E3 - Electronic Entertainment Expo report June 2014


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Mindshare shared this Point of View report from E3. Even skimming the 35+ pages of content will give you some good insights and highlight how much the world is changing. Gamers are not just 18-25 males; they are cross gender, age and cultures.

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E3 - Electronic Entertainment Expo report June 2014

  1. 1. E3 2014 OVERALL REPORT JUNE 10–JUNE 12
  3. 3. 1 Founded in 1995, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) now attracts over 45K attendees during its annual gathering in Los Angeles. The event serves as a platform for all gaming-related companies to make their big reveals for the upcoming year, acting as an upfront of sorts to drive industry and consumer excitement. Console makers use the expo to unveil their newest systems and extensions while developers showcase future titles, with some extending franchises and others, creating new ones. As the space expands, so does E3: mobile now has its own area of display, as do indie developers, who can receive various levels of recognition by competing in showcases throughout the event. With news that will impact anyone and everyone even remotely associated with gaming either by business or interest E3 IS THE MOST ANTICIPATED GAMING EVENT OF THE YEAR Authored By: Geoff Greenblatt Patrick Lane Kristopher Makuch With Contributions From: David Bouchard Mark Nester Design Cynthia Reed
  5. 5. 3 FOR MANY YEARS NOW, the gaming industry has been waiting for the reveals at E3 to reflect The Leap, an unveiling of the next playing experience for gamers. Prior to the new consoles being announced in 2013, the reveals at E3 seemed stag- nant; they were simply more of the same. Even in 2013, when the new consoles were announced, the reveals seemed to be more about seeing the actual hardware and what system would initially be perceived as better versus being wowed about what was actually being created for them. And that was understandable: the first set of new games for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (and the Wii-U) were just that – first gener- ation games. They were games that didn’t truly reflect the next generation of gaming, games that were far more for show than for awe-inspiring purpose. They were games that didn’t necessarily take advantage of what the systems could really offer. While E3 2013 was all about seeing the next-gen consoles for the first time, E3 2014 was about the next step. The Leap. What would the second generation of next- gen console games look like? What would be in store for the future of games, near and far? How would the system evolution continue? Add in the hype around virtual reality, and reveals for mobile as well, and one would have to consider E3 2014 to be as important of a year for the games indus- try as there ever had been.
  6. 6. 4 Questions were abound heading into the show, with specifics focusing on: The Aforementioned Games. E3 2014 would mark the first time one would see the second generation of next-gen titles for Xbox One and PS4, as well as new premiere-franchise entries from Nintendo for the Wii-U. With new, eye-popping titles, players would finally see the deeper stories, richer graphics, and first-of-their–kind interactive experiences that the new consoles could promise. Rumor even had it that games such as Halo and even GTAV would be updated and ported over for next-gen; seeing such games on the new consoles could make players feel like they are playing them for the very first time all over again. For brands, this would mean that the games audience would just con- tinue to grow. With new titles, genres, and interactive experiences attracting more first-time players (and buyers), and poten- tially-ported games bringing back people who may not have played for a while, the reach that games could provide would only continue to expand. More Oculus Rift And More VR. With Oculus Rift hype growing after the Facebook purchase, and rumors of Sony jumping into the space as well, virtual reality interest finally crossed over into the mainstream. E3 2014 would provide the opportunity for many to see what VR really is like for the very first time. From a brand perspective, this would mean explo- ANTICIPATION
  7. 7. 5
  8. 8. 6 ration of an entirely new interactive channel - being able to offer a tour of a cruise ship or a first-look at a new car, to show how a new hair product works in a spa setting or plac- ing a person in the middle of a movie scene to promote a new release. The possibilities would be endless…and quite exciting. Mobile Madness. Questions entering E3 2014 were plentiful in regards to mobile. What would studios display? Would there be more titles? Would there be more innova- tive ways to incorporate the second screen into a console-based experience? How would the platform evolve? And how could brands continue to use mobile (and its technologies) as it pertains to gaming and beyond? ANTICIPATION
  9. 9. 7 Technology Updates: From a new and improved Xbox LIVE service, to updated engines upon which games can run, to Nintendo’s inclusion in the Near Field Commu- nications game, attendees were curious to see how the entertainment experience around gaming would be changed. For brands, this would mean more touchpoints to incorporate into programs and, as a whole, more program opportunities. Where e-Sports and Video Go Next: With over 2.4B e-sports followers in 2013 and the Twitch sale to YouTube topping $1B, e-sports is bigger than ever. This has become an entirely new space for brand involvement, and the activity continues to blossom. As E3 2014 began, the gaming industry would look to see how video and gaming continue to evolve, both individually and collectively. ANTICIPATION
  10. 10. THE SHOW
  11. 11. 9 AS ALWAYS, E3 WEEK KICKED OFF WITH PRESS CONFERENCE MONDAY. The prelude to the floor opening saw Xbox, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony make their upcoming game announcements and reveals in front of live audiences numbering in the thousands, and live streaming audiences numbering in the millions. With four of the five big players opening up E3 week with first-looks at the second generation of next-gen console titles (Nintendo’s press conference is held on Tuesday), gaming’s biggest convention, and its most newsworthy event, had its players and its industry excited for what’s to come.
  12. 12. 10 XBOX Xbox led off E3 by announcing that its press conference would be ‘all games for all ninety minutes.’ Its first reveal did not disappoint—an extended look at Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare. With graphics and gameplay unlike anything seen from the franchise thus far, the next-gen preview left both COD fanatics and sideline observers very impressed. And that set the tone for the rest of Xbox ‘s E3 announcements. First-looks at both franchise titles and new IPs showcased jaw-dropping visuals, realism, smoothness, and even branding in ways only the next-gen consoles could offer. From the fantastic worlds created in Dragon Age: Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed: Unity, to the colors and details of the Sunset Overdrive world, Xbox previewed one game after another after another. In fact, it may have been a bit of overkill, as Xbox could have easily cut out a few of its less herald- ed reveals in favor of a more compact show. THE SHOW
  13. 13. 11 Regardless, those in attendance at E3 and those viewing the show’s content at home couldn’t help but be excited for the new titles on Xbox One. Finalizing its reveal list with Halo’s Master Chief Collection series, players saw the first announced blockbuster to be ported from past/cur- rent-gen to next-gen; the cinematic Crack- down wowed audiences as well. Xbox’s takeaway was simple: games have never, ever looked so incredible and gameplay itself, never so vast. From a brand perspective, Xbox reaffirmed that gaming is just continu- ing to get better. The playing experience appeals to people of all interests and ages, and thus the space’s reach continues to expand. In fact, some in attendance could be heard expressing their desires to buy a next-gen console despite having not been avid gamers in the recent past. With the ever-evolving social extensions that each game seems to contain, combined with the ability of the new titles to continue to excite, brands have more opportunity than ever to connect with audiences and communities alike. EA EA led off their reveal list with the first- look at the first Star Wars title for next-gen. That’s right…Star Wars for next-gen; one can only imagine the reaction that was received. From there, EA proceeded down its company path of Players First. Sequels for its most beloved franchises were expect- THE SHOW
  14. 14. 12 ed from the studio that sticks to its motto to please players through its valued IPs. Sims, UFC, NHL, Madden, PGA and FIFA were unsurprising announcements, but all made play- ers excited nonetheless (small features, such as a Bruce Lee integration into UFC, certain- ly kept things fresh). EA’s biggest reveal was the next evolution of Battlefield, titled, Hard- line. A fresh take on the franchise, Hardline has a GTA/Heat feel with its cops-and-robbers storyline rather than a warfare feel, and that’s why gamers were so enthused; rarely does a spinoff look so impressive. But again, that is why the next-gen consoles wowed as they did, and the reason E3 2014 was so exciting. For brands, EA’s offerings remain as they have, with the sales arm continuing to pro- vide media, integration, and retail/e-comm opportunities. However, as the titles get better (like they seem to be based on what was shown), gamers will be even more driven to interact with brands. EA’s goal is to make the experience better for players—Players First —and as brands offer even better in-game experiences, EA’s expanding player size will happily engage with brand-related content that was created specifically for them. THE SHOW
  15. 15. 13 UBISOFT The Ubisoft press conference followed EA’s, and the studio’s purpose of delivering original and memorable gaming experiences across all platforms was on full display. Launching with a Far Cry 4 announcement, and bookending its presentation with Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft’s reveals played like a reintroduction to its most popular franchises. Tom Clancy’s The Division, The Crew, Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Valiant Hearts were all present and looked fantastic, if not in-line with the expectations that attendees had. There were two big surprises from Ubisoft: • The presence of two social console games that skew more female in Just Dance and Shape Up, which were both given nearly the same amount of exposure time as the core IPs. The titles do look incredible on the new consoles, and they utilize all sorts of next-gen abilities (ex: the ability to work with developers to upload live video foot- age of players themselves into Just Dance) THE SHOW
  16. 16. 14 • A mobile extension of Just Dance, a version of the console title controlled using a wireless device app and launching this year. The key: player movements are displayed without the need for additional controllers, a console, or a Kinect-like device. Multiple players can connect at once while in the same room, and there may also be the ability to link to Facebook to virtually compete against friends. Unfortunately, this was the studio’s largest mobile reveal. After 2013 saw Ubisoft walk away with the title of ‘Studio That Has Most-Embraced Mobile In The Most Innovative Ways,’ the absence of more second screen opportunities was a bit of a disappointment. It would have been great to see what the studio is doing to continue furthering the use of mobile in the console-based world. In regards to brand opportunities, Ubisoft offers more of a co-partnership catalog with its titles versus anything else, as the studio does not have an advertising platform like EA or the consoles. That being said, if a brand is looking to align with a male-oriented title that is bound to be successful, while working with a studio that is easy to work with, Ubisoft is a great option. Furthermore, the studio is stretching its reach with more female-oriented titles and their mobile extensions. All of these points combine to reflect the continued growth of the gaming space audience and the plentiful number of options that a brand has at its fingertips. THE SHOW
  17. 17. 15 SONY Sony closed the day by opening with a reveal for Destiny, the long-awaited title first announced at E3 2013. This announce- ment set the tone for Sony’s continued theme: that PlayStation is a gaming con- sole for gamers, extended through social connectivity (a core offering on the system, and one that they said would continue to define their future growth), and enhanced via entertainment options. Announcements included premium PS IPs such as Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us: Remastered as well as Bloodborne, Entwined, Ratchet & Clank, infamous: First Light, Metal Gear Solid 5, Mortal Kombat X, and The Order: 1886, all titles geared to the core player. Sony also announced LittleBigPlanet 3, the latest installment in the fun-for- everyone franchise that continues to defy in-console social functionality and visual graphic ability. On top of these titles, Sony revealed PlayStation TV, a new $100 micro-console that allows gamers to stream up to 1,000 older titles directly to their TV; complete with future PS4 and Vita integra- tions, PSTV will drive further excitement for gaming streaming services, and it may give even more leverage to streaming partners that continue to gain tremendous leverage in the e-Sports community, such as Twitch. For brands, Sony reinforced its value as it pertains to the male gamer. The Sony titles and technologies continue to be THE SHOW
  18. 18. 16 male-focused, as is the overall PS audience. The social functionalities give brands additional opportunities to reach gamers as they engage with their favorite form of entertainment, where they are the most responsive to a message. And in general, social is a theme that reigned at E3 2014, as game developers continue to attempt to create experiences that gamers can share with their friends, and the gaming com- munity as a whole, via streaming services. Sony is a leader in this area and is at the forefront of such advancements. NINTENDO Nintendo had a ton of momentum com- ing into E3, as the Wii-U outsold all other consoles for the first time in the month of May on the power of Mario Kart 8 (a truly incredible game). The oldest console mak- er of the Big 3 took advantage of its hype, and rode E3 to a mountain of success. With its floor area packed, Nintendo finally revealed new installments of its biggest franchises for the Wii-U. New games featuring Zelda and Super Smash Bros (recently voted the most popular franchise in gaming) drew massive audiences and thrust Nintendo back into the limelight in a huge way. This was a very exciting outcome for those rooting for Nintendo, as many considered them to be down-and- out as a result of initially poor Wii-U sales. With titles that appeal to a younger demo- graphic, such as Splatoon, and armed with THE SHOW
  19. 19. 17 what will be obviously successful titles, it is great to see the family-friendly brand rise like a phoenix and take its place alongside Xbox and PS in the current console wars. Nintendo is even advancing its technology, is still concentrating on mobile, and appears to be ready to work with brands: • NFC capabilities will be seen on the Wii-U, allowing parents and players to purchase miniature figurines of popular characters such as Donkey Kong and Mario, and scan them into the Wii-U for extra downloadable content. • Mobile counterparts to all of the Wii-U titles were announced for 3DS, as the platform’s audience is expected to double by 2017 Lastly, Mercedes and Nintendo formed a partnership to create a downloadable car in Mario Kart 8. While only being seen in Japan at first, the regions will be extended in the future. On that last note, while Nintendo has never given brands opportunities to work with them in the past (especially when it comes to their most valued IPs such as anything- Mario), it seems as if even they are becoming more open to developing such partnership opportunities. What those are (and where those are) remains to be seen, but with the Mercedes program getting some press, perhaps the road is being paved for more brand opportunities with Nintendo in the future. THE SHOW
  20. 20. 18 VIRTUAL REALITY AND E-SPORTS In addition to the gaming reveals from the studios and console makers, virtual reality and e-sports played large roles at E3 2014. VIRTUAL REALITY For VR, the major players were Oculus, the vendor at the forefront of the VR move- ment, Omni, a newer vendor to the space in regards to the general public, and Project Morpheus, a VR undertaking by Sony. All three have one goal in common: to push the boundaries of virtual reality and take it mainstream. Oculus and Project Morpheus both have the user experience in mind as their primary objective; the better the user experience, the more likely VR will be embraced by the general public. In fact, the most important element to the Oculus experience is to make sure that the user does not feel sick; beyond that, a seamless experience that does not stutter or lag comes into play. Both tech companies put the user into the experience: from a larger standpoint (observe the world from a 360-degree POV) or a more detailed close- THE SHOW
  21. 21. 19 up (observe a gorgeous waterfall in the distance simply by leaning in), and each are escapades that can be enjoyed from the living room, courtesy of VR. Oculus provided glimpses into the VR playing experience with playable dem- os of a Crash Bandicoot-type game and an Alien reenactment game, while Sony provided a plethora of more simplistic demos, from riding down a hill in a cart, to fighting sharks in a cage, and finally, a sword-fighting showdown at a castle. To try to describe any of these beyond ‘unlike anything you have ever experienced’ would take away from the true description. The sit-down experiences of Oculus were more ideal to capturing a better VR go-round, while the standup experiences Sony offered could make a user nauseous. Omni provid- ed a stand-up experience as well, and the same goes for feelings of sickness there too. Oculus is the most open to working with brands at the moment; the company will provide their SDK free of charge and work with a brand if the brand is willing to develop an Oculus-approved demo that fits within its (many) guidelines. Again, the company’s primary objective is to avoid user nausea in order to bring VR mainstream, so a brand must make a demo that is standard and simplistic. The posi- tive gains: PR with Oculus and a branded interactive experience that is unlike any other. At the same time, should Project Morpheus gain popularity, there could be THE SHOW
  22. 22. 20 THE SHOW plenty of opportunities for brands, from simple signage at a virtual E3 walkthrough to a deeper branded experience within a larger program. E-SPORTS In recent years, e-Sports has taken a huge jump in popularity through services and leagues such as Twitch and MLG, the rec play and pro league of gaming, respectively. Twitch, for instance, now attracts 45 million unique viewers every month across console, desktop, and mobile platforms, allowing users the opportunity to simply watch others play games online. This experience is now a primary form of social connectivity for this entire audience base. And these communities are just continuing to expand. MLG had its own category in the recently televised X-Games, and the extreme sports entity is now embracing gaming more and more as it continues to expand on the interests of its viewers. To say that gam-
  23. 23. 21 THE SHOW ing was a success at the X-Games would be an understatement: the category out- performed all other categories in relation to live televised viewership, and in a Facebook vote for the most favorite athletes of the X-Games, e-Sports players claimed the top 19 positions! Thus, these two vendors had very strong presences at E3. Streaming gamer play, E3 floor action, and live competitions all from their own booths, as well as receiving mentions at all of the press conferences, Twitch and MLG could not be missed. The success of e-sports signifies the start of a new age for gaming, and brands can take advantage – with massive reach and tactics ranging from video to sponsored series, awards, and live event, brands that want to reach this male demographic must embrace e-sports just as they would regular sports such as hockey, football, and the NBA…and then take advantage!
  24. 24. 22 MOBILE Mobile played an exciting part of E3 2013, with multiple studios using the show to cast a spotlight on how they would be using the most popular platform in gaming to extend the playing experiences of their titles. As mentioned, Ubisoft was touted as a mobile pioneer, introducing all sorts of ways that players could use mobile as a second screen extension of its titles. EA announced a number of new mobile versions of its IPs, and even though they did not have a presence, Candy Crush Saga was still a topic of multiple conversations. Many hoped that this was just the start of mobile’s penetration into E3. Alas, that would not be the case. There seemed to be a dip in mobile reveals overall, and the platform took a bit of a backseat to consoles at this year’s E3. Ubisoft did not build on the splash that it made in 2013, and while EA did set up a separate room on its floor for mobile only, that room mainly featured games that are already available in the app store, includ- ing Simpsons: Tapped Out, which has been live for over two years Gameloft, one of the biggest mobile stu- dios in the world, did have its own booth, albeit a small one, cast off to the side of the floor. The studio’s purpose – to drive daily engagements through mobile – was on display, as Gameloft did showcase upcoming titles such as Modern Combat 5, Asphalt Overdrive, Spider-Man Unlimited, Ice THE SHOW
  25. 25. 23 Age Adventures, and others, marking them as a continuous leader in the space. How- ever, this was more of a result of the lack of announcements from the larger studios versus Gameloft making a splash. But perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing. This year, E3 had a more important purpose than just showcasing the overall growth of gaming. The focus was on the evolution of the consoles, advanced technologies, and the social extensions that fuel gameplay. It was important for the industry for these factors to be the focus in order to success- fully move forward. Combined with the fact that there hasn’t been a gen-pop title to find crossover success (aka Candy Crush) in a little while (even Flappy Birds hype came and went), in hindsight, it was im- portant to give the consoles and their titles the limelight, even though more mobile reveals would have been nice to see. That should not deter brands from con- tinuing to explore the mobile gaming space. On the contrary, mobile has never been bigger (as mentioned, it is the most-played platform in gaming) and only continues to grow at lightening speed; playing games is still the most-engaged activity on mobile devices today. With so many different types of games continuing to emerge in the space, brands have never had more opportunity to use mobile to drive results. Gameloft is expanding its library to reach more females, EA has plenty of offerings that it can provide, and new studios, large and THE SHOW
  26. 26. 24 small, are constantly creating new IPs that can be utilized by brands in fun, innovative ways. While E3 2014 did not build on the mobile spotlight that it cast in 2013, it does not mean mobile is any less important. It just means that for four days, mobile took a backseat as other platforms had their chance to shine. WRAP-UP OF THE SHOW As E3 is a massive event, millions of dollars are spent on booths and press conferences in an effort to impress tens of thousands of live attendees and beyond. In addition to the highlights listed above, there was so much more to be absorbed. Sega had Sonic, Disney had Infinity (and one can only imagine the role that Star Wars may play in the future for Disney), Activi- sion had Skylanders (and the aforementioned Call of Duty, of course), Bethesda wowed with The Evil Within, Warner had Batman and Lord of the Rings, Turtle Beach had new headphones…the list goes on and on. In summary, there was no shortage of excitement at E3 2014. In fact, after years of standard delivery, the show delivered in eye-popping fashion hand-over-fist. The future of gaming had finally been revealed, in truth, as an incredible success, in one of the most important years that E3 had ever seen. The Leap had been made, and as a result, gaming, and its industry, has never been in a better place to move forward as the fastest growing form of entertainment out there today. THE SHOW
  27. 27. 25 Just like a game itself, E3 attendees, physical and virtual, enjoy declaring winners and losers of the convention. Over the course of the year, the attendees build the winners up, tear the losers down, and then continue to praise the victors while feasting on those who failed. These gamers…such a fickle group! In 2013, Sony was lifted high on player shoulders, as it was given the crown of E3. Mi- crosoft…not so much. In fact, one may struggle to think of another time that a studio has taken such a harsh post-E3 beating as Microsoft did in 2013, whether it was deserved or not. But 2014 was different. This year, every one of the major players brought something to the table. There were no losers. The console makers all showed off new games and technol- ogies, renewing gamer excitement with energy and anticipation. The major studios, such as EA and Ubisoft, showcased jaw-dropping new games. Social extensions were on full-dis- play and excitement was in the air as a result of VR reveals. Perhaps the lack of mobile was a bit of a disappointment, but as mentioned, it was understood…and who can really call mobile a loser? So what made each participant a winner, and more importantly, what does it mean mov- ing forward? Let’s take a look. Big Victors Nintendo Nintendo began the month of May with some bad news, as they were hit hard by poor financial reports, but they turned that around quickly. After finishing the month with news that the Wii-U was the best selling console of the past 30 days for the first time ever, Nintendo was a huge winner at E3. Excitement was at an all-time high for the studio’s next gen console, and their exclusive-only reveals for titles featuring their biggest charac- ters and franchises generated even more hype. With entry into the NFC toy market and
  29. 29. 27 JUST LIKE A GAME ITSELF, E3 attendees, physical and virtual, enjoy declaring winners and losers of the convention. Over the course of the year, the attendees build the winners up, tear the losers down, and then continue to praise the victors while feasting on those who failed. These gamers…such a fickle group! In 2013, Sony was lifted high on player shoulders, as it was given the crown of E3. Microsoft…not so much. In fact, one may struggle to think of another time that a studio has taken such a harsh post-E3 beating as Microsoft did in 2013, whether it was deserved or not. But 2014 was different. This year, every one of the major players brought something to the table. There were no losers. The console makers all showed off new games and technologies, renewing gamer excitement with energy and anticipation. The major studios, such as EA and Ubisoft, showcased jaw-dropping new games. Social extensions were on full-display and excitement was in the air as a result of VR reveals. Perhaps the lack of mobile was a bit of a disappointment, but as mentioned, it was understood…and who can really call mobile a loser? So what made each participant a winner, and more importantly, what does it mean moving forward? Let’s take a look.
  30. 30. 28 BIG VICTORS Nintendo Nintendo began the month of May with some bad news, as they were hit hard by poor financial reports, but they turned that around quickly. After finishing the month with news that the Wii-U was the best selling console of the past 30 days for the first time ever, Nintendo was a huge winner at E3. Excitement was at an all-time high for the studio’s next gen console, and their exclusive-only reveals for titles featuring their biggest characters and franchises generated even more hype. With entry into the NFC toy market and a first-time brand partnership with Mercedes, the future for the Wii-U has never been brighter. Microsoft This year, Microsoft was all about the games, a total flip from last year’s fiasco when they showcased non-playable, TV-like content and the Kinect camera technology. In fact, Kinect wasn’t even mentioned this year, and a pre-E3 announcement that separates the Kinect from the console itself was met with gamer cheers. Microsoft’s exclusive announcements, in combination with its overall focus on its great-looking games, put it into the E3 2014 Winners’ Circle. Downloadable content (DLC) for Call of Duty will hit Xbox One first, giving the system a step up on the PS4, Sunset Overdrive was a huge WINNERS and LOSERS
  31. 31. 29 success with players as a result of its gameplay and never-quite- seen-before visual flare, and Halo’s Master Chief Collection will bring in all sorts of franchise fans who have yet to purchase Xbox’s next gen system. And overall, that is what made Xbox a winner at E3 2014…it finally gave on-the-fence consumers real reasons to purchase the Xbox One. Sony After being dubbed the winner of last year’s E3, Sony only con- tinues to impress. Once again, Sony focused on its new PS games at E3, deviating from the topic only for a moment to speak to its new hardware offerings, PlayStation TV and Project Morpheus. In addition to its an- nounced exclusives, including its partnership with Bungie on the upcoming blockbuster, Destiny, Sony continues to pioneer streaming technologies; after placing itself on the forefront of the movement with its Twitch partnership, the PSTV will ex- tend Sony’s leadership position with its all-new game-streaming offering. Likewise, while Project Morpheus is clearly still in beta, with only controlled tech demo WINNERS and LOSERS
  32. 32. 30 experiences available, it is an impressive attempt from Sony to branch out further. Sony is differentiating itself from its competitors, making its PS4 success, especially after the PS3 mishaps, all the more striking. Oculus For many, E3 2014 was the first opportunity to get a real understanding of the Oculus VR product. While the headset has been shown at tech demos for years, attendees final- ly could learn about the reality behind virtual reality. The gaming experience itself was extraordinary. But to learn how seriously Oculus takes its venture was even more impressive. They consider themselves the leaders of the VR movement (which they are), and they will not partner with demo developers who do not adhere to their strict guidelines of experience-first. Those who made it to the front of the two hour wait (or were lucky enough to bypass the line) found the serious tone that Oculus took in addition to the incredible experiences noteworthy and instant believers in the VR movement and its future were created. WINNERS and LOSERS
  33. 33. 31 E-Sports The success of the consoles and third party studios fosters success for e-sports. The burgeoning sector of social-related gaming activity will continue to see mas- sive spikes, in casual streaming audienc- es, pro player and league activity, public events, PR and more. The new consoles (especially PS4) brought e-sports into the hands of any player with its ease-of-use ac- cessibility. With moments such as MLG’s X-Games presence solidifying e-sports as a mainstream activity, the possibilities for the entity continue to evolve. WINNING EA While EA certainly excited E3 attendees with the reveal of Hardline and the brief glimpse of Star Wars, they were winners at E3 because they just continue to do what they do: produce continuously strong new versions of their IP titles. The EA Sports franchises look especially strong as second generation next-gen install- ments, and Dragon Age had quite a bit of buzz from avid gamers and passive gamers, men and women alike. The Sims 4 preview seemed a bit overwrought, but it’s The Sims…it will be just fine…and seeing the studio introduce a new type of MOBA game in Dawngate was exciting. To sum up EA’s E3: the studio made a consistent, strong showing across the board and gamers walked away looking forward to their new offerings. WINNERS and LOSERS
  34. 34. 32 Indie Games While indie games were not a large focus of E3, the fact that there was opportunity for them to be featured made them win- ners. The games themselves ranged from simple, to different, to standard, to fun, to very different. They used technologies that even the consoles do not take advantage of, such as 3D printers and smartphone accelerometers. Oculus Rift demos were present as well. Competitions were held and awards were handed out to the best indie developers. Xbox even announced that it has opened up its One SDK to indie developers to help bolster its library of game selections. Indie developers can get creative and work on a fraction of the budget of big name titles, earn financial rewards, and who knows, perhaps develop the next Candy Crush, Angry Birds, or Farmville blockbuster. IMPRESSIVE IN PARTICULARS, BUT OVERALL, OPEN ENDED Ubisoft To start, the Ubisoft games looked fantastic. Assassin’s Creed: Unity was a best-of at E3 2014, Far Cry 4 seems to be a worthy next-gen iteration for the franchise, Shape Up is a fresh take on fitness games, and Just Dance 4 is more of the same. But outside of AC, Ubisoft presented more of the same. Perhaps this is because we have higher expectations of Ubisoft versus some of the other third party studios. But whereas EA WINNERS and LOSERS
  35. 35. 33 deviates from its game plan with franchise evolutions that can even be considered risks (eg: Hardline and 2013’s Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare), Ubisoft seemed to be treading water a bit this year. And the lack of exciting mobile integrations made the perceived stagnation even more apparent. Ubisoft will have a huge year, and again, Assassin’s Creed was original and looked beautiful. We just expect just a bit more from them. Mobile Unlike E3 2013, mobile did not have much of a visible presence at E3 2014. That’s not to say it didn’t have any presence…it just mainly stayed contained in the back of booths and meeting rooms. SquareEnix revealed Hitman, Capcom revealed Monster Hunter, World Of Tanks is getting a mobile version that could be HUGE, and Gameloft’s booth provided attendees a nice opportunity to talk to the studio reps and learn what is in store from the top-tier mobile game producer. But in general, mobile seemed to be a bit of an afterthought. Even Ubisoft limited its mobile speak to a Just Dance mobile version, which didn’t seem to generate a large amount of buzz. As mentioned earlier, it was understandable that mobile didn’t shine at E3 2014 like it did in 2013…but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t want to see more. AND THE BIGGEST WINNERS WERE… Game Players! E3 2014 was awesome. There are loads of titles coming out that should excite players, and the entire realm of gaming possibilities just seemed to take a huge step forward. A leap. The Leap. Players will be able to engage in so much – from titles to technologies to social extensions, and even league participation. The biggest decisions they face: where to start and where to spend their money! There are worse problems for gamers to have, and frankly, this is where the fun truly begins. WINNERS and LOSERS
  37. 37. 35 THERE WAS A LOT AT STAKE FOR THE CONSOLE MAKERS, third party studios, and the industry in general at E3 2014. In addition to game and machine sales gener- ated from the potential of newfound excitement and the state of the industry moving forward, plenty of brand representatives were in attendance to take in the show and take back word of how to move forward with gaming as an advertising medium. Here is what they learned: Gaming Has Never, Ever Been Stronger E3 2014 proved that the space is moving in a very positive direction. The games for the next-gen consoles are getting better and better, and as a result, more people will pur- chase the machines and their games and want to play. Those people include not just the standard game players, but first-time players and players that haven’t played in years, both males and females of all ages. This isn’t just speculation, but fact, as one simply had to walk the floor for five minutes before overhearing multiple conversations that
  38. 38. 36 included the words ‘I’ve never played a game on a console but I want to buy a new console now.’ With something for everyone – shooter games, sports games, social games, exercise games, dragon games, racing games, fighting games, and more – these machines make people want to play. That means opportunity. Be it console, online, mobile, social, in-game, around-game, content, first-party, third-party, sponsored games, free games, retail, e-comm, events, and more, brands really need to get in the game. The audience reach of gaming will continue to grow and the demographic segmentation will continue to expand, meaning more brands have more options to connect with more people by using the gaming space – the fastest growing vertical in entertainment today. Where Gaming Technology Continues to Go Is Anyone’s Guess, But Where It Is Now Is Already Incredible With virtual reality finally earning a seat at the gen-pop table, the possibilities for brands are endless and the potential sky-high. When a person slips on the goggles, the world in front and around disappears, becoming an entirely different setting, and within that setting, opportunities can be as simple or as immersive as one can imagine. The power of IMPLICATIONS
  39. 39. 37 VR for brands lies in abstract implementation – the ability to create content that elicits emotion via immersion. Such abstract implementations take consumers beyond visual messaging while incorporating subtleties. Core communication can be minimized to two or three key message points, such as emotions or lifestyle, but such communications can be re-imagined through the connectivity of virtual reality. Very powerful and very exciting. The purpose of VR is to create content, as VR makers follow the mantra ‘content will win.’ While still in its infancy, VR can be explored today, and the realm of what is possible for brands hasn’t even begun. Beyond VR, technologies such as NFC, streaming game capabilities, and even motion sensor systems such as Kinect will continue to evolve. From free downloadable content, courtesy of a purchased product that comes with scanning recognition barcodes, to free games courtesy of a brand, and even emotion-recognition technologies that can sense reactions post-ad view, these technologies are expanding ways that brands can reach consumers and analyze their behaviors. Technologies are commonly born through games and this trend is continuing seamlessly. If Male-Focused Brands Want To Run Video, e-Sports Is Now A Must-Have While still very male-dominant, the sheer size and popularity of e-sports just cannot be questioned. Whereas the social tissue of play was once a side-by-side experience, online connectivity has blown up the social limits of what players can do. Be it play with others or watch others play, the recreational and professional activity of people that play games is now how these 45M strong choose to connect with each other. Be it that the standard form of advertising within these platforms (video) is the go-to form of advertising that brands have embraced since the days of television infancy, there is no reason for brands that are trying to reach this demographic to shy away from the platform where their desired target is spending their time. IMPLICATIONS
  40. 40. 38 Every year, E3 is exciting in some way, shape, or form. In some years, those reasons are clearly apparent, and in other years, a bit less obvious. And after years of sales slip and stagnation, the games industry got the shot in the arm it needed when the new consoles were announced in 2013. It would be the next year, however, the year after the new consoles were announced, that would be key. Would the industry take advantage of the renewed excitement and interest in gaming that the new console releases provided, and create games that would be worthy of them? The answer was a resounding, and emphatic, yes. E3 2014 was a marvel. The games: the best a person has ever seen. The technologies: unlike anything a person has ever seen. The excitement for play: the most the games industry has truly ever seen. Gaming is moving forward in an absolutely incredible way. The next wave of play has begun. CONCLUSION
  41. 41. For more information or Inquiries, please contact: Geoffrey Greenblatt Mindshare North American Gaming Director Geoffrey.Greenblatt@mindshareworld.com 498 7th Avenue New York, NY 10018 TEL: (212) 297 7000