Gamer's Grasp: E3 2012 Predictions
Published: Monday, May 7, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 02:07
There’s always that huge event that gets an industry buzz. Techheads have the Apple Keynote, comic book fans have Comic Con, and films have the Oscars. Gamers, however, have E3.
This year is a big one as the big three, which are Microsoft, SONY, and Nintendo, have or are rumored to have begun developments on their next generation console systems. While last year Nintendo revealed their successor, “Wii U,” not much, if anything, has been spoken about it since. On the other hand, rumors are surfacing regarding new consoles from Microsoft and SONY, who along with Nintendo have major press conferences during the expo.
Microsoft hits the ground running as usual, with its early morning conference guaranteeing its spot to break their news before its competitors.
Last year was a bit dull for the company, not to mention they had accidentally leaked the announcement of Halo 4, which would’ve been the biggest reveal. They had also been riding on the coattails of Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but when it comes to relevant content to show during their press conferences, Microsoft tends to flounder.
Game-wise, it’s a given that Microsoft will be featuring gameplay from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and bragging about its exclusive content deal with Activation, as well as new gameplay footage and demos from Forza Horizon.
The juggernaut game for Microsoft, to nobody’s surprise, will be Halo 4, which is the company’s main focus for this upcoming holiday season. Also, each of these games will have some sort of Kinect controls that will be mercilessly jammed down everyone’s throats, because Microsoft still has hope for their dusty old motion sensor.
As for whether the company’s next-gen console - reportedly called “Durango” - will be mentioned as still unknown, though Microsoft has publicly stated that they do not plan to reveal their next console at this year’s show. However, recent reports have stated that Microsoft plans to launch a $99 Xbox 360 bundle with a monthly subscription at the end of the month - could this be an attempt to clear out the warehouse for something new?
SONY then follows, also rumored to have another console in the works, but (as usual) does not comment on rumors or speculation. While the PlayStation 4 could be put on hold, SONY does have a new handheld out and but it’s suffering.
Price seems to be an issue with SONY, especially with the low sales of the Vita, leading to speculations of a price drop for the handheld. Much like Nintendo was forced to do, the price cut could be announced in hopes of giving the Vita’s sales a much needed adrenaline boost.
The PlayStation Vita has been on shelves for a few months now, and this will most likely be the time when SONY buckles down on its marketing. Uncharted has already seen its time on the handheld, and most likely God of War will follow, adding up to the newly announced God of War Ascension. Most likely will come a gameplay demo of the team-up-beat-em-up PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, SONY’s own version of Smash Bros, staring the company’s famous faces. On the heels of bringing back old favorites, Sly 4 should be making another appearance after its announcement last year, as well as whatever the next PlayStation 2 classics will receive an HD Collection, like Ratchet and Clank, perhaps.
The big elephant in the room will be the future of Team Ico’s long awaited Last Guardian, though after being in development for this long it’s more looking for a sign of life than anything else.
Last but not least is Nintendo, which for the past few years has been rounding out the press conferences with interesting and exciting announcements. Last year was the reveal of the Wii U and the year before that was the 3DS. Most likely leaning on the latter, Nintendo will keep it safe and talk about the new software for the handheld, such as Mario World 3 and new hardware updates for the system.
Interestingly enough, Nintendo has recently been taking baby-steps towards being more digital friendly by allowing updates and patches to be downloaded to the 3DS. Keeping these initiatives, more Wii U talk can bring to light those unanswered questions about the console, as well as show game demos and make announcements for the system’s upcoming launches.
Unlike years prior where E3 was mostly just a place for game announcements, as the current generation of consoles wind down their twilight years, this is a year of transition, as well as what the industry plans for the future in both software and hardware.