The E3 press conferences have come to an end and we've much to be excited about. All manner of tasty games and huge reveals broke cover over the last 48 hours -- I'm personally still beside myself with anticipation for Xenoblade Chronicles X and Rainbow Six: Siege -- meaning that we've rarely been more thrilled about being part of the greatest hobby on the planet. We'll be able to play some fantastic stuff, no matter what platform or console we own.
In 2015. Those four little numbers became a recurring theme at this year's conference. Looking forward to the future is all well and good, but what about this year? Where are the big Christmas 2014 exclusives?
On Xbox One, by the looks of it. Microsoft have seized the initiative by locking Christmas down in the short term... while Sony have once again reverted to type by focusing on their classic long game.
Phil Spencer promised to be "all about the games" this year, and he wasn't wrong. Despite the likes of The Witcher 3, Platinum Games and a nebulous-yet-very-pleasing-indeed Crackdown reveal stealing the show -- plus a whole lot of CG -- Microsoft's presser went big on proving that Xbox One is the place to play right now. This Christmas will kick off with Sunset Overdrive, a massive colourful open-world extravaganza that we desperately want to live up to its boasts, flanked by the bodacious Halo Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 2, Ori & The Blind Forest, perhaps Fable Legendarily Bad Voice Acting and even some Fantasia or Dance Central Kinect flavour courtesy of Harmonix. Project Spark is already in open beta and constantly adding more content.
I daresay the dudebros will also enjoy buying Advanced Warfare DLC early, too, presumably getting a month's unfettered access to a Kevin Spacey laser mech before anyone else.
Meanwhile Sony still promises that "greatness awaits," but for many gamers, it still seems a fair way away. The Last Of Us... but a bit prettier... DriveClub (a track racer) and LittleBigPlanet 3, which will doubtlessly be as charming as ever despite Media Molecule not being involved. A fair few exciting boutique titles and F2P titles are on the way, but their biggest hitters were all slated for next year, leaving multiplatform exclusive content to pick up the slack. Early CoD DLC versus free Far Cry 4 multiplayer. At least Bloodborne and Uncharted 4 showed us in-engine footage, mind.
No matter how you slice it, Microsoft really capitalised on the here and now. But they had to sacrifice much to do so.
It's the classic difference between Microsoft and Sony: the short-term splurge versus the long game. Microsoft managed to secure the likes of Sunset Overdrive and the Master Chief collection by diverting all of their first-party studios away from the Xbox 360 a year in advance, leaving Gears Of War Judgment and State Of Decay as the only major 2013 exclusives of note. In stark contrast, Sony kept developing for the PS3 right up to the wire, delivering The Last Of Us, Puppeteer, Grand Turismo 6 and more, even as 'next-gen' continually picked up speed. We loved that approach, but the flip-side is that they're still not quite ready for 2014.
It's a pattern we've seen time and time again... though with markedly superior sales figures at present, there's a case to be made that Sony can afford to lose a little ground this Christmas, and Microsoft are ready to make some serious headway now that they're freed from Mattrick's demented obsession with TV and control, and focused on Phil Spencer's lust for games.
Either way, I'll be too busy playing Super Smash Bros, Wildstar and working my way through Persona Q. But that's another story.