E3: Expectations Are Running HighIts unusual to have a brand new media event be surrounded with so much excitement and yet still be shrouded in mystery. Thats the animal were dealing with for the E3 Media & Business Summit, which kicks off next week. For the first time in five years, no one is expected to talk about a new handheld or console system, so now its all about showing us what these new consoles can do. All water cooler discussion of past E3s came from the big press briefings that took place before the show officially opened its doors. From the looks of it, those monumental events have gone nowhere, even if the show floor may now be devoid of million-dollar light shows and booth babes from gaming heaven. Well see Microsoft spend a lot of time talking about Halo 3, Sony will treat the PS3s Home as a reincarnated god, and Nintendo will be all grins talking about the Wiis sales figures, but we arent so sure that there will be any surprises. What well see is anyones guess. None of the big three players have given us a hint as to what might be unveiled next week (well, besides what you have seen on the Playstation blog), but we have a pretty good idea about what the major stories will be. Sony will likely show off the Playstation Eye, which should be as much of a show stopper as the introduction of the EyeToy at E3 2003. Well also most likely get a glimpse of the PS3s answer to Xbox Live Achievements. Shown only briefly during Homes debut earlier this year, the "trophy room" aspect of the consoles online system will no doubt show up during Sonys big extravaganza on July 11. The Playstation 3 is the console which most obviously lacks killer game titles that take advantage of the specific capabilities (high-definition, Cell processor). So, we do expect a range of new games, which should include the final version of Warhawk (due in August), Grand Theft Auto IV (due in October), Call of Duty 4 (due in October), The Getaway 3 (due in November), as well as Gran Turismo HD, which is scheduled for a December release. Especially Gran Turismo could become one of the most significant titles for the PS3. From Nintendo, we expect to see a new trailer for Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Im praying for some playable time with the game, otherwise known as the sequel to what many see as the only success on the Gamecube. I also expect to get firm dates for Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3. What Im most interested in, though, is seeing if Nintendo will talk about the Wiis upcoming online features. An associated patent talks about an AOL-style instant messenger and a dedicated online portal. Weve yet to even see Nintendo talk about any of these, and I cant imagine a more opportune time for Nintendo to start getting serious abut the online market. Nintendo has a knack for wowing people at these press events, and with the mountain of success the Wii has already attained, it wont take much for the Mario company to generate some newfound excitement. Im also very curious to see what Microsoft will show us. I expect a rather big and unexpected announced from the Xbox guys. Its their job to bring some enthusiasm back to the 360, which already sort of seems outdated with the new kids on the block known as Wii and PS3. Halo 3 will only carry the 360 so far, and its not enough to create buzz among an audience thats already very familiar with the game. With Microsoft sort of just looming in the shadows recently, no one has a clue what the Xbox may have up its sleeve, but its my guess well see something really special. So, get yourself into fanboy mode and prepare for the week that still promises big announcements, hands-on gameplay reports, and moments that will make the YouTube hall of fame, cause its time for E3. Well be on hand at the Santa Monica pier to get the latest gaming dish, but, of course, we want to know - what are you looking forward to at the show? Which company will get the momentum boost to pull ahead during the holiday season? Discuss your opinions, and share your thoughts below.