Microsoft unveils two new Xbox consoles and exclusive titles at E3 2016
Microsoft annual pre-E3 conference was an hour-plus long event focused on unity, namely the mantra of "One." Where the Xbox One was the one-stop console hub for a person's entertainment needs, the company's next step forward continues this idea by uniting all gamers with their devices and to other gamers worldwide no matter where they are, making them "one" massive group in tune with their Microsoft devices.
The reality is not as cryptic or as Aldous Huxley distopyan as it sounds. Instead it's a bold step for Microsoft as it continues to push the Xbox One as the only entertainment necessity for consumers.
Xbox One S, Project Scorpio
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division, opened and closed the show with the biggest news of the day when he announced both the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.
The X1S is a smaller, slimmer, and bone-white color version of the Xbox One already available on store shelves. The X1S will include additional features such as support for 4k Ultra HD for Blu-Ray and streaming as well as an internal power supply (as opposed to the giant external brick currently available). There will be a 500GB, 1T, and limited edition 2T version available beginning this August.
Project Scorpio, on the other hand, is Microsoft's most ambitious console to date. The system, which will be available in the holiday season of 2017, will feature six teraflops of GPU power, and is designed to support true 4k gaming and high-fidelity virtual reality. Best of all, the system will still be compatible with Xbox One and Windows 10. All Xbox One titles will be playable on Project Scorpio and vice-versa...they just won't look as pretty!
Xbox Play Anywhere, Xbox Live Updates
Microsoft also announced new ways to bring players together, not only on the Xbox One but across Microsoft's various platforms. The first method is via what they call Xbox Play Anywhere. Select Microsoft titles such as Gears Of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 (both discussed during the conference) will be available for gamers on the Xbox One and PC via the same copy. In other words, a gamer need only purchase an Anywhere-compatible title for Windows 10 OR the Xbox One and still be able to play the title on either system.
Microsoft is also making a number of changes to Xbox Live to improve its multiplayer and social components to further bring gamers together. Clubs on Xbox Live, for example, is a way for players to create private communities among friends, family, and anyone else they want to stay in touch with via XBL.
There will also be a Craigslist/want ad style option dubbed Looking for Group. Gamers can search for like-minded and similarly-skilled players with this option to battle or co-op with. It's a great idea that also connects with the new Clubs option as well.
Finally, Arena on Xbox Live is a new tournament mode held exclusively through Xbox Live. Microsoft will bring tournament gaming and competitions to the Xbox Live with the help of publishers and developers. It's designed to be a huge boost for the e-sports community.
“Gamers have never had more choice in how and where they play,” said Spencer during the event at USC's Galen Center. “We are bringing our biggest games lineup ever to Xbox One and Windows 10, uniting gamers across networks on Xbox Live and expanding the Xbox One family of devices with the addition of Xbox One S and Project Scorpio to give gamers more choice in how and where they play."
Forza Horizon 3
Microsoft also used the event to premiere its newest racing title, Forza Horizon 3. The game is the most social-gaming friendly of all Forza titles to date thanks to it being one of Microsoft's first Play Anywhere titles. The game will feature a large, open-world map of the Australian Outback with plenty of road and off-road racing in a variety of vehicles. The new four-player co-op mode will include smooth, simultaneous synchronization allowing gamers on the PC and Xbox One to join in on the same map instantly and seamlessly without needing to exit the game.
Dead Rising 4
Not much was shown of this sequel to the much-loved zombie-bashing franchise but what was shown was nothing short of fun and amazing in its official world premiere (following an earlier leak). The audience at the Galen Center cheered as fake snow fell on them from the ceiling while Frank West thumbed through his Twitter feed before tweeting to the world that #FrankIsBack. The game is set during the Christmas season, which is highly appropriate for a game scheduled for release during the same time this year.
State Of Decay 2
Speaking of zombies, Microsoft unveiled another zombie franchise sequel, namely State Of Decay 2. The sequel will take advantage of the new Play Anywhere feature as the focus this time around, judging from the trailer, is on banding together with other players in order to survive. You can still go at it solo but then you'll be missing out on half the fun.
Gamers were treated to a new trailer for the exclusive Microsoft title that showed off new bits of gameplay as well as an expanded cast of characters. Joule Adams and her robot doggie companion Mack are joined by two new robot partners: Seth, the escape artist, and Duncan, the heavy hitter.
Apparently, plenty of you loved the card game available in The Witcher 3 so mujch that CD Projekt Red had no choice but to go ahead and produce a stand-alone version of it.
Although not an exclusive title, Bandai/Namco used Microsoft's conference to announce the arrival of Tekken 7 with a gameplay trailer of the game's story mode. Street Fighter legend Akuma appears in the trailer and challenges Heihachi to a fight, which he wins in epic fashion.
And many more...
This was truly a jam-packed press conference for Microsoft. Aside from the games already discussed, we also got looks at Scalebound and Final Fantasy XV, new content for Killer Instinct, and an extended preview of Rare's Sea of Thieves. You can watch all the trailers and segments from the briefing in the playlist below.