E3 10: Expectations

May 30, 2010

E3 2010 is right around the corner, and there’s always the expectations game. We look at the Big Three and put together the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the show for each of them.

Andrew Passafiume – Best-case scenario: Getting the exclusive reveals would be the best way to make Microsoft’s press conference stand out the most. And since they are always the first conference, they should definitely make a great impression. What I mean by exclusive reveals is dealing with something they have done well in the past: showing off live demos of the games that may not be exclusive, but are shown first running on the 360. They’ve done it in the past with Fallout 3, The Beatles: Rock Band, and Modern Warfare 2. I think this is why they always have some of the more memorable press conferences. Sure, Natal will probably still be a big focus, but I think it having its own little show the day before will be enough for Microsoft.

Worst-case scenario: The exact opposite of the best case, as in: focusing too much on Natal and continuing to show off Natal with simple tech demos and no real huge titles that make it truly worth buying. Also, although they have Halo: Reach and Fable III as their big Fall exclusives, it would be nice to see something else revealed for the Fall or even just as another release coming next year besides Gears of War 3. 

Graham Russell – Best-case scenario: The rumors about Natal being $150 are false, as the company announces a release at somewhere around $80 with a pack-in game, and it has something the core gamers fawn over. The new name somehow wows us and doesn’t waste the hype the Natal brand has. They have to live up to their Beatles conference last year, so they book someone *big* to announce a new game that everyone wants but never thought about. Gears, Reach and Fable trailers are an afterthought.

Worst-case scenario: Natal’s $150, and it doesn’t even come with a game. What’s more, they rename it Wii-style and lose all momentum with the public, and there’s nothing actually compelling from a gameplay perspective. They show off more crap like Attack of the Movies, with the final reveal being another trailer for Gears or something. You’ll know this is coming if they load up the first half of the event with third-party trailers.

Shawn Vermette – Best-case scenario: Natal is playable on the show floor with games, not tech demos. Price point and release date are comparable or favorable against the PlayStation Move. They announce a number of high quality exclusives for release this fall and winter, along with at least a few Natal enables AAA games.

Worst-case scenario: Natal ships after PlayStation Move, and for a notably higher price point. Natal is only playable with tech demos or not at all. Additionally, they have fewer exclusives than Sony and/or their exclusives don’t come out until next year.


Andrew Passafiume – Best-case scenario: They focus mostly on the Nintendo 3DS, give us a price and release date, and show us just why it is the best use of 3D technology yet. This is a good time for Nintendo to once again show why they are the dominant force in technological innovations for both handhelds and consoles. Also, they should officially reveal the new Zelda and Pikmin 3 with trailers (and maybe even gameplay); it would be a nice bonus.

Worst-case scenario: They focus way too much on casual games and/or the Vitality Sensor for games that the generally gaming press does not care for. The vitality sensor will be brought up again, but it would pain me if it becomes a major focus for their press conference. Also, there would be a huge focus on games like Wii Party and whatever other casual titles they have on the horizon. 

Graham Russell – Best-case scenario: They front-load the conference with the new Zelda like they did last year with NSMB Wii. Cammie Dunaway does little more than explain Wii Party and the casual aspects of the Vitality Sensor, and then we see something with the sensor that core gamers won’t laugh at Wii Music-style. The 3DS is revealed, it’s impressive, and it has actual AAA launch titles to go with it. Reggie goes back to his ass-kicking, name-taking self by revealing something for the niche core (possibly the next Retro Studios project), and they close out with something big we weren’t expecting, like last year’s SMG2.

Worst-case scenario: 3DS is interesting but unspectacular, and there’s nothing yet but some tech demos. The “core” segment is devoted to a Golden Sun trailer and something from the conveniently-delayed Other M. Wii Party looks lame, so does the Vitality Sensor, and Cammie talks about her kids for way too long. Reggie comes out for a bit just to talk sales numbers, and they treat the Zelda reveal at the end (with a 2011 date) as if it’s a megaton.

Shawn Vermette – Best-case scenario: 3DS blows away the crowd. 3DS is playable on the show floor with some of its launch games. Nintendo also announces a Mario or Zelda game for the 3DS launch lineup. Nintendo reveals at least one big first party title for the holiday season. Nintendo finally announces a ‘real’ Pokémon game for the Wii.

Worst-case scenario: 3DS falls flat like the PSPGo did last year. No new first party games to fill on the holiday void.


Andrew Passafiume – Best-case scenario: Showing off the Move with a killer app (or multiple killer apps) that gives the consumers good reason why they are going above and beyond what the Wii has already done. People do not want more mini-game collections (and there’s a good chance they will get them either way), but a lot of people want to see something that shows that the Move is something more than just the Wii HD. Also, showing trailers (or even gameplay) of upcoming games like Killzone 3, the rumored infamous 2, or even whatever else they may have up their sleeves.

Worst-case scenario: Another PSP is announced. This is the last thing that Sony needs to focus on. If anything, they should have a nice showcase for the games coming out for the PSP, but the Go proved that they should simply stick with what they’ve got and worry about one new piece of technology (the Move) at their conference. Any kind of announcement about a new PSP, outside of possible PSP bundles, would be a huge mistake on their part.

Graham Russell – Best-case scenario: Move is impressive, and it kicks the floundering Natal out of the conversation. The conference is a fun one with more Kevin Butler and less actual executives, and the rumored big reveals are a reality.  The new PSP shows that they learned from their mistakes with the first one, and it’s at a competitive price point.

Worst-case scenario: Move is just another Wii clone, and Natal does something amazing to make it look silly. Sony’s presser is another snooze-fest, and…well, my friend and The Tester winner Will “Cyrus” Powers put it this way when lowering expectations: “There are going to be no reveals… just talking about PS2 for 2 hours.” Yep, that’d be a bad one. 

Shawn Vermette – Best-case scenario: Natal ships later and for a higher price point than the PlayStation Move. Move is playable on the show floor with games. Sony announces some exclusives to fill in their fall and winter lineup.

Worst-case scenario: No new exclusives shown for this year. Move is either not playable on the show floor, or only playable with tech demos.