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If I’d paid to come to E3, I think I’d want my money back

This year’s E3 may have spectacular games at every turn, but on the show floor, it’s a disaster.

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E3 2017 crowds

This year’s E3 may have spectacular games at every turn, but on the show floor, it’s a disaster.

I’m by no means an E3 veteran, but I have been fortunate enough to attend four shows over the years – 2009, 2015, 2016, and this year – in each case, representing the good ship Thumbsticks.

In that time there’s been a huge change in how the games industry speaks and engages with its customers.

Social media and web broadcasting has, in effect, removed the media middle man. Big publishers are no longer dependant on the press, and now speak directly to the people that buy their products. Customers have become ‘the community’, and the line between press, enthusiast bloggers, and “internet influencers” is blurring more and more with each year.

It’s no secret that E3 has struggled to keep pace with these changes, and with the likes of Electronic Arts deciding to go it alone, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has had to react.

Steps have been taken to make E3 more inclusive, beginning with 2016’s E3 Live event, and continuing this year with the sale of 15,000 public tickets. Geoff Keighly has also pitched up down the road with the E3 Coliseum, a three day program of panels from big name developers and publishers.

Based on my first day on the E3 2017 show floor, I don’t think the move has been successful. E3 is always busy, and there were always long lines to play games, but the addition of 15,000 extra bodies has had a noticeable, and negative, effect.

It’s all very nice pouring more people onto the show floor, but when the nature of the show itself has not changed to accommodate the extra numbers, we have a problem. The result – on day one, at least – is that a lot of people seem stuck, with nowhere to go.

Today’s E3 booths are no longer packed with demo stations as they were in the 2000s, but now predominantly based around live broadcast stages. You’ll spend more time viewing from a distance or peering over shoulders than getting hands on.

For the first time at E3 I have seen tempers frayed as attendees have become clogged up in various bottle necks. The path between the Activision and Warner Bros. booths was a particularly grim place to be today, and at times the Nintendo booth felt dangerously overcrowded.

I’m not suggesting that the public shouldn’t be able to attend E3, but the ESA needs to ensure the show adapts to make the experience more worthwhile for everyone who attends; they could do worse than to follow the model used by Gamescom. Held in a much larger venue – 345,000 people attended last year in a venue 193,000 square metres, versus the estimated 50,000 in 13,700 square metres here in LA – there is still room to breath, even when the show floor is busy.

Gamescom also has a business only day to start the week. Not only is this welcome respite from the crowds for lucky attendees like me – meaning I can cover more games for Thumbsticks – but it also gives organisers a feel for how the show will run, giving them a brief window to make any necessary tweaks to line layouts or exhibition areas to keep the thronged masses flowing.

This year’s E3, so far, is chaotic and doesn’t appear to be satisfying the press or paid attendees. As it stands, a member of the public could attend this year’s show, and not lay hands on a single controller all day.

Here at Thumbsticks we’re fortunate. We get to go events because we talk and write about games, and we also get appointments with publishers to play games away from the show floor. If it’s an uncomfortable day then so be it; it’s the price we pay to be here. But if I had paid $150-$250 to attend, I’d be very tempted to ask for a refund.


Check out our detailed E3 2017 coverage.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Dragon Quest XI, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Transistor.

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Peter Parker has been ‘recast’ in the Marvel’s Spider-Man PS5 remaster

You might have noticed something a little… different about Peter Parker in the PS5 remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

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Peter Parker recast Marvel's Spider-Man remaster PS5
Sony / Insomniac Games

You might have noticed something a little… different about Peter Parker in the PS5 remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

The narrative around the remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 5 has been confusing, to say the least. Now, it’s gotten weird.

If you own the base game on PS4, for instance, you don’t get a free upgrade on PS5. Nor will you get to carry over your saves between generations. But if you buy Spider-Man: Miles Morales for PlayStation 4, then you will get a free upgrade to PS5 for that. But you can’t buy the ultimate edition of Marvel’s Spider-Man – that includes both the remaster of the original game and the Miles Morales expandalone – for PS4, so yeah, you’ll basically have to buy it again in some form to get the remaster.

Got that? Good. Except it just got weirder.

Remember Peter Parker, AKA title character Spider-Man, in the PS4 game? Well, he’s looking a little… different in the PS5 remaster.

What appears to have happened, here, is that Insomniac has recast Peter Parker, like Aunt Viv’s sudden change after the third season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But that happened because (reportedly) Will Smith fell out with original Aunt Viv actor Janet Hubert. That can’t have happened with an already-modelled digital character, right?

Here’s the explanation, from Insomniac community director James Stevenson, on the official PlayStation Blog:

“In order to bring the best performances to players with our next-generation Marvel’s Spider-Man games, we have recast the face of Peter Parker. We loved working with John Bubniak on the original game; however, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console. He looks incredible in-game, and Yuri’s moving performances take on a new life.”

Which… is technically an “explanation” but it’s still weird, right?

Fans of the game are making fun of the changes on Twitter, with many speculating that it’s to make the video game character resemble his big-screen counterpart, Tom Holland.

You can see why people are thinking that. What’s also weird is that, for an “older” portrayal of Spider-Man – 23, according to the game’s marketing – he now looks significantly younger; far closer to the high school-aged Parker of the current Marvel movies.

And it’s still weird.


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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Elite Dangerous paid expansion, Horizons, will soon be free for all players

The 2015 Horizons expansion is being added to Elite Dangerous in anticipation of its major Odyssey expansion in 2021.

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Elite Dangerous - Horizons
Frontier Developments

The 2015 Horizons expansion is being added to Elite Dangerous in anticipation of its major Odyssey expansion in 2021.

Frontier Developments has announced that Elite Dangerous, its space (trucker) simulator and competitor to Star Citizen, will have its only paid expansion, the 2015-released Horizons, folded into the main game on October 27 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The expansion added planetary landing, weapon crafting, ship-launched fighters, multi-crew co-op, and exploration with the SRV Scarab ground vehicle, among other things.

For those who invested early – perhaps five years early – they will be granted an exclusive “Azure ship paint job” compatible with all ships. Get in there quick, then, and it could still be yours.

It all comes in anticipation of the game’s major add-on coming in 2021, Odyssey. The major expansion will add on-foot exploration of planets, first-person combat, refreshed visuals, social hubs, NPC missions, thousands of new settlements, and more. There will be no VR on launch, but perhaps you can forgive them that?

The game is already a bottomless pit of sheer space given that less than 1% of its galaxy has even been explored according to Frontier. These expansions should do a lot to add colour to the void.


Stay up to date with the latest gaming news by following Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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EA Play joins Xbox Game Pass Ultimate this November, PC in December

Microsoft’s Game Pass service gets bigger in November.

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EA Play games
Electronic Arts

Microsoft’s Game Pass service gets bigger in November by assimilating the basic version of EA’s rebranded subscription service, EA Play.

The news was announced earlier this month, but EA Play’s inclusion with an Xbox Game Pass subscription Ultimate at no additional cost has been confirmed for November 10. (There’s something else important happening on that date, right?)

The PC variant of Game Pass has slightly longer to wait with a final December date to be confirmed.

The Microsoft’s FAQ clarifies that this complimentary EA Play subscription can’t be upgraded to EA Play Pro. This is the PC-only tier of the service that offers access to brand new releases, all additional/season pass content, and early access to games.

Additionally, the FAQ clarifies that:

“If you’ve purchased both Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and EA Play through the Microsoft Store when the EA Play member benefit unlocks for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members, your EA Play subscription will be cancelled, and any remaining time over 50 days will be rounded up and converted to the nearest month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a ratio of three to one.”

You needn’t worry about your active EA Play subscription, then.

Microsoft is betting big on Game Pass with their recent purchase of ZeniMax Media and Bethesda committing all future Bethesda releases to the service and adding previous blockbusters like Doom Eternal on October 1.

Game pass surpassed 15 million subscribers this month. That’s up from 10 million in April. It shows the sheer momentum the service is getting, which will likely only now increase with recent announcements.

It’s easy to imagine a subscription-only future wherein every other service has been folded into Microsoft’s. Whether that’s a veritable gaming apocalypse or utopia is up to you!


For more video game news from Thumbsticks, you can follow us on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Save up to 80% in the PS4 Games of a Generation sale

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Ghost of Tsushima - PS4 Store Sale
Sucker Punch Productions / Sony / Thumbsticks

Sony is celebrating some of the best video games of the generation with a new sale of PS4 and PS VR games.

With the release of the PlayStation 5 rapidly approaching, Sony is highlighting some of the best games of the PlayStation 4 era in a brand new PSN sale.

Many of the PS4’s best exclusives are reduced, including a 25% discount on Ghost of Tsushima, the well-received feudal Japan epic from Sucker Punch Productions. Other discounted games to make Xbox One owners jealous include Marvel’s Spider-Man, Bloodborne, and Horizon Zero Dawn. But probably not Days Gone.

Third-party picks include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Monster Hunter: World, and Red Dead Redemption 2. PS VR owners should also ensure they don’t miss out on Astro Bot: Rescue Mission or Blood & Truth. If you are upgrading to a PS5, most of these titles should be playable via backwards compatibility.

Somewhat amusingly, several older games are also on offer in remastered form. Bluepoint’s thoughtful update of Shadow of the Colossus comes recommended, as does the Batman: Arkham Collection, and L.A. Noire.

Here’s a selection of the games on offer from the North American and European sales. Visit the PlayStation Store in your country for the complete lineup of discounts. The promotion ends on October 14, 2020.

PS4 Games of a Generation Sale Highlights

  • A Way Out
  • Apex Legends – Bloodhound Edition
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered
  • Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
  • Batman: Arkham Collection
  • Blasphemous
  • Bloodborne
  • Borderlands 3
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Zombies Chronicles Edition
  • Cities: Skylines – PlayStation 4 Edition
  • Conan Exiles
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Game of the Year Edition
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Dying Light
  • F1 2020
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hello Neighbor
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Journey to the Savage Planet
  • L.A. Noire
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Deluxe Edition
  • The Last Guardian
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – Standard Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
  • Overwatch: Legendary Edition
  • Payday 2: Crimewave Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Sniper Elite 4 – Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Tekken 7 – Ultimate Edition
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Tropico 6
  • TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2
  • Unravel
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Zombie Army 4: Dead War – Deluxe Edition

For more video game savings, visit our dedicated sales page. And stay up to date with the latest gaming new by following Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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October’s Xbox Games with Gold are scarily average

Get ready for some Halloween scares with the Xbox Games with Gold lineup for October 2020.

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Xbox Games with Gold
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Stifle those yawns and prepare yourself for some Halloween scares with October’s Xbox Games with Gold lineup.

October’s Xbox Games with Gold freebies are entirely average, but there’s more quality on offer than you might think at first glance.

Headlining the Xbox One selection is Maid of Sker, the 2018 first-person survival horror set in a remote hotel. The game plucks its scares from Welsh folklore, and although it doesn’t rank among the best in the genre, it’s an effective and spooky experience.

Likewise, Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut is not the best puzzle game you’ll ever play, but it has some visual style and pays homage to the ’80s horror movie genre with lots of comic moments.

Octobers Xbox 360 games are Eurocom’s 2003 action-adventure game Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, and Double Fine’s fine tale of childhood trick-or-treating, Costume Quest. Both titles are also playable on Xbox One via Back Compat.

The latest Games with Gold titles will be available to download and keep for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members from the following dates.

Xbox Games With Gold – October 2020

Xbox One

  • Maid of Sker – October 16 – November 15
  • Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut – October 1 -31

Xbox 360 and Xbox One

  • Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy – October 1 – 15
  • Costume Quest – October 16 – 31

Of last month’s games, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is free until October 15.


More video games from Thumbsticks

Get updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 video games from our new releases page. And follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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