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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.