15 questions we want E3 2019 to answer

We are a little under a month away from E3 2019 and the hype is building. While E3 certainly tells us all about the new games that are coming out in the next year, it also says a lot more than that. The announcements we get at E3 shape the gaming world for the foreseeable future, and we have questions about that future. Is VR technology important to the mainstream? What will the next generation of consoles be like? Is E3 even relevant with companies like Sony and Nintendo sitting it out?

Here are the biggest questions on our mind that we hope E3 2019 will answer.

What are Sony and Microsoft’s next generation console plans?

Officially neither Sony nor Microsoft has said that they will debut their next generation console at E3. However, rumors about the next Xbox codenamed Scarlett have been circulating the internet for some time, and we actually have some concrete details about Sony’s PS5. Everyone seems to agree that this last generation of consoles is coming to an end, but we still have no idea what it will be replaced with. While we may not see the consoles themselves at this year’s E3, we would, at the very least, like to hear Sony and Microsoft talk about them.

If Sony isn’t going, what are they going to do?

We are going to talk about Sony a lot here, but they aren’t actually going to E3 proper. That means no demo booth, no press conference, no pomp and circumstance in a big stadium. Sony has recently invested in internet based mini-press conferences in their new “State of Play” streams, similar to Nintendo’s Directs. We all pretty much expect to see an E3 State of Play, but will it have the same pizazz their press conferences usually have, or will it just be a dense firing of trailers and clip shows? With no floor demos can they produce a decent lineup for next year or will they leave that all to third party developers? We will have to see if Sony’s new strategy works out for them.

Will Microsoft get into the VR game?

Both Sony and Nintendo have a VR option leaving Microsoft left in the lurch. We have heard a lot of talk about the Hololens and its sequel, the Hololens 2, but we haven’t seen either manifest as a consumer side VR solution for the Xbox One (or the rumored Xbox Scarlett). There have been a lot of advances in VR as of late, and it’s likely time for Microsoft to decide whether they are committing to console VR, or if they are going to focus on some other corner of the market.

Is this truly the second generation of VR?

Shortly before E3, the “next generation” of VR headsets is coming out, but while we will finally get our hands on the Oculus Rift S and the Valve Index, most of the software that we can use on these headsets was developed for the previous generation. While backwards compatibility is always nice and all, we also need to see if anyone is developing software that can really push these new headsets to their limit, or if they are simply a graphical and tracking upgrade to the headsets we have already been using. I don’t think we can really say we have entered a new generation of VR until we get next generation software as well.

What will Nintendo do to compete?

The Switch has been doing amazing recently, but its hot streak can’t go on forever. One way or another, Nintendo is going to eventually be the only company without a next generation console to show. So what will they show when Sony and Microsoft start talking about their new boxes? Rumor has it that the Switch will be getting two new versions, a budget version that is basically stuck in handheld mode, and a pro version that has bigger storage space and better graphical capability. However, Nintendo has denied that they will have any new hardware to show at this year’s conference. Will they just have to compete with software? We will have to see.

Is the 3DS Dead?

It’s clear that 3DS releases have slowed to a dribble with Kirby’s Epic Yarn being the last 3DS title that Nintendo produced. It’s stayed alive a remarkable amount of time considering how old the Switch is, but we are mostly ready to see it go. However, every year at E3 some new 3DS title crops up giving it a last gasp of air. It’s worth noting that since last year’s E3, only about eight titles came out for the 3DS, and without Nintendo’s support it’s highly unlikely we will see another title in production for the handheld, but it would still be nice to get confirmation that we have seen the 3DS finally laid to rest.

Has progress been made on Nintendo’s AAA titles?

Nintendo has promised us a lot of info about a lot of AAA titles, but we haven’t actually seen much of them. While Super Mario Maker 2 and Fire Emblem Three Houses are going to be the summer’s major releases, Metroid Prime 4 has been restarted from scratch and Bayonetta 3 and Shin Megami Tensei V are still nowhere to be found. In fact, many of Nintendo’s biggest releases seem to be announced mere months before they hit the shelves while the titles they have already announced are stuck in development hell. Has any progress been made on these titles, or are we going to be too distracted by Super Mario Maker 2 to care?

Will we ever understand what the heck Death Stranding is about?

Alright look. It’s been three years since Death Stranding was first announced and while we have some in-depth borderline pretentious theories about its plot, we don’t really know much more about it. We know it’s not a horror game, according to Kojima (which is strange cause there certainly seem to be a whole lot of horror elements). The only gameplay we saw was of Norman Reedus’s character running in a field. We have very little context for anything we have been shown and while we may have laughed off the last few years as “hahaha Kojima is so crazy” It’s time to put up or shut up. I don’t think the gaming community could stand for another vague trailer with no gameplay in which you can barely hear Kojima saying “ask me what it means! Ask me what it means!” It’s time to really get an idea about what this game is other than just “that Kojima game with Norman Reedus.”

Is Battle Royale still the future of the shooter?

Last year the AAA shooter market attempted to mimic the success that the free-to-play battle royale market has seen and… eh? Call of Duty’s Blackout mode was OK but it certainly didn’t take the wind out of Fortnite’s sails. Then Apex Legends came out and while it certainly seemed to be a Fortnite challenger for a while, the buzz has died down. So are we going to see a bunch of new battle royale shooters come out of E3, or will shooters turn toward a different genre? Will it be looter shooters with the release of Borderlands 3? Will it be story based shooters? Or are we just going to go back to our old military shooter comfort zone.

Is the era of “mini” consoles over?

For a while, emulators packaged in a tiny shell that let you play classic games were all the rage. We saw some major successes, like the NES Classic, and some bombs, like the PlayStation classic, but we haven’t heard much since then. No N64 Classics, no Dreamcast Classics. Maybe this was just a small flirt with retro gaming. Maybe Nintendo is focusing more on its Classic NES online library. Or maybe we are going to see a ton of new mini consoles announced, or maybe even a return of the best-selling minis of the past few years!

Is game streaming all talk?

We have heard so much about game streaming, from the Google Stadia to Microsoft’s Project xCloud, and while everyone seems to have the big answer to game streaming problems, from bandwidth caps to input lag, we actually haven’t seen any of this in action. We have only seem small, closed network tests, and for the most part no one has had satisfactory answers to really pressing questions that probe the limits of this technology.

PlayStation Now was Sony’s big attempt at game streaming, and the technology just wasn’t there to make it go mainstream. So do Google and Microsoft really have the magic bullet to succeed where Sony has failed, or is the promise of game streaming more of a hope for the future rather than a reality in the present.

What the heck is Netflix up to?

Netflix isn’t just going to E3, it’s hosting a panel there. Called “Bringing Your Favorite Shows to Life: Developing Netflix Originals into Video Games.” We know that they are going to talk about the upcoming Stranger Things 3 game, but supposedly they have a bunch of other announcements too. Are we going to see more game like Netflix content like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? Is Netflix going to get into the game streaming biz? Or maybe we will just see some new video game adaptations of Netflix originals. They better make a She-Ra fighting game, because I’m absolutely sure it would blow up at EVO.

Are we really moving toward a “games as service” model?

In the past year, many games like Mortal Kombat 11, Devil May Cry 5, and Star Wars Battlefront II have played with the fire of microtransactions and gotten burned. The negative response to the MTX models these and other games had was enormous and developers seemed to be apologizing for them left and right. That being said, some titles (like the aforementioned Devil May Cry 5) saw very little backlash, possibly proving that microtransactions can be done well when done ethically. We want to know, are these “games as service” models our future? Will it simply be the case that microtransactions will fill all our favorite AAA titles from now out? Or was this just an experiment that the gaming world will leave behind?

What major titles will we be talking about in the coming year?

Look there are a ton of major titles confirmed to be at E3 this year. Cyberpunk 2077, Gears 5, Halo Infinite, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Doom Eternal, Beyond Good and Evil 2, Pokemon Sword and Shield, Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion 3, The outer Worlds, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Final Fantasy VII Remake, all of these titles are just a very small sample of the titles that are confirmed to be at E3. This isn’t even mentioning titles that have the potential to show up at E3, like the next Battlefield or The Elder Scrolls VI. We couldn’t possibly list them all.

So we want to know, which ones are we going to be talking about when the conference is over and which will be flashes in the pan? Will anticipated titles be the talk of the town this year, or are we going to be getting a ton of new announcements to chew on? After all, we always want to know who “wins” E3 with the best software lineup and this year is no different.

What fresh new madness will Devolver Digital bring to their press conference this year?

Finally we have our most anticipated press conference of the show, the Devolver Digital Press Conference. Heck, it’s the only conference I won’t watch for the actual games. I’m here for the jokes and ultra-violence. Maybe they will sell Loot Box Coin again? What host will they get since their last two hosts were murdered on stage? Will they make us feel like scum for falling for blatant marketing tricks and exploitative business models? Have we lost all that makes us human after being desensitized to a constant stream of content? WHO WILL SURVIIVE THE MADNESS!?!

…. oh, and there will probably be a cool new indie game or two to check out as well.

What questions do you want E3 2019 to answer? Let us know in the comments.