A Look Back At The Last Five Years Of E3

by Ben Reeves on Jun 03, 2014 at 11:33 AM

E3 has traditionally been the biggest news week of the year for games. It’s a celebration where many of our industry's developers come to show off their games – big and small. Before the show kicks off next week, let’s take a look back at the big events and happenings from the last few years. Maybe we’ll see some trends emerge, and be able to divine what’s going to happen next week.

E3 2009
Big News: This was E3’s 15th anniversary and the show saw a return to a bigger attendance. Where E3 2007 and 2008 had a limited attendance of around 5,000, this year’s show received 41,000 attendees. Hot off the success of the Wii, Sony and Microsoft announced motion-based peripherals of their own. Sony revealed the PlayStation Move and Microsoft announced the first model of its Kinect (then called Project Natal). Sony also revealed a more portable PSP, called the PSP Go. Meanwhile, Nintendo announced the unreleased Wii Vitality Sensor.

GI’s Game of the Show: Modern Warfare 2
"This demo is proof positive that its run of blockbuster titles won't be ending anytime soon, and for this we give MW2 our nod as game of the show."

Other Big Games: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, God Of War III, The Last Guardian, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Metroid: The Other M, Heavy Rain

E3 2010
Big News: This was another big year for Nintendo, as the company announced The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, touting its Wii MotionPlus capabilities. Nintendo also showed off its 3DS handheld for the first time. Meanwhile, Microsoft made a big push to showcase Project Natal, which had been renamed Kinect and unveiled its new Xbox 360 S model. During Sony’s press conference, the company focused on 3D gaming, and showcased its motion-sensing game controller, the PlayStation Move. Konami had a particularly embarrassing press conference full of luchador fighting and live Glee performances, which was almost as bad as Ubisoft’s live laser tag battle.

GI’s Game of the Show: Portal 2
“The sequel to Valve’s surprise critical darling garnered our vote for Best of Show. Intelligent, innovative, and massively entertaining, Portal 2 is easily one of our top anticipated games of 2011.”

Other Big Games: Infamous 2, Gears of War 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Civilization V, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dead Space 2, Fable III, Bulletstorm, Star Wars: The Old Republic, LittleBigPlanet 2, Rock Band 3, Journey

Check out Game Informer’s 2010 Best of E3 Awards.

E3 2011
Big News: Kicking off the show, Microsoft announced two new Halo titles: Halo 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition. Sony unveiled its next handheld gaming system – previously called the NGP – would release under the name PlayStation Vita. The company also announced a release date of February 2012 and a price point of $249 for the handheld. Nintendo announced that its next console would be called the Wii U and even let attendees play with the prototype touchscreen controller. Nintendo also celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda with a new trailer for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Finally, Square Enix revealed the next Final Fantasy would be Final Fantasy XIII-2, and announced Hitman: Absolution.

GI’s Game of the Show: BioShock Infinite
“BioShock Infinite soared above the competition on the showfloor with its character development and combat. When combined with a handful of jaw-dropping story moments, it's easy to see why Irrational Games' latest project wins our unanimous vote for the best game of E3.”

Other Big Games: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Gears of War 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Tera, Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Rayman Origins

Check out Game Informer’s 2011 Best of E3 Awards.

E3 2012
Big News: Some industry analysts hoped Sony and Microsoft would announce new consoles, but that didn’t happen. As a result, an overwhelming sense of console fatigue settle across the show. Microsoft touted the multimedia features of the Xbox 360, announcing new sports partnerships with the NBA, NHL, and ESPN, and then revealing its SmartGlass technology, which would give players a second-screen experience on tablets and phones. Sony also had a quiet year, announcing Beyond: Two Souls and the Wonderbook augmented reality reading system. Meanwhile, Nintendo showed off its Wii U and all of its release titles, including New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and Wii Fit U. At a smaller software showcase later in the week, Nintendo displayed many of its Nintendo 3DS titles, such as New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.

GI’s Game of the Show: Assassin’s Creed III
“If anyone had doubts about the ability of this franchise to make another leap forward with a new hero and setting, those fears were systematically dispelled.”

Other Big Games: Halo 4, Borderlands 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, The Last of Us, Dance Central 3, New Super Mario Bros. U, The Cave, Planetside 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, South Park: The Stick of Truth

Check out Game Informer’s 2012 Best of E3 Awards.

E3 2013
Big News: Microsoft came out to showcase its newly announced Xbox One console, revealing a price of $499 and a software lineup that included Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, and the next installment of Halo (now known as Halo 5: Guardians). Sony, on the other hand, wowed many when it showed off its PlayStation 4 for the first time, announcing a retail price point of $399 before taking a potshot at Microsoft by announcing that the PS4 would support used games and didn’t need to be connected online all the time. Square Enix also announced the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3. Finally, Nintendo shifted away from a larger live presentation in favor of an online Nintendo Direct-style press conference presentations, where the company focused on games like Pokémon X and Y, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, and Bayonetta 2.

GI’s Game of the Show: Titanfall
“Towering mech suits called Titans rocket onto the battlefield via orbital drops, letting players transition from fluid on-foot gunplay to intense mech battles. Factor in the ex-Infinity Ward crew's knack for deep progression and pitch-perfect shooting, and you have the poster child for next-gen gaming.”

Other Big Games: Batman: Arkham Origins, The Walking Dead: 400 Days, Elder Scrolls Online, Super Mario 3D World, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Tearaway, Infamous: Second Son, Dead Rising 3

Check out Game Informer’s 2013 Best of E3 Awards.