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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.