What's next for gaming? E3 kicks off in LA tomorrow

Here's what to expect from E3 2016

It’s become one of the biggest conferences of the year, growing from a get-together for hardcore gamers to taking over most of LA’s convention space. The conference is kicking off properly tomorrow, with all the big name companies holding their press conferences before that, writes Kevin Kelly. 

E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, features the biggest gaming companies in the world, both console makers and game developers, who are showing off what they’re working on for the next 12 months and further afield. Here's what we can expect from E3 2016.

New hardware:

Sony and Microsoft have both confirmed that they have new versions of their Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles coming out soon. Both the consoles are refined versions of the current consoles, being physically smaller and featuring boosted guts inside to better support virtual reality gaming and 4K output. These new consoles won’t actually make an appearance at E3, except maybe for a fleeting mention that they’re coming soon.

Nintendo also has a new console in the works, codenamed NX, which will take over from the floundering Wii U. The Japanese giant confirmed that the NX won’t be at E3, and they’re probably not even going to mention it, pushing Nintendo even more into the weeds compared to Sony and Microsoft.

Virtual reality:

It was the big trend last year, and it looks likely to be that again this year. Sony got the head start on its competition last year by announcing the Playstation VR headset, fully compatible with the PS4. It still hasn’t shipped, but with the due date of October looming, it’ll get plenty of mentions this year.

Microsoft ended up on the back foot with VR, as the software giant has on so many trends over the last decade. To catch up, they’re expected to unveil that the Xbox One will support third-party VR headsets, including the Oculus Rift.

Developers are also due to announce more VR support, including Bethesda who has unveiled a VR version of Fallout 4.

Sequels, sequels, sequels:

E3 always has brilliant new games to exhibit, with new stories and worlds we’ve never seen before. But more and more, these games are coming from the smaller indie developers rather than the big games devs like Ubisoft, EA and Activision. From those names, expect expansions and sequels from existing franchises.

As with most of their games at E3, they’ve already been announced but we’ll finally get a first look at gameplay at the conference. Titanfall 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda, the WW1-themed Battlefield 1, Gears of War 4, the latest installment of the Legend of Zelda series, and EA’s slew of updated sports games will all be front and centre. We’ll have coverage later this week on all the new games ready to be unveiled.