E3 Predictions – Microsoft Press Conference (2016)

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With this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo fast approaching, the time has come for us to make a few predictions about what we expect to see and what we hope will be announced in Los Angeles during the most important time of the year for the video game industry.

Here are some of our predictions for what Microsoft will show during the Xbox 2016 Press Conference which takes place July 13th 2016 at 9:30AM PT:

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Richard Bailey Jr. – Editor-In-Chief

When Phil Spencer finally takes the stage during this year’s Xbox E3 media briefing, many questions will have to be answered regarding the future of Microsoft’s all-in-one console. While backwards-compatibility has proven to be a great feature, the negative perception of the company remains intact and will continue to be a major setback in allowing them to win over consumers. With that said, I do have a few thoughts on what we will see.

First and foremost, Microsoft will once again make gaming the focal point of their show. While I expect to see comprehensive updates on Scalebound, Sea of Thieves, and Recore, I’m also expecting to hear about both new and returning IPs. Forza Horizion 3, Dead Rising 4 and State of Decay 2 are all a given at this point, but it would be very cool to get a reveal trailer for either Shadow Complex 2 or a new Conker game made from the ground up. The Conker theory may seem a little too far-fetched but definitely not unlikely since Microsoft knows fans have been asking for another game for awhile now.

On the hardware side of things, rumors keep on suggesting both an Xbox Scorpio and Xbox One slim will be announced to the masses on June 13th. While this is a strong possibility, I think Microsoft will stick to only focusing on one new console for now. The Xbox One was built primarily on Don Mattrick’s flawed vision, a burden that Phil Spencer inherited ever since he became Head of Xbox.

For this reason and this reason alone, I believe Microsoft will go all out and announce the successor to the Xbox One along with Oculus Support, and full backwards-compatibility for both Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Having a new console will work wonders for Microsoft and allow Phil to properly support a system that he had an active role in creating.

Looking forward to seeing Crackdown 3 at E3 2016

Gary A. Swaby – Managing Editor

Last year Microsoft dropped a nice little megaton with backwards compatibility. It was a trump card that they needed in this console war. But now as we approach E3 2016, it seems that Microsoft are on equal footing with Sony in terms of dropping an E3 winning announcement. With that being said, here are a few things I’m expecting from Microsoft at the show.

It’s no secret that Microsoft has been pushing Windows 10, even going as far as to auto upgrade users on previous Windows versions. I believe Xbox has a lot to do with their Windows strategy, so I’m expecting to see a big emphasis on Xbox One and Windows synergy. I expect to see Forza coming to Windows in some capacity, and perhaps even Halo 5 Guardians.

It’s a no-brainer that we’ll see more of Scalebound and Gears of War 4, but at this point, I’d also love to see an extensive gameplay demo of Crackdown 3, as I don’t believe we’ve seen enough of this game yet.

And finally, of course everyone is expecting Microsoft to unveil at least one new console. For certain, I believe we’re going to see an Xbox One slim model, and it will likely launched that very day. Whether we get an announcement about the Xbox Scorpio or not is the big question. For now I’m going to vote YES to a Scorpio announcement, just because Microsoft is in a position where they need to be completely transparent about what they’re doing.

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Tony Polanco – Executive Editor

All of the discussions around gaming circles may be about the PS4 NEO, but we have to remember that it was Microsoft who started all of this talk about iterative consoles. As the one responsible for this, I fully expect Microsoft to talk about the supposed ‘Xbox Scorpio.’ Since it will be the first to show the world what their iterative system is all about, the onus falls on Microsoft to convince those of us who prefer traditional console cycles why we need to buy into iterative machines.

How can Microsoft successfully pull this off? By explaining the benefits of upgrading to a more powerful Xbox One. Anyone who isn’t a rabid fanboy knows that the Xbox One is the most underpowered current-gen system on the market (the Wii U doesn’t count) and could stand to get beefed up. If the Xbox One can not only promise minium 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second on all games, it will be well on its way to delivering a true next-gen experience.

I could go on for longer about the Xbox Scorpio, but I’m not trying to take up much of your time here. We have other things to discuss after all.

Expect an Xbox One Slim announcement. Don’t be surprised if this system is capable of running media at 4K resolution. MEDIA not GAMES. That’s what the Scorpio is for. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this slim model will be released during the fall and that the current Xbox One will be priced at $299 starting as soon as the Xbox conference is over.

As far as games are concerned, expect Gears of War 4, another Forza title, Scalebound, Crackdown 3, and (hopefully) some word on ReCORE and Cuphead. The rest of the show will be filled with third party games. To be honest, I don’t really know what Microsoft will have on the exclusive front besides the aforementioned games, so here’s hoping we get some nice surprises.

Halo Wars

Chris Sealy – Contributing Writer

Microsoft will have another huge conference this year, if for nothing else, to introduce gamers to the new way we look at console generations. Microsoft is going to have to take the lead of selling gamers on the idea that the traditional 5+ year console generation has given way to a more iterative model of two years, similar to mobile platforms.

This will come in the form of introducing both the new slim design of the current Xbox One, then showing off the new Xbox 1.2 or Xbox Next. We’re going to get definitive answers on what kind of hardware it is running on. While that is important so we know what we’re buying, I believe just as important will be the expectation that both the Xbox Next and the PS4 Neo sets going forward. Both Microsoft and Sony are issuing in iterative console updates so it will be interesting to see how both companies present their respective updates to the current gen systems.

The headliner game of the conference will probably be Gears of War 4. We’ll get to see a new trailer and probably some gameplay and multiplayer so we can look forward to MS treating everyone to a lot more of Gears 4.

Also another big title will be Halo Wars 2, which is a console RTS (real-time strategy) game. I thought Halo Wars was well implemented on the 360 as far as using a controller to build and manage units and structures in an RTS game. This was a feat I thought impossible back then without a keyboard and mouse (coming from a Starcraft background), but Halo Wars did it well so I would expect a bigger game with more units and vehicles from the Halo universe.

Rare Replay and the use of a classic Rare character like Rash in Killer Instinct Season 3 probably means that Microsoft was testing the waters of nostalgia to bring us something bigger from the past. Whether that takes the form of a new Battletoads game or some other classic Rare properties remains to be seen.

I think we’ll hear more about Crackdown 3. It’s been two years since any sort of solid news about the game and I think with the introduction of the Xbox 1.2/Next, that system may have the power needed to realize the kind of chaotic environments that Microsoft wanted in Crackdown 3 without needed to leverage cloud computing. My hope is that we also get some sort of release timeframe.

And I think Microsoft will show off more Scalebound from Platinum Games and any other third party exclusives coming to Xbox One in 2016 and 2017. So this will be definitely a news heavy conference for sure.

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Dana Abercrombie – Content Writer

Do you hear that? That soft cry in the distance? It seems like it’s coming from the original model of my Xbox One. It’s the sound of finding out that it’s about to be pushed out into the lands of “Hoary Dreams of the Forgotten” soon to be sharing drinks with my Xbox 360.

For a newer, slimmer model shall be presented at E3. While it’ll run at the same speed of the previous model, this one will also be more powerful, offering higher resolutions for our gaming pleasure. Doesn’t it always come down to trading in a loyal product for something slimmer and faster? You shame me… you and your “pleasure.”

The last time I played a VR game, I was found on the floor of the movie theater wishing Jesus parted the skies to take me away to the lands of “A Balanced Equilibrium.” I then spent several hours dry heaving and singing Negro Spirituals (I can say that word).

I can’t play VR games and this infuriates me because for the one minute I lasted, I saw some of the most beautiful graphics and truly felt part of the game’s environment instead of just being a player in a computerized world. For those who were born with equilibrium perfection, get ready for that full VR support from the Oculus Rift. Adding VR capabilities would help to keep that fake competition going between Xbox and PS, and VR would be the “Lemonade” to fuel the two powerhouses marketing battle.

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