What to expect from E3 2019

E3 2019 is shaping up to be a bit of an in-between year. Nintendo Switch sales have finally started slowing, but the company’s a ways off from its next-generation console. Microsoft and Sony will be offering info on theirs soon, but we likely won’t be seeing much — especially from the latter, which has opted to sit out this show altogether.

Still, there will be plenty to see next week in Los Angeles. Here’s what we expect so far.

Microsoft: Google, of all companies, made the biggest splash at GDC back in March, announcing Stadia, its live-streaming gaming service. Look for Microsoft to hit back this week, with a lot more information surrounding its competitor, Project xCloud. We have even fewer details about Microsoft’s offering, though the company has compared it to music streaming services like Spotify.

We could get a glimpse of some next-generation hardware at the event, as well, though that’s likely to amount to little more than a brief sneak peek. We will, however, be getting a good look at Gears 5, the latest entry in one of the console’s most beloved franchises. The new title, which debuted onstage this time last year, is expected to be a major departure for the series.

Speaking of beloved franchises, look for some gameplay time with Halo: Infinite. So far, we’ve got little info on the Xbox/Windows 10 title beyond a mysterious trailer. Look for more than a dozen titles in all, including Age of Empires and a new Fable.

Nintendo: With a June 28 release date, there won’t be many surprises left for Super Mario Maker 2 by the time E3 rolls around. Pokémon Sword / Shield, too, will also be pretty well-highlighted ahead of the show. The upcoming Animal Crossing Switch title seems like a pretty good bet. Also be on the lookout for Luigi’s Mansion 3, Fire Emblem Three Houses and the Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

Sony: Nothing.

Seriously, nothing.

We know the PlayStation 5 is just around the corner. E3 would be a great time to offer some insight into the company’s next-generation console, but Sony has opted to sit this one out instead. The gaming giant’s absence will loom large over the event, leaving Microsoft as the only member of the big three with an actual in-person press conference, after years of Nintendo Treehouses.

E3 has traditionally been a show that’s ebbed and flowed more than most, but the gaming giant’s decision will no doubt leave many wondering whether the event has lost some of its relevance in the age of doing everything online.

Publishers: Marvel’s Avengers is going to be a huge one from RPG stalwarts Square Enix. We’ve heard very little about the eagerly awaited title. A since-removed event synopsis described the Marvel game as, “an epic action-adventure that combines cinematic storytelling with continuous single-player and co-operative gameplay.” The game will be sharing a stage with the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake.

As for Ubisoft, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Rainbow Six Siege and Tom Clancy’s The Division are all on tap. Doom Eternal and Wolfenstein: Youngblood are the big titles for Bethesda this year, plus Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76 updates.

The show kicks off Sunday with Microsoft’s press conference. TechCrunch will be there all week.

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