As hard as it is to believe, it's been eight years since we saw the new wave of next-gen consoles rolled out at E3.
With the unveiling of the XBOX One and the PS4, this year's E3 is set to be the biggest in history. There's a lot on the line for not just Sony and Microsoft, but also its competitor Nintendo, who have faced an uphill battle with the Wii U. It's also a big year for software developers, who are eager to show off their initial offerings for the next generation of gaming.
There are a lot of things we're dying to know, but no way of knowing it until the event kicks off. That's led to a lot of questions, rumors, and speculation surrounding the various press conferences and offerings at this year's event. Spike will be there as the official broadcaster, starting its coverage on Monday, June 10th at noon Eastern, 9am Pacific with live coast to coast coverage.
In the meantime, let's take a look at what we can expect to see from the major gaming companies.
Press Conference: Monday, June 10th @ 1pm EST / 10am PST
More on the XBOX One – We already know quite a bit about the new console from last month's XBOX One Reveal, which aired live on Spike. The emphasis then was on how the new console would revolutionize the way people watch television, but they caught some flak from gamers for not putting the emphasis on…well, games. In advance of E3, Microsoft confirmed that the focus at the press conference would specifically be on the games. When asked if there would be more talk of television at E3, Larry Hyb, XBOX Live's Director of Programming, tweeted "I can confirm that we will have TV's (or similar) on stage to show the games.That should be the extend of TV talk in your #E3." Music to our ears. We'll also get more details on Kinect 2.0. Some of it was discussed at the reveal, but so far they've only scratched the surface for what it means for its integration in XBOX One's titles.
Halo, is it me you're looking for? – Speaking of TV, there was the announcement at the Reveal that they were developing a new "Halo" television series with Steven Spielberg. But what about a new game? Microsoft hasn't said anything, but a surprise announcement at their press conference would make sense. It'd be hard to imagine Microsoft launching a new gaming console without their flagship in-house franchise offering a new installment at launch. It'd be like a new Nintendo system with no Mario. It'd be madness!
Price & release? – Many are hopeful that we could see something resembling a price point for the XBOX One, but we wouldn't hold our breaths for it this far out. We could, though, see a release date a little more specific than "later this year."
Controversy – Microsoft has had to address a lot of issues over how the XBOX One will handle used games, the idea of it being "always on," and its lack of backwards compatibility. Some explanations and consolations have come in the weeks since the reveal, but there could be more that plays out at this year's E3.
Exclusive titles – As announced at the Reveal, a total of 15 exclusive titles for the XBOX One will be rolled out in its first year. 8 of those are scheduled to be on the floor at E3.
Press Conference: Monday, June 10th @ 9pm EST / 6pm PST
PS4 play – There was a tease at last February's PS4 announcement, but Sony's big coming out party for the PS4 will be at their E3 keynote. With Microsoft wanting to take over the living room, expect Sony to answer with an emphasis on gaming. In particular, cloud gaming, which we'll get more details about at their press conference. Basically, if you're a gamer, you can expect Sony to put emphasis on the idea of the PS4 being a true gaming console, and not try to be something it isn't. It'll be interesting to see how that strategy plays out.
Controversy - Like Microsoft with the XBOX One, Sony faced some criticism with gamers over things like used games and backwards compatibility. They're ahead of the curve as far as the PS3 library goes, announcing plans to have games available through the cloud. But details on that, as well as other questions, will need to be addressed at E3.
Price & release? – Just like with the XBOX One, it's possible but not likely we'll get a price for the PS4. But we might have a better idea of when (during the holiday season) we can get our hands on it.
Games – With Microsoft touting its exclusive titles, Sony will be unveiling its run of new titles to get gamers excited, including but not limited to a full demo of The Last of Us, Killzone: Shadow Falls, Drive Club, inFamous: Second Son, and a new Final Fantasy game. Rumor has it we may also see The Last Guardian, a follow-up to the stunning and critically revered Shadow of the Colossus.
The Fate of the PS Vita – The Vita hasn't been an absolute failure, but its performance and the lack of titles available have been something of a disappointment. Sony plans to integrate it into the PS4, even making PS4 games playable on it via remote streaming. But will that be enough to save it?
Subscription service – There's little info on how the PS4 will go about handling its streaming and subscription services. We'll likely get that info at the press conference.
First Nintendo Direct event: Tuesday, June 11th @ 10am EST / 7am PST
Nintendo Direct - The company made the controversial decision not to do a keynote at this year's event, opting instead to do several Nintendo Direct events showcasing their software. In a way, the decision makes sense. The Wii U is already on the market, so any attempts to steal the thunder from Microsoft and Sony would fall flat. On the other hand, it almost seems like they're throwing in the towel in the fight for market supremacy. It doesn't help that Wii U sales have been less than spectacular, trailing its predecessor's performance by a wide margin. On the other hand, Nintendo has always had its own direction and unique spin on gaming, and up until this point it's worked for them.
Games – As Nintendo's reminded everyone time and again, this year at E3 it's all about the games. We'll see a sequel to Zelda: a Link to the Past, as well as new Mario and Luigi games for the 3DS. The long awaited new Super Smash Bros. Wii U title should make an appearance as well. The big title, though, will be Mario 3D, which Nintendo is very excited to show off.
E3 in your hometown – Major props where it's due for Nintendo striking a deal with Best Buy to have all the games they're demoing on the floor at E3 also playable at Best Buy locations.
Press Conference: Monday, June 10th @ 6pm EST / 3pm PST
Assassin's Creed: Black Flag - Assassin's Creed has become the flagship property for Ubisoft, with the latest installment setting sail on the high seas as you go after – you guessed it – pirates!
South Park: The Stick of Truth - The highly anticipated new game based on the hit Comedy Central show. Everything they've shown so far looks great, and we're eager to see it in action.
An as-yet-unrevealed game - Rumors are flying that Ubisoft has something up their sleeve as a surprise, and that it's a racing game. Any further details on that are sketchy at best, so we'll have to wait and see.
Press Conference: Monday, June 10th @ 4pm PST / 1pm PST
Sports, Sports, Sports - Where EA excels above all others is with sports and licensing. We'll see some of the first next-gen sports titles, like FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, and the return of NBA Live. We'll also find out more about the EA Sports Ignite engine, which promises more fluid player motions and more detailed environments, including crowds and an active sideline.
Star Wars - One of the bigger questions coming out of Disney's purchase of all things Star Wars is what would happen to Star Wars: 1313. Some of what we saw last year got us excited, but unfortunately Disney made the decision to fold LucasArts and transfer the property over to EA. The good news, though, is that there's talk a lot of what we saw in 1313 could be incorporated into the new games. More importantly, EA will most likely announce plans for its new Star Wars games, which are set to coincide with the new movie trilogy (the first installment will hit theaters in 2015).
Wolfenstein: The New Order – Call us nostalgic, but we're excited to see the new installment of the classic Wolfenstein series, which takes place in a world where the Nazis win World War II. Check out the trailer from GTTV!
Batman: Arkham Origins - This series has been a huge hit with both comic fans and hardcore gamers, and we could see a playable demo on the floor.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain - We got a sneak of "The Phantom Pain" at this year's VGAs. Could we see more at E3?
That's just the tip of the iceberg. The way things are playing out, this will be the biggest E3 yet, and Spike is the official broadcaster of this year's event.
Coverage kicks off live on Spike and Gametrailers.com starting Monday, June 10th at noon Eastern/9am Pacific. You can also watch our live coverage on Xbox Live and through the GT app, available at the App Store.
In the meantime, check out our interview with Kotaku's Tin Amini, who answers some burning questions we have about the future of gaming and what we'll see at this year's event.