E3 2017: Video Games Take Centre-Stage as Spectator Sport

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/ Getty Images North America/ AFP
HIGHLIGHTS
YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook turned gamers into online stars at E3 2017
The e-Sports matches were hugely popular at the annual gaming expo
YouTube billed itself as the biggest gaming platform with record audience
Long fiercely guarded video game industry terrain, the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicked off Tuesday with YouTube, Twitch and Facebook turning gamers into online stars.

A hot trend of video game play streamed as spectator sport and “YouTubers” becoming famous for skills or pithy commentary pervaded the annual gathering, from unveilings of titles to major ‘e-Sports’ matches staged for the first time on the show floor.

“There is a reality now that the influencers of the gaming industry are no longer the games, but the YouTube creators,” YouTube head of gaming Ryan Wyatt told AFP.

E3 2017: Video Games Take Centre-Stage as Spectator Sport

“It is smart to bring creators into the fold so the feedback is constructive, and not scathing reviews.”

Players who have risen to stardom by streaming play online took part in theatrical press conferences held by game and console makers in the days ahead of the formal opening of E3.

Unveilings of eagerly-awaited titles and new franchises were streamed live on platforms including Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube – drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers.

YouTube billed itself as the biggest gaming platform, and said that broadcasters from E3 racked up record-sized audiences.

“Before publishers caught on to the power of the creator, I think creators felt alienated,” Wyatt said, referring to players who stream game action and comment online.

“All of that has changed now. They are integrated into the show and their feedback goes into the design, marketing and promotion of games.

Outshining real-world sports
Video game competition as spectator sport is driving the industry in many ways, according to Craig Levine, chief of leading e-Sports company ESL.

Developers are building games with features to be attractive online spectator events, offerings at E3 showed.

“There are more people watching these games than playing them; it has more than crept into the design cycle,” Levine told AFP.

As competitive performance climbs as a priority, hardware makers push to field better computer chips, screens, controllers and more.

This week, for the first time at E3, there was an e-Sports zone powered by ESL where video game battles were fought and streamed online.

“ESports has one of the fastest growing audiences in not just video games but all of entertainment,” said Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications at the Electronic Software Association behind E3.

The eSports industry will accelerate from roughly $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,288 crores) in revenue in 2015 to $1-billion (roughly Rs. 6,436 crores) by 2018, according to Baird Equity Research estimates cited by E3 organisers.

In the coming three years, the global audience for eSports was predicted to grow to a half-billion viewers, eclipsing the numbers watching traditional real-world sports, according to Levine.

And, while the focus at E3 was on games for consoles or Windows-powered computers, mobile game play is consistently in top ranks when it comes to viewing, according to YouTube.

More women gamers
The gaming community is huge at Facebook, which returned to E3 this year with an area for live-streamed chats with developers and personalities, and where visitors could share thoughts about the show at the social network and capture memories with 3D or augment reality technology that put them into game scenes.

During the past month, 43 million people have made some 115 million posts, ‘likes,’ and comments related to E3 and major titles.

More than a third of that sharing came from women, who are a growing part of the gaming community, according to Facebook.

“We’ve seen this community of gamers continue to grow and evolve each year – with women now taking a growing share of the conversation around E3,” said Facebook head of global console and online gaming Franco DeCesare.

About 800 million members of the social network play at least one Facebook game monthly, director of global games partnerships Leo Olebe told AFP.

Facebook worked with ESL, video game giant Activision and others at E3 to create content for the social network.

“The fact that the player really is at the center of everything is really powerful,” Olebe told AFP.

“As the player takes a larger role in what’s happening inside our industry, Facebook is perfectly positioned to facilitate that process.”

PS4-Exclusive God of War Story and Release Date Revealed at E3 2017

PS4-exclusive God of War had a generous reveal at E3 2017. Not only did Sony show off a large chunk of gameplay, it also focussed on characters, bosses, and possible plot points.

Kratos’ son appears to be suffering from some kind of curse and he must embark with everyone’s favourite genocidal Greek on a journey that involves killing an assortment of monsters. God of War’s villain also makes an appearance, taunting Kratos, who is considered to be an outsider of the Norse realm wherein this game takes place.

PS4-Exclusive God of War Story and Release Date Revealed at E3 2017

God of War releases early 2018. Sony hasn’t given a concrete release date just yet. But if we take into account past releases in the franchise, you can expect it to be out in March. its unclear if the footage on display at the E3 2017 conference was on the PS4 or PS4 pro.

With Sony releasing the PS4 Pro after God of War’s reveal — which the developers state was done on a standard PS4, there’s always the temptation for developers to optimise the game for the newer, more powerful platform that is the PS4 Pro at the cost of skimping out on the existing one, which in this case is the original PS4. However this will not be the case with God of War. Revealed at E3 2016 after a fairly accurate leak, it seems that the game will run just fine on a regular PS4.

Safe to say there will be some additional visual enhancements for the PS4 Pro, but the fact that Barlog has stated it will run as it should on the PS4 should have many a PS4 owner sighing in relief.

Detroit: Become Human's E3 2017 Trailer Reveals an Android Uprising

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Detroit Become Human is the story of an android revolt
  • You play as the leader of the revolting androids
  • The trailer showed your choices affecting the story

Detroit: Become Human’s trailer begins with an android called Marcus leading a group of androids on a rescue mission. They want to help androids displayed at a store attain freedom. This mission is risky because human controlled sentinels appear at the scene to arrest them.

Marcus and his troops manage to take these on. In the trailer he says that the androids are superior to humans and there is no reason they should be slaves. This begins the journey of Marcus and his androids in Detroit: Become Human.

Detroit: Become Human's E3 2017 Trailer Reveals an Android Uprising

Marcus tells a bunch of androids that they are masters of their own destiny and that they need not serve humans any more. This appears to be an action-adventure game played from a third-person view where you can either choose violence or pacifism. Your choices have consequences in Detroit: Become Human.

You choose the violent path and many androids will die, but if you take the pacifist path, you will see a far better path towards Detroit: Become Human’s end. The trailer was brief but it did a good job of telling the story of androids’ struggles. The game appears to shape its story based on choices you make. Choices such as setting a store on fire or not could determine whether many of your fellow androids die.

The game has been in development since 2013, and this trailer seems to suggest that a release is due soon, even if no release date was announced at Sony’s E3 2017 event.

Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR Announced at Bethesda E3 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Doom VR is announced as Doom VFR
  • Fallout 4 VR will be out in October
  • No release date for Doom VFR has been given

Image result for VR gear

Doom is getting a VR version. Called Doom VFR it was announced by Bethesda at its E3 2017 conference. In addition to this, the company also revealed Fallout 4 in VR, dubbed as the first open-world game completely made in VR.

Doom VFR will be available on PS VR and HTC Vive. Fallout 4 VR will be available for HTC Vive in October. No date for Doom VFR has been given just yet.

This marks Bethesda first attempt at bringing its IPs to VR. With Fallout and Doom, it seems that VR will get a shot in the arm it so drastically needs.

For what its worth we found Doom to be one of the better games of 2016. Bethesda had the right idea in mind when it brought back Wolfenstein, and reviving Doom back after a prolonged spell in development hell is just as welcome. The game offers more than enough for fans to sink their teeth into, while it injects some purely-optional new ideas to keep in-step with modern games.

How Fallout 4’s dystopia translates to VR would be interesting. With an immersive world, open-ended gameplay options, and so much to do, Fallout 4 is well worth the price of entry. Chances are, you’ll be spending a lot of time in Boston. We know we have and will be in the months to come.

Sony at E3 2017: God of War, Spider-Man, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Skyrim for VR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • God of War is coming early 2018
  • Spider-Man scheduled for 2018 as well
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy arrives August 22

Unlike Microsoft, Sony didn’t have a new console to show off at its E3 2017 event on Tuesday – that’s because the PS4 Pro has been out since November – but it did provide a good look at some of its most anticipated exclusive games, and other popular third-party titles. Here’s the biggest stuff from the PlayStation presser.

The new God of War is a father-son story
One of the most highly-awaited titles, the next God of War – simply titled eponymously – is a bit of a soft reboot and shifts to the Norse mythology. That doesn’t mean your favourite Greek myth hero, Kratos, is going anywhere though. This time, his son Atreus is with him for the ride as Kratos takes on an assortment of monster creatures. In between, you’ll have cut scenes featuring Atreus’ mother.

While you’ll play as Kratos throughout the game, you’ll be able to passively control Atreus with a dedicated button. The trailer focused on the father-son relationship, with Kratos teaching him how to survive and become a warrior. God of War will be a PS4-exclusive title, coming early 2018. It’ll be a single-player-only title, and is inspired by RPGs.

Sony at E3 2017: God of War, Spider-Man, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Skyrim for VR

Spider-Man will be part stealth, and part bonkers
We know a new PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game has been on its way, and we got the first extended look at some gameplay during the PlayStation E3 2017 event. The game will allow you to play stealthily at times, and very hands-on as the need arises. Wilson Fisk, who some of you might know from Netflix’s Daredevil, seems to be a minor villain in the game.

The trailer showed us that Insomniac Games have spent time in understanding the insane capabilities of Spidey’s agility and web strength, which allows for some crazy and unique stunts, as witnessed from the helicopter balancing act in the trailer. There was even a sneak mention of Miles Morales towards the end of the event, which is a good progressive step identity-wise that Marvel’s film efforts should take notes from.

Spider-Man doesn’t have a defined release date, just 2018 at this point.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is set in India
After an announcement back in December as a standalone chapter, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy claimed the opening slot at the PlayStation E3 event, in the form of a live Indian classical music performance followed by a trailer that showed gameplay, story, characters, and its lush tropical setting: India.

Based on characters present in Uncharted 4 – Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross – players will search for the tusk of Ganesh in the new game. Hopefully, the game will give a nuanced portrayal of its setting, and stay away from any stereotypes. We’ll find out when it arrives August 22.

Destiny 2 moved up to September 6
Although Bungie held an extensive reveal in May, Destiny 2 was still present at the PlayStation E3 2017 event. We didn’t get a lot in the way of gameplay, but instead a bigger focus on what will be the game’s primary antagonist at launch: Dominus Ghaul, the leader of the Red Legion. Of course, the bigger reason for Sony was to show off its continued exclusivity deal with Bungie, which will give the PS4 access to exclusive weapons, gear, strikes, and a map.

And if you’re dying to play it, you’ll be happy to know Destiny 2 arrives two days earlier on September 6 for consoles. It’ll make it to PCs October 24.

Call of Duty: WWII feels grittier than ever
While the franchise’s return to its roots – World War II, to be precise – may feel like a retrace of its steps, it has allowed the developers to explore the setting in a way that wasn’t frankly possible earlier. For one, the studio didn’t have the resources it has now, and graphics performance has come a long way in all those years.

With the new Call of Duty, it feels like we’re going to get a much gritter, and gory portrayal of the Second World War. In other words, much like it was for the people involved. Of course, this being Call of Duty, it also means the action will be dialled all the way to 11. There’s close quarter warfare, fighting in the trenches, and taking out bombers with anti-air weaponry.

Plus, it’ll take you through the most well-known spots during 1941-45: France, Germany, Belgium, and the Soviet Union. Call of Duty arrives November 3 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

PlayStation VR is getting Skyrim and FFXV fishing off-shoot
If you thought PS VR would be left out of the discussion, you’d happy to know that wasn’t the case. The biggest one was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by far, which didn’t get a release date, but the trailer did give a glimpse of what you can expect. Between VR and the Nintendo Switch, it seems Bethesda will ensure the acclaimed title can reap all its rewards before thinking of a new chapter in the long-running series.

There was a trailer for the VR spin-off to Final Fantasy XV, as well. It’s called Monster of the Deep, and it basically includes Noctis fishing, which is how he likes to spend time between the monster battles.

In between, we got trailers for a sci-fi side-scroller called Star Child, a story set in an asylum called The Inpatient, Moss featuring a bunny on two legs with an artificial limb, and a FPS called Bravo Team.

Marvel vs Capcom saga continues with Infinite
The biggest change with Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is two-on-two fights, instead of the usual three-on-three format. The trailer shown at E3 2017 wasn’t bothered with that at all though, instead focusing on the Marvel character list players would see: Captain America, Gamora and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Hulk, Thanos, and even Ultron. It’s coming September 19 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Capcom also showed off a new Monster Hunter title at the event, which will bring the franchise out of Japan. It features dinosaurs, a giant sword, and a lot of running. Monster Hunter: World will release early 2018.

Days Gone involves hordes of zombies and infected giant bears
A gameplay trailer for Days Gone showed the protagonist’s skills and stealth gameplay, which can be turned into full-on action with an explosive that attracts zombies – known as “Freakers” that were created by a global pandemic – and takes out your enemies for you. The infection has also spread to giant, mutated bears, given what we witness in the trailer.

Days Gone still doesn’t have a release date, though.

A war is brewing between androids and humans in Detroit: Become Human
Announced almost two years ago, Sony’s first-party PS4-exclusive action-adventure title showed up at the PlayStation E3 2017 event without a release date, again. The focus was entirely on Marcus, an android disillusioned from his master-slave relationship with humans, who takes it upon himself to free others of his kind and take on the oppressors.

It’s set in futuristic Detroit City, and there are clear vibes of Watch Dogs – some hacking elements, and the aesthetic – as well as Deus Ex, which presents a similar conflict between humans and half-androids, so to say.

PlayStation VR is getting Skyrim and FFXV fishing off-shoot
If you thought PS VR would be left out of the discussion, you’d happy to know that wasn’t the case. The biggest one was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by far, which didn’t get a release date, but the trailer did give a glimpse of what you can expect. Between VR and the Nintendo Switch, it seems Bethesda will ensure the acclaimed title can reap all its rewards before thinking of a new chapter in the long-running series.

There was a trailer for the VR spin-off to Final Fantasy XV, as well. It’s called Monster of the Deep, and it basically includes Noctis fishing, which is how he likes to spend time between the monster battles.

In between, we got trailers for a sci-fi side-scroller called Star Child, a story set in an asylum called The Inpatient, Moss featuring a bunny on two legs with an artificial limb, and a FPS called Bravo Team.

Marvel vs Capcom saga continues with Infinite
The biggest change with Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is two-on-two fights, instead of the usual three-on-three format. The trailer shown at E3 2017 wasn’t bothered with that at all though, instead focusing on the Marvel character list players would see: Captain America, Gamora and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Hulk, Thanos, and even Ultron. It’s coming September 19 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Capcom also showed off a new Monster Hunter title at the event, which will bring the franchise out of Japan. It features dinosaurs, a giant sword, and a lot of running. Monster Hunter: World will release early 2018.

Days Gone involves hordes of zombies and infected giant bears
A gameplay trailer for Days Gone showed the protagonist’s skills and stealth gameplay, which can be turned into full-on action with an explosive that attracts zombies – known as “Freakers” that were created by a global pandemic – and takes out your enemies for you. The infection has also spread to giant, mutated bears, given what we witness in the trailer.

Days Gone still doesn’t have a release date, though.

A war is brewing between androids and humans in Detroit: Become Human
Announced almost two years ago, Sony’s first-party PS4-exclusive action-adventure title showed up at the PlayStation E3 2017 event without a release date, again. The focus was entirely on Marcus, an android disillusioned from his master-slave relationship with humans, who takes it upon himself to free others of his kind and take on the oppressors.

It’s set in futuristic Detroit City, and there are clear vibes of Watch Dogs – some hacking elements, and the aesthetic – as well as Deus Ex, which presents a similar conflict between humans and half-androids, so to say.

 

E3 2017: Sony's PlayLink for PS4 Will Let You Play Games Using Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • PlayLink lets you play games on your PS4 via a smartphone
  • Titles vary from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes
  • PlayLink titles include That’s You!, Hidden Agenda

At the ongoing E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California, Sony announced some of its most anticipated games for PlayStation for the year including God of War, Spider-Man and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, to name a few. Console titles aside, the company also introduced PlayLink, which allows users to play games with family and friends using their smartphones and tablets.

PlayLink is aimed at creating a fun, interactive way to play games in a social setting. Based on a video Sony released showcasing the feature, PlayLink requires a smartphone or tablet, a TV, and a PlayStation 4 console, which, when set up, lets you and your group of family or friends play interactive PlayLink titles.

E3 2017: Sony's PlayLink for PS4 Will Let You Play Games Using Your Phone

“PlayLink games turn your smartphone or tablet into a versatile controller – you can swipe, pinch, drag, tilt, rotate or even snap selfies and draw crafty doodles, depending on the game. No matter which title you choose from our PlayLink collection, it’s guaranteed to be a slick pick-up-and-play experience,” Sony said in a blog post.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cadj8hWApE8?ecver=2]

PlayLink titles range from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes. In one of the videos, for example, you see a group of people playing That’s You! – a quiz-based app that “challenges you and up to five friends to get personal and find out what you really think about each other.” This will be one of the first titles for PlayLink and will be available for PlayStation Plus members for free starting July 4.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDAxfMpriAU?ecver=2]

Another video shows a crime and narrative-based game called Hidden Agenda that allows up to six people to join in. The game requires the players to make tough, quick decisions as the story progresses, which will also influence the way the game moves forward.

Sony sees PlayLink as something that can come in handy during social gatherings as well as rope in new players to video games. It also reminds one of Jackbox Games’ Party Pack multi-platform social games. Some other PlayLink titles that can be expected soon include Knowledge is Power, Frantic, and SingStar Celebration.