A zeitgeist trap rivaling presidential debates and preseason football, E3 performances can be hit or miss when it comes to predicting the success of a video game console.
That being said, Microsoft would be wise to begin working on its long game.
Next-gen hardware unveilings in the rear-view, this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in downtown Los Angeles was all about the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. (Nintendo, struggling ever more to market its Wii U, didn't even bother to hold a live press conference.) Microsoft rolled in amidst a myriad of controversy, rumors flying high that the Xbox One would require a 24-hour Internet connection and prohibit used games. Sony, conversely, was laying low, having announced the PlayStation 4 all the way back in February and watching as its competitor stole the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
In that sense, their respective showings couldn't have been more predictable. You can read up here on our full Xbox One coverage and here regarding the PS4, but in a nutshell, Microsoft failed, rather willingly, to silence its anti-consumerism criticism (the Xbox One will let developers decide upon implementing used-game restrictions, and will indeed check for an Internet connection every 24 hours) while Sony came eager to capitalize on it in every way possible (not blocking used games or mandating an Internet connection for offline play was announced with the excitement of a brand new IP).
Which brings us to the metrics. Poll after poll throughout the week of E3 has placed the PlayStation 4 above -- miles above -- the Xbox One as the more desirable purchase this Holiday season, when the two are slated to release. Take Amazon.com's Facebook poll, for instance, which at the time of this writing shows 34,341 votes of preference for the PS4 (94.73%) against 1910 for the Xbox One (5.27%).
The numbers are staggering. Metacritic hate reviewers are one thing (just ask Black Ops 2 or half of the games published by EA), but the Amazon poll mirrors the numbers we've seen from countless outlet online, and echoes the sentiment expressed by gamers -- our readers included -- universally.
Still, if there's anyone who can sympathize with Microsoft right now it is, ironically, Sony. It was only eight years ago when giant enemy crabs, "$599 US dollars" and -- oops! -- Ridge Racer flooded the Internet en masse en meme, blooper-reel highlights of what remains one of E3's most embarrassing showings. Sure, it was a simpler time -- the world was just waking up to the possibilities of digital distribution, and the Xbox 360 couldn't receive wi-fi without a $100 transmitter. But fewer major consoles have had a slower start in industry history than the PlayStation 3, and E3 2006 did in fact prove to be an accurate barometer of the then-next generation race.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.
Source: Amazon Facebook