The biggest gaming conference of the year, E3, is set to begin next week on Los Angeles. Typically where huge game consoles and popular games are announced, the conference is sure to bring with it at least a few blockbuster titles and advances in gaming technology, as well as more information about what's in store from some of the biggest movers and shakers in the gaming industry.
About 47,000 video game industry professionals are expected to descend on L.A. for the event, with over 200 exhibitors being represented ranging from big household names to smaller developers you may have never heard of -- we even hear there's a video-game movie premiering during this year's show.
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So, what are we likely to see at E3 this year? Here are some of our predictions for three of the biggest players in gaming: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
Nintendo is likely to give us a little more information about the Wii U, and possibly even a release date for the device. Nintendo announced the Wii U at its press conference at E3 last year. The console's biggest claim to fame is its innovative 6.2-inch touchscreen controller that looks like a tablet and is used to interact with games along with your television. The Wii U is also compatible with traditional Wii controllers, opening up a ton of interesting possibilities for gameplay.
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At Nintendo's press conference on Tuesday we're likely to learn more about the console, as well as information about some of the titles that will be available for it come launch time.
The console is currently expected to be released “sometime in 2012,” so with luck we'll also get a more firm release date for the device.
“We're absolutely excited about the advent of what we're calling 'Gen 4 Console Cycle' with the launch of the Wii U,” Tony Bartel President of GameStop told Mashable in an interview about the company's expectations for the show. While GameStop doesn't know any more about the console's launch than you or I, Bartel says it is excited about the console's launch and what it may potentially bring along with it. “We really see that [the Wii U] as the advent on Gen 4 consoles,” says Bartel.
Nintendo says it chose "U" for the name of its new device to emphasize the personal aspect of the new controller.
Sony has already indicated it won't be showing off any next-generation consoles at this year's show, but has promised to show off “The Future of Gameplay and Innovation” at its press conference on Monday.
The company has promised to showcase a new lineup of products and services for the PlayStation brand, and will have over 200 kiosks set up at the show for event-goers to get some hands-on time with them.
The PS3 is still rocking it in the sales department, but the same can't be said for the PS Vita. Sony will likely use E3 as an opportunity to convince consumers that the PS Vita is in fact a console they want to buy, perhaps highlighting the game titles that work across both the Vita and the more popular PS3.
The PS Vita may also see a price drop to help bring customers over, or the company many announce a PS3 + Vita discounted bundle to help drive additional sales of the handheld system.
Microsoft has also indicated that it won't be making any major console announcements at E3 and is likely to instead highlight some of the big titles coming to Xbox this year, focusing perhaps in the biggest title headed to the console: Halo 4. We're also likely to see at least a few new Kinect titles for the Xbox.
Windows 8 is also set to make an appearance soon, and Microsoft may use their press conference at the show to highlight the Xbox Live integration in Windows 8, perhaps also highlighting gaming opportunities on Windows phones and tablets.
Microsoft is streaming its press conference for Xbox enthusiasts live on both Xbox LIVE and Spike TV on Monday starting at 9:30am PST.
While hardware is traditionally the spotlight for E3, games are likely to steal the show this year. Nintendo will be the only company making a huge console announcement, and even then it will be just providing more information about a console we already know is coming, providing just a little more detail on what we can expect with its release.
Do any of you have any of your own E3 predictions? What are you hoping to see come from the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.