With E3 right around the corner, we are starting to see more and more rumors and speculations surface across the vast gaming landscape. With the gaming industry projected to be a 82 billion business by the year 2017, the electronic entertainment expo is the marquee event for companies to promote and show off their newest products.

We expect this to be one of the more memorable E3’s in recent history with another year under the belt for “Next Gen” Consoles which really from this point on should be referred to as “Current Gen” but I regress.Virtual Reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift along with the ever growing E-Sports industry will surely be represented by a plethora of different companies trying to make their mark in the gaming universe.

Today we take a look at what this years E3 should have to offer for sports gamers and who to expect what out of at this years show. With the computing power of these current gen systems and developers starting to come closer to realizing their full potential, 2015 could mark one of the best years we have ever seen in the Sports gaming community. SGO will be there every step of the way with you guys so be sure to check back frequently for the most up to date news.

Most Anticipated Announcement

Joe Montana Football 16

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First screenshots suggest that Joe Montana Football 16 will be a non NFL licensed game. but until we hear otherwise, everything is still possible.
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Player models look amazing so far on JMF16

With rumors flying around left and right for the last few months about what exactly Joe Montana Football 16 will be, football fans are eagerly awaiting an official announcement from either the Development team or Joe himself. He has been involved in a number of video game related projects over the last 2 years and random tweets of Mo-Cap sessions and high res screen shots have surfaced in recent months.
It is still unclear what systems the game will be available on,  if it will include NFL licensing of any sort and what the exact release date will be. What we do know is that it will run on the Unreal 4 engine and all screenshots to date suggest that this will not be a licensed NFL game. Regardless with the football season just a few short months away we are hoping to receive some solid factual information on this game at this years E3.

Sports Game With the Most to Prove

EA Sports NHL 16

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Despite solid graphics and robust gameplay on the ice, NHL 15 never gained traction due to a lack of features. Will NHL 16 mark the return of the stellar franchise?
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The integration of NBC broadcast animations and complete pre-game show was a nice touch in NHL 15.

This is truly a make or break year for the NHL series. NHL 15 was the first Next Gen hockey title from EA and considering the added development time, it left some fans disappointed. The game added NBC themed broadcast animations and a pre-game show but left many popular features out such as the EA Sports Hockey League. Couple the missing features with lack of information about the game prior to launch, and you have the recipe for a underwhelming launch. To their credit,  EA later would add some features back into the game via DLC such as Playoff Mode, but it was too little too late for most gamers.
At this years E3, we expect a little more transparency on EA’s part on what will be featured in NHL 16 and hopefully they can take the franchise back to its glory days by adding some of the features hardcore fans loved about the franchise. Another slow selling title otherwise could quite possibly mark the end to a stellar and historic sports franchise much like we saw with the College hoops game from 2k and nobody wants to see that happen.

What Can We expect from Madden 16?

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Update: We have learned a few more details from EA regarding new features arriving in Madden 16. The story can be found here . Also the first trailer has dropped which can be found here

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The integration of this years draft class into MUT is keeping Madden 15 fresh even in the off-season.

Madden had a stellar year in 2014 by all accounts and many hardcore fans of the long running Football franchise agreed that this is possibly the best all around Madden game we have ever seen. Madden 15 brought overhauled mechanics, graphics and gameplay and although not perfect, we expect to see minor tweaks across the board.
With another year under the belt on the new systems it is expected that EA Sports won’t mess with the winning formula too much and subtle refinements will be more of the order.
One thing we can expect however is an overhauled Connected Franchise mode.  Although arguably the best and deepest Online Franchise mode of all the major sports titles, there still are some major flaws with the off the field features. A refined scouting, game prep and financial system is something that could take Madden to new, never before seen heights. The ever growing Madden Ultimate Team or “MUT” community should also be on alert, come E3 time for any possible announcements as EA clearly will continue to focus heavily on the micro transactions, card collecting game mode.

What does Spike Lee mean to NBA 2K16?
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Spike Lee will be involved in some capacity on this years NBA 2K16, and we hope to find out more details at this years E3 in Los Angeles.
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So far 3 cover photos have leaked involving Steph Curry, James Harden and Kevin Durant. Picture courtesy of Polygon

Last week SGO reported that Spike Lee will be part of NBA 2k16 in some form or fashion. Along with leaked photos of potential covers that read “Be the Story” obtained by Polygon, it leaves much room for speculation.
My personal thoughts or perhaps wishful thinking would suggest that Spike Lee writes the entire MyCareer Story mode and takes the RPG style game mode to new heights. NBA 2k13 had Jay-Z as a celebrity executive producer and although the soundtrack was solid, most gamers would probably prefer those resources go to revamping and improving the MyCareer story.

E3 would be the perfect outlet for 2K Sports to come out with a bang as they historically like to do and shed some light on how exactly Spike Lee will be involved. A redesigned match making system in MyPark is another thing many fans of the franchise would love to see but we will have to wait for any possible announcements in the coming months or possibly at E3.

The Beautiful Game(s)?

FIFA 16

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FIFA 16 hopes to keep building on its solid platform, perhaps only revamping some modes that have gone stale over the last few years.
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Many feel that PES is narrowing the gap between them and FIFA and a soild outing at E3 could bolster that.

For years Fifa has dominated as not only the best selling soccer, but also sports game in the world. With its worldwide appeal, solid gameplay and robust feature set it came as no surprise that Fifa on Next Gen would keep up this type of domination in the market space.
Last year, however Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 or “PES” made its triumphant debut on the new consoles as well as PC. The game was very well received and aside from not owning a lot of the official licenses that FIFA can tout, hardcore gamers still saw PES for what it is. An incredibly accurate, beautiful and fun representation of what we call “The Beautiful Game”.
This year Konami already promised a strong presence at E3, showing off their 2nd generation PES on the new consoles. The fact that PES 15 as well as FIFA 15 both received an identical Metacritic score of 82 and Pro Evo actually beat out Fifa in the user ratings, suggests that there isn’t much of a gap after all. Sales numbers do not mirror that however and it is on Konami to try to narrow the gap by promoting the game in a big way. What better place than E3 to make a lasting impression on Soccer gaming enthusiasts?
As for Fifa, at last years E3 it was all about bringing life and emotion to the virtual pitch, showing off numerous new emotional player animations depending on game situations, crowd reactions and realistic weather and turf reaction.
FIFA Ultimate Team is still the beast that drives this machine and maybe at this years E3, we will get some information on how EA plans to keep “FUT” fresh and innovative moving forward.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

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The Frostbite engine used in Rory McIlroy PGA Tour game will allow for faster transitions from hole to hole and eliminate loading times within the course.
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Top ranked golfer Rory McIlroy will replace Tiger Woods on this years PGA Tour game by EA.

EA announced at last years E3 that they would make their journey back into the golfing world. Originally teased under the “PGA Tour” banner, the bizarre trailer involving animals, battleships and fighter jets received more flack than praise from the gaming community. Since then EA has shifted their focus and named Rory McIlroy the face of the franchise. Some great looking trailers and screenshots have also surfaced and this time EA decided to leave out the heavy war artillery and focus just on golf which is probably a welcome approach by golf enthusiasts.  With the release of Rory McIlroy PGA Tour less than a month away upon the arrival of E3, we expect to see quite a bit of buzz surrounding the title at this years show.
It should be close to a finished product by then and hopefully we get a chance to get our hands on it and give you guys an exclusive first look.

With E3 roughly 4 weeks away, the staff here at SGO is extremely excited to be able to cover all things in the sports gaming world for our readers and we will have a big presence at this years show. So please follow us on Twitter @SportsGamersOn and check back often for all the up to date news and announcements.

As always, if you enjoyed this article, a “Like”, comment or share is very much appreciated and feel free to connect with me @danielbaesel on twitter for questions, comments and suggestions.