What's Microsoft planning?
Microsoft is kicking off the show on Monday, June 4 at 9:30 AM, and we're hearing that it has big plans for the show. We've put our heads together to speculate exactly what said plans might be, and came up with some predictions as to what we expect to hear the Xbox-maker reveal.
They're going to update the dashboard again
It's a hassle to find anything, nothing is organized in a way that makes sense, and we're guessing the number of people waving at their TVs to watch Netflix is much lower than those stumbling through with a controller. Hopefully Microsoft will find a nice middle ground, because the current setup isn't doing it for us.
There will be a price drop or a new Kinect bundle
Maybe Microsoft will just shove Kinects into every bundle already on the market - effectively cutting the price of every Xbox on store shelves by $100 by including a shiny new Kinect. Maybe it'll slash $50 off of all of the current bundles and hope that consumers will use those savings to buy Kinects. Either way, we expect Microsoft to make a drastic move this year at E3 in terms of pricing.
We'll get a long look at Halo 4
Odds are, it won't mean standing in your living room pretending to be Master Chief (unless, you know, that's your thing), so don't get too worried. We're guessing squad commands, the ability to toss grenades, or other elements that could easily be assigned to voice will be, and that it'll be completely optional. Or maybe we'll just be able to say "Xbox, mute 'HeartEater420'" during a multiplayer match. That'd be "Better with Kinect" alright.
...and the beta will likely start during, or soon after, E3
To make things more interesting, we think that the beta might start during E3, or shortly after. What better way to build buzz than to tell people that they can start experiencing Halo 4 as soon as the press conference is over? Microsoft has done that kind of thing before, and if it wants any chance of taking down CoD, it has to start pulling some rabbits out of helmets as soon as possible.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be demoed on stage
But more than that, this will likely be the place where Microsoft will unveil some sort of exclusivity with downloadable content, as it often does. It might be as minor as early access to downloable content, but or as major as some interesting Call of Duty Elite/Xbox Live integration. Activision could release an Xbox App of some sort that fully merges Elite and Xbox Live - that'd be a good excuse to buy the Xbox version over the PlayStation for hardcore COD fans.
Kinect Sports 3 will be Olympic-themed
What sports will be featured this year? They've already covered the basics, so the next logical move would be going timely by tying it into Olympic events. We doubt Microsoft is actually going to go after the pricey license, but it could work around it by just including a bunch of Olympic sports, for people to trip over their coffee tables playing. It'll be just like the real thing, except with more crying and less drug testing.
Xbox Live will get Major League Soccer streaming
Why? Because the Seattle Sounders, that's why. The Washington-based team is owned by Microsoft, and their jerseys have branding all over them. Seriously, they have an Xbox Live logo on their jerseys. So, yeah, we're really expecting this one to be revealed.
EA will reveal more Kinect functionality for its Sports games
Shouting orders to teammates in Fifa? Check. Calling out commands in NHL? Done. Yelling "FORE" for some reason in Tiger Woods? Absolutely. Every single EA Sports game will dabble in Kinect this year, though we believe the highlight example will be Madden. Beyond being able to call audibles in real-time, we anticipate an "All-Play" mode like the one found in the Wii Madden games, allowing non-gamers to use their bodies and motion-control to play a stripped-down version of Madden.
Epic will unveil the Unreal Engine 4 in full
It's going to look awesome, too. The screens gave us a glimpse of the next-gen, but seeing it in action is going to be something else. Oh, and whatever's shown off is essentially going to be a teaser for whatever its first next-gen game is going to be, just like when Epic showed off the Unreal Engine 3 demo with what ended up becoming Gears of War.
Infinity Blade Kinect will finally be revealed
Think about it: the controls could be almost identical. Swipes of the screen could be replaced with arm motions, taps with jabs, and dodges with... well, dodges. It'd be like a big, grown-up version of Fruit Ninja Kinect, only you'll be swiping monsters to death instead of watermelons.
Fortnite will have some sort of exclusivity
Besides showing the game off at Microsoft's press conference, we expect Epic to reveal that it'll enjoy at least a limited exclusivity on the Xbox 360. Microsoft might've actually picked it up entirely, as it did with Gears of War, in hopes that it may, somehow, end up being its next AAA exclusive franchise.
A new Gears of War will be teased
Instead, it'll be one of two things: a prequel set during the Pendulum Wars, or a multiplayer-focused game that blurs the line between Unreal Tournament and Gears of War. Gears of War's multiplayer on a larger scale with big, open maps and vehicles would be extremely interesting, and we'd be shocked if Epic didn't attempt to keep Gears of War in the public eye, post GoW3.
Fable 4 will be announced
Expect Fable 4 to be a step back towards Fable 2 after the less-than-stellar reception to the changes in Fable 3, and also expect the developers to call it the "end of the current Fable story," in hopes of rebooting all things Fable for the next-generation in a few years.
Oh, and it'll have Kinect support. Because hey, why not.
Mass Effect 3 DLC will be shown off
We have a feeling that EA will use Microsoft's press conference to give out some of these details, and maybe release the first trailer for whatever post-release Mass Effect DLC it has planned. Odds are more details will be revealed at EA's own press conference, but giving gamers a taste during Microsoft's conference definitely sounds like something that could happen.
Microsoft will hint at the next-gen
Microsoft might drop some minor spec information just to make Nintendo's system seem inefficient, and we might hear a release window. Microsoft could even show "test footage" built on the Unreal 4 engine on, displaying what it believes the next-gen will look like. This would no doubt be all be smoke and mirrors in hopes of distracting people from Nintendo's console, but odds are it'll work, because it's going to be very, very pretty.
What are you expecting?
If you're looking for more E3 news, check out 13 games we haven't seen since E3 2011 and the top 7 biggest, best, and most shocking E3 surprises .