E3 is the biggest industry trade show of the year, and it's only two weeks away! Every year, new games are revealed and hardware announcements are made. And GR will be there live to bring you all the happenings straight from the show floor. We're live-blogging all of the conferences. We're booked for exclusive looks at the hottest games coming from the annual event. The only thing that's left is to take a look into our crystal ball and give our best shot at predicting the future.
We've put Nintendo first, because there's always going to be a special place for Nintendo at GR. As they say, you never forget your first love. They're also first because all eyes are going to be on Nintendo–they're announcing a new console, ya know! There's bound to be some 3DS-related announcements, new games, and more.
That's the codename for Nintendo's new console. It's also been called the Stream. Whatever it is, the name is definitely going to be revealed at their press conference. Expect to see it, and its funky new controllers to be demonstrated on stage for the very first time.
All of that is pretty much a given. We're going as far to boldly predict that part of the system's "planned" launch offering will be demonstrated using whatever new tech is lurking in those controllers.
There's also a strong possibility that we're going to see a repeat of what happened with The Twilight Princess, where it was released on both the Gamecube and the Wii, with the Wii version taking advantage of the new hardware, specifically the controller. Look for a similar announcement to be made about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Why? Because nothing sells consoles like The Legend of Zelda or…
Mario. Among other familiar faces, Nintendo is going to pull out the big gun: everyone's favorite plumber.
Lastly, we have a feeling that Nintendo has realized that the casual gamers don't buy games beyond Wii Fit and the occasional Mario. And if your partners aren't happily selling their software, your hardware is going to get old fast. Nintendo is likely going to be looking to lure some of the hardcore gamers back with some fresh, more mature IPs, and more important of all, a real online infrastructure with a real friends list, along with Nintendo's version of achievements.
Don't be surprised, though, if the "Wii 2" does not have components beyond those found in the current Xbox 360 or PS3. The strategy of the Wii is to sell less powerful hardware at affordable rates, and they will likely continue this strategy with this console update, though they will bank on innovation elsewhere. I'm also ready for a Star Fox title.]
Oh and plenty of integration with the…
The 3DS released with quite a bang. But not the good kind. More like the "too drunk to even sit, fall of the toilet and hit your head on the sink" type of bang. Pre-release buzz was stronger than Lady Gaga's vibrator. After launch? It was more like having your phone on vibrate in your coat pocket–we just didn't feel it. The biggest problem was the lack of really good games, and the tough sales even in Japan will likely spur Nintendo into announcing as many games in development as they can, almost in a panic.
Expect updates on Kid Icarus: Uprising, Snake Eater 3D, Mario, and other anticipated titles. A 3D Paper Mario or Star Fox would be good idea. Like Project Café, there should be plenty of new IPs and familiar faces. There should be a heavy focus on the 3DS' unique feature set, like the built-in gryoscope, augmented reality, StreetPass or SpotPass functionality. Hopefully it's enough to reinvigorate Nintendo's latest handheld.
We wouldn't at all be surprised if we saw the 3DS be able to double as a controller for Project Café, making it a little more appealing to anyone interested in both.
With the 3DS eShop is launching just one day before Nintendo's conference, they'll more than likely outline some future content and features.
Nintendo promises that there are still some surprises left for Wii-owners. We doubt it. We'll see a Skyward Sword release date, for sure. Probably a new Mario, maybe even a Mario Party, Kart, etc. But it's not going to be enough to draw in any new consumers. Not when there's a new console on the horizon.
There definitely won't be another Wii Music (we hope) and we're expecting the Vitality Sensor to be without a pulse.
Look out for vultures, crows and other scavengers to circle the conference, because we're calling it: The Wii is dead.
Sony's up next, well, because they've got to put on one hell of a show after the shitty time they've been having lately. They need to do something dramatic in order to make up for nearly a month of PlayStation Network downtime. Not just for consumers, but for Sony's partners and the US Congress. Remember, it's not just gamers who are watching what goes down at these conferences. They also have a new handheld to show off, and it has been months since we heard anything about it. Last, and because they are in last (place), the PlayStation 3, despite being a great value and having a killer line-up, is just not doing enough (with the Move and elsewhere) to counter the effect Kinect has had on Xbox 360 sales.
First and foremost, Sony will address any concerns about the PlayStation Network. They have no choice. Hackers have bent them over, and fucked them again and again. (That's putting it lightly.) Sony needs to talk in detail about what they're doing to prevent attacks in the future and make people excited enough to come back to their service. Free games are great, but that Welcome Back package just isn't enough. Expect a host of new, aggressive security features for all of us to accept (and read, if we don't want to become a HumanCentiPS3.)
Sony's flagship console is going to get a price drop. To $199. Nintendo has a new console due next year that's going to trump the PlayStation 3 in power (we hope), which is the PS3's key selling point. It's time for Sony to get the PS3 to that key price point that drives mass-adoption. Without that, Sony will just have to be happy with third place this console generation.
The PlayStation 3's lineup is already the best in the industry. Uncharted 3, The Last Guardian, Resistance 3, Twisted Metal X, Dark Souls, Disgaea 4, inFamous 2–expect updates on these. But aside from what we already know, Sony will have some new, unannounced titles to debut. One game the staff here at GR have been pitching around is a new Syphon Filter. We haven't seen or heard from Gabe Logan in years. We're also thinking a new Sly Cooper or even God of War will be shown. A couple new IPs wouldn't hurt. We know Guerrilla Games are working on one, whatever that is.
The NGP is going to eat up a bulk of their conference. Details on when to expect its release will be discussed. Some launch titles will be shown, and they better be killer because the pool of titles for the regular PSP is dry. Key franchises will make an appearance; Modern Warfare 3 will be shown on the system. NGP is just a codename, so they're bound to reveal the official name that will make it on the package. Probably the PSP2.
Move was the star of last year's show, but a year later it is going to take a backseat. Way in the back. It hasn't performed to expectations, and its best title shown, Sorcery, hasn't made a blip since last E3. The motion-controller craze has fizzled a bit (thank god), and we don't expect to see much of a to-do about Move aside from maybe a minor price reduction on the hardware and support for upcoming titles that most people won't even bother using.
While we don't expect too much in this realm of Sony's tech, we're sure that Sony will show off some plans for PlayStation Suite and the devices it will be featured on. Devices like the Xperia PLAY, and the S1 and S2 Android Honeycomb tablets due out later this year.
Microsoft has been rather quiet this year. They've got Gears of War 3 in the pipeline, but not much else. Sure there's plenty of third-party interest in Kinect, but in-house Microsoft have a lot of catching up to do.
A New Xbox
There's been some rumors floating around, but we think that's just some douche passing wind. We'd be more surprised if Microsoft wasn't working on a new console, but we doubt they're ready to show their hand. Not when Xbox 360 is hitting a second stride thanks to Kinect, which has plenty of untapped potential itself.
There's going to be a new Halo announced. Or maybe an old Halo. That's right, we're betting that a remake of Halo: Combat Evolved will be announced. We wouldn't be surprised to see two games from the Halo universe take the stage. I've got this sneaking suspicion that with the resurgence of the fighting genre, Rare is going to show a new Killer Instinct. Other than that, there's a big question mark over Microsoft's conference. They're certainly keeping details close to the chest. But anticipate possible sequels for Banjo Kazooie, Forza Motorsport, and Too Human.
Like last year, we're expecting the focus to be on Kinect. It's
single-handedly no-handedly reinvigorated Xbox 360 sales, and there's plenty of potential there. Microsoft is making it clear that they want Kinects in every household, be it on your 360, your PC, or any other device, really. The acquisition of Skype means that there should be some integration with Kinect; it's a perfect fit.
We're sure to see new IPs announced, including a new Rare Kinect game and a new Kinect-focused game from Peter Molyneux. Some sequels to already released Kinect titles we make their expected debut.
Now that the PlayStation Network has become successful–minus the recent fiasco–we sorta expect Microsoft to enable basic online gaming on Xbox LIVE Silver accounts. Then again, this is Microsoft we're talking about. "Free" isn't in their vocabulary. New XBLA titles like the new Alan Wake, and a variety of new services will be announced.
Windows 7 Phone
Microsoft is up against some stiff competition with Google's Android and Apple's iPhone. They'll be using Xbox LIVE as a bargaining chip to add allure to their mobile OS.