It's that time of year again. With E3 2009 a little under a week away, the video game rumour mill has been in overdrive for past month or so. As usual, a plethora of stories ranging from a possible Xbox-Zune handheld device to a slimmer and cheaper PlayStation 3 model, have whetted appetites for what is sure to be an interesting show, kicking off with Microsoft's keynote on June 1 at 17:30 GMT. (view other time zones)
This year's E3 is almost certainly going to be one of the biggest ever, with the conference set to return to the glory of previous years and Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all promising explosive appearances. There are bound to be a handful of surprises in store, but which of the rumours that we've read are actually credible?
What will be Microsoft's big announcement?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): I think there is some truth behind the rumours of Microsoft and the motion sensing device, however I'm not sure what they really intend for it as the Vision Camera is already capable of motion sensing. I don't expect it to be popular with the hardcore gamers, so most likely a wave of new casual games will be announced to accompany it.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Xbox-Zune hybrid is real. We'll see it at E3, but whether it's ready or not is a different matter. Look for a launch around Christmas.
David Corris: I'm not so sure. I would assume some sort of Alan Wake news is due since the game has been pretty quiet. Hopefully no new home console announcement, but I wouldn't be surprised if more services similar to Netflix are added to the 360's roster.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): I expect Microsoft to unveil their new motion control system that is going to compete with the Wii. How revolutionary it will be remains to be seen, but I think this will be their big announcement.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): As with past E3 conventions, Microsoft will announce new features to Xbox Live as well as new products. I believe there's a chance that Microsoft will confirm the rumored motion sensing device.
What will be Sony's big announcement?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): A new PSP with no UMD drive, internal storage and a seamless operating system which is compatible with PSN. They'll boost support for PS1 and PSN games which you'll be able to buy directly on the devide, without the need for a PS3.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): Since the PSP Go! is pretty much a given, I wouldn't be surprised if the skinny PlayStation 3 whispers turned out to be true. We all know the 45nm chips are due this summer, so it would make perfect sense to unveil a sleek new design with a lower price point at E3.
David Corris: If neither the PS3 price cut or the rumoured slim PS3 are true, then I suppose the big names are going to get release dates. Look for more information on God of War 3, Gran Turismo 5 and perhaps even the next Team Ico game.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): I expect Sony to cut the price of the PlayStation 3. Other than that, I am really hoping Sony has a release date for Gran Turismo 5.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): As the rumours suggest, Sony will unveil the new PSP at E3.
What will be Nintendo's big announcement?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): Honestly, I don't know what to expect from Nintendo anymore. Their past few shows have been terrible and pretty bare for the hardcore gamer. I certainly hope they take a more professional angle this time. We get it Nintendo, you're appealing to casual gamers. No more soccer moms snowboarding or psycho drummers please.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): After last years abysmal keynote, Nintendo are failing to captivate me this time round. The only thing that would spike my interest would be a new Zelda title, but that's unlikely. I expect more games and peripherals for the casual market.
David Corris: If it isn't some peripheral that only further proves that they have given up on the hardcore gamer, then I can only pray for a new Zelda or Metroid game. Perhaps a new Wii game from the vast catalogue of characters they have. Kirby anyone?
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): Just like last year at E3, Nintendo won't have anything big to show us. I foresee a couple of game announcements and more presentations telling us how well their systems have been selling.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): Besides new games for the Wii and DSi, I don't really see Nintendo announcing anything at this year's E3.
The one thing you are most looking forward to?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): New information and footage of upcoming shooters, namely Wolfenstein and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Hopefully there will be some new, interesting titles too.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): Without a doubt, further BioShock 2 details and information on Kojima's new project. I think (and hope) it's a Metal Gear game based around Raiden. The cool Raiden, not the sissy from Sons of the Patriots.
David Corris: Definitely more word on the next Team Ico game. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are two of my favourite games, so I'm super stoked for their next project.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): Details on this years EA Sports titles.
What do you think will be the biggest surprise?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): I think Modern Warfare 2 and God of War 3 will be talk of the show, but I really hope Nintendo have a killer title to announce.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): Nothing will top the shock OnLive announcement at GDC
David Corris: Hopefully a previously unannounced game that will be unveiled and will amaze us all.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): Duke Nukem Forever is picked up by another developer and publisher.
Will Alan Wake feature at E3 this year?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): I think they'll definitely show it this year. They have to, or people will really begin to lose interest and it'll go the same way as Duke Nukem Forever.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): No, it's gone/going the way of the Dodo.
David Corris: Yes.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): Most likely.
Will Sony finally drop the price of the PlayStation 3?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): Definitely not, they simply cannot afford to. I suspect we'll see a price drop closer to September around the release of Uncharted 2.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): It's likely. After all, there is no bigger stage than E3.
David Corris: Yes.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): They have to if they want to get back on track. As they learned from the PlayStation 2, a lower price equals greater sales. I think they will drop the price by at least $100 USD, and things will really start to pick up.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): A price drop is definitely due, but whether or not E3 is the time to announce it is not clear.
Which of the big three will have the best show?
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): Microsoft, without a doubt. They never fail to impress and haven't let me down the past 4 years.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): Based on my predictions, I think 2009 could (finally) be Sony's year. Microsoft will still have a solid showing though.
David Corris: Sony.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): Microsoft.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): Microsoft.
Least likely to be announced, but definitely would be awesome
Andrew Gallacher (drunknmunky): The rumoured portable Xbox-Zune device. I really want to play my Xbox Live Arcade games on the move, it with Xbox Live support it could be a real hit. Windows Mobile still has some way to catch on, so if they can create a device around the OS as much as they did for the 360, it'll be a huge success.
Jonathan Steele (ynnoj): Half-Life 3.
Garrett Dodd (rajputwarrior): Gran Turismo for PSP.
Joshua Seed (indiansboy94): The long rumoured high definition Wii which will upgrade the Wii's hardware to current console technology.
So there you have it, our anaylsis and thoughts on an array of possibilities for this years E3 conference. Be sure to follow our coverage throughout the week, starting next Monday, June 1.