The biggest games show on the planet is looming over us like a city skyscraper containing the final boss in a side-scrolling beat?em up. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3, is where the world?s developers and publishers come together and make grand announcements for total gaming domination.
And naturally, all eyes are on the three major hardware players to see what is in store for gamers over the next 12 months.
Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. What can we expect from the big boys, and will there be any surprises? We do our best Patrick Moore impression as we stargaze into the possibilities...
There have been reports that Microsoft will unveil details of its next-generation console during its E3 press conference. EA was said to have obtained early development kits of the kind, before representatives officially stated that wasn?t the case. If Microsoft was to reveal something of this nature, it will likely be in the form of a footnote at the end of the conference, for a product that won?t see the light of day for at least 18 months.
Why? Because the company is putting a hell of a lot of stock into current-generation technologies like Kinect. The peripheral has sold well over 10 million units since last count, and Microsoft will want to ride that momentum to ensure it gets as much return on the Xbox 360 investment as it can.
While last year?s conference was all about chasing Nintendo?s blue ocean audience, there is the suggestion that Kinect will be put through its paces as an accessory for more hardcore experiences this year. Rumours of a Gears of War
Kinect title continue, while we know that Forza 4
will support the tech. A Steel Batallion
game will be using the peripheral, as will the teased Star Wars
game from last year?s E3 and of course, Tetsuya Mizuguchi?s Child of Eden
That doesn?t mean Microsoft won?t have a bunch of traditional games to shout about either. It?s close relationship with Activision will almost guarantee an appearance from Infinity Ward on Modern Warfare 3
, and there will no doubt be a showcase of Gears of War 3
?s campaign mode to boot.
Finally, we reckon that Xbox Live upgrades will form a large part of the proceedings. Microsoft has prided itself on evolving the paid online service as a means of avoiding new hardware revisions, and with the company?s purchase of Skype we could be seeing the start of some new Xbox partnerships that has already included ESPN, Twitter, Last.fm and Facebook.