Well E3 2014 is over, and it wasn’t a bad show. Let’s take a look at some of the trends that we saw this year and where the gaming industry is going in the future.
1. VR Is Not A Gimmick
Between the Oculus Rift and the Project Morpheus, I have to say that VR does look like it’s something more than just a throwaway gimmick. Both of these units are going to be priced aggressively, at a point that normal gamers will be able to afford. They are both fun to use and, get this, they can even double as a virtual monitor for your computer. Feels like we are living in a cyberpunk world eh? Will it become a staple in every household,? No, but I could imagine a couple killer apps making random Joe gamer pick up a VR headset of his own.
2. Asymmetrical Gameplay is Huge
The Wii U was on to something as many of the big games at E3 2014 were asymmetrical. Evolve made a splash with its 4 vs 1 monster hunting gameplay. Fable Legends was huge with its combined RPG hero and RTS villain gameplay. Heck, we saw indie games that used Twitch.TV input to alter the stages you play on. Then of course the Wii U had its standard array of Gamepad based games with their own asymmetrical focus. Asymmetrical gameplay is easy to do with our current technology and allows for interesting game design we haven’t yet explored, and more and more developers are going to fool around with it.
3. Games Aren’t Taking Themselves Too Seriously
Sunset Overdrive is a game about stopping a mutant zombie apocalypse caused by an energy drink. Dead Island 2 lets you duct tape a ceiling fan to a weed wacker. Tales from the Borderlands makes fun of itself, the player, and Mortal Kombat! Conker is in Project Spark! The days of deep, serious, grey brown military shooters is over and we all want to laugh again.
4. The Age of the Military Shooter is Over
Gamers are just kind of tired of your standard carbon copy military shooter. Just look no further than Call of Duty and Battlefield. The latest Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, has shifted its focus to sci-fi with advanced technology from mech suits to giant walking spider tanks. Battlefield has Battlefield Hardline which pitches its military feel for a cops and robbers motif. In fact, there wasn’t one carbon copy military shooter at the whole convention. It’s the end of one era and the beginning of a new one.
5. Developers Are Innovating Yet Still Playing It Safe
The overall feeling of this year’s E3 was a strange one. On one hand, nothing was a straight out and out failure. Nothing felt like it was a crime against humanity. Usually E3’s have booth after booth of games that make me go “what were they thinking” but that wasn’t the case this year. The whole con just had good, solid titles. However, at the same time there were no killer apps either. There was nothing that made me go “HOLY CRAP I NEED THIS NOW!” There is nothing that I would wait at a midnight release for or even pre-order. Everything at the convention was just… solid… not mind blowing… and not disappointing… just solid. I think it’s because the time for crazy innovation was last year, when the new consoles were announced. This year, all the projects were just small tweaks on formulas that have been proven to work, and overall that created a better lineup.
Former Contributing Writer