It's coming. The next generation of games has been revealed, and we're all biting at the bit for more of a glimpse of the power and capability behind the two top contending platforms: Xbox One and PS4.
Sony started the year with their reveal, which gave us tantalizing looks at the PS4's cloud capabilities, a tweaked DualShock controller with light-bar, and a small clump of game announcements and play to show us that the future of the PlayStation brand looks great for gamers.
Microsoft took a different tact with their reveal, and focused more on the general entertainment-centric nature of the new Xbox. Showing the enhanced UI, Snap, voice commands, and improved Kinect, Microsoft showed that they are ready to invade the living room...to be the friend your cable box has been missing.
There were some complaints about both reveals. Sony, for instance, didn't expand on what Gaikai functionality would be at launch. They also kept the actual appearance of the PS4 a secret. Most interested parties, however, dismissed these things as trivial. Sony bought Gaikai for $380 million, and most feel comfortable that such an investment will be eagerly capitalized, and the look of the box doesn't matter to most.
Microsoft, on the other hand, faces much greater outcry. Having shown no actual gameplay, many gamers are left wondering if the Xbox One will be a capable games machine at all, and also if it will be a hindrance to how multiplatform games are designed to cope with a massive operating system overhead.
So the big question is: What will happen at E3?
First, I believe that Sony is going to bring the games. I can't see them having a conference that is less than 2 hours long, because they have so much to show. The first hour will be spent on the PS3, showcasing what's next for the popular platform. The Vita will be crammed into the end of that hour, bridging the gap between the PS3 and the PS4, where the real magic will begin.
Sony will showcase some casual titles, some of which may highlight the new, stereoscopic PSEye. They'll even provide some insight to how the DualShock 4 will work, using gameplay from something we may have already seen to show us what is possible with the new controller.
Finally, Sony will close out with some things we haven't seen, piling on the games in response to Microsoft's unveil.
Microsoft, however, has a lot of ground to cover. They'll most likely take just an hour to do it, which won't leave much time. But my predictions for them come in two parts.
First, what I would do: Spend an hour. Recap the unveiling in the first half hour. Forget TV. Spend the next half hour showcasing the new Kinect, and wrap it up with a trailer showing any new Kinect titles. Spend the last hour on games, games, games. All the games you can find. Prove to the primary Xbox audience...the audience that brought you into the home in the first place...that you haven't forgotten them. Show us that the Xbox One is a game console.
Second, what I think they'll ACTUALLY do: Take an hour. Show three multiplat games and announce one or two exclusive IPs (maybe not even new IPs). They'll spend too much time on Kinect, and the end result will be a general feeling that the box is too casual-centric.
My prediction is that they'll bridge the gap between these two things but leave us with less of a high than we want.
What do you think? Am I on target, or do I need to rethink the whole thing?