Gaming's biggest names went all out for their E3 press conferences — Sony dazzled with live music and pyrotechnics, Bethesda rolled out a full-on theme park and Microsoft debuted the most powerful console ever made.
Credit: Michael Andronico/Tom's GuideBut none of those moments excited me quite like Nintendo's 25-minute Spotlight livestream, which drove home the most important message of all: great games are king — not fancy hardware.
Going into E3, I was sure that the Xbox One X would be the talk of the show. And while Microsoft's new console is impressively sleek and runs games in gorgeous 4K, the company's E3 lineup is hard to get excited about. This year's Xbox briefing was heavy on multiplatform games like Anthem and Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Microsoft exclusives such as Forza Motorsport 7 and Crackdown 3 will play just fine on your existing Xbox One — or even your gaming PC.
As Xbox head Phil Spencer told ArsTechnica in an interview, the Xbox One S "will be the the console most people will buy," not the new powerful $499 Xbox One X. Meanwhile, the $299 Switch was designed for the masses.
While Microsoft failed to sell the One X at E3, Nintendo made it abundantly clear why gamers need a Switch. Between bold experiments like Mario x Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, hardcore action and role-playing games like Fire Emblem Warriors and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the absolutely stellar-looking Super Mario Odyssey, the Switch's year one lineup is shaping up to be one of the best of any recent console.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was one of the biggest surprises at E3 2017.And that's just 2017. New Kirby and Yoshi games are right around the corner, and we're finally getting a proper core Pokemon game on the Switch sometime in the future. Nintendo even confirmed the development of Metroid Prime 4, a new installment in a beloved franchise that the Big N has largely left untouched for years.
I often find it a bit silly to debate over who "won" E3 — after all, this is a show celebrating all kinds of games from all kinds of creators. But this is a time of year for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to make fans excited about owning each brand's respective consoles — and Nintendo did that for me with the Switch in a way that its competition couldn't come close to.