The curtain has closed on E3 2018’s press conferences, which means that it’s time for us to cast a critical eye over the briefings and issue our all-important report card. Which of the publishers passed its summer exam – looking ahead at some of the ratings here, they’ll all be having trouble securing a scholarship before school re-starts.
We're not going to lie: we were utterly underwhelmed by EA's presser. The whole thing was as predictable as ever, and outside of one or two small surprises, this was very much a publisher following the numbers. It was announced that Battlefield V will have a Battle Royale mode, to the surprise of no-one, and the multiplayer trailer, while visually impressive, didn't exactly inspire. FIFA 19 has secured the licence for the UEFA Champions League, but the rest of the annual sports titles were largely glossed over, and enthusiasm for them was very muted.
Unravel Two was revealed and released in the same breath, which was a nice curveball, and Sea of Solitude looks genuinely interesting. The only other original game to be announced was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in an embarrassingly awkward interview with Vince Zampella that screamed "we're not ready to announce anything yet". Wrapping up with ANTHEM was fine, but the game looks woefully dull – a sort of Mass Effect meets Destiny that looks like the very definition of "designed by committee". The games shown weren't all bad, but if you put EA's conference next to any of the others, it simply pales in comparison.
Bethesda's E3 2018 press conference got off to an unbelievably slow and sloppy start. We love the party hard and enjoy life attitude of Andrew W.K., but we didn't tune in to watch him and his band play an entire song. The RAGE 2 gameplay that followed looked fine, but it didn't exactly sell us on the game. After that, there was a lot of talking, and the whole thing dragged, DOOM Eternal teaser aside.
The presser only really came to life when boss Todd Howard hopped on stage. His charisma is plain to see, and even though we're still not convinced by Fallout 76, Howard's presentation of the title was informative and engaging. But did it last a little too long? Perhaps, but it was undeniably better than the opening 30 or so minutes. Bethesda's decision to officially announce both Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI feels like cheating since they're clearly years off, but it's hard to ignore the hype that they generated – the latter in particular. Overall, though, this was a largely boring and clumsy press conference, despite Howard's best efforts.
Square Enix didn't have a proper press conference, instead opting for a 30 minute, prerecorded showcase. The publisher had been hyping this thing up prior to E3, but the wait really wasn't worth it. A compilation of trailers is a fair idea on paper, but it doesn't quite work when there are no surprises – we may as well just hit up Square's YouTube channel. A semi-decent Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay walkthrough definitely wasn't enough to carry the show.
Babylon's Fall, developed by Platinum Games, was the only thing worthy of discussion, and even then, the teaser trailer told us virtually nothing. The fact that the showcase ended on old footage of Kingdom Hearts III tells you everything you need to know about Square Enix's near pointless E3 efforts. We're just glad it was only 30 minutes long.
As usual, Ubisoft kicked things off in traditional off the wall style with Just Dance 2019, a game that, if it weren't for the dancing panda, we'd have already forgotten about. Luckily, things moved swiftly along to Beyond Good & Evil 2, which received yet another stellar trailer, but not much else. It's a real shame that this project can't seem to get off the ground, as all of the CG trailers have been fantastic. The Division 2's segment showed improvements to the first game, while Trials Rising was a pleasant, if somewhat unexciting, surprise.
We also had updates on Starlink: Battle for Atlas and Skull & Bones, both looking decent, and of course, Assassin's Creed Odyssey rocked up at the end to Spartan kick everything else off a cliff. All in all, Ubisoft's conference just about ticked the boxes, but conspicuous by its absence was the new Splinter Cell. This would've elevated the presser, as it's a title many are waiting for, but the no-show left us a little deflated.
Sony clearly needs someone who’s not afraid to say no. The company’s creative streak can be a pleasure to behold when things come together, but how it thought a themed E3 2018 experience – meaningless for the millions on livestreams and an inconvenience for games journalists in attendance – was the best way to display its vibrant array of PlayStation 4 exclusive games beggars belief.
The company is paying the price for early announcements, long development cycles, and an ageing generation – but few would argue that its titles look a cut above almost everything else. The problem is that this showcase – padded with a scant selection of surprise announcements in Resident Evil 2 and Nioh 2 – did almost everything in its power to undermine the enthusiasm for its otherwise exciting lineup. There are accusations of hubris from some corners of the web; we think the company’s simply trying too hard. Tone it down next time, and allow the games to speak for themselves – god knows they’re more than good enough.
And there we have it: a full press conference report card for your entertainment. But did we give out the right grades? Feel free to give all the briefings a re-test in the comments section below.
Which publisher had the best E3 2018 press conference? (112 votes)
- Electronic Arts1%
- Square Enix5%
Please login to vote in this poll.
The lowest set of grades we've ever given.
This E3 was AMAZING for games and absolutely terrible for press conferences. Total trash barring Microsoft, who we don't grade.
It was a bit of a poor E3 overall compared to previous years with hardly any surprises or wow moments. Thankfully, the games we all knew about are all looking absolutely super.
Now we can all chill and get excited for the World Cup tomorrow.
E for E3.
I think you should man up and rate MS's
If Sony was a C (which sounds about right), I'd give MS a B-
@kyleforrester87 Yeah, B for Microsoft. I'd personally say Nintendo was like a D- but I don't really like Smash.
Just a bad year all round, honestly. It was good to see Smash, and Ghost of Tsushima looks fantastic but everything else was disappointing. Microsoft had the best conference but only because they got to show all the multiplat premieres.
ubi did have a thing for showing needless stuff such as a trailer for a making of documentary instead of a SC trailer. also 2 trailers for the same game (division or for honor can't remember) was not needed either.
bethesda was ok but the teaser for TES 6 did not change anything at all since we all knew it was happening anyway. might aswell just said that it is in early development.
sony was weird. 2016 can't be beaten and they should not try. try to be as good but don't try to beat it. the gameplay stuff was great though.
overall i would call this the e3 of no gameplay. only sony and microsoft showed the most gameplay. but ubisoft (exept for ac and the division) and especially bethesda just had trailer/teasers.
If we're talking about all the E3 press conferences, then surely Microsoft, Devolver Digital, PC Gaming and Nintendo should be on this article as well.
I think Microsoft had the best conference. Their show had a lot of excellent games shown, even if a lot of them weren't exclusive to Xbox. Devolver Digital was the most amusing conference.
E3 this year was nothing special. Sony, nintendo, microsoft, ubisoft and bethesda all had their amazing moments but those were so short that the lame overshadowed them.
IMO there was no clear winner, only 2 clear losers called EA and square enix.
It's a bit of a shame we're not able to grade Microsoft, as their conference was quite good. Obviously not a patch on Sony's last few years, and their definition of exclusive is somewhat baffling, but I'd say this year they beat Sony. Fair play to them. I won't be getting an Xbox anytime soon, but at least they're not just sticking to their guns.
Sony really need to turn this around though. Maybe they're saving something for psx in December......
EDIT; I forgot Devolver. Clear winner. Obviously.
@Clutch_Nixon I really think we've seen everything they got for this generation now. Maybe they'll go really hard for the last year of PS4 like they did PS3, but I doubt it.
@Kai_ Resident Evil 2 was disappointing? Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh no.
@get2sammyb I've been thinking that myself. If they can pull off what Sony did with the PS4 compared to the PS3 next gen, I'm buying both consoles!
Of the choices, Sony was a clear winner - despite the major presentation hiccup after the Last of Us 2. Its fair enough not including MS or Nintendo as a lot can't look at things from an unbiased perspective - which is a shame as MS's in particular was well executed, had numerous surprises and had a vast array of titles that many PS gamers will also be able to enjoy.
I really cannot argue with the grades given out here as the order is the order I would also have placed them in to. Its possible that this is that 'awkward' E3 before the announcement of the 'new' generation hardware where more long term plans could reveal too much.
As others have given MS's a grade, I would have to grade it a B+. It was quite a big step up from any other - not just in sheer volume of quality games, but also the pacing, the flow, the more professional delivery, the reassurances for the future and reiteration and statement of intent. I can't give them an A as we didn't really get any big new IP exclusives and the return of Halo/Gears could still be 'years' away. FH4 and Crackdown 3 are the two 'big' releases Xbox fans can look forward to arriving in the next year with updates to SoT, PUBG and Cuphead too. They did allude to the newly acquired Playground Games open world non-Forza game but all in all, I think they needed more but then games aren't exactly quick to build. Therefore I can't give them an A but it was by far the best briefing overall...
We use A B C D and F for grading. Where does E belong?? First time I've ever seen that before.
EA, awful. F
ubi, very poor. E
Sony, very poor. E+ (Last of Us 2 looked great though)
didn't watch anybody else's.
Can I vote for Microsoft please?
@NYJetsfan123 E comes after D and before F..
If I have to be honest, I think Microsoft won. Even with Nintendo's E3, it still didn't have a lot of variety compared to MS's.
Is that a UK thing or all of Europe?
The only thing I gathered was that e definitely didn't stand for excellent
I already gave my ratings and thoughts on the forum but all in all it was pretty "meh" this year
how was nintendo's e3 btw? i heard that it was kinda bad?
@ShogunRok that doesn't make sense since the point of the press conferences IS the games.
Style seems to carry too much weight in these ratings. Sony's games were great, while the format was terrible. That feels like a B/B+, not a C. Substance matters more.
'Twas a weird year. Sony's games look excellent - I still believe they are far ahead of the other in terms of their commitment to that kind of gaming experience. Conference itself was weird as f*** though. Special shout out to Resident Evil 2. Quite a marvellous reveal.
Microsoft's I actually felt was overly long with Phil Spencer talking too much rubbish. It was very glitzy and showy and well produced, however. Some great third party reveals. First party is where Microsoft always fall flat, unfortunately, and this year is no different in that regard. Hopefully their new acquisitions will bear some fruit in the coming years, perhaps in time for the next generation.
Ubisoft never fail in the cringe department. From dancing pandas on acid to stunt biking shenanigans this was another classic Ubi conference. I still don't think they know what on earth they are doing with Beyond Good and Evil 2. Other than Assassin's Creed Odyssey - which looks great, it was a mediocre showing.
EA, ugh EA. Anthem just doesn't excite me in the least. I like Bioware games, but Anthem isn't grabbing me at all.
Bethesda felt like a lot of smoke and mirrors. Doom could be amazing, and with August only a couple of months away I'm unsure why they couldn't just reveal Doom properly here. I did come away feeling a little more positive about Fallout 76, but I am still very concerned about the online.
Square Enix have some nice games. No surprises, and not really much to say. Nintendo's was very poor.
Funny, I thought Microsoft's was the best and we can't even vote for that. (Nintendo was second for me but that's just because I have a Nintendo bias)
@jdv95 Came down to whether you like Smash or not. A few were in there like Fire Emblem and Xenoblade DLC but I think some hoped they would show Metroid and Pokemon.
I voted for Sony cos in an E3 where actual gameplay shown was at a premium they gave proper lengthy looks at their biggest games. The approach (letting us know what they were showing was correct, can you imagine if they didn't?) execution wasn't great though, the countdown reveals could have filled the intermission or new trailers for Concrete Genie and Blood and Truth.
EA had an opportunity to get me back onside but "no loot boxes" wasn't enough and Anthem doesn't feel like a Bioware game, plus I'd be amazed if it came out in February and without issues.
Ubisoft still get into the habit of over talking and no showing, Assassins Creed going back to been an annual franchise will hurt them in the long run and Division 2 wasn't shown enough in the actual conference.
Bethesda much like Microsoft was smoke and mirrors, just Rage 2 and Fallout 76, finishing with logo trailers for Starfield and Elder Scrolls was there for a cheap reaction cos they didn't want to end on a mobile game. Though bonus points to Todd Howard for losing the PS chat when everyone was in on Fallout 76 till he said "it's always online" and interest plummeted faster then a Sunderland team lol.
Had Bethesda bothered to show DOOM properly then there conference would probably have been the best for me. They were all a bit unbalanced thought and in the case of EA, just plain rubbish and Nintendo spent far too much time on Smash and Microsoft had a good showing even with Phil Spencer talking but was a bit too long
I have to agree with @BAMozzy even if the only part of E3 that genuinely got me excited was Resident Evil 2. Microsoft had a lot of content (most of which on PS4 too), was well structured, a few very good exclusives such as Cuphead DLC and Forza Horizon 4, not sure they needed to talk about which studios they bought though
Sony conference is not perfect but their games is amazing, I can't stop thinking about ghost of tsushima and how cool it is to play essentially playable akira kurosawa movies.
@kyleforrester87 not really a series I'm into, only ever played some of 4. (I'm a wimp)
The Press Conferences were not as good as previous years, but overall I'd rank them as:
1. Microsoft - Aped Sony's layout of previous years and made it work.
2. Square Enix - Didn't waste time and just showed what was coming.
3. Sony - Games saved this crappy conference.
4. Ubisoft - A few notable games saved this conference.
5. Bethesda - They need to learn to shut up and show the games.
6. EA - Same as Bethesda. They presented Anthem horribly.
All those kids waking up on Christmas morning wanting to play a new game, only to find out it’s all been delayed to 2019 and they’ve got to sit around a Monopoly board instead.
Out of this group Sony had the best presser but it was still as middling as it gets. I wouldn't even go as high as C, I'd say D+, maybe C-. Sony is doing a lot of dumb things lately aside from bad formats for its press conferences (the trouble with Amazon, the Fortnite fiasco) so I think complacency and arrogance is starting to seep in. Hope I'm wrong, we'll see.
Factor MS into the equation and it had the best press conference of this year's show, I think pretty easily and the announcement of five new studios gives me confidence that the Xbox brand is here to stay which is a good thing, competition is needed.
I feel dirty saying this but I felt MS walked away with E3 this year however dont get my wrong the deep dive into games is a definite winner just not sure about the execution of the presser
I have to be honest, there is no winning this. Specifically for Sony. If they rehash the same format (what happened in 2017), people say they are complacent. If they experiment (like this year), it's hubris. So, what do you want?
Reading through the articles and comments, people don't want press conferences, people just want one thing, trailers announcing new games, that's it.
First year in ages where I never felt E3 so I didnt watch any conference. I still learned about the games announced/shown.
I appreciate Sony's honesty but when they stated their 4 games I avoided the show. I want to be surprised.
Nintendo's happened while I was at work and I feel it was a disaster. Mostly Smash centered. My shopping list stays the same for my Switch in 2018.
My games were KH3 (a date!), Overcooked 2 and RE2. Cuphead getting more content is good too.
I feel that all of the presentations were hampered by the fact that all of the big reveals had been already revealed or leaked early. Sony set out their stall ages ago; MS showed tech demos of inevitable sequels; and Nintendo could have killed it if Fortnite hadn't been the worst kept secret in the gaming world. I think our disappointment is largely down to the difficulty of delivering real surprises in an age when publishers basically cannot control the delivery methods.
From worst to best:
EA: Not interested in any of the games shown. Poor conference IMO.
Square Enix: Not very interested in most of these games, and they didn't show stuff like the Avengers game. It was overall just boring and disappointing.
Ubisoft: Not super interested in anything shown aside from Assassin's Creed, but it was entertaining enough with the Just Dance sequence and plenty of delicious cringe, especially with the microphones being on when they shouldn't have been. "We nailed it! We nailed it!"
Bethesda: Boring conference aside from a few parts like Skyrim Very Special Edition, but there were plenty of solid games shown. I would mark it higher if games like Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield weren't so far away.
Nintendo: One of the worst conferences of E3. The only thing that saved it for me was Smash, which I'm super hyped for. The rest was just a mess, and there wasn't much of note announced outside of Smash, unless you're a fan of Mario Party, which I'm not.
Sony: The way the conference was set up was absolutely atrocious with the whole moving the crowd from room to room thing, but the extremely impressive games shown (excluding Death Stranding, which did not impress me at all) saved the conference. I'm very happy with it overall, but they need to do a better job of setting the whole thing up next year.
Microsoft: Although the first party support is still lacking compared to Sony and Nintendo, it was still a great conference, even for PS4 owners. Tons of multiplat stuff shown, there was little time wasted with nonsense like there was in the Sony conference, and overall they did a great job.
@viciousarcanum If that's truly the case, every publisher might as well just upload trailers to YouTube and let us watch them at our own pace.
A good press conference is made up of two parts: good games, and good presentation.
This year, the presentation side of things was mostly terrible.
presentation on nearly all the shows was poor but the games were amazing TLOU2 is my standout game very very closely followed by Ghost of Tushima
Bethesda: Almost everything they showed was rubbish. At least we got a confirmation that Elder Scrolls VI is in development.
Microsoft: A bunch of third party games I don't care about, and Tales of Vesperia. Bleh. Nothing was shown that would make me want to buy an Xbox console. Good format, though.
Sony: Some good looking games, but almost no gameplay, and release dates were mostly absent. REmake 2 and release date reveal saved it for me. Also, super terrible format.
Nintendo: Fairly limited, but the Hollow Knight cold drop, combined with the reveal of that awesome looking mech game, the fantastic Xenoblade 2 DLC reveal, and an absolutely gorgeous new Fire Emblem saved it for me, even though it descended into boredom once it got to the smash segment. My favorite of the three. Also, the format was good until Smash dropped.
Best presentation: Microsoft
Best games: Sony
Best Smash Bros presentation: Nintendo
nintendo's was quite smashing
You forgot the best one...
@NYJetsfan123 I think it's a rest of the world thing
Although, perhaps it's just me getting old, but some of these games are getting a bit too ultra-violent for me (a weird stance considering I love Hotline Miami).
"Who won E3 wars" are dumb and pointless.
Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 were part of "Microsoft's better E3 conference than Sony's" yet were flops when released.
God of War was part of Sony's "worse E3 conference than Microsoft's" last year yet was a massive success when released.
It doesn't matter who had a better E3 if the games that came out of it suck.
To sum it up, awesome games were shown, but maybe they need to hire someone with presentation skills and charisma to make conferences more interesting (with the exception of Todd, of course, that guy can hold Bethesda's press conference alone if he want to).
Anyway, I like seeing more footage of upcoming games and the surprises that show up at E3. But I kinda like watching interviews and gameplay with comments from devs, after all I can see trailers the entire year but E3 is the moment to hear what's on the developers' minds.
Bethesda brought Doom and Wolfenstein so they're pretty much the winner for me by default. Rage 2 also looks great.
Smash Ultimate looks fantastic as well.
This E3 had the potential to be one of my favorites ever if only Splinter Cell and Metroid Prime 4 hadn't been no shows. That kinda killed it. Metroid I can understand, but by now Ubisoft should have had SOME kind of Splinter Cell related news.
I think Sony's starting to realize they don't need E3 as badly as they used to. Between PSX and other potential shows like TGS and PGW, the have they're in the position where they can save their big reveals for events where they have more of the spotlight. At least that's what I hope is starting to happen.
@Scrummer at least you admit your bias so I give you props for that because Nintendo conference was almost ea levels of bad
@Ralizah what are you talking about in regards to Sony showing no gameplay. Tlou part 2,Spider-Man,ghosts and death stranding all got lengthy gameplay videos hell they were pretty much the only conference to show gameplay and not just cg trailers
This year was pretty lame. Only Microsoft had a good conference. The rest were either bad conferences with plenty of good games (Sony, Ubisoft), bad conferences that could probably have been a blog post because there wasn't much to show (Bethesda, Nintendo) or just a total waste of everyone's time (EA, Square Enix).
7th) Square Enix
8th) PC Gaming
9th) Devolver Digital
Dat 1% vote for EA.
MS was the best by a mile, Nintendo second and Sony third. Out of the lot mentioned here Sony were an easy winner just thanks to the quality of the games, even though the presentation was a stinker. Overall E3 in general didn't really give me much of a buzz this year to be honest, but there's still a huge amount of amazing games on the way so I'm still very happy!
MS was the best but nice that most of the games are PS4-bound it seems.
Nintendo really let me down with no Prime 4, or even Yoshi which last year looked far along in development. Guess it was good if you like Smash and Pokemon but unfortunately I'm not in to either...
Square Enix was easily the worst from what I've seen, just a bunch of trailers thrown together. And some of the trailers were the exact same ones shown at earlier conferences. Poor.
Square-Enix really didn't do much. Their heart wasn't in it?
Tap here to load 60 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...