Microsoft's E3 press conferences have a unified structure.
There's the section about video games, the section about family games, the one about sports and the one about Kinect. After a few years of watching a handful of executives tweak the script, you feel like playing press conference BINGO, waiting for the latest mention of Fable or Halo to complete a line. Of course, this could be the year they don't devote a chunk of the event to apps and business partnerships, after all, the heads of the company have emphasized a renewed focus on games, but I'll be surprised if at least a portion of the marketing pitch doesn't involve, let's say, HBO Go.
The press conference, on a theatrical level, are oddly experimental, in the way only a monolithic company with bottomless pockets can afford to be. One year, before the show, I entered a fake home through a fake window, unperceptible to the impossibly beautiful but fake family of Los Angeles actors, all of them pretending to eat popcorn and play Xbox on their stainless, but real Scandinavian couch. Then there was the moment on the press conference stage — well, above it actually — a family materialized, trapped inside a human-sized diorama.
Microsoft's a puzzling company, behaving in ways maddeningly predictable and astonishingly inspired at the same time, without seeming to notice the collision of board room practically and art school creativity. The result is lame and it's wonderful, it's gaudy and it's fabulous, and it's all happening at once. Honestly, I look forward to seeing it — whatever it is.
Anyway, here's my best prediction for how the Microsoft press conference will go this year. Adjust your BINGO cards and post-modern art criticism accordingly.
And speaking of predictions, here's my prediction for E3 2014 press conferences from an entire year ago.
UPDATE (6/4/2014): I'll just leave this list of the 46 new apps and corporate partnerships here.
UPDATE 2 (6/8/2014): As we approach the Microsoft press conference, I concede to the Internet! About half of this prediction will probably be incorrect. Yes, you were right, Internet. I was wrong. With Microsoft's new apps and business partnerships announced ahead of the show, their presser is all but guaranteed to play directly to its base of hardcore fans, with the company spending the majority of its conference on games, games, games.