E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is the largest gaming convention the world over. It takes place annually out of Los Angeles and is the foremost platform for showcasing the biggest and best video games to be released in the following year.
The first of the companies to present this year was Electronic Arts (EA) who traditionally haven’t put on a very good display, and true to form, haven’t provided much interest this year.
In order of announcements we care about;
The EA Cloud Streaming Service
This is a big one from EA and if they pull it off, could change how we game permanently. It’s called “cloud gaming” and it will operate much like your Netflix subscription. Operationally, you’ll be able to play any Origin game, anywhere you can watch Netflix – plug and play with a portable controller and a decent internet connection. Say goodbye to your Xbox because EA’s proposed Cloud Streaming Service would put an end to the generation of dedicated gaming consoles. You could walk into the office/your friends house/your local Harvey Norman, plug a controller into an internet connected television and be on your way.
Now it should be noted that this technology is nothing new and has been proposed, attempted and failed a few times before – let’s just hope that EA know what they’re doing with this project.
My first thoughts on the product? While countries like Sweden and regions like Silicon Valley might be operating on fibre to the home internet networks with 100 Mbp/s speeds and enough bandwidth to fit the 9:05 from Central, the majority of Australian internet connections won’t be remotely strong enough to operate a product like this without major upgrades.
Sea of Solitude
This indie adventure game by Jo-Mei Games, published by EA seems to be receiving the most hype from the gaming community out of their presentation this year.
The game is entirely based around emotions. It follows the protagonist ‘Kay’ as she experiences such immense loneliness and sadness that she transforms into a monster. Surrounded by a sea of creatures similar to herself, the player must work to understand and overcome these feelings.
I think this will be an exceptional game as far as developing the gaming community. While a point-and-click shooter might be fun, just as drifting around a racetrack is, we’re seeing a push from indie developers into games that promote a message, that tell a story – and that’s something that Sea of Solitude really promises to handle regarding the way we as humans process emotions.
Jedi: Fallen Order
The only other title that seems to be gaining big traction is the upcoming Star Wars game by Respawn Entertainment that will be named “Jedi Fallen Order” and will be set between Episodes III and IV. During the time in the series where the Jedi were being hunted.
We didn’t get to catch a glimpse of a trailer or any gameplay of the game but that’s pretty typical of EA’s mediocre conferences.
It’s expected for release sometime in 2019.
Origin Access Premiere
Rather similarly to mimicking the “anywhere you want” model of being able to watch Netflix, EA is having a go at the “anything you want” subscription-based method of gaming. This is to say you’ll pay a $15 monthly fee and have access to 100+ games on the Origin network.
Again this isn’t breakthrough technology, Microsoft are already running what is essentially the exact same model with the Xbox Game Pass which is available for ~$11/month.
While this is a good system for the casual gamer, as someone that will buy two or three games per year and binge them, I find most value for money in purchasing individual titles – but each to their own.
Deserved of at the very least a mention are the upcoming releases of;
- FIFA 19
- NBA Live 19
- Madden 19
- Unraveled 2
- Battlefield V (while previously announced we did get to see some gameplay)