What to expect at gamer’s Christmas: E3

And so it is upon us, the Christmas of gamers all over the world, E3, is coming soon. For those not in the know, people from all over the industry, including reporters, companies, and independent developers, come together at Santa Monica to announce their newest products. E3 stands for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but for most gamers we know it as the time when the most news about video games is released to the press and the public.

While our bi-weekly schedule in the spring makes it hit-or-miss on covering the expo the day of, luckily this year we’ll be able to report on the E3 press conference the same week it is broadcasted.

It’s a big time for the big three gaming companies: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. All three now have brand new consoles out, and with their ships now sailing in the water, they need to show us some good games that deserve to be on their decks.

Microsoft would seem to have a lot to prove. Some reports state that Sony’s PS4 has sold twice as many consoles as the Xbox One. There’s been much backtracking from Microsoft as well, such as on their DRM policies that would have made people unable to trade their own games, and on Kinect by making it a non-integral part of their console. The Xbox One, unfortunately contracted as “Xbone” in a case of poorly thought out naming, is struggling with identity as its uniqueness is shaved off for profitability.

In the end the games are the most important, and I&rsquo;ve been impressed with Microsoft&rsquo;s initiative at gaining exclusives, such as the innovative if underwhelming <em>Titanfall</em>, or the recent fighting game hit <em>Killer Instinct.</em> Microsoft has shown their willingness to change and to be different. We&rsquo;ll see their plans, including the recently announced <em>Halo 5: Guardians,</em> at the first press conference on June 9.

Sony is sitting pretty with their PlayStation 4 easily taking the lead in sales, which is good because the rest of Sony is doing horribly. Sony still has things to prove at their press conference, particularly strengthening their exclusive gamesm and giving us a better reason to own the console now that we&rsquo;re leaving the first trickle of games. Sony needs to prove that there are experiences only available on PS4. <em>Uncharted </em>will likely see a new entry, and I hope that Sony&rsquo;s <em>Morpheus </em>Virtual Reality headset gets a showing as well. Sony&rsquo;s press conference is also on June 9.

Nintendo has even more to prove. The Xbone is at least a relative success, just losing out to it competitor, while the WiiU is in actual trouble, selling worse than the GameCube at the same point in its lifetime. Investors are angry, customers are unimpressed.

Still, one must not underestimate the sales potential of <em>Mario Kart, </em>which releases right before E3, and <em>Smash Bros, </em>a series that sold plenty of GameCubes back in the day. The portable space remains profitable for Nintendo, with some rumors that Nintendo may be working on a new portable that can hook into a TV-like console. And since Nintendo keeps secrets like no other, we may just see something completely unexpected. Having opted out of a proper press conference, you can actually catch their event online on June 10.

EA, Ubisoft, and all developers and publishers big and small will have their own press conferences at the event. EA&rsquo;s been touting 8 new games, and I wouldn&rsquo;t be surprised if we see a new <em>Battlefield </em>and <em>Mass Effect</em> make its presence known, along with their annual sports franchises such as <em>FIFA </em>and <em>Madden</em>. Ubisoft has already teased <em>Far Cry 4</em>, taking place in the Himalayas, and <em>Assassin&rsquo;s Creed Unity, </em>taking place in France during the French Revolution, which will almost certainly be there<em>.</em>

Honestly, I just love watching E3, watching the press conferences, freaking out at the surprises, laughing at the screw-ups, anticipating the new games, and seeing the footage that shows up online. If you&rsquo;re a gamer who hasn&rsquo;t kept tabs on E3, do yourself a favour and check up on the news that comes out of the expo, it can be really exciting!

In the meantime, please play <em>Transistor, </em>an action-strategy game made by indie darling <em>Bastion. </em>I won&rsquo;t be able to cover it until after E3, but be sure to check it out in spite of this. It&rsquo;s a unique experience that will make the terrible wait for E3 easier to deal with.