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The 25 biggest questions of E3 2013

By Tamoor Hussain on Thursday 6th Jun 2013 at 11:16 AM UTC

This is it. Not since 2005 has E3 held so much potential to change the landscape of games. The hobbies, professions and - not wanting to sound too theatrical - very lives of many will be reshaped by one crazy, sweaty, exhausting and scintillating week in LA.

Although there may still be a debate on whether E3 is still relevant, we can tell you now that the outlook for platform holders, publishers, developers and gamers hinges so much on what we'll see at the show.

CVG has unearthed the 25 biggest questions that E3 should provide the answers to. Think of it as a checklist of everything that's important to the games industry and its players right now. We will of course be running around the show floor like The Infected, asking the big questions to top brass, taking screens, grabbing video, writing up previews and at news battle stations to offer the big picture.


1. What is Microsoft's final word on always-online DRM and pre-owned fees?

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Microsoft's big Xbox One parade was thoroughly ruined when its executive circle provided controversial, confusing and contradictory information regarding the console's DRM and pre-owned policies.

Currently, it is not clear how Microsoft will introduce an Xbox One pre-owned fee, nor is there any clarity on exactly how the console operates as an always-online machine.

On May 22, one day after the reveal event, Xbox communications exec Larry Hryb tried to placate consumer uproar by saying 'policy decisions are still being finalised'.

Microsoft has little choice other than ending the confusion during its E3 press conference. With Sony likely to detail its pre-owned strategy (or lack thereof) at E3, Microsoft can no longer treat the issue with ambiguity.

Hyrb has also hinted (yes, more ambiguity) that Microsoft isn't ignoring complaints.

"We're fully aware of what is going on," he said.

"I am also working on a few things to address it. I can't say much more right now. But we are listening."


2. When does next-gen arrive?

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Image:Polygon

Sony has previously stated the PlayStation 4 release date is targeted for "holiday 2013", but the company has not indicated whether that timeframe was for a global launch, or if it will be staggered across the three main territories.

Speaking to CVG, one senior industry figure has said Europe is a high-priority region for the platform holder, and the console would not be delayed the same way the PS3 was.

Late in April, Sony's marketing division delivered a national newspaper advert that confirmed a PS4 Europe release date with a concrete "2013" prominently displayed, along with the tagline "this year, players will become legends".

Microsoft has also stated the Xbox One release date is set for "around the world later this year".

It's likely that both Microsoft and Sony will provide solid release dates for their next generation systems during the pre-E3 press conferences.

Current speculation is that Microsoft is targeting November, with plans to piggyback onto the accompanying release of Call of Duty: Ghosts (Microsoft has confirmed it has a timed exclusivity period on COD Ghosts DLC).

It is anticipated that Sony's console will also launch around November too. If only to deny Microsoft any sort of head start and the potential advantages it offers.


3. Will the Wii U hold its own?

Although Nintendo has ditched a large-scale E3 press-conference, it is still expected to have a typically strong presence on the E3 show floor.

Additionally, it will be holding separate, smaller meetings with distributors and media, along with a Nintendo Direct broadcast (which will replace its E3 press conference).

With much of the Wii U's operating system problems now resolved, with a second update on the way, Nintendo will now begin to roll out a major software release schedule that it hopes will revive the fortunes of its latest console.

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Nintendo has confirmed it will be showing Smash Bros U, (co-developed by Namco Bandai), along with a brand new 3D Mario game, which retail execs have indicated will be available this year. To top it all off, a new Mario Kart game for Wii U will also be playable.

These first-party games are Nintendo's best hope for stealing Microsoft and Sony's thunder, as well as restore faith in its slow-selling system. But there is also potential here for Nintendo to flaunt its second-wave of third-party software.

The potential list of games on show includes The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and Monolith Soft's title.

Nintendo may be arriving at E3 on the undercard, but based on the potential of its games line-up, it could become the main event.

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