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Nintendo, Sony didn't win E3 - third parties did

Opinion: The spotlight's moved from the big three, says Will Porter

Every year the finger of judgement lands on one of the big three. The gaming world visualises the wacky racers of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo on a podium that's been specially-reinforced to hold the weight of goliath corporations. The winner gets bragging rights, the losers squabble like Dastardly and Muttley.

This year, by my estimation, Mr Iwata is a victorious Penelope Pitstop, Don Mattrick is stomping on his hat and saying 'double drat' and Kaz Hirai was at one point covering his mouth with a furry hand and laughing hysterically - but is now upset because he's lost all of his medals. (Alongside the personal information of a multitude).

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But wait! What with the faintly confuddled presentation of the Wii U, the not altogether convincing Kinect-heavy MS showing and Sony's engaging - but not supercharged - Vita showing maybe, just maybe, no-one won. What if the usual suspects were in fact overtaken by the Ant Hill Mob?

I strongly believe that this year E3 was won by third party publishers. We're now at the late-game stage in the console cycle - not only do non-platform holding developers know exactly how to get the most out of the PS3 and the 360, but franchises have had the kinks and bumps of their earlier releases smoothed out with each iteration. What's more ever more elegant coding still provides for swathes of graphical-give - making early games on current consoles look archaic in the face of titles like Rage or Modern Warfare 3.

As such companies like BioWare, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Bethesda and 2K are currently at the very top of their game. As gamers we feel that we can depend upon games like Mass Effect 3, Assassins Creed: Revelations, Arkham City, Skyrim and Bioshock Infinite to be of the highest quality - while it's a fair punt that Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution and Colonial Marines will set the bar similarly high.

As gamers, then, we are now in the land of third party milk and honey. I find that the games mentioned above, among many others, are far more exciting than anything offered up by the big three - whether it's Vita, Wii U or a Molyneux game where you wave your hands around all over the place.

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For the hardcore gamer (despite the host making the audience want to collectively break everything and everyone around them) the Ubisoft and EA conferences were stuffed full of golden nuggets of goodness - the untrustworthy potential gimmickry of Kinect and Wii U was out, and deep and intelligent gameplay very much in.

Yes, the line-up is sequel heavy - but with such elderly consoles that is to be expected. In terms of varied and high quality gaming, the cross-platform third party titles of this year's E3 underline that we've never had it so good. Let the good times roll...

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