The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo — E3 2017 — kicks off on June 13. Along with the hardware reveals are the moments that gamers are anxiously waiting for: the announcements of new video games.
With the budgets for some titles rivalling that of a blockbuster movie, it’s no wonder that E3 causes such excitement. Along with titles that continue popular game franchises, E3 is often the event where all-new video games make their debut.
As we approach E3 2017, and big hardware news like the expected unveiling of Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) powerful new Project Scorpio Xbox console, here’s a look back at 10 of the biggest new video games moments to take place at previous E3 events.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2000, Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo is the franchise that helped launch Microsoft’s Xbox game console ambitions, and games from the Halo series are the one exclusive that MSFT can always count on — it helps when you own the game developer…
The first Halo demo took place at E3 1999, but it was at E3 2000 that Microsoft announced the first actual video game in what would become its showcase series. Halo: Combat Evolved generated huge buzz and went a long way toward assuring the success of the Xbox.
There are now 13 games in the Halo series — and Cortana has gone from being a character in the game to being Microsoft’s equivalent to Siri — but it was the demo of Halo: Combat Evolved at E3 2000 that started the ball rolling.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2004, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Nintendo Co., LTD (ADR)’s (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) Zelda franchise is one of the biggest out there.
With Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube, Nintendo had put some fans off by adopting a more “cartoony” cel-shaded approach to the game.
At E3 2004, the company showed off Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii. Developers took a more realistic approach to the graphics, and the game had a darker look to it. After the trailer played, Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto jumped on stage carrying replicas of star character Link’s Master sword and Hylian shield. Zelda fans went berserk and the game went on to sell over 7 million copies.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2005, Gears of War
Gears of War was one of the most hotly anticipated new video games at E3 2005.
The game came as Microsoft, Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) and Nintendo were ramping up for a new generation of video game consoles. Gears of War’s impressive graphics showed what developers could pull off on the Xbox 360, wowing the E3 crowds.
The game was so successful that it became the first in a series. The latest, Gears of War 4, was released for the Xbox One in 2016.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2006 and the $599 PS3
This wasn’t about new video games, specifically, but the announcement sent shockwaves through an E3 crowd that was enthusiastically waiting for news about Sony’s next-generation game console.
An Xbox 360 was going for $299 ($399 for the premium version). When Sony announced that the cheapest PS3 would be $499 and the top end model — that included features like a 60GB hard drive and Wi-Fi support — would cost $599, attendees were shocked.
It took Sony years to recover from that high launch price, helping Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii (also revealed at E3 2006) take an early lead in that generation of game consoles.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2008 Final Fantasy XIII for Xbox 360
Final Fantasy was one of the most poplar video game franchises in history, and for years it had been exclusive to the Sony PlayStation.
That PlayStation exclusive run came to a halt at E3 2008.
Despite earlier indications that the latest instalment in the franchise would be released solely for the PS3, Square-Enix Holdin NPV (OTCMKTS:SQNXF) announced that Final Fantasy XIII would also be released for the Xbox 360.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2009 Microsoft Project Natal
2009 was a year when a surprise hardware announcement –along with demo games– largely stole the show.
Microsoft showed off Project Natal, its new full-body motion sensor system for the Xbox 360. The demo included technology demo games like Paint Party and Ricochet.
Project Natal was branded as the Xbox Kinect when it officially launched in 2010, but the first time gamers saw what the new hardware was capable of with interactive gaming was at that E3 2009 press conference.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2010, Portal 2
Portal from game publisher Valve was one of the most popular games of 2007.
At E3 2010, Valve’s Gabe Newell came onstage during Sony’s presentation to announce that the followup — Portal 2 — would be coming to the PS3, despite his personal comments that had been critical of Sony’s console.
Portal 2 would also be coming to the Xbox 360, but Newell promised the first-person puzzle-platform game would have exclusive features for Playstation. Portal 2 went on to win multiple “game of the year” awards for 2011 and continues to rank highly on many critics’ lists as one of the best games of all time.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2013, PS4 Supports Used Games
Used games are a big deal to gamers. When new video games are first released, they carry a significant price premium, but many buyers complete the games, then trade them in at a store like GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME). That supports a healthy trade in selling used games.
Microsoft stunned and angered gamers when it suggested the Xbox One would not support used games. Sony took advantage of the anger toward the Xbox One when it announced at E3 2013 that its PlayStation 4 would support used games.
That move forced Microsoft to back down a few days later, but it was just one of many missteps that let Sony and the PS4 take a commanding lead for this generation of video game consoles.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2014, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Wii U
E3 2014 marked the first public announcement of one of Nintendo’s most anticipated new video games in years, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for the Wii U.
The first open-world Zelda game raised hopes that Nintendo would be able to boost sales of its Wii U console, which had been failing to match the impressive numbers booked by the Wii.
Unfortunately, even though Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was supposed to come out in 2015, it made appearances at two more E3’s, before finally being released as a Wii U and Nintendo Switch title in 2017.
Biggest E3 New Video Game Announcements: E3 2015, Fallout Shelter for iOS
There were some huge new video games shown off at E3 2015, including the first ever playable demo of Electronic Arts Inc.’s (NASDAQ:EA) Star Wars: Battlefront.
But, one of the biggest new video game announcements was important because it was for a mobile game, not one of the game consoles. It was unexpected, and people could download it and begin playing immediately, instead of having to wait for months. Plus, it was free, instead of the $69+ for console games.
Fallout Shelter was announced for Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at E3 2015, and as the onstage demo wrapped up, the game was available for download in Apple’s App Store.
Keep an eye on E3 2017 — starting June 13 — for news about new video games and Project Scorpio, Microsoft’s high-powered attempt to vault its Xbox console back into the lead.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.