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Things I'm Looking Forward to at E3 2011

Company: GameVortex.com
Product: E3 2011

I don't usually go into E3 with a lot of specific expectations, other than to be wowed. I don't think I've ever been let down. Sure, some years didn't run as smoothly as others, and new systems aren't launched every E3, but there's always something exciting, something unexpected, and several things that you know that people back at home will want to know about.

However, taking a moment to ponder just what we might get to see at E3 this year, there are a few things that have piqued my curiosity...

Transmedia Interaction:

So, CCP is going to be at E3 again this year, which is bound to be interesting. EVE Online is already an amazingly beautiful game, with a lot of depth, but an upcoming update will include the ability to disembark your ship as your avatar, while in stations. I don't know how deep that will go, but I'm anxious to find out. Also, there's another game the CCP's going to be showing, called Dust 514, which is a console FPS that will interact with EVE Online in a new and novel way, where the attacks in Dust 514 will be ordered by corporations in EVE Online and the outcomes of the battles will affect territory ownership in EVE Online. This integration is a new, exciting aspect; it will be interesting to see how this interaction affects each game.

Trion Worlds has an interesting co-dependent creative project that I'm hoping to learn more about this year, as well. No name has been announced, yet, but supposedly they will be creating an action MMO game which will interact with an upcoming Syfy network series, such that events that occur in the series will affect the game's storyline and events, while events that occur in the game will affect the show's storyline, as well. Rather than the highly player-driven environment of EVE Online, this project will involve an interaction between the players actions and the resulting in-game events, and the writers of a television show on Syfy, which means that the interaction won't likely be as immediate or direct, but one of the interactive products is a non-interactive media (television), which could make this project an interesting one to watch.

Nintendo's Press Conference: A New Console?

I'm not as up on Nintendo and the "Project Cafe" as reported by EuroGamer, but in poking around a bit, I found a real-enough looking memo on the Japanese Nintendo website (both in Japanese and in English) that states fairly plainly that the next Nintendo console will be released in 2012 and will be viewable at E3 2011. And, of course, a new console is always a source of buzz and interest.

The speculation I've seen is that the new system will still feature motion controls, but will possibly be smaller and cheaper. I have also seen speculation that the graphics may support 1080p, which would let Nintendo step into the ring with the other consoles which have a definite edge on the Wii in the graphics department. As for me, I prefer not to speculate, especially when E3 2011 is just around the corner...

Sony's Press Conference: Can You Hear Me Now?

If you follow the news... at all... or even if you play any games online on the PS3 or PSP, you're probably aware that the PlayStation Network was hacked. Big time. There was loss of service, loss of data... it wasn't good. And, Sony wasn't able to get things fixed very quickly. Then, when they got things back online, the sheer number of people trying to reconnect to PSN caused slowdowns and problems. Then, when it looked like things were back to normal, there was an exploitable issue in the password resetting functionality.

The long and short of it is that PlayStation has had a security wake-up call that has shaken the consumers' trust that will need to be addressed. If it's not mentioned at all in the press conference, it will definitely be the white elephant in the room. Sony is going to need to show a strong approach to safeguarding data and protecting consumer privacy, far beyond their "Welcome Back" customer appreciation package. It will be interesting to see how they address this during the press conference.

The other thing that's come out about the Sony Press Conference is that it is going to be a five hour event on the day before E3 officially starts. It will be from 5PM to 10PM, so I am expecting this year's Sony Presser to be, essentially, a press conference and party-ala-yesteryear all in one. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Microsoft's Press Conference: Kinecting the dots...

If I had to guess, I would expect to see a whole lot of Kinect-compatible loving at the Microsoft Press Conference. It was their underlying theme last year, and I expect they're just getting warmed up. The fact that Forza Motorsport 4 will be supporting the Kinect has been officially stated on the Forza website, but just how it's used and how well it works remains to be seen. I also expect to see more development to the Xbox Gamertag profiles, allowing for greater personalization and, more importantly for Microsoft, social interaction. Microsoft has been the leader in online games when it comes to consoles and the PSN security woes and month of outtage (so close to E3) helps to underline that fact. The gaming industry has discovered social networking, with in-game messaging, automatic Achievement Facebook posts, brand-reinforcing Facebook games and gamer-oriented messaging clients such as Raptr. The 360 is the console best positioned to capitalize on social networking, and I expect to see them leverage this in new and exciting ways.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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