A lot of people are, like us, writing articles nominating their winners and losers from this year's E3. It's all opinions at the end of the day, and in that spirit, we've collected together the thoughts of editors from across the Gamereactor Network, and bundled them together with individual picks of favourite games and our most enjoyed trailers.
Gamereactor UK - Mike Holmes: There's two different levels of competition as far as I can tell. When it comes to the publishers, Ubisoft and EA are the only ones who command enough interest to have a press conference. Out of those two there's no real competition; Ubisoft knocked it out the park (again) and EA's show was relatively tame in comparison.
More interesting is the battle going on between the platform holders. Microsoft opened up the event this year with a much improved offering. This year they focused on the games, instead of all the fluff surrounding their console, and as a result they had a much stronger presentation.
Sony on the other hand, having seen Microsoft self-destruct last year, decided they wanted a piece of that action and spent a chunk of their presser talking about television options. Maybe it was because it was 3am, but I was bored stiff. That lapse managed to put a dampener on what was arguably a stronger lineup of games.
Nintendo did themselves proud, making announcements during and after their short digital event. While they had a nice lineup on show, they didn't pull out all the stops, and as such it's hard to call them overall winners, even if there was a decent spread of first- and third-party games.
For me, all three platform holders did well. Microsoft improved greatly, Sony lost some of the focus that won them the plaudits this time last year, and Ninty put on a good show and reminded everyone they're still in the game. So, in a final act of cowardice, I'm calling it a draw.
As for games, being a huge Halo fan, it was a good year for me. I can't wait to play some of the old multiplayer maps in The Master Chief Collection, and of course, there's the small matter of Bungie's Destiny, which I've had the pleasure of playing a little over the last few days.
Best Trailer of E3: Rainbow Six: Siege
Gamereactor Norway - Tor Erik Dahl: When it comes to conferences at E3 I think everyone grabbing the mic during the two first days of the expo should be treated as equals. Even though EA and Ubisoft are publishers, they sure try to make their mark on the expo with a great presentation.
Well, at least Ubisoft did a great job. Their show was packed with interesting games, and the announcement of Rainbow 6: Siege knocked the ball out of the park (as Mike puts it). Funny since sports is usually EA's territory. This year EA left us yawning, and I really think they could have done more with Star Wars: Battlefront, Mirror's Edge 2, Mass Effect 4 and that brand new IP they didn't want to talk about. These are all more interesting than the annual sports releases, and they could have presented them better. Much better.
Anyway, first off was Microsoft, and they delivered. Can't say they had that big a task in exceeding last year's shambles of a press conference. They did however focus one hundred per cent on the games, and for that I would like to say job well done. I still think Microsoft could have tackled the Kinect-issue for at least a couple of minutes, and maybe said something on the outcome we can expect now that the Kinect is no longer mandatory.
Sony's Playstation department was oozing with confidence, and they showed off a bunch of great games - both Triple-As and indies. They also devoted some time to the TV aspect of their Playstation 4, and I feel it was time to do so. The had by far the longest conference this year, and it felt thorough to deal with some of the aspects that, even if it's not what the core gamers care about, actually form part of the console.
Nintendo didn't surprise many of us when they devoted so much time to their upcoming Super Smash Bros., but they did do a cooler presentation overall this year. I had finally given up all hope on seeing anything from Zelda for Wii U, so the gameplay demo, short as it was, really left us with jaws-dropped. Anyone who says that didn't look good is a liar. That's right, I said it. They also did numerous announcements, but Nintendo is not, and hasn't been for a long time, in the "pushing the boundaries" business. They do their own thing, and it's cool. The gaming world needs someone who focuses on that core experience like Nintendo do.
All in all I think Sony stood out as this year's "winner" of the E3 press conferences. They did a solid yet playful show with something for everyone.
Best Trailer of E3: Far Cry 4
Gamereactor Germany - Christian Gaca: E3 as a whole felt somehow surprise-less for me. No really big new announcements of new brands, but at least some juicy games surfacing we all hoped for and new intel on nice games from all sides.
New and gorgeous Uncharted from Sony, awesome looking Assassin's Creed: Unity and The Division gameplay clips from Ubi, a Crackdown reboot from Microsoft, Star Wars Battlefront and a new Criterion action-fun-racer, more on Destiny and Evolve, GTA V for next-gen and, of course, the new Zelda for Wii U. Lots of lovely stuff incoming, sadly most of it happening 2015 earliest.
With Ubisoft having outplayed everyone else with their very good conference and shipping Assassin's Creed: Unity this year, my trophy of best E3 game goes to them. It's The Division for me, a tiny bit ahead of the new Zelda and Battlefront. I really hope that Ubisoft and Massive nail The Division!
Best Trailer of E3: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Gamereactor Portugal - Ricardo Esteves: Who won the E3? Honestly, gamers. None of the three major press conferences had big surprises or announcements, but all brought very promising games, with a good mix of first and third party titles (Nintendo more on the former). I don't think there was a loser (except maybe EA, depressing conference), so it looked like a tie for me. A tie full of great games we will be have to enjoy in the next 12 to 16 months.
Be it on iOS, Android, browsers, consoles, PCs... it has never been a better time to be a gamer and that is what we should celebrate. I'm hyped for a lot of the stuff shown in the last few days (just hope there's not too much BS on what was shown) and we're finally starting to get a good feel for the new generation of consoles.
Best Trailer of E3: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Gamereactor Denmark - Rasmus Lund-Hansen: Can I talk about how weird EA's press conference was? Usually they put together a tightly timed show with lots and lots of gameplay and on-stage demos. This year it felt like they were struggling to fill the time. Those little vignettes - hey, we're working on something that we think will be cool but is still so far off we can't even show it yet - seemed sorta odd and self-indulgent, particularly for the Criterion game. Partly because the thing doesn't even have a title yet, but also because they talked so much about working in smaller environments and with fewer people. It just seems tone-deaf, since most of the company was transferred to Ghost UK and then laid off earlier this year.
Microsoft, on the other hand, seems eager to convince everybody that the new Xbox management "gets it", and they're doing so convincingly. It's a very impressive recovery from last year's PR disaster, and Phil Spencer seems much more in tune with what both their audience and Xbox users in general want than Don Mattrick and his cohorts ever did.
Sony arguably had the better line-up, but also got sidetracked during their two-hour show, and in that light, I guess I gotta hand it to Microsoft. I am so amazingly uninterested in Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors that Nintendo almost automatically gets also-ran status from me, even if the so-scripted-there's-no-way-the-game-can-play-like-that sneak peak of the new Zelda looked neat.
As far as pure entertainment value goes, though, Ubisoft takes it. Maybe it's because they're European, but their show always has a completely different vibe than the suit-and-tie, desperate to be inoffensive, oh-god-think-of-the-shareholders approach that the other major players still seem stuck under. The Far Cry creative director drops an f-bomb in his monologue, Aisha Tyler makes jokes about getting turned on, and the The Crew dude shows up on stage in cargo shorts. I kinda feel like they're the only ones really talking to me like we're adults, instead of just pretending to be. Even if they immediately followed it up with a major dance routine.
As for favourite game, Assassin's Creed: Unity gets my pick, simply because it brought up that give-it-to-me-NAOW! feeling in me, and it was one of the few major games of the whole show that I hadn't already seen. The thought of proper assassination co-op gives me goosebumps. So that's my pick.
Best Trailer of E3: Assassin's Creed: Unity
Gamereactor Finland - Arttu Rajala: Who won? The gamers.
E3 was exceptionally good this year and arguing about which game company "won" seems pointless to me. The clear winners are the gamers. Despite all the delays that have been piling up this spring there is still an incredible amount of cool games coming up this year. I didn't even mind that EA's presentation was so lacklustre. At least they seem to be realistic with their plans and not trying to show something to be more finished than it really is. All the companies and especially, Ubisoft and Nintendo, did a really good job. I place this E3 as among the best expos in a long time.
With so many dark and gloomy games shown at E3 Sunset Overdrive brought the much needed colour and joy to the stage. And energy drink mutant zombies, let's not forget those. In short the game looked spectacular in both the hilarious trailer and in gameplay videos. The Tony Hawk-style grinding and crazy weapons looked super fun and with the co-op it very well could be my most anticipated game for autumn.
Batman's next adventure in Gotham might have slipped to next year, but this gameplay footage will keep me going easily until then. The Batmobile action looked better then I even dreamed and the city itself looks simply amazing both in size and design.
Best Trailer of E3: Batman: Arkham Knight
Gamereactor Spain - David Caballero: 'Winning' E3 has always been a matter of being as close as possible to the players. And it's also been usual that, the more successful you become, the more easily that premise gets lost among other things.
And being near the players is not to just give them what they've been asking for for some time (though that's some part of it, for this is a world of dreaming about the virtual experiences we want to live), but also not being so serious about the whole thing and showing more games than concepts, prototypes or movies.
This year's E3 press conferences and presentations pretty much reflect that. EA was almost void, stuck between too early concepts and yearly updates. Ubisoft followed the same path as other years, but the fresh and welcomed Rainbow Six: Siege isn't 2012's Watch Dogs or 2013's The Division (and what happened to Beyond Good & Evil 2?). But the picture is always clearer and more interesting with the three big hardware manufacturers, of course.
And the success this week in L.A. is inversely proportional to their home platform's position in today's market: Nintendo > Microsoft > Sony.
PlayStation held a pretty conservative show, diluted its gaming offerings with other proposals and missed either a bigger hit (The Last Guardian?) or an update of a beloved third-party Japanese series they've managed to link to PS brand since forever (Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III). And if they're making a true bet on Virtual Reality ahead the competition, a mere mention wasn't the way to prove it. Indie and free-to-play offerings for PS4 still remain the greatest and most promising though, so that's the way to go in other fronts.
Microsoft's been listening to its audience for one year now, after a tortuous pre-launch and launch phases. Its many U-turns generated mistrust and confusion, but it's true they are also headed mostly in the right direction. And same applies to press conferences: from last year's focus on TV and sports, they changed their mind to 2014's games, games, and games. Xbox One seems more tempting one year on as a result, and its catalog is really varied and full of strong exclusives.
Finally, this year proves Nintendo 'wins' E3 when there's a football World Cup on the same year. After 2006 and 2010, it's clear that the most wounded platform, the Wii U, has been the one with most things to say. Almost no third-party support, that's true, but Nintendo fan-service is always what Nintendo do best, and the Digital Event was aimed 100% at player's hearts. Best pace, best sense of humor, best closeness to gameplay both during the presentation and following it via the Treehouse coverage, with a tight communication strategy that spoke directly with people who know what they're playing. No corporate speech, no QoL, and early concepts out of the show, no matter if they're from Miyamoto himself. With one exception: a Zelda unveiling that was needed and perfectly executed. And news are still popping up, hours after the event.
Maybe my Nintendo > Microsoft > Sony order has also something to do with amount of colours on each show, but that could be a coincidence.
Best Trailer of E3: Mario Maker
Gamereactor Italy - Fabrizia Malgieri: Who won E3? The gamers, and their great patience. After an E3 2013 full of great expectation, at the end of the day 2014 has been a hard and anaemic year of transition, caught in a switch between two generations of consoles, that haven't yet found their own place in the world.
And E3 2014 conferences are certainly nothing more than a reflection of this: Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft continue to temporise, keeping us on tenterhooks. With only few big/interesting announcements made, players have been asked to continue waiting, to continue being patient, especially given that there's so many juicy titles for the new consoles that will arrive no earlier than 2015.
We had great promises from big (Rainbow Six, Far Cry 4, Batman: Arkham Knight, Bloodborne and The Legend of Zelda Wii U, among my favorites) and small companies (Inside, above all), but there's been nothing concrete. We have to wait, once again. We really hope that our patience will be rewarded with quality games. And that 2015 is the next-gen's definitive year!
Best Trailer of E3: Bloodborne
Gamereactor Sweden - Jonas Mäki: The hype was massive, this E3 was going to be one of the best ever. And it actually delivered the goods. Microsoft had an excellent presser with plenty of games, and for me, personally, they clearly seem to have the best autumn with massive games like Forza Horizon 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and, of course, Sunset Overdrive. I was also pleasantly surprised by all the indies, mainly Cuphead and Ori and the Blind Forest. But Microsoft also had the announcement of a new Crackdown, and for me, this was the biggest deal of the entire E3.
Fortunately, Sony wasn't any worse and delivered the goods as well. They had just as many upcoming games and an interesting presser that ended in the best possible way - with the announcement of Uncharted 4. Nintendo on their part also had a great show that stunned me by making them more human than ever with clay animations that proved that they do listen to their community. Also, a lovely new Yoshi game and open-world Zelda is many a player's prayers come true.
It might be the cliché of the century, but the winners this year truly are us gamers. For me, all three delivered about the same high standard and made the video game world a better place. The prize for best trailer goes to Yager/Deep Silver for the absolutely marvelous Dead Island 2 trailer. This is how a pre-rendered announcement should look. Also, it has to be said, Far Cry 4 and The Division looks drop dead gorgeous, and were the best looking games of the show. Well done Ubisoft.
Best Trailer of E3: Dead Island 2