This year's edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo — better known as E3 — is important for several reasons. In a world where the need for dedicated game consoles seems to be diminishing, both Sony and Microsoft will be laser-focused on showing you why you need to buy a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The two consoles appear to be headed in different directions in terms of strategy: whereas Microsoft wants the One to become the focal point of your living room, Sony envisions a cloud-powered future with a heavy focus on games. While it will be some time before we know if either strategy is viable, with two big press conferences on Monday, we'll at least have more details on the two companies' plans for this holiday season and the future.

And then there's Nintendo. After the success of the original Wii, the company has hit a huge roadblock with the Wii U. With slow sales and a less than exciting software lineup, it's difficult to see how Nintendo will turn things around. Of course, the company has reinvented itself many times before — with the Wii being just the latest example — so there could be some big surprises in store. This year's E3 and the announcements that come out of it could go a long way towards determining the future of the Wii U. Outside of the big three, there are also new platforms like Valve's Steam Box and the Oculus Rift to keep an eye on, and of course we can't forget about the games: this will be our first chance to to go hands-on with some of next generation’s titles.

The Verge will be on the show floor in Los Angeles to bring you liveblogs, stories, photos, and video from the event — for now, here are a few things to expect when E3 kicks off next week.