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E3 2013: Predictions and prognostications

CNET editors offer various and sundry opinions on what to expect at this year's E3 gaming show.

The stage at Microsoft's E3 2012 press conference.Photo by James Martin/CNET

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.

So what's going to happen?

CNET's live coverage of Microsoft's Xbox One E3 conference

CNET's live coverage of Sony's Playstation 4 E3 event on Monday

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)

Photo by James Martin/CNET

Welcome to the easy ones. These are the "but of course" headlines we expect from the show.

Dan Ackerman:

  • 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.
  • Jeff Bakalar:

  • 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.
  • Roger Cheng:

  • 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.
  • Eric Franklin:

  • 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.
  • Scott Stein:

  • 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)

    A mock-up PS4 controller from Sony.
    A mockup PS4 controller from Sony.Photo by James Martin/CNET

    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.

    Dan Ackerman:

  • Most buzzed-about games are E3 2012 repeats -- Watch Dogs and Beyond: Two Souls.
  • More of the conversation turns away from boxed retail discs and toward downloadable and streaming games.
  • Jeff Bakalar:

  • Kiefer Sutherland shows up to Sony's presser for a Metal Gear Solid V demo and exclusive content announcement.
  • No definitive dates for either the PS4 or Xbox One, but we do get a price for them.
  • Roger Cheng:

  • Halo creator Bungie finally shows off some meaty footage of its heavily hyped follow-up game, Destiny.
  • Microsoft shows off a Halo game (although more likely a spin-off, and not part of the core franchise).
  • Eric Franklin:

  • Halo 5 will be Microsoft's "one more thing" at its press conference.
  • Uncharted 4 will be demoed at Sony's press conference.
  • Scott Stein:

  • Mobile games (particularly iPad games) finally get treated as a serious platform; "hard-core" games on iOS and Android increase, more franchises appear.
  • At the end of the show, Nintendo is remembered as one of the companies with the strongest software showings at E3.
  • Wishful thinking (Very unlikely)

    Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

    These are our wish list predictions -- as in "wouldn't it be cool if..." Just don't expect any of these to pan out.

    Dan Ackerman:

  • Valve pitches a real-life Steambox living room gaming PC.
  • Candy Crush Saga RPG makes an appearance.
  • Jeff Bakalar:

  • The Last Guardian steals the show as a PS4 launch exclusive.
  • One or more current-gen multiplatform game gets announced as a next-gen exclusive (maybe Grand Theft Auto V).
  • Roger Cheng:

  • Games for the new Kinect will be shown that we'll actually want to buy (yeah, I'm still bitter about the utterly worthless Xbox 360 Kinect).
  • Nintendo says its first-party franchises (Mario, Zelda, etc.) will make the jump to iOS and Android.
  • Eric Franklin:

  • Nintendo will announce a Wii U price drop to $199 (8GB), $299 (32GB Deluxe).
  • Sega will announce a new Phantasy Star Online game for Xbox One and PS4.
  • Scott Stein:

  • Microsoft and Sony demonstrate new, bizarre hardware peripherals for the Xbox One and PS4.
  • An improved revision of the Wii U is announced with a second-gen GamePad
  • Photo by James Martin/CNET

    How many of our predictions will hit the mark? Join CNET and GameSpot for complete coverage to find out.

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