It's hard to believe, but this year's E3--widely regarded as the great touchstone of video game
releasing--is only a mere two weeks out from today. But this is likely to be a very special year for E3, and already, many are wondering what will make the rounds when the big show finally comes to town.
The biggest point here is that the hardware is likely to be muted. With Nintendo's next big entry already in play, Microsoft's
Xbox One already unveiled, and Sony
's PlayStation 4 at least talked about, hardware is probably going to take a back seat. Why? Because the hardware is already out. Sure, Sony's probably going to have to actually show us what a PlayStation 4 looks like for a change, but it's already been talked up. We have a good idea of the specs and suchlike, so why go back to that well?
Naturally, there are still some unanswered questions. Both Microsoft and Sony will have to stop tapdancing around and come out and tell the user base either that used and rental games will finally be in play or offer a very convincing explanation as to why not.
But with this handful of questions unanswered, it's clear that a three day conference is going to have to be mostly about the games. Naturally, the full array of triple-A console and PC titles will have to be in attendance, and that's before issues of casual gaming--especially on the upstart mobile devices--come into play. Indeed, reports indicate that the online and mobile game segment will have its own event pavilion this year, getting it away from the noise and big screens that dominate the main show floor. After all, showing a game designed for a mobile screen with a game playing on a matrix of nine big screen televisions or the like does sort of make the mobile game look a bit shabby by comparison.
Yet with games often taking their own focus at times--some big titles do their own launch events, and why not? A major game release is big news in its own right!--maybe the idea of holding onto the release information for E3 is starting to fall out of fashion.
E3 itself will likely also face some changes. With a lot more being made of gender politics of late, the idea of the "booth babe"--attractive young women posing in various costumes near a title or studio's booth at the event--may well also be out of the running. Given the demographics of E3, this may not actually come to pass, but given the potential for negative press that follows such a thing, it may well be that the booth babe has had it.
But with 200 exhibitors set to attend--and retailers set to participate fully 25 percent more this year than last--there's plenty of optimism to go around in the E3 event.
Just what will appear this time around is a matter that only two weeks' wait will truly settle. But with a lot of changes afoot in the industry--both technically and philosophically--the end result may well be a much different animal from any we've seen before. And I know I eagerly await the chance to see just what kind of spots that zebra's packing.