There were many trends to discuss at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo.
And we will discuss them. All of those bloody co-op games, Sony and Microsoft getting exclusive content and pissing everyone off in the process, all that violence…
But one trend that needs addressing right now is the wristband thing.
Everyone is a bit obsessed with the ‘who won E3’ argument. It’s a rubbish question that doesn’t really have a right answer, but hey… we all love a good fight.
So what we have decided at MCV is that the real ‘winner’ of E3 ought to be decided not on who had the best games or the most exclusives or the most bloody co-op titles. But who had the nicest wristbands. Here’s our verdict:
When Coldplay decided to have light-up wristbands at its concerts a few years back, it almost bankrupted the band. But it was worth it for the spectacle as fans jumped around to generic, whiney and occasionally catchy sort-of rock music.
Some smart Microsoft exec clearly thought this was a good idea for the Xbox conference, and you know what, he/she was right.
The bands on show were not the same as Coldplay’s Xylobands. It was all plastic, no fabric, and it didn’t have much give on your wrist. If you were of a slightly larger variety (and a fair few at E3 are of the slightly larger variety) then it wasn’t the most comfortable to wear.
But what it lost in comfort it made up for in style. Xbox’s use of the wristbands was well timed, lighting up in specific colours to reflect the trailers and the announcements on stage. It could be distracting at times (I missed a game title because I was too busy impressively looking at the crowd) but it did make the Xbox conference look more like a spectacle and less like the trade press conferences of old.
Nobody likes paper wristbands. They break, they look ugly and that little sticky thing that sticks the paper together – if not done right – can get stuck to the hair on your wrist and it hurts a bit. What is worse, EA recommend you get your wristband ahead of its conference – the day before in fact – from a special area at the LA Convention Center. That means the next morning you have to stick one arm out of the shower to stop it getting wet. Smelly and rubbish. Do better next time.
So as it turns out Xbox perhaps went in with Ubisoft to get those fancy flashing wristbands. It was nice getting a second one, because then you could start clapping your hands and clicking your fingers to make them change colours. You might look like an over-excited 1 year-old that has just been given a red ball, but who cares? Two flashing wristbands! I hope the batteries stand out.
Unfortunately for the Assassin’s Creed publisher, the use of these wristbands did not match up to Xbox’s. Sure, it was quite nice during the Just Dance presentation, as they flashed excitedly to Pharell’s Happy and other such pop nonsense. But most of the time the bands were underused. The auditorium that the Ubisoft conference is held at is a far more intimate venue than Microsoft’s, so it didn’t quite have the epic factor, either. There was a web address to get 'extra information' about the games on the back, which I guess added a bit of additional functionality. Yet, as before, the bands just lacked comfort. It wasn’t long before they were both off my wrists so I could play with my red ball.
Now Sony’s wristband was a more conventional one from custom wristband specialists ZOX. There were no shiny lights, but these weren’t of the paper variety either. The elasticated fabric has to be our ‘generic’ wristband of choice. It’s comfortable to wear, doesn’t look too ugly and the best thing (if you decided to get your band the day before the conference) you can just take it off. A much better improvement over the paper bands.
Also, the use of the ‘Greatness Awaits’ branding over the more obvious PlayStation logo made your wrists feel less like a walking billboard. Overall it was a solid if unspectacular band, a bit like most of E3 so far really.
Nintendo didn't have a press event to get into. Instead it held a digital online announcement video thing. So how it hoped to win E3 this year I'll never know.
So there you have it. Xbox wins E3. The evidence is all there before you. There can be no arguments.