E3 2019 is rumbling into view, with only a few weeks to go until the annual games industry showdown.
Yet E3 doesn’t feel like the runaway train of hype it usually does around this time of year, thanks to a few big names like Sony and Activision taking a step back. Even so, it’s traditionally been the place to expect gaming announcements that shape the rest of the year, so what can we expect from the global gaming expo in 2019?
We’ve called on three experts from different areas of the games media to find out. We have Dom Peppiatt from Daily Star, Andy Robinson from brilliant new specialist gaming outlet VideoGamesChronicle and Vikki Blake from games industry outlet MCV to share their thoughts with us...
‘Microsoft has a chance to wow’
“It's going to be an odd E3 this year: the lack of Sony, Activision and any real EA presence is going to be felt as other publishers try and pick up the slack,” says Dom Peppiatt, Gaming Reporter at Daily Star.
“Microsoft has the chance to wow consumers with what is effectively an open goal in 2019 and why wouldn't it - the recent acquisitions of Ninja Theory, inXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment suggest Xbox has some big plans for the end of this generation and the start of the next!
“I've got my eyes on Google too. It's got the potential to deliver something wholly game-changing with its new Stadia platform as formal PS5 and Xbox Scarlett reveals stall. Price point and performance are key to Google's success in an area where many other companies have tried, and failed, to launch. Remember OnLive? Remember Ouya?
“Personally, though, all I really care about is seeing more of Final Fantasy VII Remake - it's been in development for the better part of five years now. So surely, surely, Square Enix is ready to take us back to Midgar soon?”
‘E3 might be a little too soon for new hardware iterations’
“It’s no secret that we’re on the cusp of a new console generation and all the excitement and speculation that comes with that,” explains Andy Robinson, Editor-in-Chief at new gaming website VideoGamesChronicle.
“E3 2019 might prove a little too soon for platform holders to lift the veil from their new hardware iterations, but that won’t stop game developers offering a sneak glimpse regardless.”
“At the equivalent show last generation, Ubisoft showcased Watch Dogs for the first time in a stunning (and some would say, optimistic) live demo, Microsoft unveiled Smart Glass – an eventual feature of Xbox One – and plenty more studios showcased games that looked way too good for Xbox 360, officially running on “PC”.
“With Sony opting not to attend this year’s show, I expect independent developers to seize the opportunity to make even more noise about their titles. Cyberpunk, Borderlands and whatever Ubisoft has up its sleeve are all strong bets for potential Game of the Show.”
‘There will be considerable hype about ‘the cloud’ and streaming’
“With EA and Sony moving away from their traditional press conferences - and Activision's recent announcement that it's doing away with its floor show entirely - I can't think of another year where E3 has been quite so uncertain,” says MCV’s Vikki Blake
“Xbox will be there front-row-centre, though, and it's plausible Sony may have pulled out this year because Microsoft just might be ready to showcase its next-gen console, presently codenamed Project Scarlett.
“Whatever happens, I think there'll be considerable hype about "the cloud" and streaming, as well as a big drive for subscription services like Xbox Games Pass and EA Access. There might be further evidence of companies consciously distancing themselves from the term ‘loot box’ too.
“More than anything, though, we should expect the unexpected. Respawn's Apex Legends is proof enough that a shock release can be worth the gamble, and if you think of how Silent Hills/P.T. was revealed by way of a playable demo at gamescom 2014, more publishers may be eyeing up the appeal of riding that E3 hype with a simultaneous release…”
What about you?
So that’s what the experts have to say. What about you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think will surface at E3 this year. Will Microsoft take the covers off its next-gen console? Will the cloud and streaming dominate? What games will take centre-stage and steal the spotlight?