E3 2014: After all the noise and hype, who scored the biggest points?


The question is a common refrain heard each year after the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, where the latest and greatest video games are on display for gaming enthusiasts. The 2014 show featured 200 exhibitors and enjoyed almost 49,000 attendees.

Major players like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, and Activision rolled out their latest games and upgrades, many of which had attendees buzzing all week.

Microsoft scored with the irreverent, over-the-top parkour/shooter mashup Sunset Overdrive. Nintendo regained some of its dwindling fan favor with a return to form with innovative new titles like Splatoon and its Skylanders-like-powered Super Smash Bros. Wii U. Most attendees agreed Sony won the console game with its strong showing of exciting new titles and something-for-every-gamer fan service. The PlayStation company got extra credit for resurrecting cult classic Grim Fandango and the heavy wow factor of No Man's Sky.

Ubisoft got a lot of tongues wagging at the gorgeous next-generation visuals of Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity, but suffered an ugly controversy when the latter's developer revealed why there are no female assassins in the new game. Activision sold players on Destiny and the latest entries from Call of Duty and Skylanders, while EA showed off uncharacteristic glimpses at early stages of development on far-off titles like Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror's Edge 2.

From a business standpoint, E3 did very well for the city of Los Angeles, generating almost $40 million in revenue, largely from the 28,000-plus hotel room nights sold. E3 was also a testament to the growing influence of social media on our lives, with numerous records broken across all the major networks. The ESA (the organization that runs E3) claims the 2014 show generated a cumulative 2 million-plus posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Where industry insiders and gamers were concerned, there was one clear winner, one topic that created more excitement and enthusiasm than any other: virtual reality. Every other conversation overheard at E3 was about either Oculus VR or Project Morpheus. We're still in the earliest infancy of the technology, so it hasn't reached mainstream status quite yet -- particularly since neither product has shipped to consumers yet. But all the hype generated by its appearance at E3 2014 will go a long way toward convincing studios who haven't jumped on the wagon yet to dive in.

If 2015 becomes the year of VR, then 2014 is shaping up as a fitting prologue.

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