Can you believe it? E3 2012 is almost upon us. Unfortunately, the hype leading up to E3 always brings about the trolls and the misinformed who create rumors that nobody should ever believe. Unfortunately, the secrecy around E3 makes a lot of gamers believe anything at face value. I hope to use this article to give you a reasonable idea of what's going to happen at E3 in regards to the big three's - Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony - press conferences.
Nintendo is by far the most interesting with its new hardware announcements coming on Tuesday. The Wii U is just like the Wii before it. Nobody knows what to expect and speculation is running rampant. Here's what we do know for sure: Nintendo is going to be showing off the "concept" behind the Wii U later today and doing a full reveal on Tuesday. As to the details of the console, those are obviously still up in the air. The official specs from Nintendo only says that the Wii U has an IBM multi-core processor and an AMD Radeon GPU. It's going to be powerful, but the extent of its power is not yet known.
As for the rumors, there are far too many. Some are in the realm of wishful thinking while others are just outright impossible. The rumors of the Wii U getting a new numbered Final Fantasy or being able to run Unreal Engine 4 are outright false. Don't worry about those and instead focus on what's actually possible. Speaking of possible rumors, a rumor that came out today saying that the Wii U would have achievements and cloud storage has the most potential to be true. There have been murmurs over the past year that points to this being true. Expect Nintendo to at least announce the achievements during its press conference.
It's great to talk about hardware, but what about the games? The only Wii U game that Nintendo has confirmed thus far was its New Super Mario Bros. Mii demo from last year. The game was similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii but with the Toads replaced by the player's Miis. As for the other games, we only have what we've heard from third parties like Assassin's Creed III being announced for the console's launch. Nintendo hinted at three launch titles on its Facebook page last week, but nobody seems to have any clue what those may be. As for that rumored Star Fox/Metroid crossover title, Paul Gale confirmed that the title was indeed a thing at one point at time but has since been canned. Here's hoping for a new Star Fox or Metroid game nonetheless.
Sony, similar to Nintendo, has a lot to prove this year, but for very different reasons. The Vita could be classified as a failure already considering that the handheld has only managed to push a little over 2 million units since its launch in March. Granted, Nintendo faced the same difficulties with its 3DS launch at the same $250 price, but the price cut and a massive deluge of quality first-party titles helped them get out of that mess. Sony doesn't have that luxury as the games so far announced for Vita only appeal to a small subset of gamers, like myself, while lacking the universal appeal of Nintendo's franchises. Sony needs to prove that they can turn the Vita business around at E3 and show that it's more than just the sexiest piece of hardware on the planet.
As for the PS3, we can't ignore the elephant in the room - Sony's acquisition of a major player in the game streaming business. All the rumors are now pointing to it being Gaikai which would make Sony relatively future proof for when digital distribution really takes off. Other rumors are suggesting that Sony will be using the service to stream the entire PS2 and PSone library to PS3 owners. As for PS3 games proper, expect a huge deluge of information on Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us.
Microsoft is last but certainly not least on this list as you can expect plenty of news about Kinect and content deals. Like always, expect Microsoft to start the show off with a few demos of core titles coming to their console this year, especially Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. They will also probably feature a few short demos of other core titles like the new Gears of War title that is reportedly being developed by the folks at People Can Fly, the developers behind the excellent Bulletstorm.
As for Kinect, expect a lot of announcements. It has been a massive success for Microsoft so far and they're going to want to keep that momentum going. They will probably announce a new Rare Kinect project which may be Kinect Sports 3. You will also probably see some footage from the recently announced Harry Potter for Kinect. There will probably be a few groan inducing live Kinect demos as well. More importantly, they will probably announce some new Kinect apps for the platform including the rumored Internet Explorer and Woodstock music service.
Every one of the big three will be worth watching this year as they do occasionally surpass all of our expectations. Here's hoping for a few surprises that will make E3 2012 a year to remember on par with the greats like E3 2004 and 2010. What are you most excited for? Regardless, WebProNews will be bringing you all the news from E3. Stay tuned for our coverage beginning Monday.