E3 2019: Show Highlights

Collin Kelly

Despite the remote exhibitions of some key publishers, the 25th Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was filled with lots of tremendous news for players and game makers alike. Held from June 11th-13th, 2019, E3 revealed everything from upcoming technologies to new services to the latest, amazing game announcements.

This year still proved to be packed with excitement with Stadia details unveiled, the surprise appearance of actor Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077, and controversy surrounding popular influencer Dr. DisRespect’s E3 IRL stream of a public bathroom.

USC Games trekked the short distance to the LA Convention Center to take a peek at the latest buzz from the show floor. Here are some of the most interesting industry news tidbits and show floor exhibits that we saw:

Big Industry Reveals: Stadia, Project Scarlett, and Uplay+
Industry news that game makers might want to be keen on includes the acquisition of Double Fine Productions by Microsoft, the unveiling of Stadia’s November release date, and Ubisoft’s Stadia-friendly Uplay+ subscription model, which services similarly to Xbox Game Pass. Uplay+ will charge $14.99 a month and give access to Ubisoft’s prolific game library on-demand for PC starting September 3rd. Finally, Phil Spencer, executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, revealed Project Scarlett, the next-generation Xbox console, which will release in Holiday 2020.

West Hall: Experimental Art, Games and Nintendo of America.

The West Hall show floor was filled with tons of Nintendo and SEGA showcasing the publishers’ latest hit franchise titles. These include Pokemon Sword and Shield, Link’s Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion, Judgement and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Unreal Garden @ E3 displayed an amazing AR garden, Oculus showcased some of their latest VR products, and IndieCade once again highlighted the latest and greatest independent games.

The IndieCade booth also included many of the best USC Games students, faculty, and alumni projects, such as MFA alumni Aquma’s Wrong Box, professor Peter Brinson’s Infinite Children, USC researchers Sean Bouchard Bloom, Jesse Vigil, and Martzi Campos’ ARBox, and IMGD grads Audrey Cheng and Mark Yampolski’s Ascend. Ascend was even honored to receive a Best of E3 award by Mashable!

IMGD alumnus Aimee Zhang’s Plasticity was also shown off at a separate area in the South Hall, and was wildly successful in driving over 18,000 downloads of the game! Congrats!

South Hall: Borderlands, Breakpoint, and Battle Royale

Also in South Hall, some of the biggest booths were dedicated to the large variety of shooters and battle royale titles hitting store shelves in the upcoming months. Cyberpunk 2077 had one of the longest lines at the event, and Epic Games was up to its usual Fortnite promotion. This time with one of their biggest displays yet, including a life-size Roller vehicle photo booth!

Borderlands 3 was heavily featured across the sprawling 2K booth, giving attendees a taste of the upcoming mayhem, while parading 10 ft tall statues of the playable characters and featured villains.

Ubisoft was showcasing their latest titles Watch Dogs: Legion and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, each with their own photo-ops as well. To hear more about the Ubisoft press conference, read our coverage here.

E3 2019 was a tighter, more compact show this year, and the shorter lines and larger displays meant more to see and play. The lull of the transitional period to next gen consoles will certainly be ending soon though, and we can’t wait to get the opportunity to see what next year’s E3 brings to gamers worldwide.