E3, the big video game trade show, kicks off on Monday. And 2013 looks to be one of the biggest years ever.
The games industry is at a crossroads, with "hard-core gaming" under onslaught from 99-cent casual iPad and smartphone games. Two new consoles are on deck -- the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 -- and the third, the Nintendo Wii U, is fighting for its life. And the software publishers like Activision, EA, and Ubisoft will be fighting to outsplash each other with the latest and greatest sequels and franchise titles.
We put that question to our resident panel of experts, and they each offered six possible scenarios.
These predictions are from the trio of CNETers who will be covering E3 on the ground in Los Angeles -- Roger Cheng, Jeff Bakalar, and Eric Franklin -- as well as grizzled E3 veterans Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein (who will be missing it this year so they can attend Monday's other big tech event, the Apple WWDC keynote).
We've divided the predictions into three categories: sure things (all but definite); fairly likely (more probable than not); and wishful thinking ("flying leap" predictions -- stuff we'd like, but don't actually expect).
So, without further ado: read on for what we expect at E3 2013.
Take it to the bank (A sure thing)
Welcome to the easy ones. These are the "but of course" headlines we expect from the show.
Expect some amount of backtracking from Microsoft on used games, always-on DRM.
Sony temporarily "wins" the argument by not coming clean on its own anti-consumer DRM and used-game policies.
The Xbox 360 and PS3 get generous prices cuts.
Microsoft further clears the air and gives real-life examples of its (still vague and confusing) used-games policy.
Nintendo shows off its first-party muscle, possibly with a new Mario or Zelda game.
E3 bounces back from last year's disappointing show with titles we'll actually care about and a sense of direction in the industry.
Microsoft will open its press conference cold (no words) with a demo of Respawn's Titanfall.
Every non-PlayStation Eye game for the PS4 will require the ability to stream directly to Vita.
Attractive drops announced for current-gen consoles.
PlayStation 4 finally gets revealed and seen, but not necessarily priced.
We'd take that bet (Fairly likely)
We'd give these predictions a better than 50/50 chance of coming to pass -- but we're not gonna bet the farm on any of them.