What does Microsoft have in store for E3?

E3 is one short week away, and speculation is rampant as to what is going to be announced.

If the initial buzz is any indication, between their June 1st press briefing and their booth, Microsoft should have a strong showing this year.

Bearing that in mind, LiveSide is throwing our collective hats into the ring, with several predictions of our own as to what Microsoft will – and will not – be showing at E3. 

First and foremost, with a release date slated for this September, E3 would be a perfect venue for a formal Zune HD announcement.  A feature overview is likely, including demos of the device’s gaming abilities, courtesy of the integrated NVIDIA Tegra GPU.

Regarding Xbox Live, being the flagship game show for Xbox Live Primetime, expect 1vs100 to be featured prominently, both in Microsoft’s press briefing and on the show floor itself.  The US beta will be launched in conjunction with E3, at the absolute latest.

For the Halo fans: Halo Chronicles, the Peter Jackson helmed Halo spinoff, is unlikely to be shown this year.  Instead, Microsoft will demo Halo 3: ODST, detailing slated release date and pricing information. Will a playable version make its way to their booth? 

While on the subject of franchise titles, expect Rare, Epic Games, and Forza developer Turn 10 to have some major announcements.  Specifically: Viva Pinata 3 and an Xbox Live Arcade version of the n64 shooter Perfect Dark from Rare, a Gears of War 3 teaser trailer shown by none other than Epic Games’ Cliff “CliffyB” Bleszinski, and PGR 5 from Turn 10.

In terms of the Xbox 360 Console itself, despite popular demand, Microsoft will not introduce a re-worked controller with an improved D-Pad.  They may, however, show off a motion sensor enabled controller. Nintendo has established the utility and marketability of motion controls, bringing the once niche control scheme mainstream attention.

Last, but certainly not least, expect further details about Alan Wake to surface; specifically a release date and game play trailer.