Microsoft’s Big Surprises from E3 2016
E3 is a gamer’s best week in an year. From announcing video games to releasing another video game everyone is excited and relieved. Let’s take a look at the major surprise announcements made at this year’s E3 Press Conference. We are not covering everything from the E3 showcase but only the ‘surprises’.
What’s at Xbox?
Xbox treated their conference the same way as everybody does, unlike PS4 who had shown only games one after another. But they too made some big announcements and reveals, that made a gamer happy for years to come. Their major difference from Sony is that, Xbox made some great hardware and software announcements along with games on their stage show. Again Los Angeles witnessed Microsoft’s E3 press conference. And real bad, there were no orchestra (no other press conferences had that, except Sony, but too bad I watched Sony’s first which made me want that orchestra in every other stage show too!). Anyway, let’s forget about that orchestra thing ‘here’.
Let’s start things with the hardware
Introducing Xbox One S
Microsoft started their show with Xbox One S. The latest console in the Xbox One family, which is 40% sleeker, slimmer, upto 2TB storage, an in-built power brick, an upgraded controller, an optional vertical stand and HDR. The console is only available in white as of now. The console actually looks so cool than the previous version.
The Kinect port has been removed from it, which means you need an additional adapter to connect your old Kinect to Xbox One S. Instead they have new IR blaster plus the replaced USB port from the left side of the console on the face of the console. The controller, now includes a grip on the holding side, a broader connectivity and moreover now you can connect your controller to any Windows 10 PCs, or smartphones with the help of Bluetooth connectivity wireless-ly without any need for adapters. And for 4K players, the new console allows them to stream 4K contents from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video with the help of HDR.
HDR also allows you to play some of your old Xbox One games to scale up to your 4K TV so the game would seem more nice. Take a look at Xbox One S below.
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Think about a gold controller with your name etched all over? Or a pink controller for your girlfriend with a “Happy Anniversary” tag on it? Yeah you can actually do that. Microsoft introduces Xbox Design Lab which allows you to customize your controller from 8 million color variations! Yeah really, you could choose from 8 million colors and you can give different colors to your d-pad, thumbstick and more. It is currently available to pre-order in US, Canada and Puerto Rico for $199. Take a look at the design lab below.
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Gears 4 Limited Edition Elite controller
As part of the Gears 4 release on Xbox One and Windows 10, Microsoft introduces the very-limited Gears of War Limited Edition Elite controller. The controller is as I said, is very very limited according to Gears 4 developer, The Coalition. The controller features some great design work, with blood spills, a weapon wheel, and some more Gears related things (its a gamer’s dream, even if you are not a fan of Gears). The only way to get it is to pre-order before its out of stock. Take a look at it below.
And the beast…
I have one question, does Sony’s dominance over Xbox One with their PS4 going to end? And it seems too quickly too. Xbox 360 was actually better than PS3, and Microsoft dominated over Sony at that time for over eight years. So Sony got its turn and they outlined Xbox One in a 50% margin but only for 4 years and it seems like Microsoft is taking over again. Project Scorpio (original name at release may change, maybe Xbox Scorpio?), the strongest console ever created, and guess what? From Microsoft for the Xbox One family, to compete against the upcoming PS4 Neo/PS4K/PS4.5. The specs blown me away and they promise a UHD 4K resolution for all games releasing for it.
The console has only been announced. No images except what seem to be its motherboard has shown. A six teraflops GPU (really, really Microsoft?) ,which seems to match with the recently released Nvidia GTX 1080, and a partnership with Oculus for VR. The console co-exist with Xbox One and Xbox One S and the release date is not that far. You can grab Scopio on Holiday 2017. But before saying anything about the dominance of Project Scorpio over Neo, we should wait for Sony’s announcement of their new VR console too. The only thing we know about PS4.5 is some rumors which are actually not spoken out by Sony. So we should wait for their announcement, which might happen on Tokyo Game Show this year. So let’s wait until then.
But the best thing is that all original Xbox One hardware, video games, backward compatibility list will work on Xbox One S and Scorpio too so no need to shed more money for hardware and games to play on the new consoles.
The Xbox Experience
Microsoft announced some great addition to their software too along with games and hardware. And there will be a major update this summer just like the November update. Let’s take a look at what’s hot this summer
Background music was already announced but it was a surprise for fans when Mike Ybarra, The Director of Program Management at Xbox told the fans that the feature will be available this summer. With this feature, you can listen to your favorite music while you play.
Language Region Independance
Now you can play your game in any supported language you prefer wherever you live. For example, if you live in the U.S., you can still set your game language to French or Spanish.
Even if Cortana was introduced to Xbox One players on November 2015, it was not given for the players. So Cortana will be coming this summer too.
I should say this is a one-heck-of-a-feature. Cross-buy is on the Playstation platform for some time now but not that much. If you buy a PS4 or PS3 game which is also available for PSVita then you can play on Vita too.
But a Vita cannot be compared with a PC, can we? Buy a digital Gears of War 4 on your Xbox One and the next time you log into your account on Windows 10, Gears of War 4 will be ready to install on your PC too. This applies for almost all upcoming Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives and some third-party games too. You can go vice versa too, buy on Windows 10 and play on Xbox One with all your progress, achievements and trophies syncing with you. If you see a Play Anywhere logo on any of the upcoming games, then you can play that game on both devices.
But you cannot play co-op with one game (that is you cannot allow your friend to play on your PC and you’ll play on your Xbox). Only one device can play the game at once. This feature does not require Xbox Live Gold subscription and you can use your standard keyboard and mouse for playing these games on Windows 10. As it is a cross-buy, you can now cross-play too, if you have purchased Gears 4 on Xbox One and your friend plays on his Windows 10 then you can play multiplayer with him. Gears 4, Sea of Thieves, Scalebound, Forza Horizon 3 are some of the Play Anywhere games.
The next three features is the most requested features by the players for Xbox Live.
Mike Ybarra announced Clubs on Xbox One which actually is an alternate for Clans in Clash of Clans (I really love that game!). Now with Clubs on Xbox Live, you can find like-minded players to play co-op or online matches with you. People who have similar interest and values, so you can go back to them whenever you want unlike playing with unknown players who just make things worse. For example if you need a bunch of lads for The Division who lives in your place so that you can communicate with ease, then you can create a certain Club for that or in case of Minecraft- a Minecraft Creators Guild.
Looking for Group
In Looking for Group you can find unknown players if you want them immediately by ease. Here’s how it will be helpful: You got 30 minutes to go to work, for example, and you really need to play some co-op in this thirty minute. But on our current situation, finding a player or two will almost complete your time and you’ll only be able to play for the next ten minutes or so until you leave the game half-done and really screwing the others! So with this feature you can post your wanted players of specific type and those who look for jobs will accept it and you can play immediately. Because Xbox Live is always active with thousands of players, this type of features can filter out and reach out to gamers easily.
Get ready to fight in the Arena!
And then Ybarra announced the Arena, which will focus on competitive gamers. Developers post tournaments in this section and players can register and chek out the date an time for their next match. Games including Smite, World of Tanks, Killer Instinct and EA Sports titles like FIFA will also be hosting some tournaments in the Arena.
Microsoft did something so great to Xbox One software this year unlike Sony who doesn’t even showed anything related to PS4. The Play Anywhere program is a great addition to Xbox and all other features are very useful for gamers at Xbox Live. One thing’s for sure, Microsoft is always listening to gamers and Xbox One will sure evolve on the days to come. Take a look at the announcements below.
What ‘Xbox’ means
When someone hears the word ‘Xbox’ they say, “That’s a gaming console, right?”. Yeah sure it is and this time also they had made no mistake in presenting games we love. Let’s take a look.
#Frank is back
I will not forget that ‘selfie’ anywhere in the near future. Frank West is really back and this game seems to be one of the best exclusives on Xbox One and Windows 10 this year. In Dead Rising 4, you can actually kill and I don’t know, maybe take a selfie with a zombie and post it to twitter. Don’t panic about the zombies, take a pipe or post box or a tractor perhaps, and smash it into pieces. We have played The Walking Dead, The Last of Us and Resident Evil where we were really afraid of the zombies or walkers, but in Dead Rising 4 they have started to fear us, fear Frank! You can take almost anything in this open-world sandbox and kill hundreds and hundreds of zombies on your way. You can meet Frank on Holiday 2016 on Xbox One and Windows 10.
Dead Rising 4 is a timed-exclusive, just like Rise of the Tomb Raider, means you will be able to play as Frank on PS4 too but need to wait for some time almost a year I think after releasing on Xbox and Windows 10. Take a look at Frank’s selfie on the trailer below.
Forza Horizon 3
Oh God it looks gorgeous! This time set on Australia, you are in charge of the Horizon Festival now. This game is an unbeatable racing game and you might think why I am saying this. Because you can now play with your friends and drive up to 350 of the world’s greatest cars on jungles, seashore and straight prairie roads. As the boss, you can decide how each race is tailored from start to finish and how to finish. Forza Horizon 3 will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10 on 27th September 2016. Take a look at how gorgeous Australia is on the trailer below.
If you have played Witcher 3, I am sure you have heard about the famous card game Gwent. This game allows you to play the same card game as in Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt as a standalone game where your decision and actions matter most than the cards. Take a look at its trailer below if you have missed. It is currently in closed beta for Xbox One and Windows 10.
Halo Wars 2
343 Industries and Creative Assembly showed a great trailer for Halo Wars 2 at E3 2016. This action packed real-time strategy puts you in the middle of the biggest Halo battlefield ever. Lead your Spartans or Warthogs or other Halo forces towards a new enemy called the Banished. Halo Wars 2 will be playable on Xbox One and Windows 10 on February 21, 2017. Take a look at the trailer to know what made it so great!
State of Decay 2
This sequel to the fan favorite State of Decay made some gamers woo at Los Angeles. You can play co-op with your friends and your sole goal is survive and rescue. You and your friends can build communities which you can develop over time and your choices make unique experiences every time. SOD 2 is available on 2017 on Xbox One and Windows 10 (too bad there isn’t much about the release date).
We Happy Few
We Happy Few was announced at last years E3 but this years gameplay did freak out the gamers present there and I’m out of control to get hands on it! This firs-person horror game is set in a dystopian 1964 England after losing World War II. So everyone is taking a special drug called Joy which allows you to forget the past and be happy as long as you take it. But what happens when it’s not taken? You become a Downer. Eager for more? Watch the trailer to know for yourself.
The best E3 show according to me, after watching all other press conferences. When comparing with Sony, they showed some great exclusive games and not anything else to the software or hardware except the release date for PSVR. But still most of the games shown at Sony’s didn’t reveal their release date and some of them are in development, so it may turn down. Ninety percentage of games shown at Sony’s were exclusives, that’s great. But for Microsoft also most of the games they’ve shown were exclusives, every games shown at their show is part of the Play Anywhere program and almost all of the games’ release date were completely revealed. Plus, some great addition to the software and what more does one want than revealing the most powerful console in the world and its release date, which is also not that far?
Got anything we didn’t list from Microsoft’s E3? Think Sony dominated Microsoft and the others this E3? Tell us in the comments below.