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Ten things we learned at E3

From Xbox's revival to profanity, sexism and delays, CVG presents the key themes of E3 2014

As the door closes on another E3 and the industry retreats back to base, it's time to take stock and look back. CVG presents ten key takeaway lessons from the biggest games show in the world.

1) Phil Spencer will make Xbox great again

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Xbox fans: Sincere apologies for penning all that negative coverage for more than a year, but we have a duty to call it like it is. Major flaws had crept into nearly every aspect of the Xbox One and, ultimately, the console was on a disastrous path.

But Microsoft did not go softly into that good night. It gave Phil Spencer the authority to reassemble the console, and the Xbox business, into something that would restore people's faith. The payoff for that bold thinking is already evident, as demonstrated by Microsoft's focused and heartening E3 press conference, but we suspect even better days lie ahead.

Spencer has had to make brutal decisions in pursuit of creating a more competitive and appealing console. Removing Kinect, in particular, must have been painful considering the investment already poured into it. The message clear: Nothing is sacred in Microsoft's pursuit of building a games system that people love.

Nothing aside from games, of course, which is another reason why Spencer is the right man to take Xbox forward. He is a game-dev guy, rising up Microsoft's ranks as the head of its Studios division, and that degree of understanding will undoubtedly help teams working on Xbox projects.

Case in point: The new Gears of War, and why we didn't see it at E3. In a video interview with Gamespot (recommended viewing), Spencer explained the no-show:

"Sure, we could have put together something with no clear ship date or idea, but I didn't want to do that. I said, let's keep the team focused on getting the right idea, and when we're there and have a story to tell, we'll do that."

It's an encouraging sign that the new head of Xbox isn't preoccupied with quick fixes or pushing dev teams to waste time on opportune PR moments - instead he wants their creations to be the best they can possibly be.

If the Microsoft team sticks to this philosophy, then Xbox One and its customers have a prosperous future ahead.


2) Motherfucking profanity is in

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A gold star to Ubisoft Montreal's Dan Hay for his impeccably delivered Far Cry 4 synopsis: "We'll give you a passport, some cash, a gun, and after that... well, you're fucked".

That marked the blue highlight of an E3 that was unusually peppered with curses and four-letter verbs. Even Nintendo flirted with an F-bomb ("Flocking"), while Aisha Tyler was swearing like a porn star during the Ubisoft press conference. Well fucking done.


3) Last gen is officially over

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They had a good life. When you consider these machines have specs that were set in stone more than a decade ago, it's extraordinary that they've survived so long. Xbox 360 and its meagre half a gig of RAM is approaching its ninth year, with a few cross-gen games still coming, while the PS3 is now (finally) little more than a painful memory for Sony.

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