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Will E3 2010 Be the Best Show Ever?

By Louis Bedigian GameZone.com

Whether viewing the shows from home or experiencing them in person, the most exciting E3s have always involved new console or handheld launches, major game announcements, and/or surprising innovation.

E3 2010 already has two of those covered: a new handheld (Nintendo 3DS) and major game announcements (Killzone 3 in 3D!? What a way to pique my interest in 3D gaming!). Pre-show hype for LittleBigPlanet 2 doesn’t hurt either.

Those are just a few of the reasons why you should be excited for the show. Here are some others:

Natal, PS Move and Wii MotionPlus Go Head-to-Head – For Real, This Time

Remember in 2005 when the Xbox 360 was announced, and Sony and Nintendo said, “Hey, look at us!” and revealed the exterior designs of their new consoles (and tech demos, in Sony’s case) to try and steal Microsoft’s thunder? From a technological standpoint, it was cool. But from a gaming standpoint, it was lame.

E3 2009 was eerily similar; while Nintendo had real, fully-playable MotionPlus games on the show floor, Natal and PS Move were more or less in tech demo mode.

This year, everything changes. Microsoft is still being as secretive as ever, throwing a camera-free pre-show party to hype Natal to select members of the media. But there will be real Natal games at the show, finally proving the peripheral’s worth, and confirming that it will be released this year. PS Move, of course, will be the showpiece of Sony’s press conference, and will likely be the centerpiece of its E3 booth. But if Killzone 3 blows minds in 3D, it just might steal our attention – and the entire show.

To combat the new competition, Nintendo will to use a new Zelda (and all its MotionPlus wonder) to show that the Wii is still alive and kicking. This game is guaranteed to turn heads, even if it isn’t everything we hope for.

What’s more, E3 2010 will confirm whether or not third-party developers have decided to take the MotionPlus seriously now that millions of us own the device. Considering the remarks of some developers (who noted the possibility of cross-platform releases on Wii and PS3 due to their similar motion controllers), the forthcoming announcements should be very interesting.

Increased Publisher Support

When E3 2009 brought the return of the show’s original format, some publishers were reluctant to get on board. That’s understandable: the two previous years were hardly breathtaking. But now that publishers have seen the show survive (and realize that the original format is back for good), the exhibitor’s list is finally starting to grow.

Better yet, I predict that publishers will start to put more money into the show again. Does this mean we’ll get a Nintendo booth that trumps Zelda’s dungeon in 2005? Will Microsoft replace its trademark green walls with something a little more Halo? Could Sony use its own 3D technology to enhance its E3 booth as well as its games?

Only the publishers know for sure. But I’m eager to find out what they plan to do next.

The Start of a New Generation

Just as the Nintendo DS kicked off the current generation in 2004 (followed by Xbox 360 in 2005 and Wii/PS3 in 2006), Nintendo will use E3 2010 to unveil its next handheld evolution, the 3DS. Aside from the promise of 3D gaming without glasses, nothing is known about this mysterious and highly anticipated system. But with the original’s impeccable legacy – there were more innovative games released for the DS in 2004, 2005 and 2006 than for every other system combined – hardcore gamers have been eagerly awaiting its successor. Adding 3D only sweetens the deal.

Best of all, the Nintendo 3DS is just the beginning. In 2011, the PSP will be six years old. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sony will release a successor next year, and make the PSP2 (or whatever it’s called) the star of its E3 2011 presentation. Microsoft might still plan to shy away from the handheld business, but in 2012 – possibly sooner – you can bet that Nintendo will be hyping its successor to the Wii. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if E3 2011 was the birthplace for Wii 2, beating the competition by at least 12 months.

What about the next Xbox and PlayStation 4? They are both several years away … or so it seems. Microsoft is trying to extend the life of its current system with Natal. Sony, meanwhile, has hoped to stretch PS3’s lifespan well beyond the years of PSone and PS2. PS Move – and a push for more sequels like Killzone 3 and LBP2 – could help the publisher achieve that goal.

But even without another Xbox or PlayStation, the next few E3s are going to be very exciting. And it all starts in 2010.

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Louis Bedigian
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