It doesn't matter who 'won' not-E3, 2024 is going to be an absolute blast for video games

Star Wars Outlaws trailer shots
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

When it comes to PlayStation and Xbox in the wake of events like Summer Game Fest, I often think of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. If you're into basketball, the comparison is likely Michael Jordan and LeBron James; or if tennis is your go-to perhaps it's Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. 'Who won E3?' is such a facile, unscientific and speculative question that's haunted chatter around video games for literal decades – even today, in times where E3 as we once knew it no longer exists. SGF, of course, stands in its stead, with a number of standalone satellite events filling the gaps, such as the PlayStation Showcase, the Xbox Games Showcase, and Ubisoft Forward among others.

Underpinned by the age-old console wars debate, the question above fuels varying degrees of rivalry among players who've hitched their wagons to one multi-million dollar corporation or another for whatever reason. My question, though, is this: does it matter which side you choose? Does it really have any bearing if Messi is considered better than Ronaldo or vice versa? If Jordan is better than LeBron; Williams better than Sharapova; or the Xbox Series X better than the PS5? To put that another way: shouldn't we simply be glad we've lived through a timeline where both exist? 

I couldn't be further from a Pollyanna-type personality, but I am buzzing about the immediate future of video games and the deluge of cool and interesting titles that are perched on the horizon. It's simply a great time for the medium, and having been fortunate enough to attend Summer Game Fest 2023 and its accompanying shows in-person this week and last, I reckon there's a buzz about the games industry  that's been missing for some time.

Power to the people

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

(Image credit: Square Enix)

I've no reason to get overly romantic about it all, and I fully understand that these events are primarily marketing tools and always have been. But when you filter out the corporate noise from above and focus on the wealth of immensely talented and passionate developers showcasing their wares at ground level, it's hard not to be inspired. To echo the sentiments of GamesRadar+'s Austin Wood while chatting about Armored Core 6, listening to creators proudly geeking out about their games is such a heartwarming feeling, and it is, for me, the best thing about our jobs as writers. 

That sense of palpable optimism was felt throughout my time in Los Angeles – all the way from the ambitious indie games on the SGF Play Days show floor, to the blockbuster 45-minute-long Starfield Direct on stage. The cynics among us may suggest that the reason the Xbox Games Showcase was so impressive is because the company has delayed a number of games in recent years, and that the jam-packed event is the result of those all coming together at once. But my response to that is: who cares? 

Cocoon screenshot showcases the protagonist looking at some strange, colorful alien machinery

(Image credit: Geometric Interactive/Annapurna Interactive)

"From everything noted above, we're certainly in a good place moving forward – whether your console allegiances are colored blue or green or somewhere in between."

Microsoft's console line-up for 2024 is so staggering that a number of PS5 players are now considering picking up the Xbox Series X for the first time, myself included, because it's time to buy a machine that can play Starfield. No matter what's happened before now, or how you decide to spin it, 2024 looks absolutely banging for Xbox. Sony's PlayStation Showcase, on the other hand, might not have hit the same heights as its direct competitor, but Marvel's Spider-Man 2 looks fantastic (due later this year), as does the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake (also due in 2023), Phantom Blaze Zero (as yet without a confirmed launch window, but maybe coming in 2024), and Final Fantasy Rebirth (2024). 

Moreover, from Cocoon to Thirsty Suitors, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, Avowed, Little Kitty Big City, Star Wars Outlaws, Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth, Still Wakes the Deep, Dungeons of Hinterberg, Tekken 8, and Towerborne, 2024 already has so, so much to offer, and we're not even halfway through this year yet. And that's not including the titles that didn't show face at SGF this year – the likes of Rise of the Ronin, Ark 2, and Frostpunk 2 to name just a few of my own most-anticipated games 

And so, whichever mast you nail your colors to, I think we can all agree that the future is bright on the upcoming new games front. The restrictions levied on game studios by the global pandemic, and the long shadow cast by those constraints, has stalled the release schedules of so many games over the past few years. I'm reluctant to say we've turned the corner fully at this stage, but I don't think it's a stretch to suggest 2024 could be the best year for games this decade. From everything noted above, and everything that might be added to that list in the second half of 2023, we're certainly in a good place moving forward – whether your console allegiances are colored blue or green or somewhere in between.

From SGF 2023: Check out our Armored Core 6 preview  

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.