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Place your bets for this year’s E3…

The UK trade is gearing up for a flurry of big name announcements at E3, with price cuts, new Wii-style controllers and online initiatives expected to grab the headlines.

Recent online ‘leaks’ suggested that Microsoft would be revealing a Mii-style avatar system, a karaoke series dubbed Lips and a social gaming channel – but Microsoft refused to comment.

Nevertheless, the trade has been busily speculating on what else might be revealed come Monday July 14th.

“It’s safe to assume that Nintendo will have news on the Wii debut of a popular franchise, while Sony and Microsoft will be competing with price cuts and online enhancements,” said GamesTM editor Rick Porter.

“Introducing avatars to Xbox Live seems a perfect move considering the threat of Home. Also, with so much talk of 360 ‘pointer’ pads and ‘break apart’ controllers for PS3, I’m expecting at least one to be revealed.”

Official Xbox 360 Magazine editor Jon Hicks expects a mixed bag from Microsoft.

“Given Microsoft’s commitment to broadening the  360 appeal, I’m expecting to see new products and services that catch the mass-market eye. But I don’t think that’ll be all – Microsoft have kept up the flow of hardcore titles, so I’d be surprised if we didn’t see at least one announcement to keep the fanboys happy.”

NGamer deputy editor Martin Kitts added his thoughts on what Nintendo has up its sleeve: “Nintendo will reveal a new Animal Crossing for Wii, they’ll be reviving the Punch Out brand, there will be no DS redesign – and men will outnumber women at the press conference by a factor of 30-to-1.”

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