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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

E3 2016: Microsoft's conference



As usual, Microsoft is the first of the "big three" game console manufacturers to hold its E3 presentation. While a large number of would-be "reveals" were regrettably (or intentionally) leaked days beforehand, the company still managed to put on a reasonably newsworthy show choc full of trailers and two hardware revelations.


Xbox One S
The show opened with a "reveal" trailer (insofar as you don't count the aforementioned leaks) for the new, slimmer Xbox One S. It's got the works: a 40% slimmer form factor, an optional vertical stand, a built-in power supply, and 4K video playback. Its harddrive packs a whopping 2TB of storage space. It also ships with enhanced controllers with greater wireless range and other such splendours. It will retail for $299 USD and launches this August.



Project Scorpio
It appears Xbox One S wasn't the only system Microsoft had up its corporate sleeve. Project Scorpio is code name of the third Xbox One system and it'll release just in time for the 2017 holiday season. It promises the most powerful processor and GPU on any console ever, "true" 4K visuals, six teraflops of power, and premier VR experiences without sacrificing quality. Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Project Scorpio apparently be will be a "family"; no one gets left behind and they will all support the same games. Between the two systems it appears the Xbox One brand is aiming for longevity.


A service called Xbox Play Anywhere was announced. If you buy one game digitally on Xbox, you'll get it for free on Windows 10 or vice versa. It's a clever way to increase the value of a digital future in the eyes of the consumer.

Xbox Live Updates
Xbox Live will begin producing more live servers throughout the world to improve service. In-game background music, language region independence, and Cortana support were confirmed to be coming as soon as this fall.

Additionally, three new features will be integrated into Xbox Live:

Clubs - Lets players create communities for those who enjoy the same games and genres
Looking for Group - A want-ad service for multiplayer games that functions similarly to Kijiji or Craigslist (but will hopefully be moderated more carefully)
Arena - A tournament platform to compete and register for competitions hosted on Xbox games. FIFA will be on of the first to make use of Arena.




Trailers, Game Reveals, and Dates

  • A trailer of Forza Horizon 3 for Xbox and Windows 10 was shown. It took place on a beach area and featured everything from Lamborghinis to off-road racing buggies. It promises new terrain, the largest car roster ever, and 4 player campaign co-op for the first time. It launches September 27.
  • A lengthy trailer for We Happy Few, the bizarre first-person survival game from Compulsion Games was shown. The game comes out July 26.
  • The upcoming Gears of War 4 will support cross-play between PC and Xbox One. An expansive trailer for the game was eventually shown featuring various action set pieces. It launches October 11 this year and will even have a dandy special edition controller available.
  • Halo Wars 2 was revealed and launches February 21, 2017 as an Xbox Play Anywhere title. A special week-long E3 beta has just launched and will be available until June 20.
  • CD Projekt Red revealed Gwent, The Witcher card game as a stand-alone release. It will have cross-play between PCs and consoles. A single player campaign and overhauled visuals were promised. It comes out this September.
  • Bandai Namco showed a trailer for Tekken 7. Akuma, a guest fighter from the Street Fighter series fought Heihachi in a half-gameplay half-cinematic trailer. A game's story mode will apparently transition between these two styles seamlessly. It ships early 2017.
  • Hideki Kamiya of Platinum Games showed off Scalebound for Xbox One and Windows 10. It features highly cinematic boss fights on a massive scale (no pun intended) and supports Xbox Play Anywhere. Expect it some time in 2017.
  • A gameplay trailer for the pirate-based antics of Sea of Thieves was shown. Players will experience everything from a boat sinking in real time to firing at the ships of other players. It looks highly immersive and we can only dream a One Piece game attempts something similar. 
  • Square Enix showed off fresh footage of Final Fantasy XV's battle system. It featured Noctis and co squaring off against some sort of Shadow of the Colossus-esque golem. The game launches September 30.
  • A trailer for Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division Underground was shown. It'll be released first on Xbox One on June 28.
  • More footage of EA's Battlefield 1 was shown, which previously appeared in EA's own presentation. It launches October 21.
  • A brief but bloody State of Decay 2 teaser trailer was shown. And I do mean bloody. So bloody the protagonists had to scrape off the blood off the roof of a car to reveal the game's logo. Yeesh.
  • A trailer for Dead Rising 4 featured Frank West doing what he does best. That apparently constitutes slaughtering zombies whilst donning a robotic suit and listening to the iconic Christmas jam, Jingle Bell Rock.
  • Keiji Inafune's ReCore for Xbox One got a fresh trailer. It releases September 17.



Misc. News
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be free this week for Xbox Live Gold Members.
  • Limbo will be available free on Xbox One starting today to celebrate the game's launch.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved will support Xbox Play Anywhere starting this fall.
  • The next Killer Instinct fighter was shown. It's a guest character...General Raam from Gears of War. The game also supports the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative.
  • Minecraft will have "The Friendly Update" today. Players across Android, iOS, and Microsoft platforms can play online together. Dedicated servers or "realms" for friends enable you to play with friends even if one person is not online. New texture packs will be released today with more due in the fall. Minecraft VR was also showcased by John Carmack.
- Clark A
Anime Editor
E3 2016: Microsoft's conference
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