole thing and the blatant lies.

  12. Christopher says:

    I’m perfectly capable of using my own experience to judge that Shenmue 3 would need more than 2 million to get made or that plastic bonus crap is crap. I’ll leave getting upset about the audience to Superbunnyhop in this case.

    Watching E3 in my case is a social thing, something I’ll get friends together to watch in a living room or a chat room. We do it in order to talk excitedly about game announcements and trailers that seem interesting, speculate about upcoming games, moan about the sports and car games, laugh and cringe at jokes that fall flat and appreciate the sometimes awkward but more real-feeling developers that get up on stage, like the shaking man that talked about Unravel. This year was an especially fun one. I didn’t watch all of the conferences(I would have to be awake at 4 in the morning), but the ones I did I thought were generally paced well and had a good portion of both gameplay and announcement trailers. There was generally little cringe. Nintendo’s extra long Nintendo Direct was as great as last year. Several games I never thought would appear, did. For the first time in a while I also watched a recorded conference, because Giant Bomb do their commentary over it and make it a hangout(And as always, they do liveshows afterwards with a bunch of guests that are only there for E3, though I haven’t had time to watch them yet this year).

    It’s been a good time. Having this weird internet festival week for games once every twelve months is fun and lively. Speaking directly to an imaginary, maybe watching George, because I feel odd talking about him like he’s not here when he’s been in site content: I think it would be cool if the complaint video about E3 was half as entertaining as that show is. Yahtzee’s E3 hype kill videos are usually funny. I don’t think the “I have to do this for my job, but I’m not gonna like it” perspective is very interesting unless you are in that position, like Shamus is. Snark with some enthusiasm next year!

    • Thomas says:

      For a while WWE had this bit where a guy would stand on a comically tall (like two metres plus) podium, bang a gavel and say things like “You know that sports team you all love? They’re not very good

      It’s that kind of giggling the-emperor-has-no-clothes anti-hype that I absolutely adore =D

  13. SpaceSjut says:

    I followed your commentary (until my wifi decided to no longer serve my phone and it just wasn’t important enough to get onto the desktop again (I’m in CET)), and I followed Sterling’s live-tweeting. Which was kinda hilarious and covered most of the important stuff, as far as I’m concerned.

    Maybe in some kind of social gathering I COULD put up with several hours of marketing babble and superpolished gameplay, but I’m usually only interested in the announcements, and those come on text the day after.

  14. sv_blond says:

    So, how many of the people who have watched that video would you bet are the kind of people he’s talking about? 1%?

  15. TheGreyPotter says:

    I know I started watching E3 stuff because some of the commentary on twitter was hilarious, and I wanted to see what they were referencing. The shows themselves were… eh. Uncomfortable. Basically a series of people pointing to the products you are supposed to start getting hype for. I always knew that was kindve what E3 was about, but… never feels right, I dunno. I really agree with that Super Bunnyhop video, tbh.

    I think the only one I enjoyed was the Nintendo World Championships. It was a lot of product placement, but at least there was a silly competition to be entertained by.

  16. wswordsmen says:

    I would like to thank Bioware and the contender for worst ending ever in ME3 for curing me of any desire to follow AAA industry news. It was the last game I bought full price (although I am planning on buying a full price indy game soon), and hopefully will be for the foreseeable future. They let me watch that video and say “yes he is 100% right.”

    I watched a couple of press conferences this year, not because I wanted the news, but because I thought Shamus and Co.’s commentary would be interesting.

  17. Henson says:

    I don’t usually watch the press conferences at E3, but I did this year to hang out with you guys. Or, at least, watch you guys hang out while other people comment (damn twitch for making me have a facebook account!). It’s fun to discuss this stuff – or watch this stuff being discussed – with people who have a fair degree of skepticism and humor. (Archengeia’s video on the EA conference was also pretty neat.)

    The actual content of E3 will be plastered all over the game sites I visit, so there’s really no avoiding the information itself, the only real decision is whether or not to watch the linked videos – which I usually don’t.

    Or just stop reading game blogs for the next month.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Lorerunner, you mean? :D

      You can definitely get a Twitch account without a Facepalm account – if you hit the ‘Sign Up’ button, and then totally ignore the ‘Connect with F******k’ button but go ahead and fill in the other fields, that should work fine. (Or, it did for me, anyway – I guess there may be some country-specificity at play or something.)

  18. Zeta Kai says:

    I pretty much ignore E3, as it holds nothing for me. I wouldn’t have even noticed its passing this year, except a couple of announcements pierced my hype-armor (Final Fantasy 7 Remake, The Last Guardian uncancelled). I generally read my usual daily/weekly websites (this site, the Onion AV Club, Know Your Meme), which curates/filters/distills all of the bullshit of the world’s news/media into digestible chunks for me to enjoy/skip. I guess everybody does something similar, probably involving Facebook/Twitter somehow, but whatever, that’s how I roll.

    So, in a TL:DR nutshell, a direct feed from E3 wouldn’t be my cup of tea. There’s a bunch of expos like it (PAX, CES, SDCC, other acronyms I’m sure), they’re all noisy/crowded/expensive/far away, & some of them are kinda exclusive to begin with. Plus, it’s just a place to get yourself bombarded with ads: everyone there wants all of my money/time/attention, & at least a mugger would be efficient about it.

    Wow, that was more negative than I had planned. Oh well, at least the FF7R & TLG trailers made me literally weep with joy. If something coming out of E3 can do that, then perhaps it has value after all. Also, why are all these kids on my lawn?

  19. J. Random Lurker says:

    Funny thing about E3: it is a huge pain in the ass for game devs. It messes the schedule of the last two years (sometimes the only two years!) of development, and sucks away resources needed to polish the actual game into making a good-looking demo, which will be thrown away.

    Because what is shown at E3 can never be the game itself in its current state of development – AAA videogames only start looking like the real thing internally a few months before hitting the shelves, after months and months of optimizing data, code, shaders, designs, etc. The product only “gels” at the very end.

    For game devs E3 is a paradox: showing your finished game months before the game is to be finished.

    • Phill says:

      Been there, done that.

      I’ve worked on games where we had to spend a few weeks cobbling something together to create a demo for some show or another. And yes, typically it involves taking half finished stuff, throwing together something that looks like what you are aiming for in the final version that is completely flaky and not robust, and teaching the presenters what they can and can’t do, and what will glitch or crash the game.

      All of which then gets thrown away because it is written in a “get something together quickly that almost works if you don’t look at it too hard” way. Hence the demo takes away from real development, might end up being different to the final version (depending on how close you are to the end and what difficulties come up when you do stuff properly) – and, as an added bonus, adds to the unrealistic impression gamers have of what half-finished games in development actually look like.

      Believe me, if what you see in a press demo was being done using the final game systems in the stable way it looks like, the game would be ready, and would pretty much already be on sale.

    • Trix2000 says:

      Thing is, it’s hard to sell a game when people don’t know about it or don’t have it in mind, so generating interest an hype’s very valuable for marketing. So it may be taking resources away from development, but I wouldn’t say it’s wasted – just put towards a different need. Marketing’s important if you want people to play your game.

      • Aldowyn says:

        It’s all part of production and project management. You shouldn’t have to drop everything and work on a demo for two months – you should be aware it’s coming and plan for it. These kinds of demos are a necessary evil.

  20. How did they “trick” anyone into thinking the Pip-Boy was real? If someone claimed it was in comments somewhere that Bethesda had made an actual, working Pip-Boy, they were either being a troll or have all the comprehension skills of a concussed gibbon.

    Obviously it’s a phone sleeve that, when combined with an app, makes it look like a Pip-Boy. If you want to be cynical, compare it to the Pip-Boy clock that they put out with Fallout 3 that ate three AA batteries every 2 weeks (I’m not kidding, I owned one).

    Finally, that’s a preorder deluxe set thing, not necessary to playing the game. You aren’t required to buy it. I probably won’t, but I’m glad they’re putting it out there, because I kind of miss the days of games like ones from Infocom that gave you “feelies” along with your games. I still have my “Microscopic Space Fleet” from their HHGTTG game. I like my Fallout 3 lunchbox. I never even played it, but I dig this cloth Everquest II map I’ve got in my collection of gaming stuff.

    If he wanted to make a larger point about requiring toys to be present to play games, that’s one thing. But when they give a minute out of a half-hour presentation to note you can get a neat “thing” if that’s what you want, I don’t see a problem with it, especially when the rest of the presentation delivers on a lot of questions potential players might have.

    • Dev Null says:

      I kind of miss the days of games like ones from Infocom that gave you “feelies” along with your games.

      Yes! I love all my old Infocom paraphenalia. _And_ it was DRM that didn’t treat the user like crap, inasmuch as you wanted to buy the game not copy it to get the cool stuff.

  21. Zagzag says:

    I’d have completely ignored E3 if not for you folks streaming it. You’re part of the problem, I say!

  22. IFS says:

    This was the first E3 I watched (not here though, so I kinda hope the stream from here gets uploaded at some point) and while I didn’t get super hyped for anything I did add a lot of things to my radar to keep an eye on for the future. George’s video struck me as very cynical, and I suppose since he’s been watching these events as part of his job for a while now that’s understandable, but I do feel like he’s giving too little credit to the gaming public.

    The stream I was watching was generally making fun of the ridiculous marketing gimmicks, like Ubisoft’s fake teamspeak, and EA’s PVZ mascot coming out immediately after the surprisingly interesting and cute Unravel, but at the same time were definitely getting interested in certain trailers without going crazy (and the people in chat were about the same, spending more time arguing over if a certain thing a presenter did filled a space on their E3 bingo cards or not than anything). The stream I watched also had a couple employees from Volition in it, one of whom seemed somewhat knowledgeable on the cost and work that went in to producing the E3 shows which was quite interesting, because man it seems like there is a lot of wasted money thrown around at that show.

    Even so I more or less enjoyed E3, and its put Dishonored 2, For Honor, Dark Souls 3, and a few other games on my radar for the moment. If nothing else its fun to talk about what was shown off with my friends, even if what catches our interest is very different titles (some of them are really looking forward to The Division which just seems rather bland to me).

  23. GrinOfMadness says:

    What really spoke out to me in the video is his final statement to just “go in blind and you’ll enjoy it more”. That statement is very dangerous from a customer’s POV and seems so broad. While this may be going to an extreme, to go into a game blindly, you must shut yourself off from the entire world and remain ignorant. By that statement, we are supposed to ignore E3’s hype machine, all trailer videos of the games, all of the articles from journalists that got review copies of the game, all Twitch streamers that just happened to get a copy of the game before we do, and all of our friends that want to talk about the game before you get your hands on it. With the huge number of titles out there, if you’re the kind of person that wants to go into a game blindly, how do you decide where to spend your $60+? Would you really enjoy The Slaughtering Grounds more if you didn’t know anything about it?

    • AileTheAlien says:

      Yeah, his advice probably should have been, “Ignore the hype, and don’t pre-order anything. Wait reviews and critiques come out, so you can know what’s actually worth buying.”

      • Cybron says:

        He really should have said that then. That’s a position I 100% agree with. I haven’t preordered a game, ever, and I routinely caution my peers against doing so. Yet I watch E3 every year just so I can find projects I want to keep an eye on.

        Instead he comes off as saying the whole affair is somehow dangerous, like your average consumer doesn’t have the wisdom or skepticism or whatever to be cognizant of the fact that E3 demons don’t really correlate to final products. He points to several instances of people believing things that aren’t true (things not particularly sold during their product demos, by the way, with the exception of Hololens’s FoV issues 0 no one claimed the pipboy was real) and applies that to the viewer.

        It rubs me the wrong way. I’ve got access to tons of tools in the form of reviews, let’s play footage, and twitch streams to judge a game for myself. But this video completely ignores all of that and just tries to build this really scary image of an unstoppable brainwashing-by-hype.

        Maybe it’s a problem of a mismatch of audience to video. I could just not be the target audience. Maybe there are people who watch his channel that this is a very real issue for. But i would assume most of his viewers are educated consumers themselves; who else would actively seek out videos about analysis of the video game industry? I feel like anyone who this video would help won’t watch it.

  24. ChristopherT says:

    I look at E3 as a show, lights, flair, and spectacle. And it’s an event where, at times, new games are announced for the first time. That can be really awesome, to just let yourself enjoy a trailer for a new game, to be caught without aware by a shiny trailer about this thing you haven’t heard of before, and the “This Could be awesome!” excitement. I can understand not falling for the PR spin, I can understand not getting hyped over a cinematic trailer, and I can completely understand not having any interest in a particular product or game based on a trailer, clips, and or the idea. It’s just, I find that’s what E3 is, and go in eyes wide open.

    All of these games could turn out to be crap, any game could be cancelled, or re-cancelled, or delayed, or come out broken. I just don’t understand why worrying about it now, when these games are months, sometimes up to and extending beyond a year away. I don’t see the desire to go into review mode, and start breaking down what trailers and gameplay clips that, at this point in development, is hard to say can represent the end product faithfully.

    It’s the difference between looking at that lovely looking Horizon game, and not liking the world, not impressed by robots, and oh, look a bow and arrow, yawn. VS – Going over points like, we haven’t seen the HUD yet, Why is she even attacking these robots? What’s she going to do eat them?, it seemed like a bit open world but we all know there’ll be walls somewhere where are the walls?, there’s no health bars and people are already talking about how this could be an interesting choice and concept – the health bars are most likely just disabled or hidden for the demo to fool the viewer into thinking it looks more interesting – it’s just going to be another game where you fight be monsters.

    I can understand the former, not everything is for everyone, and while I think that trailer showed off a fairly promising looking game, it could go anywhere from there, and I’m not ready to just throw my money at the screen, but I really like the way it looks at the moment.

  25. nerdpride says:

    I wasn’t very interested in any of this. I tuned in to the last part of your E3 thing for something to watch. I tend to like George’s videos, too.

    Random thoughts:

    Final Fantasy 7 was ages ago and I don’t particularly want a remake. Something better could come out now.

    I’ve never played a Fallout game. I’ve watched some Spoiler Warnings, not all. Maybe someday I’ll go back and watch archives, but not much interest right now.

    Heard of Uncharted, never watched someone play it before.

    Never heard of that kickstarter game (I’ve already forgot the name) or any previous stuff about it before.

    I don’t know what was going on with the Minecraft thing. Occulus Rift stuff looked neat but I thought that was a year or so ago. The coolest thing was the hologram and I guess it isn’t actually a product.

    I am such a terrible customer, no one will ever design things for me.

    Did anyone talk about artificial intelligence or world stuff? I remember with Fable and Skyrim and Mass Effect and etc. maybe half a decade or so ago that the big thing would be making the player and choices and stuff more important. Are we over that already?

  26. Lalaland says:

    Yeah I think George must have stood on some Lego or something before recording this one as goddam did he fall down the negative hole. Yes E3 is advertising the hell were you expecting? It’s not like E3 pretends to be some curator of content, it’s a week long advertising festival formally for selling to retailers now for selling to consumers.

    I thought the TLG stuff was particularly off base, the prior footage for that game has been acknowledged as an essentially offline render (~15fps) that was produced before there was much game. They then ran into serious issues in getting the AI to work right due to the limitations of the Cell + 256MB SysRAM on the PS3. I’m delighted I get to play it and was amazed at the expressive animations and responses from Trico (the CatDogEagle thing). Ueda games have never been whizz bang graphical or technical showcases usually instead choosing to focus on relationships (boy and Yorda, boy and Agro/Colossi) which obviously don’t lend themselves to trailers very well esp when compressed to bits on a stream. I’m really excited by the chance to see what they’ve done with the companion AI as it’s described as being semi-autonomous rather than ruled by triggers. You can see an uncompressed version of the trailer here and it impresses rather more so technically (in paticular note the lack of clipping between feathers on Trico) http://www.gamersyde.com/news_e3_the_last_guardian_gameplay-16674_en.html

    Pipboy 3000 plastic tat seemed to be oddly frustrating to him I mean was he expecting an actual touch screen device for the Pipboy 3000? All Collectors Editions are full of stupid plastic tat as that is their literal function, they attract that minority consumers willing to pay more than the standard sticker price. What I don’t understand is why more indies don’t exploit this by offering Plushies et al as a special bundle or as stand alone merchandising, Bethesda probably doesn’t need the extra $40-50 in margin for FO4 but I’m sure a lot of indies do.

    Edit: A note on the baying crowds, that’s not journalists mate, literally every podcast with people who attend these things points out that they’re packed with employees and selected superfans who would cheer a glass of water. The whole reason why they do this is that the press are notoriously bad for not clapping when the companies PR wants them to. That’s why I love missed applause lines even more now it shows that not even the shills can be bothered

    • Trix2000 says:

      Actually, I think some indies DO offer that sort of thing when using Kickstarter, for some backer rewards. I don’t know how common it is (and it’s not restricted to games), but it’s there.

    • Henson says:

      “packed with employees and selected superfans who would cheer a glass of water”

      Someone didn’t watch the EA conference.

      • Aldowyn says:

        turns out 30 minutes of sports is duller than a glass of water.

        • Lalaland says:

          Nothing quite like even the mandatory whoopers sliding into slumber!

          I’ve seen Pele before unfortunately his speaking style relies on you being A) really, really, drunk, B) regard his presence as a divine blessing in itself and C) really into dull anecdotes about his past that ignore any of the actual mad stuff he was involved with (various dictators, NY Cosmos/Studio 54, etc).

  27. V8_Ninja says:

    I understand where Weidman is coming from in his video (especially with the scummy Shenmue III Kickstarter), but I just can’t get on board with decrying E3, especially when this year’s E3 was pretty OK, at least for the platforms I care about. PC gaming and Nintendo gaming are doing fine and have a few great-looking titles coming out for them in the future. I don’t really know how I would feel if I owned an Xbox One or a Playstation 4 and I don’t want to judge the situation from afar. Granted, the fact that I’ve only ever thought about getting a PS4 for Bloodborne (and only Bloodborne) says something, but I’ll let people who are more knowledgeable decipher that puzzle.

  28. Rayen says:

    Once upon a time I got really excited for E3 and i wanted to go soooo bad. Sometime around the time I hit 20 that stopped. Don’t know why can’t remember what had happened but i was just kind of sick of all of it. I think around that time was when I started getting really skeptical, I was jaded and tired of riding the hype wave and also I legitimately fell asleep playing God of War 2 and realized my gaming tastes were not that of the main stream. So I canceled all my magazine subscriptions (I had 2; Tips & Tricks and GameInformer) started checking out The Escapist a lot less regularly (recently even less than that with Jim and Moviebob gone, not to mention the whole Extra Credits… thing awhile back). E3 doesn’t interest me at all anymore, I’m a legacy gamer. I’m poor and working and a parent and I just don’t have $60+ to spend on a game every other month. I just started playing skyrim for the first time a week ago. I buy games months or YEARS after they come out when i can get them for cheap. I’ll watch a trailer every now and then but usually its price and not much else (i’ll read a few reviews and check out a Let’s play on youtube for gameplay demo)that influences my buying decisions and that’s only available after the game comes out.

  29. Christopher says:

    I think the entertainment derided from E3 among certain people is the same people who watch wrestling, know it’ fake, but still enjoy it. It’s still cool to see the presentations and the games, even if you know that their is a level of falseness to it.

    • Rayen says:

      As a fan of Pro Wrestling I can agree somewhat. Some people may be like that but Hardcore Wrestling Fans like the persona’s, the stories, and the athleticism. That may also be why people really into video games and the VG industry (shamus and Geoerge for example) are kinda of bitter about the whole thing. I don’t know though, Pro Wrestling lives and dies by a certain love of the show, E3 is just shameless marketing.

  30. Cybron says:

    That video is way too negative for me. I’m a pretty cynical person myself, but I think I’d hate it if I ever lost my ability to become excited. Even for stuff that on some level I think will be bad.

    I think the fact that they’ve got that pip boy thing on offer is super cool. And you know what? I think it’s a useless piece of plastic junk that I’ll never buy. But that doesn’t make it any less cool.

    I think cinematic trailers are garbage, and yet I sat through an E3 full of them because it’s fun to imagine what those games could be like, even though I very consciously am aware that none of those games will live up to my expectations. Heck, I expect few will even be good – that’s just the nature of the beast. I watched trailers for games I won’t buy on systems I don’t (and probably won’t) own, because it’s fun.

    The world is full of deceptive and predatory marketing. If you can’t teach yourself the necessary levels of skepticism, you’re setting yourself up for failure anyways. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the hype train, though I’d advise not investing money in it.

  31. The Specktre says:

    Well, I like to see the news, what’s coming, (gameplay) trailers, demos, and so forth. Though I don’t really have the time or patience to actually sit through the show, so I wait for the journalist recaps and pick through the scraps on Twitter. A lot of stuff that I’m interested to see was announced and shown, so that’s always nice. That’s all I really care about. News and seeing stuff. I could care less about the people there (though I probably would say something like, “Whoa there. Calm down and breath. It’s still just a trailer [or whatever],” for the folks going really nuts).

    I thought George was being too cynical this time around. It’s not that I don’t think some cynicism (or perhaps skepticism) is unwarranted–I refuse to jump on hype trains, and wait for the game to actually prove itself to me when I either own it or can look it up on YouTube or whatever–but it felt like George’s reaction was a little on the scorched earth side of things. For instance, I thought going after the actual Pip-Boy was a little unfair. Yeah, I see what he’s trying to say about it, but I still think it could be a fun toy, for those who really want one. I actually agree with Todd Howard here: “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the one of the coolest.” And I think it really does come down to “if you don’t want it, don’t buy it” here. I wouldn’t buy one, but I still think it’s neat.

    I also thought going after the Final Fantasy VII remake was also unfair. I love seeing these sorts of things getting made, and I think it’s a good thing. Would it be better if they actually had something to show other than a cinematic? Yes. But still… I don’t know. I feel like George was looking down his nose at people.

    I absolutely agree with him though that that whole Shenmue Kickstarter thing was absolutely skeezy on Sony’s part.

  32. Neko says:

    Unless there’s been some specific announcement that E3 is going to be covering something I’m super interested in, I barely notice E3’s comings and goings. I have a trusted team of poor saps who have to watch the whole thing and can filter out any interesting news for me ;)

  33. Kyte says:

    One thing I appreciate from Nintendo is that for the entire duration of E3 they have a booth set up with the localization team (Nintendo Treehouse) who spend all the time just showing off and playing their upcoming games. Typically these guys are both passionate and experienced about the games they show off, so even games that looked bad in the trailer (Star Fox Zero, for example) get to show off their true value.

    And of course, the fact it’s about 30 hours of live gameplay for everybody to see.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      What gets me about Treehouse is that somewhere in that 30 hours of live gameplay you might see the one thing you wanted to see, but otherwise the stuff gets missed.

      I mean, I get why it’s there, but I also understood this as the reason that E3 has a floor – that’s where they show off each of the game at booths that the attending press can view individually and split up their team to cover more content.

      The press conferences themselves? I always understood them as a table of contents of sorts – a quick 1 hour or so of “Here’s what’s on the show floor, here’s why you should check these things out.”.

      Now while some might say that an hour each is pretty long, PC Gamer’s 2 hours and 30 minutes (Or apparently longer? It apparently started early and went long?) conference chocked full of interviews with the developers about their games that seemed to go on for 15 minutes or so each? I wished they told me it was going to be Treehouse treatment. Then I could leave it to the press at the event to detail it later in a much more concise and text format that’s more conducive to skimming.

      Don’t worry – the audience will be fine if you skim over the details of your 80-hour RPG for conciseness – covering all the details at once in long-form podcasts is why we routinely gripe about the TV and sports sections of a conference – they rarely get the Cliffs Notes treatment.

  34. Phrozenflame500 says:

    To me the big part of E3 are game announcements, a glorified form of “hey this exists”. I’m further aware that all of the trailers are not really reflective of the final produce (CG trailers especially). But I can still use those marketing trailers to get a rough idea of features that, if not make it into the final product, at least reflect the design process that the developers are going through when making the game. And even sans that at least make some vague conclusions based on the previous pedigrees of the developers and (if sequel/remake) previous games in the series.

    And this E3 was actually pretty good at that, a lot less trying to force console sales and online peripheries and more of “this is a game and here is how we hope it will look like”. And while George makes fun of the plastic elements, most of it was limited to Nintendo’s admittedly shameless amiibos and the few physical Bethesda goods at the end of the conference.

    Originally when I watched the video for the first time I admit I felt a bit personally attacked because it seemed to accuse me of being unaware of a lot of the marketing bluster. But on reflection I just don’t think that I was the audience for this video. It was a call for the naive full of unrealistic expectations that not every exciting game shown will be a hit or even good, and I don’t really have any problem with that. There just didn’t seem to be a recognition that there are other people who watch E3 for different reasons too. And that it is totally possible to watch the conferences, be cynical at the marketing speeches, and make fun of the technical errors/cringe-worthy announcers all while still enjoying the announcements and conference as a whole.

  35. Irridium says:

    Honestly I watch it and enjoy it for the same reason I watch the Superbowl for the commercials. Being able to snark at it with all my friends is also pretty great. And being on Skype when something they (or I) really like/want gets announced/shown is a real treat. The Sony conference caused many of us to make many strange noises. It’s just so nice to see some excitement for something after being immersed in so much cynicism for so damn long, you know?

    And I’m real glad The Last Guardian is coming. Don’t care much for FFVII but glad those who like it are getting the re-make. And freaking Shenmue 3. I know that Kickstarter is shady as hell, but if there’s a chance I can get it I’m taking it.

  36. Knul says:

    I don’t watch E3 at all. But then again, I’m pretty much not interested in any hype. Why should I spend time on looking for information that is in almost any case inaccurate and designed to sell me stuff instead of informing me? Why should I focus on game that aren’t out yet and we have no reasonable way of knowing they’re any good?

    I much rather look at games that are out now, are reviewed and played so I can gauge if they are worth my time. The hype culture in gaming is nonsensical and the less there is, the better.

  37. Menegil says:

    I watched E3 because you said you were going to stream it, frankly.

    I have no investment in E3 hype whatsoever. If anything, all I wanted was to enjoy some chat time with the lovely audience you’ve accrued over the years, and to merrily snark with you, Josh and everyone else. The impression I had from the E3 did not go far at all from Supperbunnyhop’s own; a lot of buffalo manure, handed out to us in Ferrero Rocher packaging.

  38. Ivan says:

    I generally try to avoid hype, none of it ever does me any good. I mean nothing ever lives up to it’s hype and I can think of a few games that I would have actually enjoyed more if I had gone in blind. (like Hitman absolution, it’s story would still be atrocious but that’s par for AAA these days. If it hadn’t been marketed as a Hitman game I would be much more willing to judge it on it’s merits rather than it’s failures to live up to it’s predecessors.) I guess I should mention that there are two types of hype, fan and corporate. Fan hype can be fun to indulge in because you all know that there is no way the game will actually live up to it, but it’s fun to pretend that there could be something that great. Corporate hype can never be trusted though. Eventually I learned the lesson of cinematic (and even gameplay) trailers, which is that it’s often far more important to consider what they chose not to show you. If you have any questions or concerns from watching the trailer it’s often safe to just assume the worst and I am rarely pleasantly surprised.

    Pessimism aside, I just don’t have the energy to sustain hype. If I hear that something awesome is coming out next year, I often feel that I would have rather not heard of it at all. My only mechanism for dealing with my impatience is to decide that I really don’t care that much after all.I mean it’s hard to be excited about something for more than a month. Actual news trickles out at a glacial pace and it’s never enough to satisfy. It’s worse than trying to eat a bag of potato chips over the course of a month, and at least then you’ve got something to look forward to every day. Releases can take so long that you go weeks or even months between chips. So I don’t even remember the release date for Star Wars Battle Front III (I don’t care, it’s the 3rd one so I’m calling it 3). I’m trying to ignore it as much as possible so that I don’t get burnt out and really end up not caring about it by the time it comes out. Honestly I have the same problem with TV shows, I much prefer to binge than let it stew for a week. It’s usually easier to follow that way anyway.

  39. Vect says:

    I admit, the main thing I got out of this year’s E3 was that “Fallout 4 looks like it might be fun, but I don’t trust Bethesda to make use of the Dialog Wheel in a meaningful way” as well as “Man, Platinum Games is really busy now, what with Scalebound, a new Transformers game, a new Starfox game and a new Nier game”. The Nier game in particular was the one that definitely got me excited when it was announced simply because it combined a series (It’s technically part of the Drakengard series) and a developer I was quite fond of and came out of left field for me.

    Also, Cuphead looks great. I really like the artstyle and the game looks legitimately fun and challenging.

  40. Trevel says:

    If I could find someway to only find out about new games AFTER they come out, or a week before they came out, I would be a happier person, I think. I mean, unless they’re asking my opinion about some design element (they are not), I really don’t need to know about Fallout 4 until I’m ready to plunk down money for it.

    I appreciate moments of hype and excitement for things, but … well, can’t I have mine after I can actually buy the game? I can get a lot of excitement into the time before a game finishes downloading, after all.

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