E3 Excitement

It’s Saturday. In less than two days time, video game journalists and industry members will be gathered in LA to kick off the largest convention for video games: Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Over 40,000 people will attend the event with just about every major game developer and publisher showing off something they’ll be releasing in the future. E3 is not the first gaming convention of the year, but it’s definitely the one that kicks off the upcoming year of gaming. Once E3 is over, the industry buildup to holiday and spring releases jumps into overdrive and we can finally start looking toward a foreseeable future, rather than a hopeful guessing game of what’s coming out and when. Needless to say, E3 is an exciting event.

This year is going to be a wildcard of sorts, though. While there are many titles we know of finally showing some real gameplay footage and discussion of confirmed game mechanics, I don’t think we’ll see much in the way of surprise titles being shown off. My reasoning? Well, next-gen consoles are coming, but not this year. We’ve already seen an unusually long life-span from this current generation of hardware than we have before. The Xbox 360 hits 7 years old this October, and both the PS3 and Wii will be turning 6. Traditionally, most consoles have had 4-5 year cycles, which all three major platforms have already passed and are looking to push at least one more year. Now Nintendo is looking to release the Wii U (successor to the Wii) later this year and capping the Wii at 6 years. However, seeing as the Wii is operating on tech that is 5+ years older than anything the 360 and PS3 use, that’s actually a REALLY long time for that console. Nintendo plans to “re-unveil” the Wii U this year after its lackluster debut at last year’s E3. We’ll be seeing some unannounced titles to launch alongside the Wii U, but everyone will be looking to more at what Nintendo plans to DO with the Wii U and not so much at what’s shipping with it. So we’ll be looking more at the other two console makers to give us some surprises.

Microsoft and Sony haven’t shown anything concerning their next-gen consoles, but what we have heard leaves their press conferences with the ability to either wow us…or bore us. Inside sources point to Microsoft planning to launch their new console THIS YEAR, but ended up backing off for unstated reasons. So Microsoft has a console that is far enough in development to ship, but decided against it. That means I can say with 99.99% confidence that we’ll see a new Xbox next year. Sony hasn’t said anything about the PS4 or whatever they’re going to call it, but they have stated that they will not let Microsoft have the one year lead on them like the 360 had on the PS3. So again, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing a new PlayStation console next year. Which means that this should be the last E3 that is solely devoted to this generation of consoles.

Now, why would that make this E3 boring? Don’t get me wrong, this E3 will be plenty exciting. There are numerous big-name titles that are to be shown off that I’m greatly interested in as well as updates to Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii U’s online services. But most of these announcements will be expected and many more will be predictable. The games shown will be epic, but most are sequels to known titles and every one of them will be limited in what they can do by 8 year old hardware.

SIDE NOTE: Did you know that the Xbox 360 and PS3 both only have 512 megabytes of memory? Nowadays you can’t find a cheap laptop that doesn’t have AT LEAST 2 gigabytes of memory (that’s 4x the amount of memory for those who don’t do tech-math). With most gaming PC rigs running 8 gigabytes of memory or more, that leaves console games way back in the dust. I really am excited about what games are coming out, but I’m craving more. Bigger environments, more enemies, smarter enemies, more persistence…there’s so much more games can be doing that don’t involve the “brighter-brights and whiter whites” improvements of graphics cards.

Unless Sony and Microsoft lied to us all (which isn’t unlikely), we won’t be seeing or hearing anything about next-gen consoles. No next-gen consoles means no next-gen games, which means more of the same. I’m ready for something a little different, even if it is just Call of Duty with a brand-new engine, or playing BF3 at 60 frames-per-second.

Overall, I’m totally stoked to see what developers and publishers are pushing our way, and I’m not going to let the lack of new consoles ruin the shine of E3. I’m just really hoping Microsoft and Sony lied to us…for once.

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