Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My E3 2014 predictions.

With E3 about 6 weeks away I have begun to think more and more about it.  While I fully expect that Microsoft cannot possibly live up to the hype created by the fans I do think we are all in for a great ride come June, 9th.  I also expect to be wrong on my predictions in this post, but here goes anyway.  At the very least it will be fun to come back after E3 and laugh at me for my utter foolishness and presumptions.  Enjoy!
So presuming Microsoft's stage event is 90 minutes I will try to break it down minute by minute.  I am not saying this will be the order or even the correct time allotments, but it just seems like the way that makes the most sense.
00:00 - Show begins.
E3 2014Microsoft will [most likely] start with their new head of Xbox which is Phil Spencer.  He will probably come out and do a very quick and dusty recap of how successful the Xbox brand has been in the last year.  By that time they will have over 5 million consoles in homes so they will likely mention that.  They will mention Titanfall being the best selling game thus far of the new generation.

05:00 - Talk about their continued dedication to the Xbox 360 ecosystem as well as bringing great games to the system in the future.

10:00 - New Xbox Apps & Services.
I know Microsoft's major focus is going to be on the games with the Xbox One, but there is a slim chance they will go through the event and not mention any new apps and partnerships for the system.  I couldn't tell you what those apps are going to be, but here are a few of my guesses/hopes.
  • HBO Go
  • NHL Center Ice
  • IGN App
  • iHeart Radio
  • Last.FM
  • UFC (This is very likely given the impending release of the game)
  • WWE Network
Those are just a few of the apps, but as far as services go my hope and dream is that they announce some sort of Xbox Live tier that includes an Xbox Music pass as well as some perks for Xbox Video.

15:00 - Xbox Live Gold improvements.
Xbox Live is always improving and I think we can expect Microsoft to talk about how Xbox Live is the place to play games online.  If they do not announce anything before then I would expect them to say something in regards to Games with Gold on Xbox One at this point.  Failure to do that would be a big let down for a lot of Xbox One owners.  They may even announce it and say "X game is available TODAY on Xbox One."  I don't think they are going to want to talk about the feature and tell people they have to wait longer.  At the worst I would hope they say starting in July.
One of my hopes it that they announce a new tier of Xbox Live subscription.  One that would include both Xbox Live as well as an Xbox Music pass.  Maybe throw in some perks for Xbox Video as well.

20:00 - Transition to the wave of new games.  They will probably talk about their new partnerships with game studios as well as being excited about the prospects for their existing studios.   Here is who I predict we hear from in some way at E3.
  • Undead Labs - They just signed an exclusive multi-year and multi-title deal with Microsoft back in January of this year.  They could possibly announce exclusivity of their game codenamed Class4 which is rumored to be a zomibe MMO.
  • Insomniac - Unless they show something before E3 with their big EDGE article coming up in May I would expect to see live gameplay of Sunset Overdrive and maybe even a release date.
  • 343 - Duh, no brainer with Halo 2 anniversary rumored as well as the next Halo game. No release date on newest Halo game.
  • Remedy - We are most certainly going to hear more about Quantum Break.
  • Black Tusk - We will likely only see a teaser trailer of the new Gears of War game.  I wouldn't expect much unless they have been hiding something.
  • Turn 10 - Expect an announcement of the next Forza game or new major content from them.
  • Good Science Studios They are known for doing Kinect Adventures and Kinect Fun Labs.  So since they have been silent since 2011 one could imagine they are working on something Kinect related for the Xbox One.
  • Twisted Pixel - The guys behind LocoCycle are hopefully working on something.  It is a little early since their last game was a launch title, but we may get a teaser of something.
  • Big Park Studios - I have no clue what the hell they would be working on, but they did Kinect games in the past so we may hear about a Kinect game from them.  They've been silent since 2012 too which on a 2 year development cycle would make them due up for another release.
  • Lionhead Studios -  Expect to see gameplay/live demo of Fable Legends.  Possible release date?
  • Crytek? - This gets into the pie-in-the-sky territory because these aren't 1st party studios, but Microsoft has worked with them.  Having finished Ryse they may tease a new multiplatorm game, but highlight it on Microsofts platform.
  • Rare - They just finished up Kinect Sports Rivals, but they may tease something else.  Hopefully something non Kinect related.
I am going to say, as a ballpark, 5 minutes for each of those games.


80:00 - That brings us to winding down territory for +/-10 minutes.
At this point it is anyone's guess really.  Here are a few scenarios.  Right now the $499 price tag is no doubt hurting sales.  So they are either going to have to drop the price of the console to $449 (or less)--OR--They are going to have to find a way to justify the purchase by providing a higher value for that price.
How could they do that?  Announce:
  • Flat rice drop?  $449, but the sweet spot realistically is $399 to be competitive on store shelves.
  • $399 SKU with Kinect removed? Although they did say they will never do that, but we will see.
  • $449 bundle with 1 year of Xbox Live? Microsoft could much more easily eat the cost of Xbox Live than bundling a game.
How could they increase the value while keeping the price?  Announce:
  • Digital game sharing like they originally planned in some form.
  • Free cloud based backwards compatibility of all digital games purchased in the past on Xbox 360.
  • Instant game collection?  You buy the Xbox One and instantly own a handful of Indie games?
Those are just my two random guesses/ideas.

That is my guess as to how E3 2014 is going to go.  I can assure you all that it is more than likely incorrect as well as missing some major things I have overlooked.  Please feel free to comment with any ideas you feel I have missed. The bottom line is that I am excited as hell for E3 and I cannot wait to see what Microsoft does.

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