With this generation's E3 right in the rear view mirror, I thought this would be a good time to remind people what history can teach us: The first E3 after a new console generation kicks off is not usually the one to show the big guns. It’s the follow up that sets the tone. To observe this concept in practice, let’s take a look at a recent history of console launches and E3.
E3 2003 - GEN 6 - Xbox/PS2/GC
The PS2 had a head start, releasing in 2000. Microsoft debuted their first console in 2001 alongside Nintendo’s first non-cartridge toting box. Making 2002 the first E3 after all of the consoles were released. Of course, that show was major in several respects, showcasing games such as Splinter Cell, Doom 3, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ratchet & Clank, and Kingdom Hearts. However, I would suggest that the following year’s E3 and releases were much more important in setting trends and expectations for the rest of the generation. The 2003 E3 Press Conference included games such as: Half Life 2, Halo 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Resident Evil 4, God of War, and Forza Motorsport. Some major titles and clearly some titles that still have major clout in the industry were debuted here.
E3 2007 - GEN 7 - 360/PS3/Wii
The 360 had a head start, this time around, releasing in 2005, a full year ahead of the Wii and PS3. So in 2007, we saw an E3 that had all of the console launches out of the way, and had developers who had time to get their hands on “Next Gen” hardware for a while. E3 2006 was technically the first E3 of Generation 7, equating it to this year’s E3. Though that was a big show, I argue that E3 2007 and the titles released that year were FAR more important and indicative of what the rest of the generation had in store for gamers. Here’s a short list of games shown at E3 2007... Gears of War, Halo 3, Fallout 3, BioShock, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed, Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, MGS 4, Gran Turismo 5, and Uncharted. All in one show, most of which were set to release that year. These games were the games that wound up defining this generation, in one way or another.
So, as we progress, over the years, this has become the norm. Dev cycles, costs of production, and the size of projects has made it so that the initial year or so of a console’s lifespan is a time of transition. All that being said, I know this year will be great, but NEXT year, E3 2015 is going to be legendary. Mark my words. We'll see Doom 4, the next Mario, Halo 5 in action, Blizzard’s next big thing, Fallout 4 in action, Uncharted, God of War, Gears of War, all of the usual suspects, and then it will get interesting with a slew of titles nobody has ever heard of that will set this generation of games down the path it will be on to make it the next great generation for gamers worldwide. Here's hoping E3 2015 is one for the record books!