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Published on August 22nd, 2014 | by gareth

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Sony and Microsoft Square Off At PAX Prime For The Coveted Holiday Shoppers, But Who Is Better Poised To Win

One week from today I will be back in Seattle with my wife as we attend PAX Prime with some members of our Seattle office. Since we opened the AZ office 3.5 years ago, the commute back to our old stomping grounds for PAX has become an annual tradition as it gives us the opportunity to cover a fantastic show, meet with reps, and visit family, friends, and staff.

For us Pax Prime is also important as aside from Blizzcon it is the last gaming convention of the year for us. As such, we go about our coverage with a mind toward our Holiday Gift Guides and look at what might be the hot items this year, which have gained traction since E3 as well as which ones may have lost some sparkle.

While PAX is mainly for consumers and the public at large, there is a strong press presence there as unlike E3 which is press and industry people only, PAX walks the line between being for the people and also providing plenty of great coverage opportunities for the media.

With that being said, for many publishers, PAX is also a time where they get direct contact with the consumer base and with the Holiday Shopping Season not that far away, they are eager to build excitement for their pending and current titles and hardware.

It can be a case of sensory overload as aside from the mass of people, row after row of monitors, lighting, and elaborate booths all greet you with every step you take and it is easy to get blown away by the vast number of options that will be present.

As you enter the main Hall, you often see Microsoft in a lounge type setting and they will be there showing off Sunset Overdrive which I hope to finally play more than a few minutes of due to the numerous break downs we encountered at Comic Con.

The game looks fun and we may even get a look at the Master Chief collection and other Xbox One content in what will be an important time for them.

Located next to them is Sony who according to recent estimates has their Playstation 4 outselling the Xbox One by an approximate 3-1 margin.

Sony will come out with Little Big Planet 3, and likely The Order 1886 as well as several other titles and possibly Playstation TV. This device is a key part of their plans as it acts like a virtual console and allows users to stream games, movies, and content in another room without the need for a second console.

The question is will either side be content with their place and simply ride out the year, or are we in for some real fireworks? PAX Prime is not normally a show where big reveals are done as that is saved for E3, Gamescom, and others. That being said, I do remember Duke Nukem Forever making a grand appearance at the show years ago with a playable demo which shocked and delighted fans in attendance.

My guess is that Sony will do what they have done for years, private room trailers like they did for The Last of Us and Infamous: Second Son, combined with several playable stations such as last year’s Killzone: Shadowfall and God of War: Ascension  before that. Sony has always featured a couple of their biggest titles and then has a mix of casual and mobile titles as well as a myriad of pending releases to give those in attendance a solid sample size.

Microsoft has always done a more bare bones approach with stations and a lounge setting where you line up and play and aside from the occasional live stream, they have a more subdued presence at the show.

It will be interesting to see if this changes this year as they try to close the gap with Sony who look to extend their lead in the months ahead.  Let us also not forget that Nintendo will be there as well and they have made some solid strides with their recent titles and have an impressive list of exclusives coming up which could make the Wii U and attractive gift for younger gamers and hardcore fans alike.

While I do not expect any major announcements aside from some updated trailers and first looks, if Microsoft decided to lift the lid on Halo 5 with some gameplay footage or a playable demo, this could grab them some serious attention.

Not counting Sunset Overdrive, this is not the time to continue to feature third party games at their events. They need to put the focus squarely on their pending AAA exclusives is my opinion as aside from brand loyalty, the exclusives are a large part of what powers sales.

Either way, it will be an interesting and excite Labor Day weekend, and we will be right there covering it all.

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About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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