How Sony Stole From Apple, and Other Big Stories From E3

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that Take-Two Interactive was at E3 and argued the company had made a mistake by not launching Grand Theft Auto V during the upcoming holiday season and on the Xbox One and PS4. It also stated that Xbox One prevents sharing and would ban sales of used games to GameStop. These statements and arguments were incorrect. The Motley Fool regrets and apologizes for this error. 

Each E3 gives gamers plenty to chew on, and this year was no exception as publishers added sequels, up-and-comers introduced new titles, and a cold console war grew hot again.

Big publishers captured most of the headlines, as Time Warner touted Arkham Origins, Activision Blizzard showed Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA  ) previewed Titanfall for the Xbox One and teased Star Wars: Battlefront, the first of what could be many genre games under a broad-based license with Walt Disney.

A pilot and a titan in EA's Titanfall. Source: Electronic Arts.

But no one at E3 made bigger news than Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) , and for all the wrong reasons.

Still tone-deaf after all these years...
You know it's bad when Microsoft denies there's a problem in the first place. (Cough, Vista, cough). But that's what we had from Mr. Softy at E3 last week: no response to gamers who hatehow the forthcoming Xbox One console will require them to log in via the Internet once a day to check for rights violations. 

Limited sharing of games and cloudy policies surrounding the exact mechanics of used games sales have also added heat to the launch.

You can almost picture CEO Steve Ballmer speaking from the pulpit. "Gaming is a privilege, not a right," he'd say in defense of the Xbox's daily spying as gamers riot in the streets below. Or not. The picture is what matters here: Mr. Softy casting a pall over a graying, Orwellian crowd of former Xbox enthusiasts.

A perfect setup for Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) , which responded with an overhand smash of an ad:

Sony skewers Microsoft's DRM policy. Sources: Sony, YouTube.

Microsoft hasn't suffered a takedown like this since Justin Long and John Hodgman dismantled Vista in Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) now-infamous "I'm a Mac" ads. How ironic that Sony threw the punch, since it was the iPod that killed the Walkman. A rumored TV could do even more damage to the Japanese consumer-electronics giant.

For now, it's the PS4 threatening the Xbox One. And, for that matter, the entire Xbox line.

Not that Mr. Softy is without allies. Notably, EA. Microsoft touted Titanfall at its E3 press event. More will board the bandwagon as publishers come to realize the Xbox One's log-on requirement could lead to more direct relationships with players, less piracy, and more upselling of options and upgrades.

Presuming, of course, that gamers don't abandon the Xbox for the PS4 first. Both consoles will go on sale in time for the holiday shopping season.

Will gamers buy? No doubt. Flubs -- even big ones -- won't keep them from selling both in substantial quantities. But here, "substantial" may not be enough to create the sort of profit growth Microsoft investors are seeking.

What surprised you at E3? Are you more or less interested in Microsoft stock at current prices? Let us know what you think using the comments box below.

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Read/Post Comments (18) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 2:00 PM, prginww wrote:

    its star wars: battlefront not battleground.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 2:35 PM, prginww wrote:

    well i was a xbox for ever guy. til they came out with xbox done. so i just preordered my ps4

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 3:17 PM, prginww wrote:

    "More will board the bandwagon as publishers come to realize the Xbox One's log-on requirement could lead to more direct relationships with players, less piracy, and more upselling of options and upgrades."

    These are the exact same reasons people do NOT want the Xbox One. While developers may love these options, most consumers do not. After all is said and done, developers will go where the customers are. As a console maker, you should not get involved with the issues that game makers have. Make the best console with the best options (for consumers, not developers) and let the developers figure out the rest.

    I have never owned a Playstation, I have always had an Xbox. Two days ago, I pre-ordered the PS4.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 3:17 PM, prginww wrote:

    I was XBox all the way. Got the "10 Year Member" 'rewards' last year or the year before. Now, if I don't just do PC gaming, PS4 will be the only way I would go. Unless Micro$oft does some serious backpedaling.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 4:01 PM, prginww wrote:

    microf@#%ed up

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 4:02 PM, prginww wrote:

    "What surprised you at E3?" The fact you consider yourself a writer. You haven't done any research on the Xbox One. The system does let you share games with friends....up to 10 of them. You can share your library of games with 10 friends and they can play a different game in your library while you play and 1 other friend can play your shared copy of a game at the same time, which would make for a great co-op experience when your friend hasn't purchased the game.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 4:44 PM, prginww wrote:

    "Not that Mr. Softy is without allies. Notably, EA. Microsoft touted Titanfall at its E3 press event''.

    So Microsoft's answer to consumer dissatisfaction is EA? EA has been voted by consumers as the worst company two years running with the Simcity debacle a solid reason for the dubious award.

    I just don't know whats going on at MS. They seemed to "right the ship" after the Vista flopped with Windows 7), now they are replacing the 360 with a clearly unpopular console.

    Someone needs fire a bunch of people at Microsoft and replace them with people with some sense in their heads.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 5:33 PM, prginww wrote:

    The PR for Microsoft's Xbox 1 was horrible and the speech that followed that if your not a hardcore gamer then the Xbox 1 is not for you and you should stay with the Xbox 360. In general the Xbox 1 is horrible with so much privacy issues that Sony was not going to make the same mistake and left it up to every gamer to decide what they wanted out of the PS4.. The 360 will be my last purchase from Microsoft and I am moving back into Sony's console because the PS 1 was my first love and although Sony made some mistakes in the PS3, they made it up in the PS4. I can't wait until the PS4 goes live :)

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 7:34 PM, prginww wrote:

    I suggest you stop writing about TTWO.

    Last week you suggested TTWO was the reason EA should be terrified of E3, due to GTA V.... You even aided to the embarrassment by linking that misinformed article in this one. It's been will known since the last cc that TTWO would not have a booth at E3. Funny how EA probably had the best publisher show at E3.

    Now you are surprised GTA V will only be on current gen? This has been in the news for much longer! This is history Timmy! The reason they avoided E3 (if you listened to the cc), is because they have their own events planned this summer. They did not want to compete with the new console hype. Furthermore, your making assumptions to why the game will only be a current gen launch. This game was first scheduled to launch this spring! How could it have possibly launched on dual gen in the spring! You are referencing a company statement made prior to the game being delayed. For your sake, I hope TTWO does not announce it as a console launch game in one of their upcoming conferences, or yet again your to foot will be placed in your mouth.

    Amateur hour? Does Motley Fool pay you? Or are you one of the bloggers?

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 7:58 PM, prginww wrote:

    Well I did put my meme guess fools didn't like what I had to say...

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 7:58 PM, prginww wrote:

    Nevermind O.O

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 8:03 PM, prginww wrote:

    I sure hope GTA 5 will be around for the xbox 360 because I don't plan to get a PS4 on release..

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 9:37 PM, prginww wrote:

    Your the same idiot "writer" that would call something that Apple stole from another company as "innovation". Besides I thought that the Motley Fool was supposed to be an investors resource, not a blog spot for Apple fanbois who just spout out whatever they feel like. Stop with the bias, no one cares about Apple anymore, just give me the facts and let me make my own decision.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 9:46 PM, prginww wrote:

    Two things:

    First, this is pure drivel.This was written by someone who has no business writing on this topic.

    Second, I swore "Never again" after the name recognition cash-in that was the PS2, so Sony will not be seeing my gaming dollars ever again. But I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft wants to get in on that too. I loved the original Xbox, and, despite some serious annoyances, I love my 360. But a LOT of what they're doing just doesn't sit well with me. Plus it's uglier than any console I can remember from the last three decades.

    I stumbled across this site completely by accident and will probably never be back, but it was worth registering just to add my thoughts on the writer. Seriously, what are you thinking?

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 9:48 PM, prginww wrote:

    Oh, and that Playstation commercial is awesome. Still not ever going to give Sony any more console money, but I have to give them the thumbs up for that.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2013, at 9:50 PM, prginww wrote:

    I read somewhere that all of Xbox One demo games were played on Window 7 PC powered by NVIDIA. I dunno if it is true, but if it is, shame on MS.

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 1:02 AM, prginww wrote:

    What pleasantly surprised me was the preview for Ubisofts upcoming game for the Tom Clancy series "The Division". That game alone would justify investing in a new platform (and based on Microsofts failure to both create a realistic price point and/or listen to its masses that choice would prob. be the Sony platform). "The Division" preview alone seemed to show some of the improved quality of the new platforms engines in addition to a new style of open gaming and creativity. Simply said "The Division" preview sold me way more than anything either Sony OR Microsft pitched....

  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 3:36 PM, prginww wrote:


    >>its star wars: battlefront not battleground.

    Thanks for the correction, and my apologies for the error.

    Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

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