The E3 video game expo has gone through its paces over the years, growing and shrinking, imploding then reinventing itself, getting shunned by companies one year and then embraced the next... for the gaming world it is a soap opera that is often more fluff than substance but you still watch it anyway just to see what happens next.
This year there will be some incredible games and game technology on display from June 15 to 17, making it one of the most anticipated E3s in years. Of course most companies hide their best stuff to surprise people, but the rumour mill is usually pretty credible.
Here is a brief list of what I expect to be on display this year.
Motion Control - Thanks to Nintendo, the video game industry has had to reinvent itself with motion control, but given the fact that all of the console companies are taking a different approach I can imagine that game developers are tearing their hair out trying to figure out a way to create one game that will work on three different hardware platforms that already use vastly different software, and are taking vastly different approaches to motion control.
Nintendo is the solid leader in motion control with their Wiimote and Nunchuk controllers, and the recent addition of precise one-to-one motion control using the MotionPlus attachment. I would expect Nintendo to stay the course, although it's probably a good time for the company to upgrade the design slightly with rechargeable batteries, higher quality plastic, etc. There's also a rumour that the company will introduce a double-nunchuk controller for more serious games.
Sony will be showcasing its own motion controller, the Playstation Move, which takes a similar approach to the Wii but comes with built-in, one-to-one control that can do some amazing things when paired with the camera attachment. Plus, let's face it, Sony will be able to dazzle with better graphics and arguably better games. Sony actually showed off this technology at the 2009 E3 but given that it has yet to come to market I would expect a release announcement next week along with a lineup of Move games.
Microsoft is expected to show off a more polished Project Natal for the Xbox 360 - and possibly PCs as well - that doesn't require any controller. Instead, the system floods the room with infrared light then uses an infrared camera to track movements. It's expected to hit the market in late 2010, but no doubt Microsoft will use E3 to firm up some of the details (release date, price and game lineup).
3D - A handful of games have already shipped that are 3D capable, including a collector's edition of Batman: Arkham Asylum. You didn't require a special 3D television to play that game, just wear the special glasses. I would expect more of the same pseudo 3D in the near future, given that I can't see many game developers producing games for actual 3D televisions that probably represent less than a tenth of one per cent of the entire home market.