E3 is on the horizon, and everyone’s gearing up for what new software, games, hardware and other tech will be revealed for gamers everywhere to explore and get excited over. And while Nintendo and Sony appear to be getting ready for the next generation of consoles, Microsoft seems to be taking a more passive stance – to the point that some are speculating that they will focus more on updating the Xbox 360 dashboard than anything else.

At last year’s E3, the biggest game announcements to come from Microsoft were Halo 4 – and by extension, a new Halo trilogy – Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and Minecraft for the 360. But beyond that, the company focused more on casual titles and Kinect games – much to the disappointment of hardcore gamers. This year, it’s speculated that besides more of Halo 4, a new Forza game, and Fable: The Journey, Microsoft’s showing will be very similar to last year’s, with a lack of hardware and core games, and more of a focus on the 360 dashboard.

A discussion on Game Trailers’ Bonus Round supported this belief, with many of the experts agreeing that Microsoft wants to focus more on making the 360 into a multimedia platform, incorporate as much as they can into it to build it up as an all-purpose entertainment platform. Industry analyst Michael Pachter even said flat out that the company would be focusing on the dashboard more at E3 this year, something that will translate into the Xbox 360 successor eventually.

“Step back from E3 for a second and just think about what Microsoft wants to do with the next console. And Adam [Sessler] is exactly right: They want to own the living room, not just for gaming, but for everything. I actually think that’s what all the announcements are going to be, is all about multimedia capability, changes to the dashboard, access to new services. And I think they can start getting people excited about the potential of the next box without talking about it… they told me, ‘Don’t expect a lot of game stuff; expect a lot of dashboard, interface, multimedia.'”

This does seem like a likely move for Microsoft to make, given some of their recent decisions – including the new $99 360 bundle. The question remains, though, if this is a particularly wise decision on their part. With the Wii U expected to release at the end of this year, and Sony’s next console rumored to be coming out before Microsoft’s Durango – two companies that are also showcasing software for their new respective handheld devices – it may be better for the company to focus on getting their next-generation console ready as fast as possible, or they could lose some ground to their competition.

Sources: 1up, GameTrailers