As a supplement to the weekly NeoGamr podcast, my predictions for what I feel the "Big 3" (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo for those who may not know) are going to announce at E3 2012.
The Relatively Safe Nintendo Predictions:
I cannot help but feel this is pretty much Nintendo's year to dominate E3 if they wish to do so. All eyes are going to be carefully watching any and all of their announcements of everything Wii U related. The big question on everyone's mind, well at least my own, is can they take any market share from Sony and Microsoft? Is the Wii U going to lure gamers who prefer these systems over to camp Nintendo?
My personal opinion is no it will not. Nintendo clearly has a defined market share in the realm of home video game consoles, and I do not believe the Wii U is going to increase that space all that drastically. I just do not see the addition of the tablet-centric controller being enough to lure "hardcore" gamers over from choosing to wait on what Sony and Microsoft are going to do in the upcoming years with their next consoles. It is just pretty bad timing on Nintendo's part for the release of the Wii U.
With that said, one cannot overlook the fact Nintendo has in fact won this generation of console sales. One thing that can potentially help lure gamers to Team Nintendo is a stronger focus on the type of apps that make the Wii U more appealing from a home entertainment media hub standpoint. A focus on such services can help Nintendo in their attempt to lure more people over to the Wii U and view it as more of an "adult" offering.
The Far-Fetched Nintendo Predictions:
I also have a strange feeling that whatever Mario title is being created for the Wii U is further along then anyone realizes, and Nintendo is going to end their keynote showcasing it. Mario is synonymous with Nintendo, and they know this. This is not necessary a wild prediction, but I do also believe it is going to utilize the tablet in a very unique way, perhaps going as far as doing traditional 2D Mario gameplay only on the tablet.
The Relatively Safe Microsoft Predictions:
Out of all of the Big 3, I believe Microsoft's keynote is going to be the least impressive from a purely video game standpoint. Kinect integration will also once again be a large focus of their overall approach to making the 360 the all-in-one digital entertainment hub they continue to build upon.
I think the highlight of their keynote is going to be Windows 8 and XBox Live integration. Windows 8 is on the horizon, and MS has to be aware some people see no reason to upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7. A strong integration with XBox Live is going to make this decision an easier one for the gaming centric Windows customers.
Finally, I think it goes without saying Halo 4 and the new Gears Of War title are going to be the heavy hitters on the games side of things. Also some kind of exclusive to the 360 Black Ops 2 content is pretty much a given. I also have to believe MS has one or two exclusive yet to be announced games they will announce. However just going on last years E3 keynote and the shift away from just games, perhaps this will not be the case.
The Far-Fetched Microsoft Predictions:
One more price drop is coming for the 360. MS knows the focus of hardcore gamers is moving towards the next generation of consoles. As such they are going to announce one last price drop to expand their already impressive install base. I do not see it being anything all that major, but I do expect another $25 off the current price.
The Relatively Safe Sony Predictions:
Repeat after me. Playstation Vita. This years E3 for Sony is going to feature a huge push on their end for the Vita. This means games. Sony has so far been pretty good about releasing ancillary content for the Vita, but just like Home for the PS3, not to many people really care about such content. I personally do not want to make a little bug avatar travel the world in the recently announced Travel Bug, or raise my own little ecosystem of imaginary animals in Ecolibrium. I want games for the Vita. I know I am not alone.
An announcement of either an exclusive Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto for the Vita can, for the most part, make all of the continued talk of the Vita's lackluster launch a thing of the past. Add in a God of War exclusive, coupled with a few more solid releases, and the Vita can finally start becoming the gold standard of portable gaming. I also expect a Little Big Planet for the Vita release date announcement.
Final prediction about the Vita announcements; Cross-platform play between the PS3 and Vita is going to be a phrase mentioned several times, perhaps to the point of nausea.
Where Sony needs to be careful is not forgetting the PS3. Add one or two major new game announcements on top of the Vita related news, and Sony can walk away from E3 in a very good position.
The cat is already out of the bag in regards to Sony bringing some kind of cloud based gaming service capabilities to their Playstation brand of products. The details of said service are still unknown. It is widely believed the service is going to bring the PS1 and PS2 back catalog to the next Playstation console. However I am pretty sure they will announce they will be bringing this service to the PS3 in the very near future. In addition, I feel that Playstation + subscribers are going to beta test this new service as part of the + package without any additional feels being added to their subscription.
The Far-Fetched Sony Predictions:
I think a Hideo Kojima Productions exclusive game for the Vita will be announced. The major surprise with this is not the announcement, but the fact it is going to be based on a brand new IP.
Nintendo should easily walk away from this year's E3 as the declared victor amongst the gaming community at large. With that said, Sony does have a small chance of taking away some of that thunder with some killer Vita announcements. I do believe Microsoft is going to take a step back from the festivities and be content with letting Nintendo and Sony duke it out this year, knowing very well they are in a transition period between consoles. Where MS could wound up surprising everyone and walking away with a victory is going ahead and releasing some details about their upcoming console and/or a really killer new exclusive no one expected.
So what does everyone else think? What are your predictions for the expected announcements from the Big 3? What surprises, if any, do you anticipate?
Make sure to check out NeoGamr's exclusive coverage of E3. Our very own John Callaham is at E3 to provide news that only NeoGamr will have. Of course the rest of our news staff will be covering all of the major announcements as they break.
Finally, make sure to tune in on Tuesday, June 5th, for our live podcast which will include John live from E3 joining myself and Tim!
NeoGamr and Neowin's coverage of E3 2012 is sponsored by War Inc. Battle Zone.