Five things I’m excited about for E3

So E3 is here. We’ve all been waiting for our favourite stories and announcements. Many are hardware related and that’s where this E3 is quite unique for having so much potential. Here are the stories I’m most excited about!

Nintendo Hardware Details
Rarely is so much information revealed before a proper hardware unveiling. The 3DS. Head tracking 3D screen, rumours stipulating a PS3/360 level of performance in a hand-held (not likely!), an analogue stick? Nintendo obviously have to bump up the specs to compete with the ageing PSP and the increasingly powerful Apple idevices. Lets hope it’s exceptional!

A new HD Wii? Some sort of online service with account-based downloads instead of console bound ones? There’s no real reason to think this is coming other than it really has to at some point.

Harmonix / Rock Band 3
A lot of people wouldn’t be in the slightest bit interested in finding out more about Rock Band 3, but as a collector of strange peripherals and fan of Harmonix’ previous work I’m seeing a lot to be intrigued by here. 102 button MatCatz controllers? Pro mode 6 stringed guitars which double as proper fully functional instruments? Adaptors that let you use any old midi keyboard to play?

A lot of big steps to be taking in a single iteration. I’d like to think that the advanced gameplay will help increase sales. Very ballsy, I hope it pays off for them.

Sony PSN & Hardware Changes
Are Sony really about to start charging a subscription for new features such as cross-game voice chat? What impact will the new service have on things like PS:Home & user profiles? How are Sony going to sell it whilst still leaving online gaming as a free feature?

New PS3 and PSP hardware might also be at the show, but that doesn’t really excite me as we know a PS3 revision isn’t going to be too different from the current one. PSP2 I don’t know anything about, and I’d be susprised to see anything at E3.

MS Project Natal (Kinect?) & Playstation Move (+ 3D)
People have argued the merits of both control schemes. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. They have a lot to prove this E3, and a lot of people will be watching to see how they’re both going to be justified by the publishers. Why are people going to pay extra for these? Have Sony miscalculated, or can PS3 prices be reduced over the next few years to the extent that allows for Move to seem good value to the average consumer? Given the obscene cost of 3DTV, are Sony pushing something before it’s ready? Is it impressive enough to get the public on board?

These are exciting times for 1st party peripherals and interface evolution. I don’t think any company has added significant new functionality on top of a console and have it be hugely successful.

A Slim Xbox 360?
If this happens it will probably sell a lot of machines. The current 360 design is big, noisy and (in my opinion) pretty ugly. A smaller 360 would help it compete visually with the slim PS3, reduce waste and generally be a great thing. Here’s a supposed legitimate leak of what it will look like – A definite improvement!

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What’s missing from this list?
Obviously, games. There is so much going on in gaming to be happy about. Bulletstorm looks great, Resistance 3 and Killzone 3 will both likely make impressive appearances. Nintendo will show their long-awaited next Zelda title and Metroid other M. Microsoft have their obvious Halo cash-cow and Gears 3 to show. On the DS there’s Super Scribblenauts to look forward to.

So who do I think will come out on top at E3? I don’t see it as a game with winners and losers. It’s important they please their audiences but I think they’re all going to have strong showings, and it’s clear there is space for multiple approaches in the market. I’m most interested in Sony’s presentation, but I’m going to be watching them all with great interest!

New controllers not your thing? What are you most looking forward to this E3?