Feature

What Will The Big Three Have In Store For E3?

by Annette Gonzalez on May 19, 2011 at 03:00 PM

E3 is just around the corner which means developers, publishers, and media outlets are working around the clock to prepare for the flood of game reveals and announcements that will hit the industry’s biggest event of the year. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have already locked down dates for their 2011 press conferences in Los Angeles, but with few details on what we can expect. We take a look at highlights from last year’s press conferences and recent headlines to piece together what we might see when the industry’s biggest names from the big three hit the stage.

Microsoft Press Conference 2011

When: Monday, June 6 @ 9am PST

Microsoft E3 2010 press conference highlights:

  • Discussion about the bizarre Cirque du Soleil event from the night prior continues among the crowd
  • Glimpses of Call of Duty: Black Ops and Metal Gear Solid: Rising, plus Gears of War 3, Halo: Reach, and Fable III details, teaser trailer for Crytek’s Codename: Kingdoms
  • “Project Natal” becomes Kinect, casual lineup revealed, Star Wars lightsaber and Forza demos are shown, and Harmonix’s Dance Central impresses
  • Xbox Live media hub grows with ESPN and VideoKinect
  • Xbox 360 “slim” unveiled

What could be in store for E3 2011:

With Kinect’s successful launch and continued sales, what’s next for the company? Nintendo and Sony are confirmed to have new systems to tout in front of E3 crowds with Project Café and NGP, respectively, so it’s anyone’s guess what Microsoft has up its sleeve. Develop recently reported that EA had access to early builds of the 360’s successor, according to Develop’s anonymous source. This rumor was squashed by EA who stated the story was “100 percent untrue.” Unlike its competitors, Microsoft has yet to make any big announcements prior to E3 so we can only anticipate a few surprises.

Games

It’s guaranteed we’ll see more on Gears of War 3 and Forza 4, but what else does Microsoft have in its first-party lineup? Halo: Reach made a splash last year (a new Halo from 343 wouldn’t be too surprising) and Fable III got a lukewarm reception. Perhaps this is the year Microsoft comes out swinging with new IPs for 360.

Kinect

It’s probably safe to assume that a large part of the presentation will involve Kinect. Since the sensor’s November release it went on to snag the record for fastest selling consumer electronics device of all time (more than 10 million units sold to date), however software releases slowed to a crawl since its 17-game launch lineup. Microsoft delivered a few surprisingly solid first-party entries at launch with Kinectimals and Kinect Adventures and hasn’t had much of a first-party showing since. Other Kinect criticisms involve lack of hardcore titles originally promised to consumers, however reports have surfaced that 10 non-sequel Kinect games will be announced and are expected to “serve the hardcore.”

Microsoft Game Studios general manager and Kinect creative director Kudo Tsunoda told us that Microsoft has merely scratched the surface with what the platform is capable of. “You are going to continue seeing really stunning innovations that are a part of the Kinect platform in both games and entertainment,” Tsunoda teases. “You’ll see new features that will really alter what people think they can do with their Kinect sensor. Stay tuned for some big surprises at this year’s E3.” Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype is just one way the company is expanding Kinect’s capabilities so we’re interested in seeing what surprise announcements Microsoft has in store.

Next up: Sony

Sony Press Conference 2011

When: Monday, June 6 @ 5pm PST

Sony E3 2010 press conference highlights:

  • Sony delivers news on Move pricing and games lineup including Heroes on the Move and Sorcery
  • Twisted Metal revealed by Eat Sleep Play
  • Valve’s Gabe Newell announces Portal 2 for PlayStation 3, says it will be “the best version on any console”
  • PSN subscription model PlayStation Plus detailed
  • Kevin Butler brings down the house

What could be in store for E3 2011:

The biggest elephant in the room for Sony at this year’s press conference will be the Great PlayStation Network Outage of 2011. Not only did the PSN outage and the hackers responsible afflict consumers with concerns about the state of their private login and credit information, but publishers and developers also felt a sting with big multiplayer releases for the platform such as SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy Seals, Portal 2, and Brink coinciding with the outage, not to mention the abrupt pause of downloadable sales and releases. The most vocal among publishers regarding the PSN debacle was Capcom with corporate officer and SVP Christian Svensson stating that the PSN downtime is costing the company “hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars” in revenue. “These funds we rely on to bring new games to market for our fans,” Svensson explains. The hackers are “punishing millions of other consumers and businesses” in their attempts to stick it to Sony. Sony’s welcome back package is one way of handling the issue, but we’re hoping Sony will properly address the outage at its press conference to begin restoring confidence in the PlayStation Network.

Games

At last year’s E3 press conference, one of Sony’s biggest talking points was the company’s answer to motion controls, PlayStation Move. Since its release, the peripheral has been successfully implemented in AAA titles such as Killzone 3 while Move-specific titles have been less-than-stellar. With the huge focus on NGP and the Xperia mobile device these days, it’s unclear whether Move will get as much primetime at this year’s conference – even though Sorcery has pretty much been in limbo since its announcement last year.

Sony’s stable of first-party developers such as Naughty Dog and Insomniac are already hard at work on sequels for Uncharted and Resistance, and Sucker Punch is gearing up to release Infamous 2. So what’s next? Unless the publisher has a few secret new IPs underway, perhaps we’ll finally hear some news on Sly 4 that was teased in The Sly Collection. Or maybe Team Ico will finally drop some info on The Last Guardian. We can only hope.

Portables

The NGP had an impressive showing at its reveal event in Japan with franchises such as Uncharted, Call of Duty, Metal Gear, and LittleBigPlanet confirmed as headed to the portable. The handheld sports some impressive tech (OLED screen, front and back touch panels, dual analog sticks), which raises concerns in regard to pricing. SCE worldwide studio president Shu Yoshida said the company has been mindful of the NGP’s pricing since development began in 2008. “Hopefully when we announce the price, people will see the proper value,” he explained. Here’s hoping we’ll find out what the proper value is, the final product name, and confirmed launch window at the press conference.

On the mobile side, Sony’s Xperia Play recently received a May 26 release date. The phone runs on Android’s OS, will come preloaded with seven games, and will operate on the Verizon network. Sony says there will be 50 games available for download at launch, including PSone titles. Our guess is Sony will discuss their mobile strategy going forward including lots of number talk and plans for future game releases on the platform.

So where does that leave PSP and the ill-fated PSP Go? The PSP faced a price drop earlier this year and further slashed prices on hit games as part of the company’s Greatest Hits and Favorites collections. As for the PSP Go, Sony has ceased production on the unit in Japan and Europe, however production will continue in America. The question is for how long? With new Sony handhelds on the horizon it will be interesting to see if Sony finally calls it quits with PSP.

Next up: Nintendo

Nintendo Press Conference 2011

When: Tuesday, June 7 @ 9a PST

Nintendo E3 2010 press conference highlights:

  • Nintendo 3DS gets a proper introduction with reveals for Kid Icarus: Uprising, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, and more. Crowd is amazed
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s exciting debut suffers from technical glitches
  • GoldenEye 007, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country revealed

What could be in store for E3 2011:

Nintendo’s press conference marks an exciting time in the industry as the company prepares to unveil a new home console to the masses – and Wii 2 or Feel or Project Café or whatever it’s called will be playable. Countless rumors have been circulating regarding the console’s specifics including high definition graphics, backwards compatibility, a controller with a built-in screen and dual analog sticks, and more. As far as Nintendo’s online presence, president Reggie Fils-Aime admitted during this year’s GDC keynote that “Nintendo can do better” in terms of digital downloads as WiiWare and DSiWare underperformed. With the new console we can only hope the company is keeping this in mind when developing an online strategy. We’ll get the full scoop in regard to games and specifics bright and early on June 7.

3DS

Of course with all the excitement surrounding Nintendo’s new console the company can’t possibly forget about the recent launch of the 3DS. Despite the fanfare that occurred at last year’s E3 when the device debuted, early adopters have expressed disappointment in the launch lineup. Though it boasts a strong third-party presence, none of them were system sellers. On the upside, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is finally nearing release and Nintendo’s GDC keynote revealed a Mario 3DS game in the works, which we’re told we’ll learn more about at E3. We wouldn’t be terribly surprised if more announcements surface of other Nintendo icons making their way to 3DS in an attempt to appease fans and move a few more systems.



Wii
Where does that leave the Wii? Nintendo recently slashed the price down to a generous $169.99, which could mean the company is looking to liquidate inventory to make room for the new console. Last year was a great year for the Wii with releases such as Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Donkey Kong Country Returns. As of now, the most anticipated title that remains is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Unless Nintendo has a few surprise game announcements planned for Wii this year, Skyward Sword may be the last hurrah for the console.

Keep your browser locked on gameinformer.com beginning June 6 for breaking news coming straight from E3. For a list of the games of E3, click here.
What do you think the big three has in store for this year's E3 press conferences?