E3 2018 Report Card: The Winners and Losers

The E3 2018 press conferences are officially in the books, and our winner may surprise you. 

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo and the major third-parties have all taken to gaming's biggest stage, some wowing us with huge surprises and exciting game lineups, and others nearly putting us to sleep with awkward lulls and predictable reveals. Here are the big winners and losers of this year's show.

1. Xbox

Against all odds, Microsoft not only held its own against Sony this year at E3 -- it also one-upped its chief competitor in some key ways. The 2018 Xbox showcase was a blistering 90 minutes of exciting and diverse games, offering everything from the usual Microsoft fare (new Halo, Gears and Forza) to Japanese titles (Devil May Cry 5, Sekrio) to genuine surprises (Battletoads, Cyberpunk 2077).

Credit: Microsoft

(Image credit: Microsoft)

But most importantly, Microsoft's 2018 E3 showcase was a promise for the future. By announcing the acquisition and creation of some key Microsoft Studios brands (and revealing that the next Xbox is in the works), Microsoft didn't just give us games to get excited about over the next year. It also gave us reason to believe that Xbox is once again all-in on first party, and could very well take PlayStation's throne when the next console generation begins. - Mike Andronico

Grade: A

MORE: Xbox E3 Recap: Halo Infinite, Gears 5 and Cyberpunk 2077

2. PlayStation

Credit: Sony

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony didn't demonstrate the same breadth of games as Microsoft did in its press conference. Instead, we got depth. At E3 2018, gamers took a deep dive on about ten games, including The Last of Us, Part II, Death Stranding and Spider-Man. Sony's focus on exclusives was a huge feather in its cap, and seeing long demos of games like Ghost of Tsushima and Control reinforced the PlayStation manufacturer's focus on exclusives. There weren't any huge surprises (except, perhaps, for a highly anticipated remake of Resident Evil 2). But everything we saw, from a Pirates of the Caribbean level in Kingdom Hearts III, to a promising sequel to samurai action game Nioh, looked like it'll be a ton of fun. - Marshall Honorof

Grade: A-

MORE: Sony E3 Recap: The Last of Us 2, Spider-Man and More

3. Bethesda

Credit: Bethesda

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Bethesda's press conferences have become synonymous with spectacle, including last year when the company created their own amusement park called Bethesdaland. This year, the company actually lead with its games, unveiling trailers for highly-anticipated titles like Fallout 76 and Rage 2. Other heavy hitters included Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Doom: Eternal and Starfield, an upcoming sci-fi game and the first original IP the company has launched in 25 years. While Bethesda's lineup elicited a lot of positive response, many of the games don't have any release dates attached, which means we could be waiting years before we even get a hands-on. – Sherri L. Smith

Grade: B+

MORE: Bethesda E3 Recap: Fallout 76, Starfield and Elder Scrolls

4. Nintendo

Nintendo's E3 presentation was all about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and we can't wait to play it. While the game is essentially Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with an even more massive roster, we can't help but get excited about the thought of finally getting to pit the likes of Mario, Solid Snake, Mega Man, Ryu, Ridley and the Inklings from Splatoon all against each other in a single match.

Credit: Nintendo

(Image credit: Nintendo)

We also got promising looks at Super Mario Party and Fire Emblem: Three Houses as well as big third-party announcements like Fortnite and Hollow Knight (both of which are available now), though new info on Pokemon Let's Go Eevee and Let's Go Pikachu was disappointingly light. While Nintendo's E3 show lacked big surprises, it was an entertaining celebration of fun-looking games that point to another solid year for Nintendo Switch.

Grade: B

MORE: Nintendo E3 Recap: Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokemon and More

5. Ubisoft

Gamers looking for something unexpected at the Ubisoft press conference may have walked away disappointed. But for everyone else, the French developer and publisher provided a solid roster of new entries in beloved series, and most of them will be out within the next few months.

From a new Assassin's Creed set in ancient Greece, to the 2019 edition of Just Dance, to an appearance from Star Fox in the toys-to-life game Starlink, Ubisoft's conference was all about putting new spins on well-established games. Of course, Beyond Good and Evil 2 stole the show, with a thrilling sci-fi setting and an irresistible cast of characters. But without a solid release date, we may still have to wait a while before we play it. - Marshall Honorof

Grade: B

MORE: Ubisoft E3 Recap: Assassin's Creed, The Division 2 and More

6. EA

EA is in the bottom two due in part to predictability and lack of titles. Like clockwork, you got your yearly EA Sports announcements for Madden, FIFA and NBA Live 19. The company also spent an inordinate amount on mobile titles -- Command and Conquer Rivals got a full 15 minutes of attention. That's 15 minutes that could have been spent on intriguing new IPs like Sea of Solitude or the inordinately cute and touching Unravel 2.

Credit: EA

(Image credit: EA)

There were, however, some positive developments. We finally got a launch date for Anthem, Star Wars: Battlefront II will be delving deeper into the Clone Wars and Battlefield V will be bringing the popular Battle Royale style of gameplay to World War II. So all in all, EA had a few highs and lows, but really fell short compared to the competition. - Sherri L. Smith

Grade: C

MORE: EA E3 Recap: Anthem, Battlefield V and More

7. Square Enix

Credit: Square Enix

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The reaction to Square Enix's E3 2018 showcase was a nearly unanimous "why did they bother?" After making a big fuss about its first E3 press event in years, Square let much of the gaming world down by essentially re-showing most of its games that already debuted on Xbox's stage the day prior. The two new games that were announced -- The Quiet Man and Babylon's Fall -- were incredibly light on details, and we didn't get any new info on much-anticipated titles such as The Avengers Project or the Final Fantasy VII remake. Sure, Square's conference was short and online-only, but considering that Nintendo has been wowing us in that format for years, there's simply no excuse. - Mike Andronico

Grade: C-

MORE: Square Enix E3 Recap: Dragon Quest XI, Just Cause 4

Tom's Guide Staff

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