It’s almost here: E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the mecca of video games and the herald of a new generation. From Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony to the indie hits of tomorrow, E3 represents the future of gaming; this year quite literally, as two new home consoles will be unveiled and playable for the first time. There are no Invisible Gamer boots on the ground in the Greater Los Angeles Area this week, but we’ll still have coverage of the show as it progresses. Before things kick off this morning with the Microsoft press conference, however, we thought we’d bring you a little idea of what we think, what we hope, and what we fear might happen. Nathan and Gabe give you their thoughts on what to expect at E3:
[Editor's Note: These predictions were made before Microsoft's press release regarding always-on connectivity, used game licenses, and Kinect's required connection. -Brien]
Conference: Monday, June 10
9:30am Pacific / 12:30pm Eastern
Nathan: As an owner of all five of the major current platforms (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Vita, and 3DS), I tend to be a Playstation 3 gamer more than anything else. I was, however, a heavy Xbox gamer in the previous generation. Right now, it comes down to one thing for me: exclusives. I bought my Xbox 360 solely for Kinect Star Wars (yes, you read that correctly) and Alan Wake. Microsoft, give me a reason to switch brand loyalties again with new exclusive titles, or at least give me enough exclusives to be a multi-system guy again in this next generation.
Gabe: Don’t mention Halo. It’s going to be hard to do for a company with such a clear flagship franchise, but Halo 4 has only been out for 7 months. If Quantum Break isn’t ready to be shown yet, don’t mention that either, but blow us away with whatever Black Tusk is working on, Ryse (which I’m still skeptical on), and all of these unannounced exclusives that were promised at E3. Microsoft has been doing quite a bit of talking after the Xbox One was revealed, and it needs to back it up. Is Respawn Entertainment’s first game really an exclusive, and is it multiplayer only? Of course, finally shooting down the anti-consumer and anti-privacy rumors surrounding the system is also a “must.”
Conference: Monday, June 10
6:00pm Pacific / 9:00pm Eastern
Nathan: My predictions and hopes for Sony would be that they (a) deal with the major issues that plagued Microsoft recently by discussing how they plan to handle used games and any form of online game authentication and (b) provide me with a reason to be happy about owning a Vita. That latter is where I expect my greatest disappointment. I was one of those early adopters of the Vita who preordered the 3G version just to get it a week earlier than the regular launch day. Since then, I have “platinumed’ Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Resistance: Burning Skies, but other than Uncharted, Wipeout, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there have been very few games that I’ve cared to pick up for the handheld. In fact, the only games I still own physically are Uncharted and UMVC3, and the former is just because I prefer to own Uncharted games in physical form, even though it is available via PS+. At this point, PS+ has hit most of the Vita games I care about. Give us more than just remote play.
Gabe: The biggest concern for Sony should just be to keep up the momentum at the conference. They’re going on last, and we’ve already seen two huge exclusives for the PS4 at the system’s reveal event. The Last Guardian has been rumored, and that would be something special, but Bungie’s Destiny getting its first gameplay reveal at the conference is going to be the biggest draw. With so many people still in the dark about what the game really is, showing it off at the biggest stage in gaming is sure to create some buzz. As far as the Vita is concerned, Sony has to announce more exclusives, not cross-buy games. Gamers aren’t going to rush out to get a Vita if the games are also on the PS3, so more titles like Killzone: Mercenary need to be announced. And for the love of everything sacred, do not show anything that reminds us of Wonderbook.
Nintendo Direct: Tuesday, June 11
7:00am Pacific /10:00am Eastern
Nathan: Nintendo appears to be intending to do their own showcase of games without the fanfare of E3. Given how little I’ve found to excite me in Nintendo’s last few E3 presentations, I’m hoping that this focus on game demos and such will finally show us something to get the hardcore gamers in the audience excited for a Nintendo product.
I was an early (pre price-drop) adopter of the 3DS and a somewhat early adopter of the Wii U. At present, I only actually own one 3DS game, and it’s a 3D console port (Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition), while the only other games to have truly justified my purchase have been Super Mario 3D Land and Resident Evil: Revelations, the latter of which is no longer a 3DS exclusive. With the Wii U, it is even worse. The only Wii U exclusive that I have cared about at all was the survival horror title ZombiU, and the only other games I’ve picked up have been multiplatform titles like Injustice: Gods Among Us or the aforementioned now-multiplatform Resident Evil: Revelations.
Nintendo: Give me some exclusive titles that provide a reason to be happy to own either of your flagship systems right now.
Gabe: Personally, I think the opportunity to let me see all of Nintendo’s upcoming games without all the buzz words that are so prevalent in an E3 is going to be awesome, but it makes no sense for a company trying to drastically improve its sales. The Wii U is struggling, and Nintendo is promising an impressive number of quality games at the conference, but they’re showing them through a Nintendo Direct event that is watched by those who already own the system. Of the games Nintendo has already said will be on display, the 3D Mario and Super Smash Bros. are my two biggest exclusives, and both Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101 really intrigue me. I’m also really hoping that a Retro-developed Star Fox game gets announced for the Wii U, mixing in a small amount of Adventures-style ground exploration with classic dogfights. Last year’s Nintendo press conference was absolutely terrible, with Nintendo not even revealing one of its biggest games until after it was over, failing to mention many huge 3DS games, and focusing far too much on multi-platform ports. They’re in trouble, but this E3 could give them a serious boost.
What can we really expect from E3? Who will bring the biggest surprises? Who will have the weakest show? Sound off in the comments below!