Who Won E3 2019? Microsoft vs. Nintendo vs. Square Enix vs. Keanu Reeves
Sony's absence this year gave Xbox a clear advantage.
Gaming’s premiere annual event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (better known as E3), is always so chock full of hype-worthy video game announcements that it’s nearly impossible to tell which developer or publisher really “won” the conference. But especially given that Sony was a no-show this year, determining who won E3 2019 becomes that much easier.
The winner was indisputably Keanu Reeves, who made a surprise appearance to promote Cyberpunk 2077, but if we’re talking big presentations and companies, it was Microsoft.
This is an adapted version of our Multiverse newsletter, a twice-weekly digest of our essential stories from the geek galaxy. Sign up for free here.
Why Microsoft Already Won E3 2019
E3 2019 continues in Los Angeles until Thursday this week even if most of the year’s biggest video game announcements have already happened. The big contenders in terms of which developer or publisher “won” the conference are Microsoft, based on its Sunday presentation, and Nintendo, which presented Tuesday. Thanks to Sony’s absence and a some key multi-platform titles having no other choice than to go with Microsoft, this year, Microsoft brings home the Xbox gold.
Microsoft’s presentation (full stream featured at the top of this article) included the new Microsoft gaming system called Xbox Scarlett and an accompanying xCloud service that’ll compete against Google Stadia, allowing anyone to play Microsoft exclusives on PC for a monthly fee.
This gives Microsoft an advantage against PlayStation 5 in the upcoming console wars — and all of this is just in terms of gaming hardware presented at E3.
What about the games?
Sunday’s presentation included the debut of Elden Ring, a FromSoftware game akin to Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice that arose from a collaboration between Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. This new dark fantasy universe already looks totally epic, even if the first teaser trailer was super-vague.
Elden Ring will also be available on PlayStation 4, but Sony’s absence meant that FromSoftware revealed the game during Microsoft’s Xbox presentation, a big win for them.
The most major gaming announcement during Microsoft’s presentation was undoubtedly more footage from the much-hyped Cyberpunk 2077, a futuristic open-world action game that was first teased E3 2018.
The new, action-packed story trailer revealed at the very end that Keanu Reeves plays a key story character — and mere moments later, Keanu himself took the stage to shower the crowd with love.
More From Microsoft’s Presentation
- Microsoft also scored the world reveal for a new Lego Star Wars game covering the entire Skywalker saga.
- One cute deer indie game stole everyone’s hearts during the Xbox presentation.
- Xbox also revealed a horrifying Blair Witch game.
- There’s also 12 Minutes, an interactive time loop thriller on Xbox
Nintendo Brought Its A-Game, But It Wasn’t Enough
For any diehard Nintendo fans out there with intense loyalty to the company’s exclusives, E3 2019 was an exciting time full of teasers for the Breath of the Wild sequel and two new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters, along with footage from the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening … but little else.
It wasn’t quite enough to complete with the “wow factor” that Microsoft brought, especially given the dearth of news about a new Metroid Prime game.
Some Nintendo highlights:
- Let’s unpack the implications of the Breath of the Wild sequel teaser.
- Super Smash Bros. Smash Ultimate will get a new sword boi from Dragon Quest and Banjo-Kazooie as playable characters.
Runner-Up: Square Enix
Final Fantasy VII Remake got extended gameplay and story trailers as part of Square Enix’s presentation. The game looks absolutely stunning, pandering to long-time fans while also presenting a role-playing experience that looks exciting and fresh enough to entice new fans.
I personally cannot wait for this game, but the ambitious scope of this remake project already seems overwhelming, especially after Square Enix confirmed that the first installment will span two Blu-ray discs and only cover a fraction of the original game.
- Here’s why the Final Fantasy VII Remake scope worries me.
Square Enix also shared footage of the upcoming Avengers game that takes place in its own universe, and despite incredible graphics and an intriguing story, the character designs feel awkwardly placed between the comics and the movies. My favorite Facebook comment of the week goes to the person who called it “the perfect cast for the avengers porn parody.”
Inverse’s Eric Francisco had a more nuanced opinion, which is that this new Captain America costume misses the point of the character, making him look more “alt-right tactical” than America’s hero. Read more.
Read all our E3 2019 coverage right here.