There's at least one question heading into E3 2004 -- this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show. Will Acclaim (NASDAQ:AKLM) be out-"juiced?"

Earlier this year, we touted the upcoming street racer Juiced as a game that could help establish tiny Acclaim as a player alongside Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), and THQ (NASDAQ:THQI). Later this year, Acclaim's in-depth simulator aims to capitalize on the exploding demand for all things related to performance tuning.

That hasn't changed. What has changed is the competition. It just keeps piling on.

A couple of weeks ago, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced Need For Speed Underground 2. Just last Thursday, Take-Two announced Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. And then there's Namco's Street Racing Syndicate, as well as the granddaddy of them all -- Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Gran Turismo, which also hits the shelves this holiday season.

The fact is that Gran Turismo 4 will be the priority for racing fans this holiday season. What's more, EA has a dominant brand and in Need For Speed, a proven title that may only require some tweaking.

Then there's Take-Two's Midnight Club series, also highly respected among gamers, which now has an added dimension in its partnership with DUB Magazine, the "urban automotive lifestyles magazine." Lastly, Namco, the company behind the legendary Ridge Racer series, is starting to look like a player, as well.

So Acclaim's place in the tuner race is not quite so clear.

Arguably, because Gran Turismo is PlayStation 2-exclusive, Juiced may have a shot at entertaining Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox owners. And while I'd prefer to look to Juiced for a boost, Acclaim may have some other shots this year. Comic-based The Red Star has generated some interest, and World Championship Rugby has been a best seller in Europe since its release.

But one thing is clear: Juiced is going to have to make a major splash next week to be a top-tier player this holiday season.

Give us your thoughts on the holiday race on the Video & PC Games discussion board.

Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Electronic Arts.