Editor's note: Scott Steinberg is the head of technology and video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global, as well as the founder of GameExec magazine and Game Industry TV. The creator and host of online video series Game Theory, he frequently appears as an on-air technology analyst for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CNN.
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Sound and fury are the hallmarks of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, the biggest video gaming event of the year.
Amid the spectacle -- bubbly cheerleaders, businessmen and costumed cartoon characters jostle for photo ops with wide-eyed fans -- it's easy to lose sight of what people here really should be talking about during the trade show in Los Angeles this week: the games.
E3 proves that rumors of blockbuster gaming's demise are greatly exaggerated. This is supposed to be the era of social games, free games, digital downloads and apps -- but the big games are all the rage. The following five titles promise to keep thumbs happily waggling well into 2012:
Coming in 2012 from Paramount Digital Entertainment, this attractively styled action game based on the upcoming JJ Abrams film reboot allows you to play co-operatively as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. A brand new adventure, it sees the dynamic duo teaming up to stop a "legendary enemy race bent on conquering the galaxy" (fingers crossed that's code for Klingons).
Set after the 2009 film and developed by Digital Extremes for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the game also boasts a script featuring input from "God of War" writer Marianne Krawczyk. If the game halfway lives up to the hype, it's sure to live long and prosper.
Latest in the series of hyperliterate undersea epics, this newest installment in the popular sci-fi role-playing franchise, which lets you hurl ice and fire or annihilate mutant adversaries with steampunk weapons, takes to the clouds instead. Viewing a richly detailed and dystopian world of floating blimps, balloons and ziplines through the eyes of Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, players will engage in visceral shootouts or melee combat with twisted DNA-splicing adversaries.
Among the most ambitious titles of the current generation, the game mixes high-flying aerial antics and stomach-clenching shocks. Hopes are high that it will live up to its award-winning predecessors. From teaming up with space- and time-bending female sidekicks to fleeing from hordes of screaming fanatics, its singular tale is likely to captivate PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players in 2012. PlayStation Move motion control support is also planned.
'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'
Given the seemingly boundless popularity of the best-selling military first-person shooter franchise, which draws 20 million online players per month (including 7 million each day), this could be the biggest game of the year.
From claustrophobic raids on steam-filled submarines to frantic sprints down waterways choked by exploding tankers, the series once again ups the graphical ante, and slathers on the summer blockbuster-style set pieces and pyrotechnics. Destined to clash with rival blaster "Battlefield 3," backed by a $100 million marketing campaign courtesy of publisher Electronic Arts, it's one of the titles you'll be unable to escape this holiday season.
While it's not garnering as much excitement as its record-shattering predecessor, extensive head-to-head and persistent multiplayer options ensure it'll still pack a full clip when it ships November 8 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'
Few fantasy role-playing games can approach the sheer scope, variety, or richness of "The Elder Scrolls" series, renowned for its open-ended play and comprehensively appointed worlds. Sticking with tradition, its latest rendition lets you wield swords and spells against giant spiders, fang-faced wolves or leering humanoid monstrosities. It delivers a dazzlingly rendered world filled with stunning environs and believable characters.
By siphoning off dragons' powers, you can also gain in stature and prowess, acquiring superhuman abilities when touting swords and axes just aren't enough.
The millions of players who enjoyed previous outing "Oblivion," as well as newcomers to the series, likely won't be disappointed when it debuts for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 11.
Previous "Tomb Raider" games have been a mixed bag of good ("Tomb Raider 2"), bad ("Tomb Raider 3"), and heartbreaking ("Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness"). This latest in the series -- a prequel which makes the game's star, Lara Croft, seem much more human -- looks to be a winner.
The game has closely positioned cameras, and larger characters make the game's action instantly feel more immediate and visceral. And trailers promise a gripping storyline.
With over 35 million games sold, the franchise's latest is likely to prove a winner when it launches for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next year.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Scott Steinberg.