The Future of Gaming on Display at 2016’s E3 Summit

In just a few weeks, the world’s biggest video game technology conference will commence. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is where the big three console makers, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, announce new hardware improvements and the major studios provide some first impressions of soon-to-be-released games.

Sony

Sony’s PlayStation 4 console was released about three years ago, and while it may be a bit early in the cycle for the PlayStation 5, that doesn’t mean hardware improvements won’t be released later this year.

The rumored upgrade, dubbed the PlayStation 4.5, would support game resolutions of up to UHD 4K, rather than the 1080p resolution in which PlayStation 4 runs. This would make sense given the price drops of 4K televisions and demand for higher resolution content.

Even if the Playstation 4.5 does not materialize this year, this announcement could mean the strong possibility of more virtual reality content for PlayStation’s VR system. Currently, the PlayStation VR is one of the more competitive VR systems on the market due to its ability to work with the console. This would eliminate the need for new hardware like the Occulus or Vive systems.

Microsoft

While rumors of an upgraded Xbox One are circulating, they don’t seem to hold the same weight as the PS 4.5. If there is a change, it most likely will be a minor hardware tweak, like better wireless connectivity, larger or faster hard drives, or a shrinking of the form factor. This would be similar to the redesign of the Xbox 360 in the last console cycle.

As with Sony, Microsoft may be starting to integrate VR into its systems and games with Kinect, as well as the push of a VR headset, dubbed the HoloLens.

Nintendo

Nintendo has always done things a little differently from Microsoft and Sony. While these two giants tend to battle head to head with their releases and exclusive titles, Nintendo does its own thing. When the original Wii was released, some critics said it was “underpowered” compared to the current Xbox and PlayStation systems. Yet, it still sold incredibly well due to the “pure gameplay” users experienced, showing that when it comes to games, fun trumps everything else.

The Nintendo NX, the successor of the Wii U, will not be shown at E3 this year. Instead, it will have its own event in the future, and Nintendo will focus more heavily on one of its most popular franchises, The Legend of Zelda. Even without a heavy presence of Nintendo at this year’s E3, that doesn’t mean there won’t be interesting things in the future for Nintendo. Beyond its new Zelda game, many of Nintendo’s classic franchises are getting reboots, including Kirby, Metroid Prime and Pokemon.

The Pokemon games are also Nintendo’s first foray into mobile games not on the GameBoy or DS systems. Pokemon GO, which is rumored to be released later this year, is an augmented reality game in which gamers can travel the world and catch their own Pokemon using a smartphone like the Galaxy S7.

Updated: May 20, 2016 — 4:35 pm

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