XBOX does it again at E3 – Grade B+\A-

Last year with the launch of XBOX one X the teams at Microsoft delivered and unforgettable E3. This year they hit the stage again with what I feel their competitor’s nightmares are going to start sounding like, “Exclusive”… “World Premiere”

50 new games, 18 exclusives and 15 World Premieres, XBOX came to E3 with a variety of weapons. From family friendly games to iconic titles and industry leading company decisions, the rest of the press conferences best bring their A game because not much can compete with what I just saw.

To not bore you with running down all the titles, as that can easily be found else were with a simple Google search, I’m going to rather hit some of what I felt were highlights for them. Either because the game looked incredibly cool or it was a much anticipated announcement of an legendary title, mostly the latter.

Before I watched the press conference I was sitting at lunch with my friend who is a huge XBOX fan and specifically a Halo fan. He told me “If I don’t see a Halo 6 this year, I’m giving up on them.” A new Halo game has been something fans have been asking for, for years. Many people believed the best time to announce that was last year with the one X, however I felt though the hype would be there taking too much away from the new hardware with the most iconic XBOX title ever made, might just be too much. Well this year it happened. Halo Infinite, what appears to be the long awaiting next line in the great Halo story. Not much was talked about, no game play was shown, just a trailer ending with Master Chief holding his helmet on the side of his leg looking out over a beautiful landscape. Phil did say “this will be the biggest Halo we have ever made.” That’s impressive to say the least, but that’s all we got to go on. Either way, if you wanted to start off your event with a bang, based on crowd reaction, that was 10 ton mega bomb. KERBOOM!

They followed this up with a “wham bam thank you ma’am” line up of games for well over an hour. Gears 5, Ori game play, new Forza, Kingdom Hearts, Battletoads, Tomb Raider, PUBG, The Division 2 and the list goes on. Not all with game play but many included game play including an extended scenario of the Division 2 which even got me excited, and I’ve never played Division 1. Kingdom Hearts, Ori, Black Desert, and others peaked my attention as an RPG player as many times it seems shooters and simulation games are the wave of the future and it is nice to see titles like this reaching and getting attention on the XBOX platform.

Their creative trailer of Gears 5 had the crowd cheering but then quickly confused as the logo was chain sawed open to a POP figure of the main Gears character followed by other iconic characters and villains in a short hilarious trailer for Gears POP (not sure if that will actually be a game or not, i’d play it). Once the comedy and confusion set in, they hit us with Gears 5, which how the trailer was left puts you wondering if one of the main characters may take a turn like the Queen of Blades in Star Craft, only time will tell.

Arcade games are back. Battletoads, a classic arcade style game which has entertained generations of gamers is coming back in a new title. Though we only got a cute trailer for it, not even seeing the main characters, only some pixelated animated things like the jump bike and a long tongue, the narration was hilarious and the logo received a HUGE pop from the crowd. Along with that, we saw Ori game play which looks like it mixes a great platforming system, cool combat and beautiful art, a new age feel to a style of games which we have loved for ever. Fighter gamers should also be excited for what is coming over from Japan, as “Jump Force” was announced which featured characters of Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, One Piece and more in a 1 v 1 arcade style fighter game.  Finally in this group, Cuphead. A game which filled the internet with rage due to it’s challenging game play is coming back to us with new levels, bosses and playable characters! Let the salt flow.

Along with the long list of game announcements the XBOX team announced expansion to their amazing Game Pass offering ensuring that new exclusive games make it to the Game Pass on release. They also are working on a machine learning system which will allow Games to launch quicker. Amazing ideas and concepts coming from that engineering team. Along with future advancements to the Game Pass talks about teams already working on a new XBOX and the acquisition of 5 new Studios to the Microsoft \ XBOX family.

From the moment Halo Infinite played, to the conference hack to show of the new game Cyber Punk, Microsoft and XBOX put on a clinic on how to show off amazing games, tease the crowd, play on your emotions and bring your a dump truck full of information in such a short amount of time. All of the titles look beautiful on the 4K power of the XBOX One X and the game play we saw, looks just as incredible. Overall I give XBOX a B+\A- on this year’s E3, close to but not equal to last years solid A\A+ due to the lack of game play in their major titles.

 

EA stumbles at E3 – Grade C-

EA yet again shows that they have very little to offer the gaming industry aside from it’s sports games every year. Battlefield, one of the largest titles held by E3 brought us a Battlefield V announcement. It looked the same as every other Battlefield I’ve seen in the past. Though the return of destructible terrain was exciting and the new ability to move critical map weapons around to strategic positions to help turn the tide of the battle was cool but over all there was nothing new and exciting brought by one of their biggest titles. Until now…

Battlefield V – Battle Royale. No we didn’t get to see anything about this feature, no game play, nothing but “it is coming.” This was a very disappointing thing to hear for an already depressed and seemingly graveyard of a crowd. Though the announcement got some cheers, over all the lack of substance to the Battle Royale announcement was so far from lack luster, I think the vape tornados I was making on my table would have sparked more excitement from the crowd, it sure entertained me much more.

EA continued with their sports games which my only reaction was “same shit, different year.” EA is of course, the “big boy” when it comes to sports games, and sure there is a massive player base around the World of the FIFA and Madden brands but over all I didn’t see anything to explosive or exciting to come out of the newly announced DLCs or next generation sports games, aside from the clearly inaccurate missed tackle by the Steelers on a Browns Quarterback, seriously, do the makers of these games actually watch real NFL games?

Battlefront 2, yet again apologized for the horrific launch of the game and vowed to players they will continue to work hard to make up for that pathetic money grab of a start, however gave viewers and fans a like nothing. Oh? Clone Wars? yea that was announced with a variety of new characters and new battle fields on a new planet. But seriously if anyone has 2 cents in their brain left you would realize and understand this content is nothing new and it is basically a remake of an older version of the game. This was a chance for “new hope” for a game which has slid down a path to the “dark side” but instead, the small, simple and useless announcement, though it will give us Obi-Won Kenobi, he will not be the only hope this time, in fact I think the hope, or more so the fate of Battlefront II is more of the planet Alderaan.

There was hope though for Star Wars at E3, and that came from a clouded interview with another director from EA who cryptically unveiled the next game the in Star Wars line. We only got a name and a rough time line, which is that it will take place between episode III and IV and it will be about the extinction of the Jedi order. Unfortunately there was no trailer or pomp and circumstance, just an in passing interview and that it won’t be available until the Holiday Season of 2019. Personally based on the rest of the over budgeted trailers and under budgeted game content provided by EA, this may have been a game to save their E3.

Anthem, one of the most anticipated games announced last year at E3 shows up again. An already released trailer started it’s spotlight off followed by a little bit of game play and a panel of project members. We didn’t learn too much about the game in general but the game play and class system looks like EA is attempting to recreate a Destiny game. Many on twitter were seeing the same thing. Though the combo system looks very cool between the classes and the environments in game are absolutely beautiful, the game looks, like Destiny. I feel like the spark that was captured at last years E3 with the announcement of this game, is slowly going out as we get closer and closer to it’s launch.

We have a new Command and Conquer game! No it isn’t on PC, no it isn’t like the other C&C games we loved, no it isn’t what you think. The only exciting part about this announcement was the live shout casted game between 2 pro gamers. These quick 3 minute mobile games revolve around quick resource collection, troop creation out of a single base and controlling the majority of the map while countering your enemy’s troop production to ensure that a centralized nuclear missile fires at your opponent and not you. 2 nukes to win. It doesn’t matter of you have resource collection and use the C&C units, there is minor micro management and no base development. Over all I think this version of C&C took both shots from the nuke. Huge let down from an amazing brand.

The two titles, which got the most pops from the crowd and also the most exciting reactions of Social Media was S.o.S (Sea of Solitude) and Unravel 2. These two titles which their concepts were developed outside the EA World and then brought into the fold were very interesting and fresh, something throughout the EA presentation which was lacking.

Unravel (the original) was a huge hit with fans. The problem solving platforming game where you play Yarny, a little creature who is trying to survive in the harsh World was fun for all ages. Now Yarny has returned with a new friend, enhanced multiplayer \ single player modes which looked absolutely amazing. The ability as a single player not to get hurt by not having a friend to play with and a simple system of control of bother characters but the added bonus of 2 player mode to allow families and friends to solve and adventure together. This game announcement was by far the most complete, which a great emotionally driven trailer, game play sneak peaks and ever live game play on stage. This was a huge win for EA.

Sea of Solitude, though we received no game play, the description of the multiple game play modes based on the players game style was incredible. The concept revolves around loneliness and diving into the thoughts and feelings of some one who is all alone in the World. it was a heart breaking story from the presenter and though all we saw in the back ground was a little boat tied up in a flooded city, the presentation was enough to spark some life back into the crowd and social media, at least for the time being.

Overall Electronic Arts screwed the pooch, yet again. Nothing new and exciting was brought to the table by their major titles, and their smaller titles received all the pops. Aside for an unconfirmed and open promise that their new games like Anthem, Battlefield V would be moving away from the “pay to win” battle chest systems, EA provided viewers and audience members, nothing to be excited about, unless you were a Browns fan and you actually got to see you Quarterback escape a sack and make a throw.

Next steps

I never expected to be in a position where my normal 9-5 would be gone. The feeling of a non-consistent pay check but that is where I am. I think many people who have experienced this feeling panic and are scared, understandably so. I have chosen to take this as a positive and new opportunity and adventure in life. I have scheduled a full time stream and YouTube content upload schedule. (Streaming M-F starting at 4pm EST and YouTube 3-5 videos a week). This has given me revenue opportunities while I search for my next “job”.

I feel the trap in these situations is you take what ever job comes your way first, for many this is important to continue to pay bills, but for those like me who have the ability to hold off, I strongly encourage those to take time, look at life at a higher level and find out what it is you want to do, and what will make you most satisfied.

Who are your\my “share holders”?

Content creation is not an office or large international business. It is a small group or single person who creates content for fans. Yes, we are seeing content companies like N3rdfusion form who are taking content creation to another level but for the vast majority of us we are a solo business. In business the key metric of success is profit vs loss. Now content creation can be either business or hobby. For the sake of this blog, we will look at it as a business.

Businesses around the World don’t just operate without oversight. The biggest most successful companies have boards and share holders who watch the ups and downs of the business and provide their ideas on what they want to see to push things to success. So how does this work with content creators? Viewers, subscribers, patrons and tippers. These are your share holders. These are the individuals who support you and who drive you to do what you do. But in business the share holders help shape and guide where the business goes. Same with content creation.

Take a minecraft streamer for example. 5-7 days a week 6-10 hours a day. Minecraft, minecraft, mincraft. Viewers stream in, subs start racking up, tips flow and bitties drop. Day after day the mincraft streamer grows and builds a community around minecraft. Then one day, minecraft is boring to the caster. Say they decide to play League of Legends instead. Where there was once 400 viewers, there are now 50. Where there was once subs rolling, tips flowing and bitties dropping, there are now silent waters of profit.

Your share holders are not happy…..

This doesn’t mean the creator was wrong in their changing of pace, but now what was once a living has become, “do i need to go back to a ‘real’ job.” Questions in their mind begin to stir, worrying about their paycheck, crunching numbers and panic sets in.

How can this be avoided?

Transparency.

Just like in business your share holders should feel like their financial investment in you  is being used right. New equipment, rent, bills, food ect. Not every night getting plastered at a bar or buying stupid things. If you are transparent with your fans (share holders) to a certain extent (privacy is still important) to ensure how much their support helps you, it will go along way to tie them from watching your for a game and investing in you as a person.

Keep them in formed.

A business can not go for long periods of time without meeting with their share holders or board of directors. Schedule regular discord meetings where you can sit down with your supporters (the ones who want to be there) and discuss the channel, where you are, how you are feeling, and where you want to go. It can be controlled where everyone is muted but you, but then give time or a space for feedback. Let them tell you how they feel about your direction. You will never please everyone, but you need to ensure you keep the majority happy.

Content is not about you.

There will be days where you are bored of whatever you are doing. If the boredom has set in, you should have made changes before hand. Your community should have been informed of how you feel and been asked for advice on upcoming changes to help keep energy high and content flowing. At the end of the day you are not making content for you, you are making it for others. You are a character, an actor, a entertainer and it is your job to do that, regardless of your personal feelings. Not every Hollywood actor gets rolls they love, but you have to turn on the switch and perform.

 

So always remember when making content changes keep your audience informed. Maybe through a video, discord, twitter, facebook, a blog or any other of the hundreds of media sites out there. Set up a system to collect feedback from your audience on what they like and don’t like and changes they want to see. Stop thinking what your doing is about you. Your performance in your content should always be focused on your share holders. Never forget them. If you make changes to better yourself, prepare for your share holders to leave if they don’t feel a personal investment in you and what you have to offer.

NEVER build a channel around 1 thing. Unless that one thing is you. Games, topics and content will change, but if your share holders are invest in YOU, they will continue to drive and support you no matter what you are recording \ streaming.