E3 2006 Prognostications


posted 4/12/2006 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
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6. Idiot journalists will once again proclaim PC gaming dead despite strong showings for Spore, Battlefield 2142, Enemy Territories: Quake Wars, Supreme Commander, Tabula Rosa, the new World of Warcraft expansion and several other new PC only titles
With the E3 headlines are going to be dominated by the PS3, Revolution, and Xbox 360 there may be people who are going to talk about how Microsoft’s other gaming platform is going the way of the dodo.  Of course these people will not be checking out the absolutely ass kicking games that are due out only on the PC this year.  Will Wright’s revolutionary Spore and Gas Powered Games Supreme Commander will hopefully be making their first public showing this year and both will require a mouse and keyboard to enjoy them fully.  Next generation FPS games like Battlefield 2142 and Enemy Territories: Quake Wars will show FPS gamers where the real innovation in the field is coming from.

7. We'll see something from Duke Nukem Forever
Stop laughing…seriously.  I say this for a couple of reasons.  The first is that Duke Nukem Forever is the gift that keeps on giving.  You can not read those three simple words without the corners of your mouth heading upward at least a little bit.  The game is our industry's Chinese Democracy (I'm still waiting for 3DRealms to hire Buckethead to do some of the music in the game).  The real reason I think we’ll see the game is that 3D Realms surprised everybody last year with the announcement of Prey last year and it's not to far of a leap to think that maybe they finally made an engine decision, stuck with it, and have been cranking on the game behind the scenes.  The final reason is that every year John puts this on his E3 list and since he's not going this year it only seems right that the game finally appears out of the development mists.

8. G4 will cover the event proving but will send Brent Spiner, Adam Corolla, and Tiffany Thiesen instead of Adam Sesler, Morgan Webb, and Kevin Perrera
Does G4 even cover video games anymore?  I flip over occasionally and even game focused shows like X-play seem more focused on creating crappy skits than actually covering the gaming industry.  Given that the network is now dominated by repeats of shows from other networks it only makes sense to have those actors cover the event as most people have forgotten what the "stars" of the network look like.

9. The two big trends will be in-game advertising and in-game physics...but not at the same time
In game physics are going to continue to be the big story this year.  With consoles and PC's having so much more processing power designers are finally learning how to use in game physics as a critical part of games.  Rather than just having it be a particular focus of a game (like the gravity gun in Half Life 2) they physics are now integrated into the game without being overt about it. I also think this is the year where we finally see some killer apps for the AGEIA dedicated PPU device as well as some cool new features from Havok's new engine.

The second big trend is going to drive a lot of gamers nuts.  With the cost of game development growing, developers are looking for new revenue streams for their games.  With in-game advertising becoming more prevalent you should expect to see a lot of deals getting signed at the show this year and it is going to piss off a lot of gamers.  We’ll see some good examples where the advertising adds a little realism to the games there will be other cases where it absolutely kills the mood and environment of the game.  The bad news is that in game advertising is here to stay.  The worse news is that it’s going to be really bad for a while as the development houses find the right balance between making some extra bucks and making good games.

10. Halo 3 will be unveiled, release date will be "When does the PS3 launch again?"
Without a doubt Microsoft will officially unveil Halo 3 at the show this year.  Besides needing something to keep them on the front page of the gaming sites they have been very tight-lipped about the next iteration of their consoles biggest franchise.  I doubt we'll get a solid release date but I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that I'll be earning Xbox achievements with Master Chief by the end of the year, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a release date with an 07 at the end of it.  That said I think we’ll get some cool new information about the new camera for the Xbox 360 and the HD DVD unit that was announced earlier this year.

That’s all the prognosticating I’m up for now, check back during the week of E3 for our daily coverage of the show

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