E3 2013: our top 10 moments from gaming's arms race

Here's our list of what we were hoping to see at E3 before the show began:

1. Mad Catz gets into the console biz

Yeah, baby! Get ready for gaming accessory maker to introduce its very own gaming console at this year's E3.

The Android-powered device, named "Project M.O.J.O" for now, is the core offering in its GameSmart line, the company announced June 7.

You can be sure we'll go hands on with the "micro console" if it's available to check out, so stay tuned for our thoughts on the hardware as well as when and where you can get it.

2. Xbox One takes center stage June 10

Props to Microsoft for keeping its word on an Xbox-themed event for E3 - not that we ever doubted it would happen especially now that we know the new console is called the Xbox One.

The company sent out invites to a press briefing for June 10 in Los Angeles, one day before E3 officially gets underway. This is decidedly an Xbox event, and we hope to "continue the conversation" on the company's new Xbox One following its May 21 happening.

The company revealed in late May that the focus of its E3 keynote would, unlike its announcement event, would be games.

"I can confirm that we will have TV's (or similar) on stage to show the games," tweeted Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live. "That should be the extend [sic] of TV talk in your #E3."

Microsoft has even put a movie about it together:

That's not all: According to GTTV host Geoff Keighley, there are plenty of surprises in store for both Microsoft and Sony at E3.

"10 days until E3," Keighley tweeted in May. "Based on what I'm hearing both the Xbox and PS4 press confs will be the strongest in years. Lots of games and surprises.

We'll be there to cover the action live, so you'll be in on all the unexpected goodness if you check back in with TechRadar.

3. No Nintendo press conference

Nintendo has made the somewhat surprising decision to forgo its usual E3 press conference in favor of hosting a smaller, closed-doors events to focus primarily on software.

"We have decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past," said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.

"Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market."

We must say we're a bit bothered by Nintendo's decision, if only in an altruistic way because it stands to loose some serious ground to competitors Sony and Microsoft.

To be sure, Nintendo won't be a complete E3 no-show in terms of a public presence. The company will broadcast a Nintendo Direct at 7 a.m. PT/ 3 p.m. BST on Tuesday, June 11. What's more, 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada will have in store demos of unreleased Wii U games, bringing titles straight to the public.

We'll also be in attendance at a Wii U Software Showcase starting at 10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday too, where we're going to get a look at games plus hear from Shigeru Miyamoto, game designer at the company, and Fils-Aim himself.


Let's hope Nintendo can power up at E3

"This year we're making E3 for the people," Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said in announcing the Best Buy partnership. "We want to make sure you get the chance to try our games as well."

Fils-Aime later followed up with a June 7 Facebook video outlining Nintendo's E3 strategy, saying that the company's approach to E3 is different this year, it's actually better.

We're not complete Nintendo naysayers, to be sure, and somewhat respect its grass-roots approach to E3. Its newest console is not next gen, but it's not bad either. We gave it a three and a half stars in our Wii U review. The GamePad is cool, and finally seeing Mario in HD is a welcome uptick.

However, most of the world is for PS4 and One, or just sticking with their Xbox, as the nearly eight-year-old Xbox 360 sold four times as many units as the Wii U did last month. In fact, even the old Wii is selling better.

We know Nintendo has some game titles on the way and we hope it can build enough excitement around these titles to carry it into its next big offering. Whenever that happens.

Xbox One

Microsoft will tell us more about the Xbox One at E3

4. What awaits the Xbox 360?

Microsoft had a very big Xbox announcement on May 21, where the new Xbox was revealed as the Xbox One. The event went so far as to show us the full console (unlike the PS4 tease) including specs for the Kinect and even the new Gamepad.

While we've been told the conversation will continue at E3, there's also expectation that the older Xbox 360 is going to get some convention love in Los Angeles.

As the Xbox One moves to occupy the space of marquee console, those who still own the 8-year-old Xbox will be pleased to learn that there's news in store.

"We have a huge, I think it's huge, [Xbox 360] announcement for E3 that I keep wanting to talk about, but I can't," said Microsoft Game Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer following the One's reveal.

"I think the [Xbox 360] is going to be very vibrant for many years," he effused.

Now that piques our interest.

5. We'll actually see the PS4

E3 2013

Despite not actually seeing the system, we liked Sony's PlayStation 4 launch event. We'd call it a mostly positive non-surprise. The focus on games and developers was admirable, as were the social functions of the system. And while not getting a peek at an actual PS4 console was frustrating, Sony has saved some magic for next time, and we're betting that next time will be E3 2013.

Despite Sony saying the reveal might come sooner than June, the smart money is on a PS4 reveal at E3 2013. Why? Because it needs a main attraction at the show where an appearance by its chief rival, the Xbox One, is guaranteed. Plus, E3 is mere days away, and why drop your eggs before your June 10 press conference?

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai talked up the PS4's primary role as a gaming device (unlike some other major machine we know...) and it will likely use it's time at E3 to talk about just what makes that so. There's still plenty of unanswered questions, including its own used game/DRM policies, plus how it will operate as more than a gaming console (we know, a bit hypocritical, but in this day and age you've got to have some mulch-functionality in your console).

DualShock 4

Yes, we've seen the controller. Now where's the rest of it?

We're also still waiting to hear more on pricing info, online subscription details and a hard release date, something more specific than "holiday 2013." Sony may not be ready to to talk hard facts just yet, and simply wheeling the system out before a whooping crowd will buy it some time.

6. The fate of the Vita

Vita, vita, vita. What is Sony going to do with you? The poor PS Vita is a lovely little system. It earned four tars in our PS Vita review. But subdued marketing and a lack of must-have have made it something of a non-start.

It's not completely Sony's fault. It's hard to sell a premium mobile gaming device these days. Most consumers are happy to play cheap games on the smartphone they already own, and who can blame them?

So how can Sony move units? Well, a price break worked in Japan, but Sony seems rather dead set against dropping the price in other markets. Still, we wouldn't be at all surprised to see the asking price get lowered at E3, because it seems that Sony will treat the Vita as a PS4 accessory.

PS Vita

Is there life left in the Vita?

Using the streaming service Gaikai, the PS4 will let you stream PS4 titles to your Vita, using an airplay like feature. Now this doesn't mean you can walk down the street playing Killzone Shadow Fall. As we understand it, it'll be more like the Wii U's second screen feature, which lets you move your game to the tablet if someone wants to use the TV for something besides watching you play Mario.

Still, Sony can't bet it all on the PS4 to save the Vita. It's asking a lot to expect consumers to pick up two pricey pieces of hardware. We're curious to see what else it may have in store to kick start its good but underloved handheld.

7. WWCBD? (What will Cliff Bleszinski do?)

If you're much of an Xbox fan, or you've played more than a few rounds of horde mode in Gears of War, you've probably heard the name Cliff Bleszinski. Or maybe you know him by an easier to spell moniker, like Cliffy B, Dude Huge, or the ex-Design Director at Epic Games.

That's right, in October of last year, Bleszinski left the pillar of the industry that is Epic Games to do...well we're not sure what yet, and that's the exciting part.

He hasn't stayed on the sidelines, however, giving a talk on VR at this year's PAX East and waxing long on the web's reaction to the online lynching of a now-ex Microsoft employee's thoughts on an always on Xbox and an always connected future as a whole.

Cliff B

Cliff B has some serious

Now, Bleszinski hasn't announced any plans to...announce any plans. So far he's not on the roster for any E3 presentations, and that makes him the perfect the surprise guest. Remember when Gabe Newell stepped on stage at Sony's 2010 E3 show? Well, imagine Bleszinski doing the same, acting as a consultant for Ubisoft, Volition or another developer on the cusp of breaking into the next level.

Or imagine him striking out on his own, announcing a new development house. Dude Huge Studios, Cliffy B Industries, or a some name that's far less terrible. No matter what, we're excited to see what the man does next, and E3 2013 is the perfect place to get the ball rolling.

8. The biggest titles of E3

E3 is known for surprises. Unexpected sequels and brand new IP's all step out of the shadows and into the spotlight at this celebration of the video game industry. So what will the biggest games of the show be? Surprises aside, we're prepared to make a few educated guesses as to what will have the fans clamoring come June.

First off, even though its been at E3 before, Watch Dogs is a game to watch. It blew audiences away with its detailed open world and insane techno-chaos. Sharp observers rightly guessed that it was next-gen title, and Ubisoft has confirmed that it will on both PS3 and PS4, as well the Xbox 360, and its successor, we presume.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U is highly anticipated title bound to create buzz. Nintendo has confirmed that the next installment of its character brawler franchise will have some presence at the show. Even if its just screens and a demo, fans will want to get their hand on it, and as entry in beloved Nintendo series, it's exactly the show.

You'll find all our pre-E3 speculation in the video below: