Despite the deluge of leaks that surround the E3 conference, there are still generally some surprises that manage to remain under wraps until the conferences air. Right here we’re going to take a shot at collecting up all of the pre-show whisperings involving the Microsoft conference, and what they’re planning to do with the Xbox brand in the next year and beyond.
The biggest questions for both Microsoft and Sony revolve around new hardware, with the big M looking likely to follow Playstation’s lead with some form of revised console. Quite what form that’s going to be is difficult to tell, but rumours point toward a three pronged approach. A streaming stick would be an interesting little accessory, giving you PlayStation TV style second room gaming, as well as the ability to play certain smaller games and make use of Windows 10’s UWP ecosystem.
More interesting for gamers would be a slimmed down version of the existing Xbox One hardware – [You know, so it can fit into your house – Tef] – but in terms of countering Sony’s PlayStation 4 “Neo” update, the codename “Scorpio” has been bandied about.
Whether or not Microsoft announce Scorpio at E3 is an interesting one, as it is apparently meant for release in 2017, and announcing at this point would kill off console sales for the rest of this year. It does now seems plausible that we’ll eventually get a more powerful piece of hardware, though, with support for 4K output, a bump in RAM, processing power, and a more powerful GPU. All of this ostensibly in aid of being able to team up with Oculus Rift and satisfy the exacting demands of virtual reality gaming.
Concept by Micheal Retovona
There have been rumours of Microsoft eyeing a PC-esque upgrade cycle for the Xbox, with the ability to boost your hardware’s capabilities every couple of years. Quite how the console audience would react to this is anyone’s guess, but removing one of the format’s defining aspects – that you’ll be getting the best possible experience for over half a decade – looks likely to be the norm going forward if the rumours are to be believed.
Given that mobile phone’s are regularly superseded, and at a price often far above that of a console, may suggest that people will accept it, but it could take the introduction of contracts that spread the costs for everyone while including your Xbox Live, Groove, and streaming services to make it publically acceptable.
While VR is the hot topic, another possibility on the hardware front is the arrival of Hololens for Xbox One. It’s a safe assumption that only a new iteration of the Xbox One hardware would have the power to make the most of it, so they’re both fairly integral to one another. They could really surprise us with a true VR headset of their own, instead of teaming up with Oculus, but the development cycle needed to catch up to competitors would be too long, wouldn’t it?
Of course, what’s a console without games? The lion’s share of the conference will be showcasing the biggest titles coming to Xbox, and as ever there will be some surprises amongst the certainties. What do we know so far? You can be fairly certain that we’ll see Gears Of War 4, Crackdown 3 and more on last year’s Halo Wars 2 announcement, but after that things become somewhat more fluid.
We should be due a new Forza Horizon this year, and perhaps we’ll see something of Rare’s piratical Sea of Thieves – the wound is probably far too raw to see anything of the Fable universe. ReCore hasn’t been seen in any form since last year’s conference, and is currently still slated for this year, so you’d hope that it’ll appear here with a firm release date. Playdead’s Inside is one of MS’s ghosts of Christmas past and again it’d be nice to see a release date hung around its neck.
Dead Rising 4 leaked the other day, and is pretty likely to be announced on Microsoft’s stage, given the previous ties between franchise and console. Of course, there’s the possibility that it’s a cross-platform game, but it could retain Xbox exclusivity or at least have some exclusive Xbox DLC. In similar news, if rumours are to be believed, MS will also have zombies covered with a State Of Decay 2 announcement.
Whether Microsoft have been able to tie up any more exclusives – timed or not – will be interesting given their position in the market, but money solves everything. The question really is where that game would come from, and from who – I’d love a new Amped game, or a Jet Set Radio title, and something that niche would probably be exciting to the Xbox hardcore. Of course, if they wanted to reawaken the Project Gotham franchise I’d be completely on board, but then both of Forza’s forms probably have it covered.
Maybe it’ll just be Halo 6 then?
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