Seven Things We Learned From Microsoft’s E3 2017 Press Conference

Microsoft came, saw and pretty much conquered E3 on Sunday with the 2017 iteration of their annual press conference in Los Angeles.

The multinational corporation laid down a marker for fierce rivals Sony with a superb showing that offered plenty of news on their newest console, a whole slew of interesting and beautiful games and a couple of nice little surprises.

What did we, the gamers, learn from Microsoft’s press briefing though? Here’s a rundown of the most important parts of what the showcase:


The Xbox One X is Going to be Magnificient

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Source: The Verge

Project Scorpio is no more. Microsoft officially – and finally – unveiled their latest console offering to the public, and revealed that it will now be known as the ‘Xbox One X’.

Sleeker than its predecessor the Xbox One S – though not smaller, if this specifications sheet shown on Kotaku is 100% true – the Xbox One X is packing some serious muscle under its hood.

With memory consisting of 12 GB GDDRS @ 326 GB/s, a true 4K UHD Blu-Ray drive and a liquid cooling system, among other immense specs, the Xbox One X is certainly the most powerful console made to date.

With an official release date of 7th November 2017 announced too, we don’t have to wait long to get our mitts all over this gorgeous looking piece of kit. Well, that is…


…If You Can Afford it

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Source: Windows Central

At £449 ($499 for our American cousins), the Xbox One X will not be cheap.

Microsoft has to get bang for its buck from somewhere, considering the amount of research, technology manufacturing and shipping that will have cost them a Scrooge McDuck-esque swimming pool of cash, but the Washington-based company could have priced themselves out of some fans purchasing their new device straight away.

It took a while for some Xbox 360 gamers to part with their money and buy a One when it was released back in late 2013 and, with a hefty price slapped onto the X, it might be a good six months, bundle pack or price drop to persuade gamers to let go of their One console and upgrade to this monster.


You Won’t Have to Stump Up Cash for Peripherals Though

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Source: Amazon

As some form of sweetener to those looking to buy an Xbox One X the moment it’s released, however, Microsoft did reveal that all current Xbox One peripherals – controllers, headsets and the like – would work with the X.

That goes some way to buttering up the Xbox fanbase, but is it enough to really make gamers hand over their hard-earned cash? Only time will tell.


If That Doesn’t, the Raft of Games Will

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Source: Business Insider

Microsoft proudly boasted that it showed off 42 new games during its almost two-hour long briefing on Sunday – 22 of which it claimed were Xbox exclusives – and some of the do look exceptionally impressive.

We already knew that the likes of Crackdown 3, Forza Motorsport 7, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 would be coming to the Xbox One X, but a host of other titles – both AAA and indie – will have piqued the interest of Xbox supporters.

Odd Tales’ The Last Night looks a truly stunning Blade Runner-esque pixel art winner, a sequel to Moon Studios’ Ori & the Blind Forest – called Ori and the Will of Wisps – is drop-dead gorgeous, Bluehole’s critically-acclaimed PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds will worm its way onto the Xbox One X and Bioware’s latest venture Anthem is set to be yet another triumph for the Canadian video game developer.

As Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer, there was truly a game on show for everyone, with family friendly titles all the way to mature content for 18+  gamers on offer. And speaking of Spencer…


Microsoft’s Xbox Chief is Showing His Worth

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Source: BBC

Since his appointment as chief executive of Xbox’s division in late 2014, Phil Spencer has turned Xbox’s reputation on its head and made the corporation’s video game department a force to be reckoned with once more.

As a staunch video game fan himself, Spencer knows just how important it has been to make gaming the centre of everything good about the Xbox brand – it’s quite amazing to type that out about a games console – and the 28-year Microsoft veteran has turned this potentially sinking ship around.

Each E3 conference that Spencer has headlined has not been short of games, has dispensed with the other entertainment aspects of the Xbox One and all-but-sealed the fate of Microsoft’s ponderous motion control Kinect device.

That Spencer’s name was chanted by those in attendance at Sunday’s briefing shows you all you need to know about how he has given Xbox its pride back.


And Now for Some More Nostalgia

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Source: Cnet

Microsoft dropped the mic on Sony during their 2015 E3 press conference as they announced their Xbox 360 backwards compatiblity programme.

Since then the number of titles available to gamers, that fans can play on their Xbox One, has slowly been increased and, despite the feature not being used much according to Ars Technica, it still has some form of following.

Now, Microsoft has revealed that it plans to bring the originaly Xbox’s back catalogue to its One lineup too, and the unveiling went down a storm among attendees.

Whether the company will see a huge spike before a massive drop off again remains to be seen but, for gamers who still cling on to their original Xbox games from all the way back to 2001, being able to play them on an upgrade console 16 years later will be huge.


Sony Need Something Humungous to ‘Win’ E3 2017

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Source: Digital Trends

With the unveiling of Xbox One X, a tonne of ridiculously good-looking upcoming games and more backwards compatibility to come, Microsoft have laid down the gauntlet to Sony ahead of the Playstation briefing.

The Japanese corporation bounced back with their 2015 ‘E3 of Dreams’ lineup following Microsoft’s return to form that year, and something similar will be needed to prevent the American giant from securing bragging rights this time around.

This was a big press conference for Microsoft and they pretty much pulled it off. It’s up to Sony now to stop casual gamers from switching allegiances.

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Microsoft’s 2017 E3 Briefing: Everything You Need to Know

The 2017 Edition of world-famous video game expo E3 is just a week away, and anticipation is building towards what consumers can expect from the three-day event in Los Angeles.

As ever, the industry’s big hitters such as Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA and Bethesda will all be conducting press briefings to varying degrees, while a whole host of companies, experts and fans will be present to present, critique and get hands-on experience with all the demos and games they can get their hands on.

Microsoft arguably stole the show at E3 2016 with the announcement of the Xbox One S, a slew of cool looking titles, HoloLens and their upcoming Project Scorpio console, and much will be expected of the multinational corporation by everyone at the event and across the globe.

What can we expect to see, hear and touch when Microsoft rock up to E3 then? Here’s the lowdown on all you need to know:


What Time, When & Where?

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Microsoft are doing things a tad differently this year. The Washington-based technology giant normally holds its press briefing at 5pm BST (9am PT) on the first day of the event – usually the Monday – a few brief hours before Sony take to the stage.

However, MS are holding their 2017 conference a day earlier at a later time. This year’s Microsoft briefing will take place on Sunday 11th June at 10pm BST (2pm PT) at the LA Convention Centre.

It’s certainly a bold move from MS who will be giving their presentation first – EA aside – ahead of their two major rivals Sony and Nintendo (although the latter will be sticking to their tried-and-tested Treehouse presentation, rather than a live press event), but it gives them the chance to show off all of their newest gubs 24 hours before the Playstation and Switch producers.


What Can We Expect to See?

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There’s only one thing on the minds of Xbox fans heading into E3 2017: Project Scorpio.

Microsoft announced that they were hard at work on their most powerful console to date during last year’s event, and this year MS should come out all guns blazing and reveal just exactly what Project Scorpio.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer has already given hints at to just how monstrous the next Xbox will be, but gamers will be keen to know just what they’ll be getting for the money when the console reportedly launches at the end of this year.

What do we know about Project Scorpio so far? Well, it’ll contain 6 teraflops-worth of “graphical processing power”, an in-built vapour chamber – liquid cooling that will keep the console from overheating – 1TB of storage and the ability to stream games at a 4K UHD resolution.

There’s much more information where that came from too in this handy all-encompassing guide from the boffins over at TechRadar, but we’ll learn much, much more – including potential A-list titles, price range and other crucial factors – when the Scorpio is officially revealed on 11th June.

Will Microsoft open or close with the Scorpio? It’s hard to say. Leaving it until the end of the briefing will give Xbox fans an almighty boost and be a big way to drop the mic on Sony, but could backfire if the pricing of the console is too steep.

Opening with Scorpio would certainly be a way for Microsoft to come out all guns blazing, but giving up their biggest prize from the off could lead to the rest of the conference paling in comparison.

Either way, next month can’t come soon enough.


What About the Games?

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With Microsoft pushing the Scorpio as the major selling point of their 2017 briefing, games and software will most likely take a slight stepback from proceedings.

That’s not to say that fans and gamers won’t be given a vast array of titles to run the rule over, as video game trailers, teases, demos and information are the lifeblood of E3.

Expect to hear updates on the likes of Undead Labs’ sequel State of Decay 2 and Reagent Games’ Crackdown 3, further trailers and demos for upcoming titles such as Rare’s Sea of Thieves, and other first-party developers along the lines of Forza Motorsport 7 from Microsoft Studios.

Third-party games like EA’s critically-acllaimed FIFA series and Activision’s Call of Duty: World War 2 will also no doubt appear, and more ID@Xbox titles (fingers crossed for a Cuphead release date!) will be given their own alloted time frame.

Rumours had circulated that a Halo 3 anniversary remaster or even a vague hint towards Halo 6 may be shown off but, thanks to 343 Industries’ development director Frank O’Connor’s comments late last year -reiterated by community manager Brian Jarrard on Reddit – don’t expect to see either at show.


What Else?

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A potential announcement about more upcoming backwards compatibility titles wouldn’t go amiss. E3 2015 saw MS turn the tables on Sony, after the latter had won E3 the year before, by stating their intent to bring as many Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One in the coming years, and Phil Spencer even went as far to say he’d like to see “all” 360 titles eventually playable on the One.

In hardware terms, can we expect to see a new controller? MS has always pushed the boundaries where this is concerned, with the 360 controller deemed one of the all-time greats of gaming.

E3 2016 saw Microsoft unveil its new Elite controller for pro-gamers, as well as a vast array of colour schemes on their website to make your own personalised One controller, so it’s plausible that something of that ilk could also be revealed come 11th June.


Who Will Be Taking to the Stage?

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MS head honcho Phil Spencer for one. The American business executive will open and close Microsoft’s press briefing as he always does, and will welcome a number of first and third-party dev team leaders onto the stage to conduct demos, talk games and show off footage from their own enterprises.

That long list of names may include Sea of Thieves creative director Gregg Mayles, 343 chief Bonnie Ross – no Halo tease but apparently “a little something” from the company – and ID@Xbox director Chris Charla among others.

There may be a slight surprise or two as well given E3’s propensity to shock audiences with an unannounced game, but we’ll have to wait and see on that front.


How Will the Briefing Go Down?

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Considering it hasn’t happened yet, it’s difficult to determine. Finally unleashing Project Scorpio on the world would be a massive plus for Microsoft, and showing off some of its most anticipated games for the coming season would provide a massive fillip ahead of Sony’s own conference 48 hours later.

It will be intriguing to see if MS decide to lead or end their briefing with Scorpio as doing either have their own positives and negatives, and it could well be that the reception their 2017 briefing receives will be entirely dependent on how Scorpio is received.

This could be Microsoft’s best chance to close the gap on Sony’s dominance of the console market since 2014. Win gamers over, and they may just ease the pressure on themselves. Fail to deliver, however and they could be playing catch up for even longer.