31 key points from Microsoft’s E3 press conference
A full wrap-up of all the big announcements and reveals from Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference, including new consoles, new hardware and new games.
The legendary Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 for short) in Los Angeles always generates a hurricane of exciting announcements, and Microsoft’s keynote conference was stacked with news. Here is a rundown of all the important information and what gamers can look forward to enjoying over the next few years.
New Xbox hardware
- A new slimline console is joining the Xbox One family in August. At $549.95, the Xbox One S is competitively priced and offers a 40% size reduction, internal power unit, 4K support, a 2TB hard-drive and a “robot white” colouring.There will also be 500GB and 1TB models released in August, with pricing to be confirmed.
- A new Xbox One Wireless Controller will also land in August. It streamlines the design and adds a new textured grip, as well as syncing with Windows 10 PCs and tablets like the Surface thanks to integrated Bluetooth.
- A new Gears of War 4 themed Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller is also coming, and has been designed in conjunction with developer The Coalition.
- Due for release for Christmas 2017, Project Scorpio is the codename for a mid-generation upgrade to the Xbox One platform. Microsoft believe it will be the most powerful console ever released, with six teraflops of graphics processing power. It will be fully compatible with all standard Xbox One games and accessories.
- There is now an Xbox One Design Lab, whereby you can create your own controller from some eight million colour variations. It will be handmade and shipped to you.
New Microsoft Xbox Dashboard improvements
- Clubs on Xbox Live will allow players to form large private groups within the Xbox Live ecosystem. This could be with friends or simply likeminded players.
- Looking for a Group is a new system that allows a player to advertise they want to play a game online in the hope of attracting likeminded players of the same skill level. Theoretically this is a benefit to co-op play.
- Arena on Xbox Live plugs into the growing eSports scene, allowing players to sign-up and compete against each other in tournaments.
- Xbox One and Windows 10 Cross-Play is rolling out to a number of big name future releases, allowing the two communities to play with or against each other. The first titles to use the feature include Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, Scalebound and Minecraft – the latter also supports cross-play against iOS, Android and Windows 10 phones.
- Cortana voice commands are coming to the Xbox One, using the same options available on Windows 10 PCs. The USA and UK will be first to receive the feature, but Cortana for Xbox One will not be available to Australians at launch.
- In the next dashboard update, you will be able to use the Xbox App to see what games your friends are playing on PC, but it is unclear as to whether you will be able to stream PC games to your Xbox for play.
- Language Region Independence allows you to select what language your Xbox uses regardless of where you live.
- The new Xbox Play Anywhere sticker will adorn some upcoming games and if seen, it indicates that if you the game on Windows 10 or on Xbox One, you own it on both formats.
New Microsoft Xbox One exclusive games
- Dead Rising 4 by Capcom will be an Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive. Frank West returns as the hero, with enhanced weapon customisation, new zombie classes and new EXO suits. The game is out Christmas 2016.
- Forza Horizon 3 has been announced and will be set in Australia. The vast open-world appears to cover all of our great and varied landscape. Over 350 cars are promised and you will be able to tweak the rules of all the races as you see fit. It is an Xbox Play Anywhere game releasing on 27 September.
- Gears of War 4 stars JD Fenix and friends Kait and Del, who battle to save the ones they love from an all new threat. Splitscreen and online co-op are both confirmed, as is Horde 3.0 mode, and 60 frames-per-second in versus multiplayer. It is an Xbox Play Anywhere game and is out on 11 October.
- The real-time strategy (RTS) game Halo Wars 2 is being developed by Total War series creator Creative Assembly and will be a Xbox Play Anywhere Game when it is released on Xbox One and Windows 10 on 21 February 2017. It introduces a new enemy to the series in The Banished and will feature the biggest battlefields in Halo history.
- Action-adventure game ReCore has a release date: it will launch exclusively on Xbox One and Windows 10 on 13 September. The lead character, Joule, befriends robot companions as she travels through a mysterious world.
- Scalebound for Windows 10 and Xbox One is a Play Anywhere title scheduled for 2017. Developed by PlatinumGames (Bayonetta, Vanquish) its aims to provide the biggest boss battles ever made in a game. The action unfolds in the open-world of Draconis and can be played cooperatively. You will not only be able to customise the hero Drew, but also his dragon, Thuban.
- More gameplay was shown from Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive Sea of Thieves, developed by GoldenEye 007 and Viva Piñata creator Rare. We know you can battle it out on the ocean against other humans, but with no release date, the game still looks a long way off.
- Upcoming sequel State of Decay 2 was announced as an Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive. It will be an Xbox Play Anywhere game when it launches in 2017 and will offer an MMO zombie fighting survival-horror experience with a story that changes over time based on user interactions.
New games coming to Xbox One with exclusives
- Prehistoric-themed action game Ark: Survival Evolved will launch first on Xbox One and Windows 10. Developed by Studio Wildcard, this indie game allows you to play in splitscreen, solo or with hundreds of players online as you try and survive a mysterious island.
- EA and developer DICE launch Battlefield 1 on October 21 globally, but Xbox One uses with EA Access installed will get to play the game a week early, starting on 13 October. The next game in this legendary FPS series is set in World War 1.
- The Witcher III: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt Red is taking the minigame Gwent out of that title and releasing it as a standalone project with new rules, mechanics and styles of play. A beta for the game will premiere on Xbox One and Windows 10 first.
- The creator of Limbo, developer Playdead, is readying its next title Inside. A puzzle-adventure game with the same moody vibe, it will launch first on Xbox One on 29 June.
- As well as cross-play between Xbox One, Windows 10 and mobiles, Microsoft is also bringing dedicated servers to Minecraft. This will allow uses to host their own cloud-based worlds in Minecraft to be visited in co-op play by friends. The service is called Minecraft Realms.
- Set on an abandoned space station in the year 2088, adventure game Tacoma by Fullbright (Gone Home) is launching on Windows 10 and Xbox One first when it arrives in 2017.
- On June 28, the first expansion pack for Ubisoft’s The Division will launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 ahead of the PS4. Called The Division: Underground, it will open up the space beneath New York City, allowing players to explore the sewers and subways.
- Set in a dystopian London in 1964, We Happy Few follows a storyline whereby the allies lost World War II. The citizens recover from this loss by taking a happy drug called Joy that helps them forget what happened. You play as someone who has become a Downer – a person who has stopped taking Joy and is now trying to survive in what the world has really become. This interesting indie by Compulsion Games will launch first on Xbox One and Windows 10 and will be out in summer.
Games showcased by Microsoft at E3 2016
- Epic RPG Final Fantasy XV by Square Enix was showcased on Xbox One with a much improved, fluid combat system that saw hero Crown Prince Noctis fighting against some behemoth bosses. A worldwide release date of 30 September was announced for Xbox One, but it was not specifically referenced as being exclusive or first for the console. So it could very well launch on PS4 on that date, too.
- Fighting game Tekken 7 by Namco was showcased, revealing new fighting styles and characters ahead of its release in early 2017 on Xbox One. There appears to be a focus on eSports, which would fit into the Xbox Live Arena feature also announced, but it doesn’t appear to be exclusive or even first on Xbox One.
Complete List of Xbox Play Anywhere games
- Gears of War 4
- Dead Rising 4
- Sea of Thieves
- Forza Horizon 3
- State of Decay 2
- Halo Wars 2
- Crackdown 3
- We Happy Few
- Killer Instinct
- Ark: Survival Evolved