Developers from all over the world will come together next week for the biggest video game show of the year. The Electronic Entertainment Expo showcases the newest software and hardware on the horizon.

This year’s E3 is extra special due to the upcoming launches of two new consoles.

Sony announced the PlayStation 4 in February with high fanfare. The hardware is an absolute powerhouse and actually rivals some of the higher-end computers that are currently on the market. I also applaud Sony for keeping the Dual Shock controller mostly unchanged.

Sony has a bit of momentum going into E3 because of the disappointing release of the Wii U last fall and the embarrassing unveiling of the Xbox One. We’ll see Sony take most of the pre-launch hype with a strong software showing next week.

Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One a few weeks ago to severe criticism. The latest Xbox release has been clouded with conflicting information on Internet connectivity and support for playing used games.

It seems the Xbox One needs to connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours for authentication checks. I can’t see this being a big problem for the majority of the console’s intended crowd, but I can certainly see complaints if the console always had to be online to be played. The Internet connection is simply not reliable enough for that to happen at this point.

Another backlash came when rumors spread that used games couldn’t be played on the Xbox One without a fee. The fee was said to equal the normal price of a game, which is absolutely unreasonable. I can’t imagine Microsoft following through with this when the console launches this holiday season.

Nintendo has already announced it won’t be holding the traditional pre-show press conference, instead releasing numerous “Nintendo Direct” videos leading up to the event. The main video is scheduled for June 11.

While it’s expected to feature several surprises, Nintendo has already said that the next Smash Bros., 3D Mario and Mario Kart installments will be featured.

Retro Studios has been hard at work on a Wii U game and I’m hoping that we get a glimpse next week. A new Metroid or Star Fox title would be excellent, but a new franchise would be just fine. The guys at Retro are immensely talented and I will be happy to see whatever they have in development.

Third-party support for the Wii U is still the big question for Nintendo. The company is in trouble if it cannot provide some solid exclusives from outside developers.

All three companies have a lot on the line as we approach a critical time in gaming. The two big launches will likely steal the thunder this holiday, but Nintendo can swing momentum back with a strong software showcase.

I predict that we’ll see Microsoft play catch-up and perhaps even backpedal from some of the rumors circulating right now. I imagine Sony will play it pretty easy, just showing new PS4 games without a lot of hardware surprises. Unfortunately, I see Nintendo making the same mistakes it has in the recent past. It’s very likely they will announce several good first-party games, but a lack of software from anyone else.

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