Well, it is that time of year again. The largest gaming expo in the world otherwise known as E3 is almost upon us and everyone is making bets as to what the hottest games of the show will be. This week I will be sharing what I think Microsoft has in store for this year's show. They certainly have kept quiet since the last E3 and have not revealed much of their 2011 lineup. Will Microsoft has something other than Gears of War 3 and Forza Motorsport 4 to keep hardcore gamers happy? Will Kinect have a software lineup worth drooling over? I think I've got this figured out.
Microsoft in recent years has taken Nintendo's usual strategy and has kept quiet during most of the year while going all out with announcements at E3. Microsoft also usually focuses on what is coming during the holiday season leaving a couple of teases for 2012 games. I believe Microsoft will not have a weak lineup of games but I certainly do not think it will be as strong as Nintendo and Sony, especially considering Nintendo and Sony will be showing off new hardware. Microsoft will have to show off plenty of Kinect games and Xbox 360 games. I also think a small portion of their press conference will be devoted to games coming to Windows Phone 7, considering it is also a gaming platform from Microsoft.
What games do I think will be at Microsoft's E3 press conference? I can say without a doubt that they will probably open the show with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. If not, they will definitely have a demo sometime during the show. Microsoft and Activision still have their exclusive Call of Duty DLC deal going on so Microsoft's press conference would be the one where Modern Warfare 3 makes it's debut. More details will also be shared on Gears of War 3 and Forza Motorsport 4. Microsoft will also most likely reveal 2-4 first party games they are developing with at least one coming this year, another also coming this year on Kinect, and at least one or two more for 2012.
I think the biggest focus of Microsoft's E3 press conference will be Kinect. More Kinect games will probably be shown in the span of their E3 press conference than games currently out for Kinect. A good amount of them will be hardcore. The only one we know of that Microsoft is involved in is Star Wars Kinect which is being published by them and developed by LucasArts. That will be one of their big games. Another will be a more casual title that was recently leaked called My Amazing Story. This is not official yet but there have been several leaks saying that this is coming. It's supposedly an action adventure game with scary monsters and special costumes that give the player abilities. If this game is real, I would expect it to have a similar art style to Kinect Adventures. Another game I expect to see is Gears of War Kinect which will probably release shortly after E3. Supposedly the announcement of the game was scheduled for the Spike VGA's but shortly after was pulled out with Microsoft saying there was a better time and place for the announcement that was rumored to be Gears of War Kinect. E3 is obviously the best place they have to show it. This delay also might reveal that Microsoft's lineup is pretty weak and they need to hold back their stronger titles for the Holiday season as they did with Gears of War 3.
Third party Kinect support will also be huge. I wouldn't be surprised if Dance Central 2 is announced. Dance Central is Harmonix's new money making machine and rushing a sequel out while its still cool would be a smart idea. A lot of new third party Kinect titles will be announced and I'm sure a good amount of them will be hardcore.
Microsoft will also share details on the Fall dashboard update as they usually do. I'm sure more entertainment services will come to Xbox 360. YouTube is definitely building applications for game consoles so I would say YouTube is a likely bet as are other video streaming services like Vudu. I will also say there is a 100% chance that VideoKinect will be turned into Skype for Xbox 360 due to the recent acquisition of Skype by Microsoft. It would also be smart if they made the dashboard more Kinect friendly and adapted the Xbox Live Marketplace for the Kinect sensor. It's a possibility but I'm not counting on it.
Microsoft's lineup is pretty secretive but I'm sure they have a lot up their sleeve. I am probably right with many of my predictions but also probably very wrong with others. Microsoft is really gonna be dependent on third parties to supply the big games for both Xbox 360 and Kinect. We will find out all the real details on June 6. Come back next week as I discuss my predictions for what Sony will be showing at E3.