It’s that time of the year again! Time to make our predictions for things we expect to see (and some that don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of happening, but would still be nice!) at E3. As usual, Microsoft gets to be first with their conference. Their show is Monday, June 4, at 10AM Pacific time (1PM Eastern time).
Microsoft is coming off two horrendous years at E3. Both their 2010 and 2011 shows consisted of little more than Kinect shovelware that Wii already did years ago, with few actual games to show. Horrid presentation, cringe-worthy child actors, and annoying personalities spawned many memes including Skittles girl and “Fist bump!”
We can only hope that this year Microsoft comes back and gives their normally strong showing that we’d been used to pre-Kinect. Here are some things we could see:
Kinect shovelware – Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Expect to see plenty of minigame compilations, sports games, and “family-friendly” entertainment options, all of which will be demoed by hilariously bad actors who do little more than make themselves look like tools. Let’s just hope the Kinect casual-fest isn’t nearly as prominent as it was in 2010 or 2011.
Chances: Rest assured, it’s going to happen.
Kinect for the core gamer – Microsoft has done little to promote Kinect’s use in core games. Sure, giving orders via voice in Mass Effect 3 was a great idea, but other than that, core support has been lacking for Microsoft’s camera peripheral. Microsoft really needs to push for integral, non-gimmicky use of Kinect in core games to make it even slightly appealing for your average gamer. We might even see Halo 4 feature some Kinect functionality.
Chances: Pretty likely.
Halo 4 – This doesn’t even need an explanation. MS has a new Halo coming out this year, expect it to be front and center.
Chances: More than 100%.
Forza Horizon – Little is known about the new entry in the Forza series coming this fall, so expect to see some new details and gameplay footage – maybe even a demo.
No New Xbox – Microsoft is betting a lot on Kinect extending 360’s lifespan for a while yet, and plus they’ve already confirmed that the next Xbox won’t be at E3 2012.
Chances: There won’t be a new Xbox shown.
From “Game Console” to “Entertainment Center” – Microsoft has been aggressive in trying to transition the 360 from a game console to an all-in-one entertainment device in recent years, with services such as Bing, ESPN, Facebook/Twitter, and Netflix adding a ton of functionality. Expect to see even more of this type of thing, with streaming options and more internet functionality.
Chances: MS always makes announcements like this at E3, so expect it.
Internet Explorer – Going along with the “entertainment center” idea, rumors have been floating around that Microsoft is working on a version of Internet Explorer for the 360. The system is the only current-gen system without an internet browser, and E3 would be the most obvious place to unveil something like this.
Chances: Not bad, not bad at all.
Black Ops II demo – Every Microsoft conference includes a gameplay demo of the yearly Call of Duty game, and with Black Ops II being pretty highly anticipated, expect it to get some loving at this year’s show too.
Chances: About the same as there being lots of explosions involved.
360 Price Drop – We predicted this last year and the 360 is still the same price as it was when we made that prediction in May 2011. It’s overdue for a price drop, and the recently-announced $99 Xbox with a service contract isn’t the answer. Again, a 250GB 360, replacing the 4GB model at $199, would do a lot to generate more interest in the console.
Chances: We thought it was pretty likely last year, and we were wrong, so we’ll be cautious and say “maybe.”
Xbox Live Android app – Microsoft has Xbox Live apps already out on Windows phones and iOS, and since Android is the most popular operating system for smartphones, it stands to reason that there will be an Android app at some point. Whether they announce it at E3 or not is another story.
Chances: If not at E3, then definitely at some point in the near future.
Alan Wake 2 – Everyone expected to see this last year and was disappointed when it didn’t make an appearance. Remedy would like to make a sequel to its critically-acclaimed thriller, but as of February work hadn’t started on it. It’s possible that this long-rumored sequel won’t make an appearance until the next gen.
Chances: It’d be a big surprise if it were to happen.
Final Fantasy XIII-3 – Square Enix has had a great relationship with Microsoft in recent years, even going so far as to bring FFXIII to the 360. Those who have played XIII-2 have said that its ending is blatant setup for a sequel, and Square could use MS’s conference to announce it. However, it would be unusual for a Final Fantasy game to be announced at E3 – TGS would be a better bet.
Chances: Wishful thinking, but TGS would be more likely.
Fable 4 – It’s about time for another release in the Fable series, and we don’t mean the godawful looking Fable: The Journey demoed during last year’s conference. While we expect Kinect functionality of some kind, we don’t think the next main entry in the series will be Kinect-centric, opting instead for a traditional experience. E3 would be an obvious place to unveil a fourth Fable game.
Chances: It could happen…but another Kinect demo would probably be more on the cards.
And there you have it! Check back after the conference to see how we did!