Phil Spencer and the Xbox team boasted that this conference (which can be watched here) will include the biggest announcement in years.
There was a big announcement for the company, and it created an impact that told other companies, “Your move.”
The show opened with a good gesture. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, one of the many wearing a ribbon in support of the LGTBQ community, said a few words about the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida that took the lives of 49 men and women.
Shortly afterwards, Spencer unveiled the newest in the Xbox One family, the Xbox One S. Details were leaked almost 24 hours before the conference, but they were made official on Monday.
The One S seems to be a more powerful, affordable console at $299.99. Of course, there’s no Kinect because Microsoft has seemingly abandoned something they used to put an emphasis on for Day One users.
Some of the specs announced at the E3 conference for the S are:
- 40 percent smaller than the One
- HDR, 4K/UHD output
- Up to two TBs of internal HDD
- Internal power supply
I have no regrets about purchasing my Day One console. I’ve had and continue to have fun gaming on the One. There are plenty of hot takes about how wrong Xbox is for upgrading their console in less than three years. Thing is, nobody is forcing gamers to buy the S or Project Scorpio. All three consoles will work in the same ecosystem.
Gamers are going to broke if the trend of releasing a new console every three years continues, though. Regardless, Scorpio will force Sony to manufacture better consoles. Any competition is good competition for gamers.
Gears of War 4
Studio head Rod Fergusson introduced more campaign gameplay, and it’s incredible. The large scale of destructive environments, dialogue with a sprinkle of wit and the notable FPS upgrade from its predecessors, “Gears of War 4” is shaping up to be a huge AAA title for Xbox.
New gameplay wasn’t the only reveal, though.
Xbox introduced Play Anywhere, a service that allows anyone who purchases a game digitally to have a free copy of it on Windows 10.
Now, this sounds cool if you’re a Windows user, but the key word in that sentence is “digitally.” It seems evident Microsoft and Xbox are ready to make a strong push to digital games over physical copies.
Gears of War 4 will be the first title to give Play Anywhere a shot with its co-op crossplay.
There were, also, flying buzz saws, chopping swarm in half. Yeah, this game is going to do well.
“Gears of War 4” will release October 11, 2016.
Games, games and more games
If you’re a fan of video games, you understand that the One was previously marketed as the one-stop shop for entertainment. TV, music, movies — oh and games.
The narrative has changed, though. Microsoft is selling us on games for days. I don’t recall a moment that Spencer and Co. spent on media entertainment. That’s a huge plus.
The conference was snappy; it flowed between games and kept viewers from checking their watch.
“Killer Instinct” fans will get a new character in Gears’ General RAAM. It’s, also, free to play this week for Xbox Live Gold members. Along with KI, “Limbo,” “Tekken Tag Tournament 2” are freebies, and “Halo Wars 2” is getting an open beta until June 20.
Win for indie games
Hop aboard the ID@XBOX train because it is rolling! With games like “State of Decay 2” and “We Happy Few,” those who love independent studios will adore the upcoming holiday season.
Drum roll please …
PROJECT SCORPIO IS REAL.
The rumors proved true. Xbox’s next console will be, according to them, the most powerful ever created.
Six teraflops of goodness, 4K gaming and more jargon that makes this sound nice are to be included with Scorpio. The price point? Unannounced, but I’m predicting between $499.99 and $599.99. A console this powerful has to either more expensive than what Day One users spent or about the same price.
Do I really have to include that Scorpio wasn’t mentioned in the same sentence with Kinect?
Best of show goes to …
“We Happy Few” took my breath away. I remember seeing a bit about this indie game and, after researching, it got its feet through a Kickstarter. Developed by Compulsion Games, it’s a first-person thriller centered around a group of psychos, and you’re the only sane individual.
This has a Bioshock feel to it, which is not a bad thing. There’s a moment in the demo where all hell breaks loose, and you’ll know it when you see it.
There’s a mysterious tone to this story. How did this group get here? How will you escape?
This took me by surprise in the best way. I’m looking forward to this game, which is available on Xbox Preview July 26.
Overall, the Xbox presser was well-done. It set the bar for the first day of E3 and made a statement to gamers that they’re dedicated to the community. Phil Spencer closed the show with Scorpio’s reveal and saying he wants this to be the standard of gaming. It felt genuine.
2016 and early 2017 is looking bright for Xbox One and Windows 10 owners.
Follow me on Twitter for more updates on this hectic week: @JamesProfetto
Notable release dates
- Xbox One S: August 2016
- Gears of War 4: Oct. 11, 2106
- Forza Horizon 3: Sept. 27, 2016
- Recore: Sept. 13, 2016
- Final Fantasy XV: Sept. 30 2016
- Battlefield 1: Oct. 21, 2016 (early for EA Access members: Oct. 13, 2016)
- Inside: June 29, 2016
- Tekken 7: early 2017
- Dead Rising 4: holiday 2016
- Scalebound: 2017
- State of Decay 2: 2017
- Halo Wars 2: Feb. 21, 2017
- Sea of Thieves: N/A