So E3 starts up on Monday with EA and Microsoft’s press conferences, and will continue through the next few days. E3 is a time when people work themselves up into a frenzy of anticipation and expectation. This year, like last year, E3 is just a mere shadow of what it once was, but the media conferences should still be tons of fun. Whatever happens, loyal fans, haters, and fanboys will be tossing e-bombs across message boards for the rest of the year based on what we see in the coming days. So, here’s what I predict, hope for, and expect from Microsoft.
Mii Too! – I’m predicting, and some of this is based on swirling rumor, that Microsoft will made a strong attempt to captialize on the growing phenomenon of the market expansion that’s driving the Wii to such insanely high sales. Microsoft will probably roll out their version of what Nintendo has with the Mii avatars and allow users to create their own, download accessories online, and give them a space to interact. I figure it will fall somewhere between what Nintendo offers and what Sony is planning with Home. Oh, and they’ll also have that crazy motion control peripheral to show off.
It’s an FPS extravaganza! – While Gears isn’t exactly an FPS, it’s close enough to fit here. Microsoft has the go-to console for FPS games, and E3 2008 isn’t going to change that. People are saying that Bungie is planning an announcement, and it might not be Halo. If that’s the case, I’d think they might be sticking close to their strengths and possibly announce a new FPS game. Since Sony will be showing Resistance 2 and Killzone 2, you can bet that MS will be ready to counterpunch.
Exclusives on the 360 – This is obvious, but most companies make their biggest impact by showcasing their exclusives. Microsoft will have two huge timed exclusives to show off; being Rock Band 2 and the GTA IV DLC. I think with these coming first to the 360, Microsoft will probably show us what’s up with both. Some exlcusives that I want to see include Mass Effect 2, Dead Rising 2 (pray for it!), Forza 3, Kameo 2, and Killer Instinct 3 (believe).
Spin, Spin, Spin – Microsoft will talk about how they are the “HD console of choice” by consumers and were the first to 10 million sold. They’ll try to pretend that the Wii doesn’t exist, and just ramble on about the success of DLC, 3rd party sales, and 1st party hits in comparison to what the PS3 has done. They’ll talk about affordability, accessability, and momentum. I can’t fault them though, because they’ve earned the right to strut a bit. While Sony is losing money faster than Charles Barkley in Vegas, Microsoft is starting to turn profits.
In the end, I think Microsoft fans will be well-pleased with the showing that’s in store for them, but they’ll probably be divided on whether or not the avatars belong on their console of choice. Some will be excited and ready to give them a go on day one, others will feel like it’s a cheap money grab and a play to make the console more palatable for Japan and the casual American audience. Personally, I hope to see the avatars and I hope they’re well-executed. No matter what happens, the Xbox 360 will most likely still have the best lineup of games coming out of the show.