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Platform Nation E3 Predictions: Week 4

Each week in the run up to E3, one of the lovely writers on this blissful site will take it in turns to post their predictions on what could occur on June 15/16/17.

As we get closer and closer to E3 2010, the excitement is becoming palpable. I, for one, cannot wait to see what the big three bring to the table hardware-wise. While we know about Natal, Move, and the 3DS, it will still be exciting to see them in their final form on stage.

I’m going to break my predictions into 2 categories. Relatively Safe and Outlandish! As you can imagine, the safe ones are almost a given. There may have been a rumor or two about them swirling around which gives them some credibility. Otherwise they are just predictions on things that need to come out of E3. The outlandish ones are part wish, part dream, and all very unlikely. Highly unlikely even. Let’s see if you agree.

Relatively Safe

1. Several high profile games supporting 3D.
I expect to see Sony push towards 3D gaming more and more to differentiate themselves from Microsoft and Nintendo. Using Move and 3D in a game like SOCOM could give Sony a lot of buzz if done right.

2. At least one game from Nintendo will feature the Vitality Sensor as a pack in.
Even though we all laughed when they showed off the Vitality Sensor, I think this is the year they unveil the game that sells it. Probably another Wii Fit title is my guess.

3. The 3DS will be shown off with a Mario launch title.
Nintendo needs to give people a reason to buy a 3DS since everybody and their grandma already owns either a DS, DS Lite, DSi, or DSi XL. What moves systems like no other game? A short, chubby plumber.

4. Natal price revealed – $99.
It only makes sense to keep Natal under a hundred dollars and Microsoft has even stated as much. This makes it that much easier to sell consoles bundled with Natal and just bump it up $100. It will also include a game disc with some glorified demos to show off what Natal can do right out of the box. This leads me to my next prediction.

5. Xbox 360 Slim/Natal bundle – $399
The Xbox 360 Slim will be anounced and priced at $299. That includes a 250GB hard drive built in and several extra USB ports. What will you use those ports for? Natal for one. Throwing Natal in the box with the slim bumps the price up to $399. The only thing the Natal bundle might include as a value add is the “Wii Sports” type game disc to showcase all of Natal’s features.

6. Sony Move will be $79.
Sony has to undercut Microsoft and Natal, and this is where they will do it. I predict the Eyetoy and one Move controller (and hopefully the nunchuck, too) will be packaged for $79. Individual controllers will be the standard $49 and possibly $59 with the nunchuck.

7. Halo Reach release date will be September 7th.
We all know Bungie loves the number 7. There’s not another 7th that falls on a Tuesday until December, so I think we’ll be seeing Reach in September. (I was close on this one.)

8. Grand Theft Auto 5 will be announced as a Sony exclusive.
We won’t see gameplay or even a trailer. It will just be a logo and an announcement that it’s coming exclusively to the PS3 in 2011.

9. PSN will go paid.
Sony will announce that they will offer premium services to PSN users that pay, much like Xbox Live Gold. I think it will be priced competitively with XBL and have some features that XBL doesn’t, like saving your game progress to their servers. (Another close one.)

Outlandish!

1. Gears of War 1 and 2 will be bundled for the PS3 on one disc.
Microsoft’s exclusive deal with Epic has to run out sometime, right? Epic wants in on some of that money they’re missing by being exclusive, so why not use all that storage space available on a blu-ray disc to deliver a shot of testosterone to the PS3?

2. HD Wii announced with Wii Sports HD pack in.
If Sony pushes into 3D, then that means Nintendo is behind on both HD and 3D this generation. They need to move forward, and the 3DS isn’t going to cut it with the hardcore crowd.

3. External Blu-Ray drive coming to the Xbox 360.
Blu-Ray won. The Slim won’t have a blu-ray drive built in, but it needs something to help stave off Sony’s sexy slim PS3. An external blu-ray drive would go against their download only strategy, but it would also bridge the gap until the next generation when a blu-ray drive will be a requirement on all consoles.

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