E3 2013 and Xbox One

I fly down to E3 2013 tomorrow morning. 

My first opportunity to visit E3 came in 2007, when -- just days after being formally offered a place at IGN -- former Boss Man Jeremy Dunham asked if I could make it over to LA to help the team cover the show. I was still living in Buffalo, and barely had my life in order, so I couldn't make it. But that was the last time I missed the trip.

This will be my sixth time attending E3, and my first working for a publisher. I feel profoundly fortunate to have these opportunities, considering the scope of the show and the talent of the people involved. Being plunged into the absolute thick of the industry, where technology and entertainment thrash about in maddened joy. Even in its "quieter years," E3 has been a blast.

 This year Deep Silver will be showing off Saints Row IV in a big way, so those of you visiting should swing by and check it out. Unless circumstances change between now and Tuesday, I'll be overseeing some of the demo stations along with the rest of the crew at Deep Silver and Volition. Come play! It will rock your face. 

 When the Saints go marchin' in.

Saints Row IV will be awesome, but I know many of you have your eyes turned to LA for one reason: next gen. Sometimes I forget that the promise of next-gen consoles hums just past the horizon, with all its glittery new graphics and controversial connectivity.

Which brings us, ever so gracefully, to the Xbox One. There seems to be quite the hullabaloo over the recent reports that Xbox One will require something of an always-on connection (specifically, a connection once every 24 hours). This information, coupled with the limitations placed on lending games, has raised some serious concerns in the gaming community. People be trippin.

But I'm just not trippin' with them. And I think, for better or worse, this is because I'm speaking from a place of technological and financial privilege. And I know a lot of you aren't in that place at this point in your life.

I have a fantastic internet connection, besides a few occasional drops when Comcast decides to pull some tomfoolery. So maintaining a connection just doesn't bother me, especially if it means that games will update more seamlessly (or so the story goes). Some gamers feel as if this always-on connection and the various DRM applied infringes on their rights as consumers. I disagree. A well-educated consumer should know what they're buying, and if this bothers you, don't buy it. You still have all your "rights." But I'm paying for a specific service, and if that means the service is always connected to the internet, no complaints here.

 Faith, from Mirror's Edge.

As for this lending games business,  I haven't borrowed a game from a friend in nearly ten years. I either play demos, or I just buy it to try it out. This is the result of my financial privilege. I'm not a struggling college student anymore. I'm blessed to have a comfortable life and a supportive partner to split bills with. I can afford to buy games now and then, especially when I catch awesome Steam sales. And if a stray purchase doesn't suit my fancy, at least I supported the industry.

One immensely valuable lesson I learned at IGN was to never trust anyone's review except your own. Well, not exactly, but that's the jist of it. While a friend with similar interests can provide critical insight into a game, the only one that can truly judge it is you. 

I learned this when my friend Nate Ahearn, another former IGN editor, gave Mirror's Edge a 7.3. To this day I still stand behind his score, because I know it's his honest and fair evaluation. But his opinions don't align with my own, and that's okay! I love Mirror's Edge and would rate it much higher if given the opportunity. That's the way opinions work.

Tangent complete!  Rerouting to main point. Standby...

So I don't borrow games. And those reports over Xbox One don't bother me. But of course, we still haven't seen all the things that Xbox One can do -- so much is left unsaid. And, as we have just established, I'll have to play around with it myself before offering more conclusive feedback.

My best wishes to everyone attending E3 this year. I can't wait to see my friends, both old and new, doing what they love. GL, HF.