Well to quote Andy Williams, It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No folks it isn’t Christmas, but E3 2012!!! Hoorah! The Electronic Entertainment Expo is a big date on the calendar of gamers. With it potentially being the date that a lot of exciting gaming news is released. This annual trade fair has seen huge announcements in the past from consoles being debuted, the Play Station 3, to long awaited sequels and reboots being announced, Castlevania and God of War, and even the revelation of exciting new peripherals, Microsoft’s Kinect and Wii Balance Board. And these announcements were just in the last couple of years.
E3 has a long pedigree of being the go to place for big games announcements. That being said the reverency of this trade fair has waned slightly over more recent times. This was due to a decision to move to invite-only during 2007 and 2008. This meant the public could only watch from afar, this pushed publishers to use the other games fairs to show off their new products. That being said E3 is still considered one of the best and still attracts the big announcements.
With these big announcements being made you can start to see why Gamers like myself get quite excited around this time of the year. As such i will be watching the press conferences with baited breath… interestingly you can follow along here by either clicking this link: http://revjb.co.uk/e3-liveblog/ or by clicking the “Liveblog” Menu button…but that’s all the way at the top of the page, so i recommend the link.
I also though i would put some of my hopes for E3 2012 up here for you guys to look at and discuss. So here we go!
E3 2012 Predictions
So i’m going to discuss some of my ideas and predictions for this years E3, some of them i have thought about and i think are serious, others have been mad flashes of inspiration so enjoy.
Well Microsoft are starting the show (5:30pm Monday 4 June) so i guess it is only fair to begin my predictions with them.
If i’m honest Microsoft has been the company that i have thought the least about in the run up to this years E3 this being said i have a few ideas. First of all it’s worth noting that Microsoft have come out and flat out said that there will be no announcement of a new console this year. So the XBOX
720 Next 3 looks unlikely, i guess there is always the small chance they were lying but i doubt that. Which means they are going to be focussing on their current console with them having no handheld to flog. Microsoft have always been about integrating the XBOX into the living room. Last year saw integration with Twitter and ESPN this added to their compatibility with Netflix meaning that not only can you use the console for games but films, sports TV and social networking. I think this is a really good focus and will draw people in, i can’t wait for the day when i have one box that does everything, it will make things so simple (People will argue for the PC at this point, but shhhh!). I feel that this culmination of “things you do” will continue to be pulled into the XBOX increasing it’s status as the hub of your living room. Quite how they will do this i am not sure, maybe more partnerships will be announced. I certainly see a big push on streaming media as well, it can already stream films and you can download games and this functionality will only be increased and improved, the age of physical media is on the way out and adaptation is important to stay relevant.
Regarding games, we will certainly see more of Halo 4, Gears of War maybe a new Fable and a raft of new Sports games but not being an XBOX gamer myself i won’t attempt to tell the XBOXer’s what they should be excited about.
Another announcement i wouldn’t be surprised with would be the revelation of Kinect 2. This piece of hardware was something quite revolutionary on release and it still receives a lot of attention, but there are products that are beginning to compete so an update could well and truly be on the cards.
Sony are next up! Now i am a Playstation child so i’m quite excited about this conference, but i will do my best to try and avoid Bias.
Once again just like Microsoft, Sony have stated there will be no next-gen playstation at E3, again i guess they could be lying but let’s not go there. So with no new console improvements may be announced for either the PS3 of the PS Vita, Sony’s handheld device. I think we may see a Vita price drop, it seems to be at that point in the product lifecycle, try and capitalise on a less than stellar performance of the 3DS but i can’t see any major changes coming in for the Vita. Regarding the Playstation 3, well this is a difficult choice, it’s starting to feel like it has been round forever, Microsoft keep updating the XBOX with bigger storage and other minor changes, but this helps keep it fresh. The Playstation hasn’t really had this, there was a form factor change but not much else. There have been renders recently of the Playstation 4/Orbis so maybe another change in form is coming. One crazy idea i had was fuelled by the rumours of there being a “Steambox” console made by Valve. Well Sony partnered with Steam to bring it to the PS3, and this has been used very little. So what if we get a Sony/Valve joint console, that can play PS3 games and download PC games from your Steam account! Crazy yes, but it would spread Gabe Newell’s Empire, it would mean some of the money could come from Valve rather than cash starved Sony and in the age of the All-in-one solution could be a bold step forward…who knows. Just remember you heard it here first!
With games we will no doubt see another raft of amazing sequels. Metal Gear Solid, God of War, LittleBigPlanet and Something awesome from Naughty Dog. Although a lot of these have been announced already which is great to build buzz but it means E3 runs the risk of just being one big trail rerun. I’m holding out for some exciting new IP’s. We will no doubt see some more from the Playstation Move although apart from a slew of new games i think that will stay quiet on the hardware front.
Again we could see some improvements to the Playstation Network which has (and will) always play second fiddle to Microsoft’s XBOX Live. I think it’s likely we will see similar directions from Sony with a push on integration and streaming coming in. Maybe this year we will see Television receivers in them, partnerships with SKY or something, who knows.
And that leaves us with Nintendo. Nintendo are interesting, they either announce something that is amazing and sells a million billion copies (Nintendo Wii) or they announce something and everyone goes “Wha????” and it disappears into obscurity (Wii Vitality sensor). Although i am lead to believe the Vitality sensor is being fine-tuned in development.
Either way Nintendo have the potential to be the most interesting and the most surprising. That was until they released a load of information about the Wii U (their new console) in a Pre-E3 event. Overall the Wii U looks a little disappointing, with reports it’s just about up to current generation speeds while we are on the cusp of having a new generation announced. Saying that the Wii was considered technologically underwhelming and that sold like figurative ‘Hot Cakes’. So the verdict is still out on that one. Personally i think it will struggle, the Wii did so well because it appealed to everyone, it was and still is a fantastic family party game and has some brilliant games for the casual gamer and even has a few titles ‘hardcore’ gamers can enjoy. It was pitched at a perfect price and as such it worked. The Wii U, well i don’t think it can capture the market in the same way, but i may be surprised.
Games wise, we will see sequels for Mario and Zelda almost certainly for the new console. What will be interesting is if they announce much for the Wii itself or if they get right behind the Wii U. The same can be said for the DSi and the 3DS as i am aware of a couple of games that are being released on the DSi but not the 3DS. Nintendo often get badly credited with being predictable and not doing new things, but i am sure they will announce at least a handful of new games focussing on using the various pieces of technology they have at their disposal and i could actually see them announce more new IP’s than Sony and Microsoft.
In conclusion i think E3 this year has a couple of paths it could follow. We will see lot of games, but whether these games are new brands or direct sequels is still up in the air. There will be a lot of sequels, there always are but i would like to see a few attempts at new concepts and games, endless sequels tend to drag a bit and personally i think a trilogy is long enough, except for a few exceptions. That being said i am sure i will be quite excited about a couple of the sequels announced and as long as the game is good, i don’t care.
Hardware wise, we will either see a small amount or loads! We are definitely getting a new Nintendo console, what Microsoft and Sony decide to do is a mystery but i think if one does something the other will as well. With that in mind, i think any new hardware announced by these two will really need to add something, either as a concept to test or to push the market somewhere, i think that will be towards streaming.
As a generic rule we will see:
2 x Annoying presenters over the course of the live keynotes
4 x Botched demos
5 x Jokes fall completely flat
6 x Celebrities bought on to help publicise a game
1 x Completely inappropriate reference
Thanks for reading, i know it was a long one. Feel free to leave some comments below, tell me i’m wrong, have i missed something, are my ideas bang on the money, are you disappointed there won’t be donkeys. And tune into the live blog! comment on that, Tweet me during the conference etc. Also if you are reading this after E3 has happened let me know your reactions what you like/didn’t like.
Cheers Guys, Happy Gaming!