It's hard to believe that it is that time of year again. Just like the beginning of a new season for your favorite sports team, each year E3 provides a clean slate for companies to come WOW and AMAZE audiences from around the globe. It doesn't matter if you have the marketing and recognition of Nintendo or if you are a little known game called Guitar Hero or Scribblenauts. If you have an incredible product, genre-defining innovation, or amazing new hardware, you will be noticed.
This year, several upcoming titles look to bring the current console generation to a close. With Microsoft and Sony expected to not discuss their new hardware, we should see some of the most polished most fun titles ever seen for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Several of these "key" titles from both First and Third parties have elected to not be publicly known until after the major press conferences on Monday and Tuesday.
If you are looking for new hardware, Nintendo should have you covered. We have the first public showing of the final Wii U hardware. While I pray they change the name, something tells me that they won't. Though I was never a fan of the original Wii name, it has been the best selling console of this current generation by almost doubling the hardware sales from either competitors. Sadly, Nintendo seemed to find a niche that caused people to buy hardware but not software. Their software sales have been absolutely horrid for Third Parties and less than stellar for First Party.
Fortunately, Nintendo has the DS and 3DS. After a rocky start, it seems the 3DS is finding their audience at a price point consumers find fair. Rumors are saying Nintendo will show a redesigned 3DS with a better battery and a second CirclePad. After giving early adopters a ton of free DLC, how will they feel after their 3DS is completely outdated and the hardware has multiple configurations of thumbsticks? Hopefully Nintendo can gracefully pull this off if they choose to go this route.
Look for Nintendo to show off a brand new 3D Mario title for Wii U. For fun, lets call it Super Mario Touch and Go. I expect this game to be even more eye-catching and fun than Super Mario Galaxy was. Retro Studios will show off two titles: a new 3D Metroid game for the Wii U, a launch title, and a 2D 3DS Metroid title. Zelda will make its debut, as a new title, on the 3DS with a return to the cel-shaded graphics of the DS titles.
The big reveal will be Activision showing off Call of Duty on the Wii U and giving players a reason to give the system a try.
Nintendo will announce a November 18, 2012 release date for the North American market and a $249.99 price point. Up to 4 Tablet Controllers will be able to be used on the Wii U. Each one will retail for $79.99. The big surprise will be that players can play all downloadable 3DS and DS on the Wii U Tablet.
The Nintendo fanboy Kingdom will erupt with tears of joy and begin camping out for the console later that week. They will ignore the issues the new 3DS hardware will cause.
Sony, on the other hand, will show off an incredible value for players who pick up their PS Vita hardware. For all First Party software, and some Third Party, players will get an Online Pass Voucher that will not only unlock DLC and Online play for games, it will give players the Vita versions of titles, to download, and promote Cross Play. This will allow players to pick up their game on the Vita, on the go, and then continue the game on the PS3.
Sony will announce this is coming for their new Killzone, Ratchet & Clank PSN title, Sly Cooper, God of War, and PlayStation Battle Royale. Out will walk Rockstar and will announce Grand Theft Auto V will be coming on both Vita and PS3. The big reveal, however, will be Valve coming out and announcing Half-Life 3, coming 12.12.12, with Steam integration for PS3, Vita, and PC/Mac. Buy it on the PS3, play it on all devices!
PS3 will also be given a price drop along with a Vita price drop. These will take place immediately.
Not to be outdone, Microsoft will try to walk the line between Kinect support the "Core" player doesn't want, non-gaming services, and AAA titles. We will see a new Gears of War Prequel, Halo 4, with a November launch date around the WIi U launch, and limited cross platform support. With Windows 8 Xbox integration, players can buy certain First and Third Party titles, on the Xbox, and unlock the Games for Windows, rebranded Xbox Gaming, for no additional charge. This is how Microsoft will begin to eat into Valve's marketshare in the PC space.
Microsoft will show off their new music service, skype integration, and full-featured Internet Explorer Browser for the Xbox. They also will reveal any entertainment content purchased on Xbox Live will be available for your Windows Phone, Xbox, and Windows 8 devices.
Bioshock Infinite will be announced as a timed-exclusive for Xbox 360. Call of Duty will also get time exclusive content later this year.
As with all predictions, these are subject to be changed by me at any moment and I am not responsible for anything that doesn't turn out to be true. What we will promise is a great E3 2012 and awesome coverage. Take that to the bank!