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From the Editor: E3 2012 - The E3 of Disillusion
From the Editor: E3 2012 - The E3 of Disillusion Exclusive
June 8, 2012 | By Kris Graft




[At this week's E3, publishers in the so-called "triple-A" video game industry made perfectly clear -- more than ever before -- who their target audience is, says Gamasutra editor-in-chief Kris Graft.]

I started writing an article that was along the lines of "The top five takeaways of E3 2012." That included trends such as connectivity and integration of products (SmartGlass, PS3/Vita cross-play), Sony and Nintendo's lack of a spotlight on dedicated handhelds, and how there was little at E3 in the way of emerging business models and platforms.

Forget that, this is how I really feel.

E3 2012 was finally the E3 of my disillusionment with the so-called triple-A video game industry. And yes, it really did take this long.

On the grand stage in L.A., at the event that I've heard called the "Super Bowl of Video Games," the world's biggest video game publishers made clear at whom they would direct hundreds of millions of dollars of investment: Bloodthirsty, sex-starved teen males who'll high-five at a headshot and a free T-shirt.

What sealed the deal for me was this apparent obsession with violence and vulgarity. Violence in media doesn't bother me. Some of my favorite media (including games) utilizes violence in a very directed way. Self-aware gratuitousness can get a point across. Use violence as a satirical tool, by all means. Use it as a way to develop a tame character into one that becomes a psychopathic murderer.

But why use violence as a tool for narrative or storytelling, when using it as a marketing bullet point is so much easier?

Outside of Nintendo's dry product overviews, the main press conferences at E3 looked like a pissing match of who could say "fuck" more (ooo, bad words!), and who could show off the fanciest, highest-fidelity, most realistic up-close-and-personal (and virtually non-interactive) kill animations.

It's really kind of a shame. If you actually got to see some of these games beyond the trailers and scripted gameplay demos at E3, some actually weren't non-stop slaughter-fests, at least not to the degree to which trailers implied. Some of the violence, in context, made sense.

But if you were an average Joe who strolled into one of these E3 press conferences, and saw hundreds of people hoot and holler when a guy's face gets blown off in high-resolution detail, you might think you walked into an ancient Roman coliseum.

E3 2012 was unabashed pandering to the lowest common denominator, more than ever before. The video game industry wants to be respected as a medium that can be held up to the same creative standards as a New York Times best-selling book or an Oscar-winning movie. Instead, the games industry is complacent in further developing its relegation as a semi-interactive Michael Bay mocking bird.

I want to tell people who watched the livestreams of the press conferences that this is not representative of today's video game industry. There is so much good, so much innovation, so much progression that is happening in other areas of the industry. And people in these emerging areas are actually making some bank.

Attend a conference like CES, you can get an idea of what is sharpening the cutting edge. Go to Game Developers Conference, and you can hear the people who are working directly on games, and understand the challenges they are up against in an industry that is almost overwhelmingly -- yet beautifully -- dynamic in terms of business and creative.

Go to E3 and try to identify trends, you'll soon realize that you're looking into the past. E3 2012 could've been E3 2006. It is a museum without the informative placards. It's an archaeologist's dream. It's a reality show starring a washed-up rockstar. It's old gameplay. Old themes. A parade of old business models meant to pacify retailers, patting them on the head to assure them that they will be as relevant five years from now as they are today. E3 2012 was a fool's circus, more than any other E3 that I've been to. It insulted my intelligence, and insulted my enthusiasm for video games.

I have a friend who is working on a rather well-publicized game for a major handheld platform. He saw the intricate neck-stabbings, the bows and arrows, the line-up-your-reticle-on-that-guy's-head-and-repeat "gameplay," and the press-a-button-to-begin-a-kill-animation "game design." He said that seeing these games made him think, "I sure am glad that I'm making an actual video game." Anyone else who is making actual video games should be just as proud.

If you witnessed E3 as an intelligent enthusiast of video games, you realized the sad truth: The joy is dead, delight is gone. Joy and delight just aren't worth the monetary investment anymore for big-budget games. Joy and delight are replaced by "I fucked your shit up, and I'm a bad-ass, let's crack open a Dew." It took all of these games in one place for me to finally, reluctantly, admit that this is what triple-A video games are now. At least that's how E3 and triple-A game publishers apparently want to portray the world of video games. Are you not entertained?


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Comments


Ordani Briton
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Is about time someone from the news media noticed this.
Thank you for pointing this out. Publishers are the biggest to blame for this.
They want the quick buck at what ever cost.

Benjamin Quintero
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Isn't success to blame? If Call of Duty had only sold 1M units each year, that money would have gone to someone else. And wherever there is success there are 10 guys trying to be there too. :(

It happens everywhere from AAA to iOS. Safe bets generally pay safe returns and sometimes even better than you predict, like Battlefield 3 did for EA which sold well over the estimated 6M-8M units.

Kale Menges
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You're not alone, man.

Joseph Cassano
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Not sure I agree with the comments about "actual video games". Yes, E3 has become a farce, and yes, violence is still prevalent in AAA games, but that doesn't mean that the games themselves aren't "actual video games". Like it or not, they are just as much games as any other game.

Also (and you touch on this briefly, but seem to forget it in the rest of the article), how the game is presented to media != how the game actually is. Advertising is almost always to the lowest common denominator; it's rarely classy.

It's not about "giving up" on triple A games, but demanding more from them. Shrugging them off in their entirety is self-destructive to our medium.

Michael Joseph
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I don't think you're telling Kris anything he doesn't already know. I mean give the editor-in-chief some credit! :D

There are many ways to advocate for change and explicitly stating that intention can sometimes be counter productive.

Michael Rooney
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@"Also (and you touch on this briefly, but seem to forget it in the rest of the article), how the game is presented to media != how the game actually is. Advertising is almost always to the lowest common denominator; it's rarely classy."

I think this is the most important thing being said.

E3 isn't a game festival, it's a marketing exposition. Heaven forbid people use marketing tactics at a marketing expo. They're going to focus on things that make an impact over things that challenge anybody, and you shouldn't expect any more. It's like going into Transformers expecting to get The Green Mile.

Also Joseph, Usually when people want to reply to people replying to them they just reply to themselves/the starter of that comment thread. I noticed your comment below, and that's the easiest way to keep the comments close together.

Joseph Cassano
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@ Michael Rooney

Thanks; slowly starting to come to grips with this nested commenting system. =P

Bryan Ferris
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"Heaven forbid people use marketing tactics at a marketing expo."

I'd argue that this article was, at least in part, a critique of those parts of games being 'marketing tactics', and a critique of the crowd's reaction showing them to be successful. It doesn't reflect we on the industry if we market games that way, even if they aren't truly that way ("If you actually got to see some of these games beyond the trailers and scripted gameplay demos at E3, some actually weren't non-stop slaughter-fests, at least not to the degree to which trailers implied. Some of the violence, in context, made sense.").

Ben Grater
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Unfortunately, as developers we are generally more aware of the distinction between what games are and how they're presented then others may be. I don't have an issue with these games being created but I do have a big problem with the entire public perception of our medium being a bunch of neck-stabbing simulators.

As a game developer and advocate of the potential of this medium I often find it embarrassing/discouraging speaking with non-gamers and hearing their attitude to video games as "a waste of time", "for boys" and "all killing people". After watching our most public event this year can you blame them?

The fact is there are a wide variety of experiences that can be created with video games. I just don't buy the argument that in order to be profitable it must focus on violence and domination. I feel that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy - a market that has been shaped by its perception. The result, a dude-bro, boys-club culture that dissuades much of society from wanting anything to do with it.

Maybe if they showed more variety in the types of games that exist on their platforms a wider range of people (consumers) would realize that there is something for them in this medium (more money). Isn't that what marketing is all about?

E McNeill
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When you do your IndieCade summary in October, can you link back to this for comparison? I think that would be educational.

Todd Masten
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Welcome to adulthood. You are all grows up now.

Brian Bartram
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Publishers chase the dollar. If there weren't people buying this stuff, they big boys wouldn't sell it.

Instead of lamenting that publishers are doing exactly what you should expect them to (chasing profits, since they're public companies) maybe you should point out the huge opportunities that exist for indies in this climate.

Kim Pittman
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There are games that prove that chasing profits doesn't have to come with kill animations and gore.

Skylanders proves that, as does Mario (most Nintendo games really) and several others.

Tom Baird
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Just because publisher's are doing what they think is the most profitable avenue doesn't mean it's in their, or their customer's, own best interests. The FPS genre is getting so over saturated it's ridiculous, and we have 90% of our AAA industry targeting a single audience (Teen Males), and largely a single game type. We have a lot of very arrogant publishers fighting over who gets a specific slice of the pie, ignoring the lack of competition everywhere else.

You can't say non-violent games don't sell:
Journey is the fastest selling PSN game ever, and both XBLA and PSN display a MUCH healthier variety of genres, stories, and gameplay than what AAA offers, and people are buying them. Not to mention Nintendo's consistent success with a platform that avoids gore altogether. The Sims is still the top selling PC game of all time, but nobody outside of Maxis is even looking at that genre. New Super Mario Bros Wii was a smashing success, and the only thing comparable that was released was Rayman Origins. Who is competing with Starcraft right now? or Civilizations? or Mario? or Zelda? or Minecraft? or Skyrim? Who will compete with Sim City? Instead of these targets we have our publisher's blowing massive amounts of cash to compete in the "Me Too" arena of gory, shallow plotted, shooters until it goes the same way as the RTS and Adventure genres. Because they keep going around in circles telling each other 'It's the big thing'.

Just because publisher's think that gore, violence, and teen targeted plot lines are what people want, doesn't mean they are right.

Crispin Hands
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Tom, you hit the nail on the head for me.

I felt very much the same as Kris in regards to the same old tropes being recycled with extra eye-candy. The thing the blows my mind about this is that the teen male market is by and large cash-strapped. There's a huge market of gamers 25 and up that can actually afford to buy more than one game per quarter and yet the big studios are making a fuss over an audience who will literally have to pick 1 or 2 games per season because that's all they can afford.

A very small segment of these games make huge bank and the rest pick up the crumbs.

Brian Bartram
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"Just because publisher's think that gore, violence, and teen targeted plot lines are what people want, doesn't mean they are right."

I didn't say the publishers were right. I said they're predictable. I do have a hard time believing that they would throw the massive money they spend into these marketing campaigns if there wasn't some assurance that they would make the money back. It's probably myopic of them, but unlike Valve they have no choice but to show profit year-on-year of find themselves replaced by their board of directors.

Don't get me wrong, not justifying this. I just know that the big boys aren't going to change, so no point in whining about it - we need to help indies usurp the big publishers and prove that brotastic crap isn't the only force that can drive the industry.

Clinton Keith
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Good article Kris,

I haven't been to an E3 since they downsized it several+ years ago. I felt the same way, but question whether it's really getting "more bloodthirsty" after re-seeing the scene in "The Breakfast Club" a few days ago:

"These kids have changed....they've turned on me!".
"They didn't change Vernon....you did!"

Fortunately our demographic continues to diversify in many ways, so hopefully there is a growing market for us "Vernons" to make less bloodthirsty games for as well.

MichaelVaughn Green
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Great article! It defiantly illustrated the pangs I felt watching the E3 pressers. Thankfully we have a booming Indie scene that is delivering some fantastic experiences. When I saw that last scene from The Last of Us, which looks fantastic, I came to realization that many triple A games are just turning into, "Hobo with a Shotgun." As you pointed out, " Self-aware gratuitousness can get a point across", can be appreciated, but if it's the common experience, then something is lost or becoming severely abused. What does a "M-Rated" game even mean anymore?

Matt Ponton
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I agree. That was a very pivotal moment for me. I seriously was saying "No, he's not going to shoot him.". I just got a sickening feeling in my stomach when he did. It sucked even worse when he looks like Nathan Drake, a guy I wouldn't expect to do such a thing. I honestly expected him to just shotgun butt him in the head to knock him out instead. To see what he did... I just... I don't know. I didn't care to watch anymore.

I spent all of E3 watching the Dead or Alive 5 tournament stream. Even though that game is a fighting game, I don't get the same type of "BOOM! HEADSHOT!" gore feeling from Japanese fighting games. They're mainly all I've bought in the past year outside of Journey and Skullgirls...

Joe Zachery
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So your more upset about the violence, and vulgar language. What about the lack of real creative new titles. Sequel after sequel after sequel with nothing new in site. Then when you actually get something that is at least new. It's not even a game more like an interactive movie. With QTE, and few free moments of gameplay. I'm sorry but the gaming industry has a bigger problem than cursing. At this point all the blood, and foul talk is used just to get your attention. Since their video games are no longer capable of doing that.

Kim Pittman
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When something new is released or shown, it doesn't always get met with optimism.

It's a risk adverse industry.

New stuff I noticed though: Dishonored and Last of Us were both notable.

David Navarro
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@Kim: Well... Dishonored was in fact one of the most notorious examples of creatively nasty murderization on the show. Doesn't stop me from looking forward to it, though.

Dave Bellinger
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I feel like one of the big problems these days are lifetime gamers wanting the entire industry to mature with them, a problem that didn't exist until we got to the 16-bit era since games before then didn't really reach that level of presentation to visually attract gamers. Of course we and you are disillusioned with violence, we've seen it since at least Mortal Kombat. The problem of course is that we aren't the only market for video games, and that there is that desire to appeal to the young male/teen market. Is violence appealing to the teen market? Yes. Is that wrong? Maybe, and I don't want to speak for everyone of course, but it sure was appealing to a lot of my generation when I was that young.

I think the statement of E3 2012 looking like E3 2006 is very telling of this. Any industry should try to hope to capture that young market, and even if some facet of our industry does raise itself to the 'respectable' level movies and music can achieve, there will always be B-Movie schlock, and there will always be Micheal Bay summer effects fests. There will always be Hostel and Saw movies, and there will always be simplistic, cookie cutter pop music. The reason for this isn't because the industry and the people that run it, or at least market it, are immature or don't know what they're doing, it's because there will always be a market for these things. People will always want to see horror schlock, and $100 million popcorn movies.

I suppose I don't see it as 'serious' or 'rampant' an issue, or at least any different than the other entertainment industry.

Albert Meranda
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Very well said. It's a mistake to confuse the genre with the medium, regardless of how loud E3 is.

Crispin Hands
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I agree to a point but it's a mistake to say that we're no different than the rest of the entertainment industry.

The major difference between us and film is that for every Popcorn Action Blockbuster, there are 10 other films (making good money) telling stories that have less to do with blowing stuff up and more to do with exploring the human condition and our place in the universe - whether at a grand or mundane level.

Right now our ratio is the opposite and it's acting as a barrier to entry for a huge market that can afford to buy games. And I'm not talking Farmville games. I mean that we could be making exceptional experiences (even with violence and sex included) that make people fall in love with real and original characters instead 1 dimensional "flavour of the month" moving mannequins. We have so much power at our fingertips to take people to places they've never been, make them feel and think in new ways but we're playing it safe and telling the same shallow stories over and over.

It's a hard sell in a risk-averse market but Chris Nolan wouldn't have gotten to make the Batman films if he hadn't done an amazing little film called Memento first.

JJ Abrams does a great little TED talk called The Mystery Box - I think that the marketers could put a dose of personality into their trailers to make the violence count more. We all care a lot more if someone we know dies than if someone we don't know gets shot, no matter how brutally.

Dave Bellinger
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Excellent point Crispin, I hadn't really considered that ratio. My immediate reaction though is the level of commitment involved on both sides of the fence for the entertainment medium. You're asking for anywhere between a 5 hour to 50 hour experience for the end user, which usually directly affects the development time for the product. For film it is of course reduced to a 1 to 3 hour commitment, with some projects being shot in under a month. Considering this, I'd say the contrast is appropriate. Marketing skews the perception of what the industry offers, but look at the latest Humble Indie Bundle V, what a collection. These titles are being produced, even under the shadow of the latest Triple A market pleaser.

Lukas Arvidsson
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Well why 5-50h experiences? I seriously hope that there will be many more games offering condensed experiences for a smaller cost. Many people have short of time (teenagers excluded) why not create something more meaningful than iOS games for this crowd? I hope new consoles with digital services will really start to question all of these preconceived truths...

Joseph Cassano
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@ Michael Joseph (There doesn't seem to be a way to directly reply to your post, sorry)

I was writing based off what I read. Just because he's Editor-In-Chief doesn't change what he wrote, and it shouldn't change my response.

Michael Joseph
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Reading words in vacuum can result in all sorts of needless misunderstandings and back and forth...

There's a context to communication and the better we understand that context, the better you will understand what you read or hear.

Joseph Cassano
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Please don't condescend to me.

I of course understand context. But he wrote what he wrote. I will not appeal to authority just for the sake of it, sorry.

k s
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I've been saying for sometime now that video games going mainstream has hurt our medium. There used to be more variety and creativity in the industry but since the arrival of "hardcore gamers" around 1995 things have been going down hill. There are still cool and creative games but they aren't the biggest sellers and that is sad.

I'm not ashamed to say I hate CoD, Battlefield, MoH, etc because not only are they shallow experiences but they are a negative driving force in our industry. My nephew who is fifteen loves this crap but as a thirty year old myself I prefer something a little more creative and often feel starved for more mentally stimulating games.

Now don't get me wrong I enjoy violence in my games but I'm not really impressed by lots of gore and how realistically developer X can simulate killing generic bad guys. I'm impressed by games that keep me solving problems or exploring new worlds and introducing me to interesting characters and societies.

JB Vorderkunz
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@Joseph you have to reply to the original comment in that sub-thread.

@Kris: No love for Watch Dogs? Violent yes, but intellectually provocative and with an interesting set of mechanics.

Joseph Cassano
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Thanks!

k s
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I too was impressed with watch dogs but not for the violent aspects.

Dreama Jeantet
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I'll admit that I was covering my eyes through some of it, particularly Far Cry 3. Never have been into the violent gory games. My preference is usually for Adventure games where you end up being able to explore and solve puzzles.

Aaron Burton
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Thank you, someone who knows whats up. We should make a puzzle game XD. But seriously too much time and effort is spent on non productive games. Developers need to make me care about the characters they create.

Eric McConnell
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Thank you for writing this. Someone above wrote it perfectly, I am not losing my interest in books, movies or radio, but my interest in mainstream video games is at its lowest. Games feel like they are designed by a marketing department, everything feels so lifeless and predictable.

In the end you can't blame the publishers or design teams. You can only blame the fans. We have to vote with our wallets. Street Fighter x Tekken is the perfect example. The fighting game community has mostly shunned the game entirely (it was lucky enough to have not been released when the Evo lineup was selected). We saw on disc completed characters locked for dlc, a gem system that represents trading card games, and an all around poorly executed game engine. No one is playing it, which means no future sales or dlc purchases.

We all recognize the problem, but the casual public needs to be on board for anything to be done. Also, like someone else said above, this is a great market for great Indie games to make bank!

Duvelle Jones
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You know, when I look at this advent of casual and mobile gaming... I think that they are on bored for a change. One of the bigger benefits about gaming on mobile is the lack of noise. You don't deal with rabid fanboy/fangirl's often, there is no major expectation of realism, games are perceived as simple, etc.


It's an environment that simple cultivates those that don't seen the big or elaborate (to a point) games. It something that I think that publishers/developers should begin to understand... or the dollars will simply move away from them.

james sadler
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I went to E3 last year for the first time and felt pretty much the same way. E3 is just a huge pissing matching between publishers with most of the media as the judge, so they want to show the most "extreme" stuff they can to get them interested and post a headline. Can't say I blame them, but anyone really looking for the meat of a game or studio wont really take E3 worth a grain of salt anyway. Its a nice place to see some exclusive sneak peaks, but the other shows mentions offer more substance. From what I've seen and read from many media outlets over the last couple of days Gamasutra isn't alone in their feelings.

AAA games have been moving to this common style for years now and eventually it will pass. I remember a time when JRPG fantasy games were what everyone was doing. Then there was the arcade fighting styled games (which seem to be making a comeback). Right now everything is 3rd person uber violence with lots of zombies (or similar). There's lots of reasons for this. I could place a good bit of it on the Walking Dead series becoming so popular, or a slew of other ultra violent pop culture bits.

Luis Guimaraes
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And everything scripted and staged to the extreme.

Mike Kasprzak
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> ... complacent in ... developing ... a semi-interactive Michael Bay mocking bird.

Michael Bay has more tact than what happened at E3.

Sean Kiley
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I think its a big studio problem, if you got 400 people making a game, the safest way to make sure everyone gets a check is to do whats popular. Then you can hire more people and make sequels!

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Gina Gross
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Excellent article, Kris. I'm in total agreement with the level of violence on display and would add (1) the excessive use of non-playable demos on display with the best things hidden behind closed doors and long lines was extremely disappointing, and (2) the number and presentation of booth babes (some had to be hookers) seemed more like ChinaJoy and were an insult to women of this industry.

Ken Hannahs
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It strikes me as inherently odd that we should spend so much time and money in attracting the teenaged/young adult market with games, especially since the average demographic of gamers is getting older and older (and less and less male). Our culture is growing and evolving, and we'll see more of this until the market has seen enough. I do wonder what kind of fluctuations we'll see in market forces -- will PC gaming continue its rise with the democratization of games? will Microsoft realize a little too late that nobody cares about their next media partnership?

With that said, I saw some terrific stuff as well. Beyond: Two Souls, Watch_Dog, and Last of Us are all much better that CoD 2012 or the countless other brown shooters that will come out in the next year... yet still very much content to keep their audience hooked with explosions and violence.

The biggest changes will come by way of indie games and the small teams that make them. I have spent much more on indie games this year, and that's because the games are giving me something I've missed in most mainstream titles: a sense that what is on screen in front of me is not just the product of a focus group, but instead a part of the developers through the game. I want to play a game and feel that same sense of closeness to the designers that I get with an author when I read their book. That makes a game memorable, not the amount of giant set-pieces you've scripted.

Dave Bellinger
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The mature demographic does seem to be the central market that is buying games, but it makes sense to appeal to the Teenage market, or at the very least, 'the lowest common denominator'. It's great to get customers that buy your product now, it's even better to get some who will buy them for the next 20 years.

Do I think any company would want to lose my business? No, but I can certainly understand if they would trade me for a younger customer that will pump money back into them for the next couple of decades, who knows how long I'll keep buying their products when my time becomes more and more valuable? Besides, I think most of us were kids when we got into video games, why should the next generations be left out of that?

Dave Endresak
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People are looking to the publishers as the problem, but that's not where the cause lies. Look in the mirror. That's right. It's the general public that is the problem, not the publishers (or developers). Companies go where the money comes from and only survive if stuff sells. Michael Bay is the same. So is every director, studio, writer, etc.

The industry isn't defined by what is seen at E3, either. The industry is far broader than that. As I've said elsewhere, Hatsune Miku is globally accepted and successful, despite not yet being offered outside of Japan. The general public want her and love her, as well as other Vocaloids. Not only that, but the general consumers are who makes the content (small wonder that they want and love her and other Vocaloids since it is their content). Sony and Sega had Project Diva F at E3 and playable, and Sega wants very much to bring it to the North American market and probably elsewhere, IF there is sufficient demand. Did it get covered in Gamasutra? Nope! Not yet, anyway, even though it is definitely one of the biggest titles this year and fills the need that Kris and other state.

I am somewhat surprised that Kris makes the mistake of stating sexist accusations. No, the target audience is not "teen males" because many, many teens males (or rather those who identify as physically male or psychologically masculine, however those concepts might be defined) do NOT prefer violence, or do not prefer ONLY violence. For example, a few years ago, Microsoft published an unknown title by a little known developer (yes, this is sarcasm) in order to compete with Sony's upcoming next-gen console release. Yes, that title (and franchise launch) was Gears of War. At the time, the MS rep overseeing their side of the project was Laura Fryer. Watch the making of videos. Isn't it great how Laura can state after the E3 demo that year that she, "loves chainsawing people"? I said at the time that you can imagine the reaction if she had said that she "loves raping people" ... and the reaction would be even more extreme if she were male or identified as male, of course. Even if the game had simply shown romantic, consensual explicit sex, the reaction would be extremely negative, at least in America. But violence being embraced by a top female employee for one of the biggest companies in the gaming industry? No problem at all. Heck, that's wonderful, right? It's empowering!

She's not alone, of course. My sister is a big Star Wars fan, as I have mentioned. My mother is not so much so because Star Wars has too much violence in her view, even for the original films when it first began. My sister won't play anything rated "M" particularly most Western games, even Western RPGs, despite loving RPGs in general. She won't even check out games I highly recommend to her (keeping in mind that I consider her preferences such as Star Wars and wanting a strong heroine).

Personally, my favorite games tend to be the Japanese visual novels or other Japanese games, particularly the RPGs such as Ys and Phantasy Star. They are not the games that take most of my time, of course, because certain games such as Bethesda's require enormous time investments to learn how to use mods to fix the game so it is a game that I want to play, particularly in areas such as character aesthetics. However, the game characters and stories that really make an emotional impact that lasts are ones that have excellent writing and character development, including establishing an emotional empathy with the characters.

Western games seldom do this for me because the focus is on flashy effects and action (i.e., mostly violence). This is true even for genres such as strategy games where most titles have gone to real time (oh, speed chess rather than actual chess... some strategy game!). I do not shun violent works because I need them to understand various perspectives and, as Kris mentions, there are game franchises where it makes perfect sense in context. For example, Doom 3 is one of the most violent games as far as content and visuals, as well as audio effects, but it makes perfect sense in the context of the game.

I also prefer cut scenes and non-interactive clips as a reward for the prior effort to get to that point. I love Xenosaga and Star Ocean: The Last Hope, for example, although those two are pretty extreme examples of the point. I also love many visual novels from Japan, of course. There is no need to always be interactive. Doing that panders to the idea of always needing "action" of some kind, but that focus only gets in the way of any type of reflection or introspection (or analysis, for that matter). I never do "speed runs" either and cannot understand the point of playing that way (except maybe for time-based games such as racing, I suppose). These are my preferences, though. I never cared much for Tetris, either, but lots of people like it.

k s
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"People are looking to the publishers as the problem, but that's not where the cause lies. Look in the mirror. That's right. It's the general public that is the problem, not the publishers (or developers). Companies go where the money comes from and only survive if stuff sells."

This is why I've been saying for years gaming going mainstream is a bad thing, publishers look for the largest possible audience and ignore the niches and the average quality goes down to appeal to the average joe.

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Thomas Happ
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I remember I used to get super excited about E3. I don't think it's rose-colored glasses, I think it actually used to be cool. I hope it makes a comeback; I miss those days.

sean lindskog
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Great article.
The guys over at Rock Paper Shotgun wrote up a piece with similar themes: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/06/05/e3-day-zero-when-game-
violence-becomes-vile/

There is a lot of power in articles like this. Corporate studios try their hardest to build the games we all want. It's good to question what exactly it is we seem to be asking for.

Adam Bishop
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The line in that article that really sums it up for me is the one:

"In the press conferences themselves, shocking acts of rapid-fire violence became the central message – not simply part of a larger experience – and showcases were structured to facilitate that."

That's what I really found so troubling about E3 this year. It's not just that there were violent games, it's that the sadistic, brutal nature of the games was being used as the thing that was supposed to make us want to buy them. The message I got from the major press conferences wasn't "Come play our games they're tons of fun" it was "Come play our games you wouldn't believe how vicious they'll let you be".

Aaron Fowler
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It really is sad what the big players are doing and the patterns that they follow. But in the end, it makes those who actually refuse to conform to the norm stand out even more.

L zhi
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This is a great article. It is a good warning for us to look at the games we are making and ask are we putting real substance into our game or only junk to satisfy the testosterone running through our blood. If everyone make some changes now, we might still be able to save the future.

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Thomas Nocera
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Kris, you write elegantly from your heart. You sense, as many of us do, that this is an industry hellbent on racing down a dead end street by catering too heavily to immature, mush-brained, teenage males and those who are interested in engaging them.
I am hopeful that major publishers will read your assessment, and notice that it is well-supported throughout the comments. Like someone wrote they are risk adverse. Yet only with great risk comes the chance for great rewards.
More stimulating, less de-humanizing games are coming. I see the pendulum shifting this year. It swings toward a brighter, more intellectually engaging, less violent future. Savvy publishers will see the wisdom in protecting their bottom lines by investing in high quality games with broader audience appeal.
The era of the teenage male driven mass market now wanes. The new game interfaces will be viewed as the great equalizer, that made this sea-change possible. With the combination of voice controls, motion sensing and touch all combining to draw new more diverse audiences into the video game marketplace.

Cary Chichester
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I'm really thankful that Nintendo is still around, so that there's at least one great company making AAA games for more than one demographic.

John Potter
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Companies are in business are in it for making money. Demographics drive marketing. The 'target market' will spend money on what they like. If that is platforming and puzzle solving or or shooting imaginary people with imaginary guns the 'market' drives what gets made.

Complaining now after so many years that this is the case seems a little odd for people that cover the industry.

Do I wish it wasn't so and we could all get creative, innovative, non sequel titles? Sure.

But its delusional to think that companies that are in it for the money are going to really take chances on things that have no 'proven' market or have little to no chance of significantly expanding their user base.

People be real.

Tom Baird
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The Sims is the best selling PC game of all time.
Kinect Adventures outsold CoD:BLOPS by 50%
Mario Kart Wii sold approximately the same amount the top 4 best-selling violent Xbox 360 games: CoD:Blops, Halo3, CoD:MW2, Gears of War 2.

The idea that gore and violence is what drives the sales of blockbusters in gaming is a flat out myth that gets repeated over and over by people with a vested interest making gory violent games.

Michael Rooney
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@Tom: Who is the target market of E3 though? You don't advertise to the demographic of your device, you advertise to the demographic of the advertising medium.

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Justin Keverne
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It's worth remembering that for all the perceived "public coverage" E3 gets outside the industry the channel those presentations are broadcast on is SpikeTV. E3 isn't so much the face the industry is presenting to the world rather it's the face it's present to people who watch World's Wildest Police Videos.

Yes E3 is big and loud and brash and focused on sex and violence and the perceived tastes of youth culture, but that's what E3 is, it's no more representative of all that gaming is than the MTV Movie Awards are a representation of all the film industry is. E3 is not the place to show off creativity and nuance and subtly, because that's not what presents well in a 2 minute section of a 60 minute live presentation. It has always been that way to a greater or lesser extent, it's great people are finally calling it out for that but the emperor has been naked for a long time already. We should start our criticisms by acknowledging that we've been sitting back nodding and pretending this hasn't all been juvenile pandering for years.

sean lindskog
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Just saying "E3 is what it is" ignores the fact that E3 is gaming's premiere event, and the biggest platform for the major studios to unveil their new tech and new games. What sells at E3 is largely what major studios will make, since E3 is a money generating hype machine.

As long as the audience and press reacts most favorably to a pure gore- and sex-fest, that's what we'll continue to get. A large segment of the gaming audience and press want something more sophisticated. Let's demand it. Loudly.

Like many others have said, I'm fine with sex & violence in games. But my reaction to the scene at E3 would have been similar to Kris'.

Justin Keverne
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"As long as the audience and press reacts most favorably to a pure gore- and sex-fest, that's what we'll continue to get. A large segment of the gaming audience and press want something more sophisticated. Let's demand it. Loudly."

Absolutely, that's how I concluded my comment, we have to acknowledge that we are as much responsible for this as anybody because we've been sitting back for years and letting it happen. If I sound frustrated it's because I don't understand why it's taken until 2012 for people to realise this entire process is stupid.

I do think it's worth keeping some perspective though E3 is far from the "Super Bowl of Video Games", it might have held that position once but I don't think you can really say that any more. For those within the industry GDC, PAX and other shows are much more relevant, for those outside the industry it's rare for them to notice E3 anyway. An "average Joe" would never stroll into an E3 press conferences, because the "average Joe" hasn't got the faintest idea what E3 is. Let's be honest for a moment here, you don't really get to complain about how the world at large will perceive you when the only TV network that even notices you exists in one that might as well be called PenisTV.

Let's call this bullshit out for its own sake and not pretend we're doing it because we don't like the way it makes us look in public.

sean lindskog
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Hey Justin,

We seem to agree on a lot. Except here:
> "you don't really get to complain about how the world at large will perceive you when the only TV network that even notices you exists in one that might as well be called PenisTV."

It's a chicken and egg problem.
The channels that cover E3 will reflect the content E3 is putting out. To break that pattern, you need to change the E3 content. To change the E3 content, there needs to be a lot of noise demanding change. So when you say "you don't really get to complain", I disagree. We should, and need to.

Kevin Alexander
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Agreed wholeheartedly.

This has been the way of E3 for quite a while now, I'm glad its becoming more apparent to people. Vote with your dollars and your voices.

TC Weidner
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It's amazing that the industry itself still seems to believe in the myth that the average gamer is some pimpled face 16 year old boy

Nice article. welcome to the grown up table;) please pass the cranberry sauce...

Jeff Spock
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Answer: Indie studios. Kickstarter. Self-funding.

E3 isn't any more about game design and gameplay than the MTV movie awards are about the art of cinema. So it gives us a bad image? Horrors. Like we've never dealt with that before :)

Dustin Clingman
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The high point of E3: The well positioned IndieCade booth staffed with lots of awesome, accessible games to play.

I don't disagree with the largest chunk of the article, but hundreds of previously unaware journos played Johann Sebastian Joust and learned about the growing success of Indie games as a result.

Beyond that, E3 was E3.

Eric McConnell
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Agreed, those IndieCade games were great

Alexander Brandon
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This was a brave article, and one that's very much appreciated. And most importantly, absolutely true. Thanks for writing it.

Jack Nilssen
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I liked what I saw at E3, and I'm sorry you (and what seems like many others) didn't.

I suppose I'm part of that "lowest common denominator". Oh well.

These laser-narrow looks at how people would like to define the industry are becoming so tiresome. There's a practically infinite variety of entertainment for us to consume out there, but again and again journalists and pundits choose to whip the dead (yet hugely successful) horses.

I guess it's hip to put yourself far above the base desires of humanity. A lot of us crave sex & violence, and these companies choose to deliver to and fuel that insatiable hunger. But don't forget there's an unclimbable mountain of other content out there. I suppose it just doesn't pull the page hits in the ways that raving about the supposed degeneracy of what we do as game developers does.

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Brian Lockhart
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There will always be a strong core market demand for violent action AAA titles, thus the continued focus from the industry to satisfy that demand.

But it's not *that* hard to look a few degrees away from the core and find gaming and entertainment options for the non-core. Dance Central 3, Nike Fitness, Book of Spells are examples that come to mind. Regardless of whether or not a core gamer finds these appealing, these are great examples of games that are using new technology & tools to re-imagine what a video game can be. And none of them employ senseless violence to get high fives.

Whenever I find myself casting a jaded and burnt-out eye towards "yet another violent shooter" coming out of our industry, I remind myself of how many other options there are. Video games are still doing a great job of living up to old stereotypes, but at the same time there are growing efforts to branch out and create entertainment for folks who don't match that stereotype. It's a great time to be in the videogame industry, don't let all the guns and blood obscure your view completely. :)

Matthew Mouras
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I just wish the choice wasn't between another over the top and poorly written triple A shooter and Dance Central 3, Nike Fitness, etc... Where is the FPS that uses violence intelligently and captures the tension and drama of something like "The Hurt Locker" or "Platoon" or hell even "Aliens"?

I see half-hearted attempts to do this with non-interactive cinematics in games like Medal of Honor or Gears of War. Not good enough.

Jason Schwenn
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But this is how E3 has been for a long time. Many people have been feeling this way about both the industry and events like E3 for many years. Since this is a site aimed at actual game devs, the question should really be what are we going to do about it to help improve the quality and state of the industry? In my opinion, the answer lies in between overdone AAA mega-budget titles and hipster, artsy indie-games. The tools and the talent are out there, we just need efficient, motivated small teams to make the magic happen.

Mikhail Mukin
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Yep, probably it was a bit too much blood overall... and focus on "too bad ass" characters in many games.

However, the quality of many AAA games was amazing. I would say a big difference with 2006. Look at level of graphic detail and all the things like shadow quality etc, world object density, smooth animations and transitions, how much you can do in the world and interact etc.

And as to gameplay... around 2006, we would have a game that "have crowds" or "allows stealth mechanics" or "have climbing at arbitrary places on the map" and so on. Now we seem to have games that incorporate many of those systems in one product, giving user more flexibility and different ways to play.

As to innovations... I mostly beleive that eventully we are limited by what our HW can do. Give us 10x more power - you might see some of that trickle into more complicated character behavior, intelligent AI and so on, not only better visual presentation. Give us better motion and audio recognition HW (and make tens of millions buy it ;) - and you will see more original titles that use it.

When people say "this is more of the same" - yep, end of console cycle, you have very well polished games but with "more of the same". And if you own Halo or COD or Hitman franchise - what would YOU do? I was asking people complaining about AAA games what they would do but to be honest I yet to hear something that would both surprise me as innovation and I would consider "yep, this can sell up to 2 millions if done and promoted right"...

There were excellent FPS, there were 3rd person shooters that allows you to play it in stealth mode or use some tactical support or create diversions etc, there was a racing game with cars looking amazingly real, there were all the dancing games and cute looking kids/nintendo games (that I personally do not care about but I understand there is a big market) there are MMO games - and we are starting to have not mostly MMORPG but MMO action games with vehicles etc, there were story driven adventure games... maybe not that many RTS (everyone scared of SC?) etc - but overall - busyness as usual?

Dedan Anderson
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always good to read a "emperor has no clothes" article...

Christian Nutt
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Yup. What a dreadful show. Seconded by another Gamasutra staffer.

Bryce Walters
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I would like to chime in that I really enjoyed a lot of the things I saw at E3 this year. Yeah there were the CoD's and other super gritty bloody games there, but there were quite a few great games shown off as well. I will agree that E3 is a complete media madhouse with the big 3's press releases, but those were over the morning of the second day. That's not even half of the show. Yes it's the place where the spotlight falls, but take one step out of it and all around you can see some wonderful things.

I'm personally quite excited by Watch Dogs, Tomb Raider, Beyond, PaPo & Yo, Hell Yeah, Hawken, P-100, ZombiU, Rayman, Dust 514, Metro, and a lot more. And some of the engine's that were shown off are quite mindblowing. Forgive me if I enjoy my action games with amazing graphics along with my Bastion and Sword & Sworcery, but is this really as horrible of a thing as it's being made out to be here?

lisette Titre
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The AAA game industry is like the cute boyfriend who cant seem to get their shit together. He won't pull his ass off the couch, put down the bong, and grow up just enough to be a responsible adult. He's sexy and fun, but hes just not cutting it anymore. Love don't pay the rent! It's sad that the more interesting titles I saw didn't get as much press as they should have. Fun games that require brain power/skills to complete. Games like SimCity. It was wildly sophisticated in terms of game mechanics and implementation. Beyond by Quantic Dream looks beautiful and has a compelling story. It is also well acted and the tech they used to capture emotional performance was inspiring. Ni No Kuni was a masterful blend of artistic style and story. It took the stunning Studio Ghilbli look and transformed smoothly into 3d graphics. Sadly, just like in high school, the loudest stupidest jocks got all of the attention.

Aaron Burton
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I agree. Usually the intuitive puzzle games never get as much attention as for example duke nukem from last years E3. Just imagine if they made a game that was fun and could change the world in a positive way. It's possible but developers only wanna make shooting and magic games.

and holy cow your lisette Titre. Nice to meet you XD. Love your character modeling work.

Isaiah Taylor
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What I'm most concerned with was that this was the generation of online. Online play, online marketplaces and online purchases.

Bastion, Braid, Journey and plenty more games took these ideas from the past and present. They took them from PC and gaming portal websites and put that on a console. Sure, Bastion didn't do Call of Duty numbers. Braid won't be a WoW.

But there was a WoW moment, that, in a way -- got snubbed. This generation we saw people flock to smaller games on consoles like never before and they merely get mentioned [by Sony] within seconds.

What is this saying to developers who want to provide an alternative to the violence, "always at eleven," greased-boobed promotions of today?

Is it better they are left on a show floor, given an off-stage show and competition? Maybe it keeps that community honest? 'Lest it be what we've witnessed in the past four days.

What happens next?

Isaiah Taylor
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I also want to point out that a handful of the old Psygnosis guys are working on the Black Ops team ... so I know there are just as many brilliant minds behind the scenes of AAA titles.

Jonathan Escobedo
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With all due respect Mr. Graft, I respectfully disagree with you. While it's true that there are quite a few games that were on display that were nothing more than mindless gorefests (Gears of War, God of War), I noticed that there seemed to be a lot more bright, colorful games (such as Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends, Epic Mickey 2, etc.) than last year, not to mention games that had the blood and violence but also told a compelling story or had interesting game play (ACIII, Watch Dogs, The Last of Us) to back it up.

And while I do agree that lately many publishers are trying to get the "bloodthirsty, sex-starved teen males who'll high-five at a headshot and a free T-shirt" as you put it, that doesn't mean they will be doing this forever. Remember when after the success of Sonic the Hedgehog suddenly every major game company needed a 2D platformer that starred a cartoon animal with attitude? How about full motion video? Or when 3D was first introduced and every 2D franchise now had to be made into 3D to show off those cutting edge graphics? Those were all fads that either died out or became better as new technology emerged, and this male teenager pleasing gorefest will one day end too to be replaced with some other fad.

Nicholas Muise
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"not to mention games that had had the blood and violence but also told a compelling story or had interesting game play (ACIII, Watch Dogs, The Last of Us) to back it up."

I have to disagree with you on The Last of Us. I personally just didn't see anything compelling about the gameplay. The mechanics to me looked very simplistic/narrow and being supported with such a slick presentation/camera setup, actually strangles the gameplay even more imo. I will say I didn't watch the full 17 minute demo however, plus I can't say anything about AC or Watch Dogs as I haven't looked at them yet. I hope The Last of Us turns out great, but it has dropped off my radar completely after what I saw at E3.

Dave Bellinger
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Don't mean this to sound too rude, Nicholas, but you should watch the entire demo before disagreeing with a statement based on having seen the whole thing. I think jumping to conclusions, especially based on seeing only part of the issue, is what is causing a lot of these issues being talked about (not to minimize any real issues people have, of course)

Nicholas Muise
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@ Dave,

Doesn't sound rude at all Dave, it is a fair point. I will definitely set aside some time to check out the rest of it. As I said, I hope there is more to it than what I have seen.

TC Weidner
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what I found compelling watching the Last of US trailer was just how well delivered and how well written the dialogue was.

Nicholas Muise
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@ TC Weidner

I agree with that, strongest point of the demo for me.

Nicholas Muise
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Thank you for writing this article. Your thoughts mirror many of my own over the past week. I think people have brought some interesting points to the table in the comments. E3 is a different beast to different people it seems but I hope everyone was able to at least find something appealing about the show.

I am very interested in seeing how the influx of kickstarter games hitting the market in the near future will perform. The Big 3 will always continue to devote a large part of their show to flexing their safe-bet marketing muscle, but hopefully we get to see some of the kickstarter projects getting some love too.

William Volk
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The expense, the risks are too high for pretty much anything else. With dev budgets exceeding $50m in some cases (the next gen hardware will be worse) what can you expect but THE SURE BETS.

The innovation is happening elsewhere. Mobile and Tablets for one. Digital delivery platforms (Steam, XBLA) for two.

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Jeff Murray
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Agreed.

Ron Dippold
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Yo, let's bro down and krush out some terrorists!

Kain Shin
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The Center for the Maintaining of Video Game Violence (C.M.V.G.V.) has added you to their watch list. Be careful "Kris Graft"; there are very powerful people out there who wish see "your message" "die". Watch your back.

And follow the white rabbit.

Sean Boococok
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Have been harboring the same sentiment all week. Thank you for putting this to words.

Adam Bishop
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I have to say that I'm actually really pleased to see this editorial and the large amount of supporting comments in response. I was feeling the same way as I watched the major press conferences this year (Nintendo mostly excluded), but I was worried that no one else saw it. So it's definitely reassuring to see that a large number of people both here and elsewhere seem to have picked up on the same things.

William Johnson
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As a 20-something male gamer who likes tits and violence, I can't help but feel its all just noise now. I guess I've just become too desensitized. It just makes everything blend in to the next thing.

When seeing the Watch Dogs preview, I thought to myself, "Finally, a game trying to make a commentary on more current social cultural shifts." The 1984 dystopian set in modern times is a great premise for a game. Then you toss in some cyberpunk themes of technology being every where and being able to play as a bad ass hacker who can haxors everyone's gibsons and trying to over through the faceless powers that be that control our very lives. That's a pretty strong concept to me.

And then there was shooting. And I thought to myself. Does this guy really need to be a bad ass gun slinger on top of being a bad ass hacker? Couldn't he be totally inept at gun play and just use his wits to get out of vicarious situations.

Is there some kind of triple A check list that every game needs to be about shooting?

Alan Saud
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No, Developers are more experienced at making shooters as far as action adventures goes not to mention you could compromise single player in favor more online oriented modes.

Luis Guimaraes
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That'd be just awesome having no guns but all that information power and being on camp facing the enemies right there at their face while they're searching for you.

Olly Skillman-Wilson
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I completely agree William, I was moderately excited by Watch Dogs until he whipped out his gun, then it was like, ah, there goes sophistication, character plausibility, and thought provoking gameplay...

Luca Alesini
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I still think that it can be a satisfying game that can deliver, if they leave the shooting part to a very minimum.

From a player perspective the mechanics and the design looks pretty interesting, and have lots of potential to be fun

TC Weidner
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I agree, if the premise is everything is watching you, then someone must be watching him, and if so, you cant get away with just causing all sorts of gunplay and crap in the city.

The problem with violence in games is that they have made it so its meaningless. In real life, shooting a weapon and hurting someone has very real consequences, in the video world, you can shoot 40 people as if its just a common occurrence. Violence especially in games like this Watch Dog would be better served as to be ' the last resort" type, and with it comes huge consequences. Make it matter again.

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Steve Rynders
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It was interesting that Dishonored, which is going to allow you to complete the game without killing anyone (yet has a trailer that is all about viciously neck stabbing) has this option; yet Watch Dogs probably won't. If anything, Watch Dogs seems like it could benefit from using your hacking skills to avoid combat all together.

Aaron Burton
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I couldn't agree more. The truth of the matter is immature people are making games and immature people are buying them. Some stuff should just not be approved. Like i find GTA extremely mindless. Games like portal, bejeweled, Quantum conundrum, and Q.U.B.E give me hope for the video game industry. I'm glad i didn't get accepted to go to E3. It was nothing but sequels and babes. Don't get me wrong some cool stuff did get announced but apparently all people care about is violence, witchcraft/magic, sex, and profanity. Big SMH moment.

Eric Schwarz
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Even "immature" games are often made by exceptionally smart and talented people. In most cases, though, they don't really have creative control over the product.

Michael Joseph
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Not trying to argue, but there is a difference between intelligence and maturity... intelligence and wisdom or enlightenment or righteousness for that matter.

Reid Kimball
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This is why I no longer develop AAA games. They haven't grown up with me.

Alan Saud
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Video games needs to be about fun as always, when you try and apply movies or real life logic to games then it doesn't gets well to say the least. Games aren't fictions, Games are software.

Eric Schwarz
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My problem with E3 isn't so much the violence, the pandering, the sheer immaturity of it all... it's the fact that we now have this sort of homogenizing of gameplay that's resulted in the cover-based shooter (with melee takedowns!) becoming the de-facto game genre. Tomb Raider? Cover-based shooter. Resident Evil? Cover-based shooter. Splinter Cell? Cover-based shooter. Star Wars 1313? Cover-based shooter. The Last of Us? You guessed it! It's got to the point where the genre is so tired and familiar that the camera angles, animations and gameplay flow and mechanics look virtually identical across games.

Granted, the games industry has a history of clones, from platform games of the 80s to Doom-style shooters of the 90s. But, in an era of 3D graphics, high production values, potential for engaging narrative and completely new styles of gameplay, the triple-A industry is still largely treading water. That's not to say there aren't some amazing games being put out, or even that these games are bad - but the desire to play things as safe as possible has sucked a lot of the life out of games. I literally could not watch E3 coverage beyond a couple of the conferences because I was already bored of the endless parade of copy-paste shooters whose core defining differences weren't how they played, but what label was stamped on the box and what the setting and characters were.

A few titles caught my eye above all others, Dishonored especially looks fantastic despite it being more or less based on a 10-year-old game genre that's only ever had a handful of true examples (specifically Deus Ex/System Shock 2/Thief/etc.). But, when Nintendo's showing off what must be the 10th New Super Mario Bros. game in a row (new? half the assets look reused from the original DS game!), and the majority of games are so stock-standard that it might as well be design-by-numbers, it's impossible not to feel something is wrong.

Joe Wreschnig
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"what must be the 10th New Super Mario Bros. game in a row"

Third. It's the third (and fourth) game in the series which started in 2006.

In the meantime, the entire Assassin's Creed franchise happened, all but the first game in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises happened, all three Mass Effect games happened, 6 Call of Dutys happened, etc.

I'm not clear what "in a row" means either. It's not like Nintendo has been turning out only NSMB games since 2006. As always that have made a large mixture of of existing franchises and new titles.

Luca Alesini
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I'm not a game developer myself (sadly:p) so I do not know if what I say makes complete sense.

I agree on the cover-based system games, but it also seems that this is what the audience want at the moment even if something different is proposed. So developers are jumping on the bandwagon for now

I enjoyed much Warhammer 40k: Space marine and it was totally cover-less game however it did not seems to have been much appreciated.

Ok it was kinda of a repetitive game, however I did not see much appreciation for the cover-less feature.

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Eric Schwarz
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@Joe Wreschnig

You're right, I was just being sarcastic. I realize it's also a very defined style of game that doesn't have a lot to add to, but I have a very strong feeling that the only reason Nintendo churns those out instead of a brand-new reinvented Mario experience that takes true advantage of the hardware is that it's a hell of a lot cheaper to just put out the same old game with new levels and a few more power-ups. That's not to say that those aren't games with great design and very strong gameplay - but it's old hat by now.

Luca Alesini
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@Joshua: I was actually thinking about that during my lunch break and try to put the mechanic in perspective based on the game where I experimented it (ME series and Deus Ex)

While it is kind of maybe overused mechanic what kind of soldier would not take advantage of a possible cover, or if you're trying to sneak around would not you hide under or behind something?

Maybe I not have thought that very thoroughly :> and of course thank you for making me think again about it.

Joe Wreschnig
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"only reason Nintendo churns those out instead of a brand-new reinvented Mario experience that takes true advantage of the hardware is that it's a hell of a lot cheaper to just put out the same old game with new levels and a few more power-ups."

But they also made Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Galaxy, which are reinvented Mario games. Unless you want it "reinvented" so much it's not an action platformer at all? In which case, why title it "Mario"? (NSMBWii also added multiplayer, which is an *enormous* change to the dynamics of the game.)

Are you really faulting Nintendo for making 3-4 similar games in a series over 6-7 years, each of which contains new ideas, while concurrently launching three new devices, massive new franchises like Wii Sports/Fit/Play, experimental designs like Endless Ocean, out-of-genre reinventions of old characters like Kid Icarus: Uprising, and completely new designs like Dillon's Rolling Western?

What incredibly scathing level of criticism have you reserved for *every other entertainment company in history*?

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Luca Alesini
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@Joshua

I agree, I think there are lots of possibilities that are simply there but for some reason (not actually working in the envinroment I've no real idea of why not) are not used, your examples are also very much used in films and movies so as you said they're not too out of the imaginary.

Considering that with a friend we are designing some kind of roguelike (we hope to manage to reach at least a prototype stage would be an exciting goal for us, but it is more like an intellectual excercise out of fun) I'm totally going to try to figure out stuff with your suggestions. I do not know if we can come out with two hundred possibilities that way, we will try though, but I think that is a pretty interesting consideration on how to try to figure out some fun mechanics

Bruno Patatas
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Clearing the path of all the noise, all I can see is that E3 has become a Comic Con. Is that bad? Well, I don't think so. Repetitive IP's and booth babes are some of the trademarks of Comic Con, and that is celebrated by the comics industry at large. It's not unusual to see female creators posing next to booth babes portraying the characters that she created/worked on. I thing one great thing to see at E3 would be the creators talking to the fans about their creations, but then we already have GDC for that, so it might overlap.

I want the games industry to take risks, to go in bold new directions. But at the same time we need to continue pushing out to the market IP's that people love. For me it's mind boggling to see in the comments people complaining about a new Mario game! It's like people complaining that Disney is releasing new tv series with Mickey! Or that Superman comics continue to be produced. It doesn't makes sense.

"E3 2012 was unabashed pandering to the lowest common denominator, more than ever before. The video game industry wants to be respected as a medium that can be held up to the same creative standards as a New York Times best-selling book or an Oscar-winning movie. Instead, the games industry is complacent in further developing its relegation as a semi-interactive Michael Bay mocking bird."

This looks like we are going again to the discussion that we need our Orson Welles, we need our Citizen Kane. No we don't. We need our Jim Henson. We need people who will create characters that will live through generations. We need heroes. I have grown up with Mario. He was part of my childhood, and I expected every new Mario game with high levels of excitement. Even today when I buy a new Mario game, it feels like I am meeting an old friend. For that, I will always thank Nintendo. But Nintendo already gave us the Walt Disney of video games, in the persona of Miyamoto. We need someone else that will carry the flame forward together with them.

I got excited with a lot of titles that were showed at E3, and also the new technology that was showcased. Were all the games good? Of course not. But every once in a while I like to go on a zombie killing rampage, just as I like to see thoughtful hard-sci fi movies and then see Transformers on a Sunday afternoon.

Bruno Patatas
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Totally agree with your points, Christian. And if there is a fan if Watchmen it's me. Have all the different editions of the book, and I even have a Watchmen tattoo :)
The things with comics is that you see a lot of rubbish, but at the same time you see a lot of quality stuff. For instance, DC. I like some of the stuff the main DC publishes, but I totally LOVE what their sub-label Vertigo releases. Probably this type of model could be applied on the big game publishers? A sub-label for more alternative games?
Watchmen is a work of genius, but don't forget that it started as a reboot of old characters that DC had no idea what to do with them. From there it evolved to the masterpiece we know.
I still like to read super hero comics just to have some fun :) I'm loving DC Comics The New 52. Some quality stuff there. Btw, if you have the chance, check out Batman: Noël. You could be surprised :)

Robert Boyd
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I don't think people are complaining about getting new Mario games so much as they're complaining that they're getting old Mario games that are being marketed as new games. In 2007, we got the very creative and well done, Super Mario Galaxy, but since then we've gotten what amounts to a Mario galaxy expansion pack, 2 throwback titles, a generic 3D title, and now we're getting 2 more throwback titles, to say nothing of all the various spin-offs. I miss the days when a new Mario game was a big event because they were always high quality games full of creativity. Now, the quality still remains, but the creativity has gone.

Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario 64
Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario Galaxy

Aside from the Lost Levels & some of the cheap portable games, each one of these Mario games did something new and interesting that differentiated it from the previous games. Now, if you showed me a screenshot from one of the New Super Mario Bros. games, I'd be hard pressed to tell you if it was from NSMB DS, or Wii, or WiiU, or 3DS - they all feel the same.

Joe Wreschnig
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@Robert,

(I suspect you misfired your reply and wanted the thread above.)

You're forgetting Super Mario 3D Land. Which looks and plays unlike all those other games, and seems to be exactly what you're asking for.

You can trivially differentiate NSMBDS from NSMBWii by counting the number of players on the screen.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is really the only game I felt was "unnecessary". That's 10:1 in favor of Nintendo doing something original - I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to NSMBDS2 and NSMBWii2 for now.

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Khalid Daud
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I'm currently working on my SpeedNips middleware to take advantage of this new trend. Over 400+ different breast and nipple combinations to choose from.

Roberto Dillon
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Great and brave article (and exactly my thoughts too!). Thanks for writing this.

Jonathan Murphy
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Console developers are supposed to task risk? Where was it? The only risk I saw was games for kids with adults playing them... um... Marketing at it's best. What were they aiming at? If it was the wall, they hit it.

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Carlos Sousa
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Oh man... So many comments... I just gave up posting my opinion on this, I'm pretty sure someone's already posted something similar. :P

Timothy Ryan
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Welcome to the 40+ game developer club. We're not the target market anymore. We've seen the same gameplay repeated for the last 20 years with only slightly improved storytelling and vastly improved graphics. True original AAA games are too risky for publishers. However, the age of micro-transactions, and downloadable games is diversifying the revenue stream and freeing up money on smaller budget games so that more independents can produce games and publishers can afford to try more original game play. You will not see these at E3 where only the big money is. The industry is changing. It's just going to take a little more time.

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Mike Reddy
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The Jam summed it up in the lyric "The Public wants what the Public gets."

Not wanting to torture a equine quadroped, but movies went through War Films and Musicals and formulaic RomComs (ok, we haven't had too many of these), and sexy Sci fi (Look at the Plan B from Outerspace trailer!) before settling down into vaguely defined, but diverse, narrative driven genres, with occasional stars that shine; there's no obsession with AAA as many are happy with A or BBB status, so long as they make enough money.

Games DID musicals (plastic guitar anyone? I have four, and a drum, several dance pads, etc) and are still doing War (huh? what is that good for?). We don't do sex or Love very well yet, although I think the often scoffed Japanese Hentai is one step in the right direction, even though its motives may not be the purest…

…Which nicely returns to e3. It's like a bored teenager right now, stuck doing stuff because "Everyone else is doing it," secretly yearning for something new, but not knowing what.

These doldrums will result in jaded consumers, who'll stop buying the next "Chaos Death Baby Eaters 2" and publishers may relax their caution against risk. If we can survive our teens - of course we will - without too much blaming of the parents, we'll see some great young adult games.

P.S. can we shoot a few games PR people first, through the lung, with a harpoon gun, dipped in acid, before we grow up. I'm looking at YOU Hitman:Absolution marketers…

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wes bogdan
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For some reason back on ps2's end of cycle saw some really great games like rouge galaxy a really original great game. From the way past cycles have gone the best games come in at the end because of hardware knoledge and making it do things never envisoned...but with 360/ps3 hardware has become so powerful that more of the same-safe bet and with the cost involved if it sells kepp selling even less than needed sequels.

That worked really well for music games didn't it........the entire f.p.s genere could be next the way it's being ramroded down everyone's throats.

Are f.p.s nice sure but something like uncharted 2 or 3 is much nicer with characters people care about,humor and if you love indy well now uncharted gives you an interactive modern indy to play.

Sequels to a beloved series should take 2 1/2-3years not come out like madden that's how you kill a series or genere.

As for e3 it was supposed to showcase the best in gaming and if that's our best i don't want to know what our worst is because imho i just saw it.

Don't delude yourselves that on ps4,720 or wii u things will be better because rinse n repeat past successes is the order of the day not how to create a universe people care about and will buy a system to play there.

Ms is the play it safe company while nintendo puts out reliable games their series date back to the nes which leaves sony who started ps3 with unknown series and has kept cranking out new ip sure they've had sequels to great series but out of the big 3 sony wins on truely supporting a system to it's fullest potencial.



As for the next gen these systems arrive @ an even worse time than ps3/360/wii did so tread lightly,make sure the current gen works on it and never release another $499/599 system to comments like "work harder-get a second job!!!"

For a new system i'd say between $299-399 is the magic sweet spot.....look at ps3 it didn't really take off before the slim,price drop and little big planet was released.

I know we are better than this.

Dave Long
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I'm thinking someone missed the Sony press conference. Yes, it had gratuitous violence, but the longest part of the presentation was on Wonderbook! And it lead with Beyond: Two Souls (which, while there are some questions over the nature of the gameplay, which focusses much more on emotional than gamepad manipulation, is hardly an example of an over-the-top violent game). Oh, and Playstation Mobile and Smart Glass isn't mentioning new and emerging media? Hell, Sony made a point of talking about the large number of small and emerging devs that had download their PS Mobile SDK.

Yes, God of War was violent, _but_ God of War was OTT violent when it began seven years ago. Unlike some franchises (Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider, for example), it's a core part of the franchise, rather than displaying a drift towards sensationalist violence. And Last of Us was violent, but it was definitely not the OTT Michael Bay violence that seems to be getting to you.

And Playstation Brothers Brawl was a cartoon brawler. Yes, Far Cry 3 and AC3 were not, but the gameplay of AC3:L was balanced between traversal and combat, and the AC3 gameplay was naval combat, and we didn't have any close-ups of people having their heads taken off with cannonballs or the like.

And that Swan game and Papa and Yo are hardly going to get too many bro fist-pumps happening (although they look excellent - they're just not OTT bro shooters). And if you went beyond the conferences to look at the type of games coming out on Vita, there's a good range of really innovative stuff with hardly any blood or slo-mo bullets going through skulls with X-Ray view in site.

So you've got what can only be described as a balanced Sony conference, and Ninty were about as violent as a feather duster used in anger. So two of the three platform holders weren't heavily focussed on violence.

Yes, the gameplay in the MS conference (Dance Central 3 aside - and DC3 got a performing artist, at least in the professional sense, on stage to give it some 'glam') was much more teen-and-young bloke focussed. But in case it's news to you, this is the core demographic of the 360, and always has been! It's also the core demographic of the games that sell the most, so it's not surprising that the major publishers, that don't have the royalty revenue streams of Sony and Ninty, and have to focus a bit more on the stuff that sells more, because they can't take as many risks, on balance, without going out of business.

So the next question is what subliminal emotional forces meant that you as a write ignored two of the platform holder conferences in writing the above article? You don't have to only play the 360 and third-party games you know ;). I totally agree that there is a continuing focus in part of the industry on pushing the boundaries to reach the teen and young bloke market, but given this is the market that probably spends more on AAA games than any other, it's not the industry you should be having a go at, but the people they're serving.

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Dave Long
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@ Joshua - around 1/4 to 1/3 of the Last of Us demo was traversal gameplay and a conversation about a hotel and a movie poster. And in the fighting, Joel and Ellie only did enough to put down the people that they were in conflict with - there was no post-kill aggression, and no use of more force than necessary to kill the people in question. I'm not sure how you define gratuitous, but the violence in question was appropriate to the context. Sure, it may not be your thing, but it also wasn't gratuitous, and the discussion here isn't about your personal preferences, but rather about violence in gaming.

Which goes on to your Beyond example - you use the fact that it didn't appeal to you to suggest that it's not valid adult entertainment, despite strong evidence in Quantic Dream's past that their games are specifically tailored to more mature gamers.

And in the Wonderbook demo, there were specific examples of games - shoot all the paper butterflies, for example. But again, you decide to use your (extremely) narrow definition of what a game is to write that off as well.

Sounds a bit like you could spend some time maturing your reasoning and dialectic argument skills ;). You also neglect to mention 'The Unfinished Swan' and 'Papa and Yo' in your response. Perhaps because they would have further weakened your already somewhat tenuous argument.

As for Ninty, while they make games that are targeted to some degree for children, I know many adults that play them - so I wouldn't write their games off as just for kids.

I'm not saying that there wasn't a lot of violence at the show, and personally was turned off by a bunch of it (I thought the exposed elephant-man brain in Gow:Ascension was unnecessary - but as noted above, GoW as a franchise has been built around excessive violence, so it's hardly a new development for that game), but to suggest the whole industry has gone that way seems to be someone writing with not enough sleep leading to clouded perspective and judgement (and given the author covered E3, that's a perfectly reasonable excuse :)).

Joe Wreschnig
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Wonderbook looks great.

Too bad SCEA probably won't change its position on visual novels more generally, making it an isolate and in many technical ways a step backwards compared to other non-linear fiction they could have on their platform.

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Michael Rooney
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@"I question why there wasn't a post apocalyptic survival kill em all " to live " game that couldn't have been more enamoring as a non violent scavenging and searching for lost this or that instead of sensationally violent stuff."

It's a 5 minute gameplay demo. Do you really think they're going to highlight the crafting mechanics or the menu system or some crap? If you look at previous tomb raiders for example, you could reasonably complete about half a puzzle during a 5 minute game demo. E3 game demos are not the standard gameplay, they are the best 5 minutes you can put forward without too many spoilers and unfortunately they are going to be action heavy.

If you watch the trailer for geometry wars they don't even show the first 5 minutes of a play session, and that's where most people spend most of their time.

I just don't understand what you want out of a media expo, Josh. As best I can tell you want no women, no violence, no children's games, no action games, no motion games, no rhythm games, and no boring games. That leaves like turn based strategy (xcom was shown), and non-real-time adventure games, which would be great, but that's 2 niche genres.

Maybe you should reevaluate yourself as a gamer, because I really don't think you'll be satisfied with any game to be perfectly honest.

Better yet, why don't you make your perfect game? That's what Double Fine is doing. So instead of sitting around whining about the sad state of the industry bemoaned by the thousands you must represent for your reasons to be realistic, go out and make the game you want to play. Be aware that somebody just like you is going to come along and use it in a list of over-sexualized, childish, or violent games.

That's putting aside the fact that you clearly didn't pay attention to most of the stuff at the conference, because half your opinions don't even paint an accurate picture of the games.

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Michael Rooney
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@"Most of those "games" don't do those things because they don't engage the player where they are at."

THEY WERE ALL 5 MINUTE GAME DEMOS! What honestly do you expect them to do in 5 minutes that they didn't do? I wrote up a longer reply, but I feel like posting that just gives you an excuse to spout more irrelevant BS, so just answer that question.

And no, "adding imagination," is not an answer. What specifically would you have changed about the demos that would have made you happy?

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Dave Long
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@ Joshua - you were talking about imagination and Wonderbook being for kids, but as well as JK Rowling, Sony announced (in the actual presser) that they were also partnering with Moonbot Studios - quote:

"We are truly excited to announce our collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe to launch a new title for their Sony Playstation WonderBook platform. Moonbot is always looking for new ways to innovate storytelling. Our newest mystery, Diggs Nightcrawler, tips its fedora to the classic Film Noir stories of the 1930s and 40s. This game will encompass the best of Moonbot art and animation and promises to engage the user with a compelling narrative."

So it's not just for kids, and you only needed to watch the press conference to know that ;).

As for:

"I've bought Sony games, I had a playstation for a long time also. I won't buy another because it's banking on one big industry developer. And they simply aren't worth the money investment ~ yet."

That precludes you from buying any console, given that you've got far less adult choices on the two competitors, and if you stick with PC you miss out on a lot of console exclusives, some of which are excellent (Heavy Rain was an excellent interactive drama in every sense of the word, the best full-fledged AAA title to do it yet, and if you don't have a PS3, you haven't played it - and yet you claim to be interested in mature entertainment). Personally, I run a PS3 and a PC (with a Vita thrown in for the road) - and spend plenty of time on my PC (mainly for strategy games, like Hearts of Iron 3, Civilization and Europa Universalis - if you're looking for complex, thoughtful mature games, give these a crack ;)).

As for Papa and Yo, that's being put together by an indie dev supported by SCEAs pub fund - of the big three, Sony's the only one with this kind of industry-supporting initiative, and they're the only content provider on _any_ platform that actively supports indies like this (the pub fund covers up to half the cost of development, or something like that, although obviously Sony then wants the games to be Playstation exclusives). There's no organisation on PC, console or handheld that does anything like this.

But the strangest thing about your response was to pillory all of the action content, and then highlight Borderlands 2 as a standout! I'm a big Borderlands fan, and have played it through twice on PS3 and put some time into it on PC, but it's as generic gameplay-wise as it comes, beyond some mild mashing-up between genres. It's a great game in coop, but actually pretty stock-standard in SP. And Borderlands was hardly the first game to go cell-shaded in its presentation, so can hardly claim innovation even in art style - XIII was one of the first cell-shaded shooters, and that came out around eight and a half years ago. And Borderlands is _full_ of gratuitous violence!

You're spot on with Limbo, of course, but these types of more quirky, indie-style games never get centre stage at E3 conferences due to the primary audience for these conferences. That Sony showcased similarly creative indie-style games (and was the only one of the six conferences to do so) and you still tear into them is somewhat odd.

As for Legend of Grimrock, it's a solid, retro-styled dungeon crawler, and it's great to see games like that coming out, and getting decent exposure on Steam. Frozen Synapse is another great example. But these days, the PSN is getting near as many quality indie games as Steam is (I'm active on both), and many of the top indie games come out on console first (Limbo, Super Meat Boy, Shatter, etc.,), and the sizzle reel flash we got in the Sony conference continued to push that point (as did the talk about indie developers on Vita).

But be careful not to make the mistake that the games shown at Sony's conference don't appear to the older gen - I'm in my late 30s, and while I dig a mindless shooter with the next bloke, I also rate Heavy Rain as one of the best games this gen, and very much look forward to Beyond: Two Souls (given it sounds like you haven't played Heavy Rain, I can see how you may have misunderstood Cage's E3 demo). Similarly, The Last of Us looks _very_ different from every other zombie shooter in the last two generations. These both display considerable imagination and creativity. Sure, it may not be for you, but me and pretty much all of my mates (many of which are similar to my age or older) also thought they looked great. Going beyond the conferences, games like Firaxis' X-COM (sorry, XCOM ;)) and Sacriligeum also look brilliant and imaginative. You may just be getting more niche with old age maybe? I was disappointed there were no grand-strategy games highlighted at E3, but I know those kind of games no longer have widespread appeal (even though their niche continues to be plenty healthy :)).

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Dave Long
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I wasn't saying Sony (or in this case the PS - I'm not saying anything about their other product lines) is all that with steak knives thrown in - just that if you're choice of picking up consoles is based on product tailored towards more mature adults, then if the PS3 wasn't your first choice then your definition of product tailored towards more mature adults would be somewhat skewed.

As for the rest - I've had more hardware trouble with PCs than my Playstations (or Ninty kit - MS unfortunately don't have such a clean record!), and the way MS runs Windows as an OS is far more painful than any gaming system OS I've had to deal with (the updates, oh the updates - and then there was Vista....). And then the actual content providers on PC have done plenty to create questionable relationships of trust, from Ubi's approaches to DRM, to Blizzard's "SP only if you can connect to our servers" approach. That, and it's generally "jack of all trades, master of none" approach to gaming with most genres. That said, am very happy you're finding fun on it, but it sounds to me like previous emotional barriers are keeping you from console gaming, rather than an objective assessment of the current content available. That's nothing to be ashamed of, all humans are, to some degree, tied to their emotional past in their current decision-making. But the more you can focus on the present, and let your past stay in the past (in all areas), the better results you'll get.

And Journey is excellent - well worth a play - as is Flower and even Flow (available on PC, and hardly expensive, so you have no excuse there :P). If you like puzzle games, Braid's puzzler isn't shabby either, although his philosophy is a bit confused.

Jarred Kidgell
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Good article. It would seem in this day and age triple-A could easily stand for Asinine, Average and Awful. Publishers are diluting the gaming gene pool, instead of evolution we need revolution. This industry has been dammed (or rather damned) and is slowly being forced to stagnate. Somehow the floodgates need to be opened...

Jeremie Sinic
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Great opinion piece!

Just on the violence (which I enjoy most of the time, whether it has a real purpose (nothing comes to my mind here...) or it's over-the-top (Mortal Kombat, Ninja Gaiden 2)).

There is a phenomenon called habituation, that happens when the brain is exposed to something constantly: that's what makes us not notice a strong perfume after a few minutes, for example.
It also happens in the long run with violence. Cf. the work of French neuroscientist Michel Desmurget.

Violence is indeed the most common denominator, and in addition to being universal, and it's also sort of addicting.

I guess marketers know this, so they try to input an ever higher dose of violence in their marketing material to stimulate their audience.

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Jeremie Sinic
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I mean I enjoy the moments of violence when I play these games: be it Halo, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Gears of War, Dead Island, Skyrim, Diablo, whatever. This is just a fact and I have yet to hear someone telling me he loved Mortal Kombat but didn't like the violence.

And I meant I enjoy violence in games, not real life violence. I'm actually not fond of MMA fighting nor boxing.

I wouldn't enjoy dog fights (if you meant with actual dogs), no more than corrida or actual war on TV.

If I came across as a blood-thirsty cold-blooded monster trying to justify the use of violence, this was not my intention. I find it quite idiotic when violence is the only selling point.

But I just try to understand and analyze why it has become so, and why so many people enjoy violence.
The point Michel Desmurget makes is that ANY stimulus on the brain causes it to physiologically change.

When I say "I guess marketer know this..." I am not saying it's good, I am just sorry there might be more truth to it than I would like.

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Jeremie Sinic
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"I don't know that I have ever enjoyed violence except to say that I have enjoyed justice delivered through violence."

I can only speak for myself, --a naturally calm guy who didn't have a real fight since I was maybe 9 or 10-- but I love killing people in Halo multiplayer the same way I love scoring a goal the few times I play soccer.
Yet there's no justice to it, more like sportsmanship and a sane outlet for violence helping to release stress.
In Skyrim or Fallout 3, I do find the kill cams great fun.

And more than anything, I love the fact that it's not real.

That aside, I would be interested to know if violent games only provide a safe outlet to the violence that is part of us or can actually increase our tendency for and apathy on violence. And as much as I hate to say it myself, there seems to be scientific evidence of the latter, in spite of the mainstream media still reluctant to acknowledge it. It's not a simple issue for sure, but as much as it doesn't make sense to brush off claims that games produce violent kids, it doesn't make sense to say there can't be any effect.

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Dave Long
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@ Joshua - violence IRL is a _very_ blunt tool - I doubt it's ever possible to have true justice through violence, only a pretty messy version when all else fails. And enjoying someone else's suffering when someone is experiencing violence isn't healthy, in any context. Well, from my angle - I believe that RL violence is always regrettable. Of course, videogame violence is a whole 'nother matter :).

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Russell Carroll
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I walked away appreciating Nintendo more as they seem to be the only company focused on 'fun.'

I was surprised more wasn't made of Scribblenauts Unlimited, Rayman Legends, & Project P-100 (and even Nintendoland to some degree), all games that as a gamer who has owned consoles for 30 years now, are interesting to me. I concur that I found more interesting things in PSN & XBLA than I did in the AAA stuff.

I left E3 thinking that unlike last year I felt confident the WiiU would be fun and be something I'd want to play. (the 5 player experiences that provided different types of game play for different players were fun and felt different, it seems like a lot could be done there if AAA companies took the time or indies took a risk)

Justin Nafziger
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This is the second article on gamasutra's homepage saying 'E3 is not a representation of the game industry'. (the Arkedo article claimed similar)

Gamasutra is owned by the same company that makes the Game Developers Conference. Coincidence? :P


That aside, I thought this year's E3 was shallower than previous years, but I assume it is due to an intake of breath before the 'next generation' begins next year.

Dave Bellinger
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Coincidence?

Yeah, probably. Not saying I really agree with the article, nor am I disillusioned by the state of this year's E3, but I can certainly say valid points were made. Indeed, it's entirely understandable for people to be disappointed for the event, it's geared towards the bottom line.

Point is, I don't think there any under-handed media slandering going on here. A little paranoid, if you ask me.

Jed Ashforth
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Well said, Kris.

I used to be proud to tell people what I do for a living, but more and more often people look at me with disdain and then ask 'you dont make those violent ones do you?'. If I made movies it would be like people immediately assuming 'do you make porn?'. We'll grow out of this, but E3 is very visible to the wider media, and it doesn't help to put so much immature content front and centre.

Matt Ponton
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Interesting related article from Kotaku:
http://kotaku.com/5918787/all-that-ultraviolence-bothers-the-peop
le-in-charge-of-video-games-too


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