Gamer Living’s 2012 E3 Predictions

It’s that time of year, when the gaming world waits with bated breath for the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo for the latest announcements from all the major players in the industry. Gamer Living will be on site to bring the exciting news straight to your browser daily as we walk the floors, meet with industry experts, and get hands on with the games that we’ll be seeing in 2012-13. But what can we expect to see this year? We take a look at some of the rumors floating around the internet and share our thoughts.

Will Microsoft be unveiling the next-gen Xbox?

There are two sides to this. First, Microsoft has vehemently denied that they’ll be revealing the replacement for the Xbox 360 on multiple accounts, but what appear to be controlled leaks coming from the camp continue to stack up. Furthermore, with the contract between Bungie and Activision recently coming to light, it appears as though at least two key players are planning on a 2013 launch of the next-gen console.

Add to that the continually declining sales of their flagship console, and Microsoft is in a position where they need something to re-energize the market.

Our opinion: They will most likely do some tech demos to tease the new hardware capabilities at E3, but we won’t see any official hardware designs or specs until later this year or possibly next year. With rumors running rampant that most of the major players are already developing for the 720, it’s not hard to believe that they’d want to show off some of the graphical capabilities to get gamers frothing at the mouth.

What’s Bungie up to? Will we see anything from them this year?

Bungie’s website has been dark for quite a while since the release of Halo: Reach and the transfer of services over to 343 Industries. Once again, using the aforementioned contract between Activision and Bungie that states a 2013 release for their upcoming project Destiny, there’s a good possibility that we’ll see a teaser trailer from the Activision camp.

Also, we’ve received indications that Bungie will be attending E3, but is not scheduling meetings with the general media. This further bolsters the possibility that we’ll be seeing/hearing something from them this year.

Our opinion: We will very likely see a teaser on project Destiny.

Is Grand Theft Auto V releasing this holiday?

A recent blog post by 360 Reviews in the UK showed details of a contest happening on an Australia and New Zealand Facebook page. The contest is for participants to “Crack the Code” to enter for a chance to win a year’s supply of Xbox games. Initially, the Facebook page displayed the box art for GTA V; however, it has recently been replaced with a picture of Minecraft instead.

Additionally, the @XboxSupport1 Twitter account a couple of weeks ago replied to @TheRealDubster stating, “The next title, Grand Theft Auto 5, will be out later this year :) ^BB” The Tweets was quickly deleted with a retraction stating, “hey there, just to follow up. There is no official release date for that game, so we don’t have info on when it is out. ^BB”

Our opinion: Put two and two together, and you have a likely holiday release for Grand Theft Auto V, with a likely full trailer reveal at E3.

What about the PlayStation 4, any news on when that’s releasing?

Sony likes to release their consoles during the holiday season, but there are no indications that we’ll see anything announced or release this year at E3. Even the Bungie/Activision contract shows that they aren’t planning any support for the console until at least 2014, which would indicate that they will likely announce at the 2013 E3 at the earliest.

Our opinion: We’ll be seeing a lot of stuff regarding the PlayStation Vita, but no word regarding the PlayStation 4 this year.

What about the Xbox Lite?

Xbox Lite, or Xbox Loop as the elusive former MS Watchdog and Blogger termed it, is predicted to be a smaller form factor Xbox that will supposedly be equipped with an ARM processor and run a modified Windows 9 core. There’s speculation as to whether this device would have an optical drive or not to play boxed games with.

Our opinion: A cheaper, more profitable version of the Xbox 360 definitely makes sense to us in order to boost the short-term sales of the Xbox line. However, Microsoft would be shooting themselves in the foot by not offering the model without a DVD drive or physical storage, especially if they’re attempting to target lower-income markets that can’t afford broadband internet. Further indications of a SKU change come by the way of Microsoft’s recent offering of the $99 Xbox deal with a cost inflated 2-year subscription, as this would likely be a good way to attempt to unload existing stock before announcing the new SKU. This will likely be announced as the new SKU for holiday 2012 with a base price of $100 and $150-$175 for a version with Kinect.

Will There Be Price Cuts For The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita?

With sales slowing down over the last four months in the games industry, it’s almost a given that the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 will be receiving a price cut this holiday season. It’s even more likely that you’ll be seeing a price drop from the Microsoft camp even sooner if they add a new SKU (Xbox Loop) to the list to clear inventory of existing stock.

As for the PlayStation Vita, it’s anyone’s guess. It’s been about six months since the console launched in Japan and three since its release in the United States, and during that time the console has sold about 2.1 million units worldwide. However, it’s likely that we’ll see a strong third-party showing for the handheld at Sony’s E3 Media Briefing this coming Monday, and it’s very possible that Sony could rely on this third-party showing to boost sales without a price drop.

Our Opinion: $50 price drops likely to be announced for the Xbox 360 and PS3 SKUs. Possibly a $50 price drop for the PlayStation Vita.

What about Nintendo?

Nintendo has a full plate this year. The impending release of the Wii U and increasing support for the 3DS is sure to give Nintendo an edge over the competition in this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. We’ll finally see the finalized hardware and specs, and a good, strong amount of support from third parties for the device.

Our Opinion: Nintendo will be the one to steal the show this year at E3.

Our unfounded predictions this year? We wouldn’t be surprised to see Electronic Arts announce Madden 13 for the PlayStation Vita and the Wii U, as well as possibly NHL 13 and NCAA 13. An announcement from Activision for Call of Duty for the Vita would not be surprising either. From Microsoft, we’ll be hearing a lot more about services being added to the Xbox 360 and a new hardware SKU. We’ll also be seeing some reveals from third parties of games running on the next-gen Xbox hardware. And last, but not least, we’ll be seeing a new revision to Razer’s Project Fiona that will hopefully blow some PC gamers’ minds.

Stay tuned next week for our coverage on the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Our bags are packed, and our gear is stowed. We’ll be providing coverage starting on Monday and running through the week to meet with some of the biggest names in the gaming industry. So grab our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and stay up to date on the latest news and thoughts on E3 2012!

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