E3 always kicks off with a day of humongus press conferences by the major players. Its a sort of annualized prequel that sets the stage for the big products and trends of the year's show. New hardware is announced. The hype machine gears up with a voice of a multi-million watt sound system, a clarion call, an homage to virtual realities and hours to be sacrificed in them. Today's photos from the Microsoft, Sony and EA press conferences (as well as the Sony after-hours party on the roof of the JW Marriott hotel at LA Live) give an idea of the scale and fireworks that attend E3 2012.