Ahhh, it's finally here. We're officially on summer vacation. While summer often means swimming pools, cookouts, and beach trips, to the gamer it also means E3 is upon us. This year, the granddaddy of video game shows arrives a little early, hitting the LA Convention Center from June 2-4. And every year, I like to make some predictions on what the Big Three (Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony) might bring to the show floor. But first, let's recap last year's E3:
Microsoft went on the first day of the show, showing off the new 360 interface with avatars and all. They also talked about the new party system that allows players to join up together but play different games at the same time. A big advancement for the 360 interface is the addition of Netflix, allowing owners to stream videos via their XBox. They showed off a couple new games like Lips and Gears of War 2, but the real big announcement was the addition of Final Fantasy XIII to the lineup.
Nintendo's press conference was sadly disappointing, giving us nothing too big to talk about and pandering mostly to non-gamers. Their big game for the holiday season was Animal Crossing: City Folk, which they bundled with the Wii Speak apparatus. The game ended up being...just more Animal Crossing. They also showed off Shaun White Snowboarding with the Wii Fit balance board, Wii Music with a crazy drummer dude, and Wii Sports: Resort with the Wii MotionPlus attachment. No real strong first person title was showcased, leaving the hardcore gamers empty-handed.
Sony came in claiming 2008 to be the "year of the PS3". They showed off their social interaction program Home, once again adding avatars to the mix. While people clamored for a price drop on the PS3, Sony instead gave them twice the amount of memory for the same price; an 80 GB PS3 for $400. Games shown included Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, Little Big Planet, and Resistance 2. They closed off their conference with MAG (Massive Action Game) that supports up to 256 players per game.
Now for my predictions for this year's show:
- Main showcase shows off shooters (Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3 ODST, Bioshock 2)
- Bioshock 2 will attempt and fail at multiplayer
- More bundles released.
- Half Life 2: Episode 3 is shown
- Show a motion controller to compete with the SixAxis.
- Sega revives the Jet Grind series on the 360.
- More XBLA games utilizing the avatars are announced
- Once again, more "celebrity" guest stars make an appearance
- The DSi gets downloadable Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games.
- They play with virtual dogs via Nintendogs for the Wii
- Big holiday title is Kid Icarus.
- Will appease hardcore gamers by finally porting Mother 3 to the DS.
- Another expensive peripheral is announced.
- No price cut, but another better deal appears.
- The new PSP has a touch screen and slides up to reveal buttons and two nubs.
- The new Kojima game is not Metal Gear Solid 5, but Metal Gear Solid 4: Substance.
- Square Enix tries to make up for expanding FFXIII to the 360 by giving more useless titles to Sony exclusively.
- God of War 3 is the big title for Sony this year, and they milk it for all it's badassery.
- MAG is given a distinct release date.