With E3 2012 in the books here’s a look at the themes that emerged from the event that go beyond just impressions of the games that were on hand.
•NBA 2K13 Winning Battle Over NBA Live 13 By Default
2K Sports didn’t have to do much to come out of E3 in even better shape as competition returns to NBA gaming. All that was needed was sit back and let EA Sports implode with a disappointing showing of Live the magnitude of which is actually difficult to achieve in a setting where media tends to give the benefit of the doubt.
•Madden NFL 13 Takes Center Stage; NCAA Football 13 a Backseat
It’s probably a good thing that Amazon is offering NCAA Football 13 for just $45 because Madden NFL 13 is being set up as the premiere product that offers innovation and value. Madden though does have the $15 promo credit to factor in too. Announcements regarding the “Infinity Engine” physics and “Connected Careers” catapulted the perception of Madden this year while NCAA took a hit by instead focusing on gimmicks like “Reaction Time”. EA Sports even pushed out the demo for NCAA during the event to try and change the story for NCAA but it’ll be hard to sell it as a product of the same caliber now.
•Confidence High in FIFA 13 and NHL 13
The follow-up to the fastest selling sports game in history (FIFA 12) is in great shape and wowed those who were shown demonstrations and got some hands-on time. EA also had a first for the NHL series by placing it out on the show floor which is a terrific sign for the quality of that title.
•THQ’s Ship Still Sinking
With the company in dire straits it was recognized that if they were to go under completely the licenses for UFC and WWE would be freed up. In a proactive move THQ approached EA and sold them the UFC license. THQ is looking to handle primarily, or maybe only, their own IP rather than shell out for expensive licenses. WWE could be moved as well though there don’t seem to be many opportunities for that to happen. EA is going to be swamped bringing on UFC and (hopefully) MLB in the coming years.
•Bizarre Situation Regarding EA on Wii U
No sports games were promoted for the upcoming Nintendo console at E3. NBA 2K13 will be on the Wii U in the launch window but it wasn’t shown either. What is particularly weird though is that Nintendo says EA Sports will have titles ready for launch (Madden and FIFA) but Peter Moore is on record saying the company will not put out any sports games this year on Wii U. Introducing a hardcore controller, and the ability to have local multiplayer (even if the framerate gets cut in half because of it), makes the console more friendly to sports. But will the support from third party companies be there?
•Bleak Outlook for the PlayStation Vita
Expectations were that Sony would push the struggling Vita handheld mightily at E3 but the opposite happened. It was almost completely ignored in their press conference. Those who wonder why NBA 2K13 won’t release on the Vita, or why Madden will be based on last year’s version of the game rather than Madden 13, the answer is clear – the system isn’t relevant enough to compel third parties to invest heavily and in fact they’re finding it better to steer clear of doing so for the time being.