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E3 2009 Early Impressions

June 3rd, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 14 Comments · E3

Since I still don’t know what the hell I am supposed to do to make the Crispy Gamer blog software work for me, I might as well post some early impressions here.

Battlegoat’s George Geczy tells me that France has a bimonthly print magazine devoted to strategy gaming, a magazine that gave Supreme Ruler 2020 almost a dozen pages over the course of year.

The editors of that magazine would be very lost at E3. Not only is strategy gaming – once a dominant genre – mostly absent, but the PC itself is a rare bird. The media guide/map, produced by GamePro, likens the golden age of PC gaming to the days when small mammals succeeded dinosaurs. If you are a PC gamer or from a place where PC gaming is still a central gaming development platform (like Europe), E3 is increasingly irrelevant.

Part of the problem is that the biggest PC gaming player is not here. Blizzard says that Starcraft 2 will be ready by the end of the year, but they have their own convention now. EA/Bioware’s MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic is the only PC exclusive to get any substantial comment in the wave of press conferences on Monday and Tuesday, and all we got was a cinematic trailer. We all know I love cinematic trailers.

Though I’ve been telling a lot of people recently that I think the PC will return as a major gaming platform, Geczy’s anecdote reminds me that platform really hasn’t gone anywhere. As global as the console business is, the console centeredness of gaming seems to be very much an American and Japanese phenomenon. Maybe I need to go to Europe or China if I want to have a convention that tells me all the neat new things I can do with my mouse.


14 Comments so far ↓

  • frags

    Troy what about Supcom 2? Have you seen it?

  • frags

    Oh and do tell us your impression of R.U.S.E. My initial impression from the demos is that it is a light strategy game.

    Im not sure but is the Paradox guys showing Hearts of Iron 3 there as well?

  • James Allen

    I think with PC games coverage becoming increasingly online-centric, specifically downloading preview builds or talking to developers, E3 is irrelevent for the platform because the developers, publishers, and coverage outlets realize that new PC news will always be overshadowed by the console games and it’s better to reach out to the niche PC sites on an individual and ongoing basis.

  • Troy

    I see SupCom later today. Saw Hearts of Iron 3 and East India Company this morning.

    Best thing about HoI3? New map modes.

    James: The problem with developers reaching out to niche sites is that it only perpetuates the perception that PC gaming is niche. It isn’t, especially from a global perspective. Maybe it makes sense for American games media to focus on what is of interest to American gamers, but it deprives them of information that they may actually be interested in. It’s easier to just say PC GAMING LOL and cut that coverage altogether, but a lot of the innovation in the gaming space starts in the PC arena.

    I’m no moron, though. Consoles are great and offer wonderful experiences that the PC cannot at the moment. They are plug-and-play/fire-and-forget low maintenance entertainment options that have brought gaming to a much wider audience and that’s good for everyone.

    I just wonder why people forget the fourth platform, the one that is in everyone’s homes (even if it does have integrated graphics.)

  • SwiftRanger

    Yeah, it’s the US/Japan mindset and the ever-increasing focus on the big three by all multiplatform games media. There have been several press conferences but only those of the console manufacturers get serious attention. And what do you get then? No strategy games in any of those conferences this year, MS not even bothering to mention Windows as a platform (they only seem to do that when talking in private).

    I haven’t been to the Games Convention in Germany yet but I suspect that’s a PC haven (and probably the show where any real Crysis 2 footage will be shown for example). If you’d take a look at the German written PC games magazines then it’s remarkable how much more content they are offering over the English magazines. Of course, Germany has some other disadvantages in terms of games (harsh censorship).

  • Stavka

    By Bi Monthly French magazine I assume that is cyberstratege.


    Easily the best in-print Computer Strategy Gaming magazine out there. There was talk of an English on-line version last year, but, AFAIK, it never eventuated

    Time to polish up on my French!

  • George Geczy

    The French Strategy mag I was referring to was PC4WAR…


    It is devoted to PC strategy gaming, glossy and high-quality of editorial (or so says the member of our studio that reads French :) )… very few ads, and their coverage is quite diverse. For example, one page would talk about GalCiv, the next about some grognard hex-based wargame, etc.

    Boy how I would love a North American mag like that….

  • George Geczy

    “… By Bi Monthly French magazine I assume that is cyberstratege. …”

    So apparently one PC-oriented French Strategy magazine isn’t even enough… :)

  • frags

    WOW. I saw the Chris Taylor SupCom 2 demo from IGN and Gamespot. Looks like they are addressing a lot of the first games flaws.

    But it looks like the zoomed out theatre of war is out.

    I like what I see.

  • James Allen

    I live on the wrong continent.
    Why is it that PC coverage is so much more dominant in Europe and Russia? Hardware cost discrepancy? Marketing? Market size? The fact that major gaming outlets do not consider casual games to be “real”?

  • Scott R. Krol

    Have to say the French know how to do hobbyist magazines. Check out an ish of Vae Victus sometime and compare it to Strategy & Tactics. Absolutely no comparison.

    Battles is another mag which is looking pretty amazing.

  • dreamhunk

    E3 is dying and has turn into a console side show. Sony,microsoft have lost billions on consoles.

    No longer is E3 about games it’s all bout the hardware. they don’t want to promot pc gaming because both game devs and hardware consoles companies are going bankuprt.

  • steve

    “But it looks like the zoomed out theatre of war is out.”

    It’s still there. We didn’t have our new strategic zoom icons fully designed yet, so we had them disabled for the demo.