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E3 Preview: What You Can Expect to See

Filed under: E3
Posted by Jeremy on May 8, 2006 2:06 PM
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Relatively speaking, I'm not all that excited for this year's E3 (all this week in L.A.). The big reason for this is that there are no "blockbuster" announcements in the pipeline. The Xbox 360 has been out for months, we know that the PS3 will launch in November, and Nintendo already did a number on us all when they announced the change of name for their console from 'Revolution' to 'Wii'. So, what will be announced?

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NINTENDO

Their next-gen console, the 'Wii' will debut this holiday season...we know that. What we don't know are launch titles for the machine. It's fairly obvious that 'The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess', a GameCube game which will play on and has special functionality for the Wii, will debut right about the same time as the Wii. So, although 'Zelda: TP' is a GameCube game, I'm considering it a Wii launch title. I predict that Nintendo will announce something along those lines. Also, judging from today's 'Time' article, Nintendo will announce that WarioWare Wii will be a launch title.

At E3, Nintendo has plans to make available playable Wiis. If you don't know, the 'revolutionary' aspect of the Wii is the controller. It is the shape of a TV remote and, via a sensor on the top of your TV, senses motion, twisting, depth, etc. The Time article confirmed that 'Zelda: TP' utilizes the remote for sword fighting, firing a bow and arrow, and fishing. For some games, an add-on unit is required. This two handed option is known as the Nunchku remote (looks like nunchucks). The small unit in the left hand is essentially an analog stick for movement. This is tethered to the motion-sensing remote and whiz-bang, a whole new way to play games. Since only a limited few in the press have been given access to the controller, the availability of it at E3 will create huge buzz and hype.

Nintendo's goal with this interface is to get non-gamers into gaming. Of course, there are still those out there who want a classic controller. Nintendo has plans to release a "normal" controller for those who don't want to writhe around while gaming. Nintendo may reveal this "normal" controller at E3.

You can also expect to here other software announcements (hopefully a 'Mario' announcment) and some touting of games like 'Brain Age' for the Nintendo DS.

Finally, we may or may not here about how Nintendo plans to integrate the popular Nintendo Wi-Fi service (currently in use on the DS) into the Wii and maybe some pricing and features of the service.

XBOX

Although I haven't heard any rumblings about it, I would guess that Microsoft will announce that the Xbox will drop in price, probably to $129.99. It's a longshot, but could you imagine if they dropped the price to $99? Sure, they may be canabalizing sales of the X360, but it would put the fear of God into Sony and increase the Xbox Live subscriber base.

The big Xbox announcement, of course, will have to do with 'Halo 3'. Bill Gates has plans to launch the game at about the same time the PS3 launches. We have yet to see any footage of the game, but I think that'll have changed by the end of the week.

Although I don't expect to hear anything about it this week, MS may hint at the rumored Xbox handheld.

Another item that I'm sure will be much discussed this week is the announcement of the HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. At this point, it is for movies, not games. I expect that a price and a release date will be announced at E3. My prediction: $299 and on or around July 4th weekend.

I'm sure we can also expect to hear about new features and/or arcade games on Xbox Live.

SONY

Sony, Sony, Sony, what do I do with you? So far, we know that the console will have a worldwide simultaneous launch this Fall (probably November) and that Sony expects to sell at least 5 million units by March. Based on the difficulty of the Xbox 360 launch, I highly doubt that things will go smoothly. In other words, expect long lines and long delays between shipments. However, that's not really E3 talk, now is it?

Sony will most likely announce the official specs of the PS3 and maybe even make some available for play. A price announcement would surprise me as they are still waiting on Blu-ray specs and pricing.

Therefore, we turn our attention to software. Square Enix just announced that 'Final Fantasy XIII' will be on the PS3 and most likely, a PS3 exclusive. Expect t hear some news on a 'Gran Turismo' game for the PS3 and perhaps one or two other potential launch titles, like 'Virtua Fighter 5' from SEGA. We'll update you regarding software annoucements as they come out.

SOFTWARE

Here is a list of games that we're excited about:

Assassin's Creed PS3, X360 - Ubisoft

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway PC, PS3, X360 - Ubisoft

God of War 2 PS3 - Sony

LEGO Star Wars II All Systems - LucasArts

Obviously, there are many more and we'll post info and trailers as they become available. For now, you can sign in to Xbox Live to get E3 coverage, or check out e3insider.com.






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