It’s that time again for E3 2016, and Microsoft held its Xbox E3 2016 briefing ahead of tomorrow’s official E3 launch. Without further ado, let’s dig in and see what Microsoft has in store for Xbox over the next year or so.
Xbox One S
Phil Spencer takes the stage and right out of the gate confirms yesterday’s rumours: the Xbox One S console is official, and will be available in August.
The Xbox One S is available for pre-order beginning today and in stores starting August 2016:
- 500GB Xbox One S is $299 USD/ £249 GBP / €299 EUR
- 1TB Xbox One S is $349 USD / £299 GBP / €349 EUR
- Limited launch edition 2TB Xbox One S will be available in select markets for $399 USD / £349 GBP / €399 EUR.
Gears of War 4
Spencer then introduced Rod Fergusson from The Coalition to talk about Gears of War 4. Fergusson started to talk about Gears of War 4 and mentioned the Xbox One S console, and then dropped a very welcome new program coming to the Xbox One: Xbox Play Anywhere. Gears of War 4 will be one of the first games to be part of this program. Games that display the Xbox Play Anywhere logo will be a purchase once, play on Xbox One and Windows 10 for no additional cost. That’s right, you’ll be able to buy a games and play them on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs for one price. In addition, progress and achievements will be shared across both platforms so you can pick up and continue on your Windows 10 machine where you left off on Xbox One.
In addition, Fergusson announced that the Xbox One/Windows 10 Gears of War 4 will support crossplay between the two platforms in all aspects of the game, including co-op campaign, co-op multiplayer, and the all new Horde mode. After a new gameplay video, a short clip unveiled the Gears of War 4 Elite Wireless Controller.
Rukari Austin, Community Manager for Killer Instinct stated that over 2.5 million matches have been played between Xbox One and Windows 10 players since launching on Windows 10. Guest characters like Rash from Battletoads and Arbiter from Halo keep the game fresh, and next character to join Killer Instinct Season 3 is General RAAM from the Gears of War franchise. Austin also announced that Killer Instinct Season 3 will be part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program.
Forza Horizon 3
Next, the trailer for the next iteration in the Forza franchise hit the big screen. Forza Horizon 3 will not only be on the Xbox One, but also on Windows 10 PC’s as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program. This time, Playground Games has taken the Horizon Festival to Australia. It is the largest, most diverse, and most fun open world they’ve ever built. Packed with new driving experiences and new vehicle types, Forza Horizon 3 also offers 4 player campaign co-op for first time with seamless synchronization and multiplayer. The game will also feature Xbox Live crossplay, making it the most social Forza to date.
Forza Horizon 3 will be released on September 27th.
Next up, Xbox showed some more footage of yet another Xbox One/Windows 10 exclusive: ReCore.
Final Fantasy XV
Hajime Tabata, Director at Square Enix and Mathew Kishimoto, Senior Product Manager at Square Enix were up next with the first ever demo of Final Fantasy XV on the Xbox One.
Coming September 30th to Xbox One.
The Division “Underground” Expansion
The Division‘s “Underground” expansion was unveiled next, and you’ll be able play it first on Xbox One starting on June 28th.
While not an Xbox exclusive, EA Access currently is. Patrick Bach, General Manager of DICE mentioned that while Battlefield 1 will launch on October 21st, those with an EA Access subscription will be able to get a jump on the competition and start playing October 13th.
Mike Ybarra, Head of Platform Engineering took the stage and started off by saying that Microsoft is building a faster, more reliable gaming network by adding more servers to Xbox Live. He also spoke briefly about the the Xbox One Backward Compatibility Program, New Xbox One Experience, and Cross Network Play — the latter of which was recently enabled in Psyonix’s Rocket League, allowing Xbox One and PC players to game together.
Ybarra mentioned that feedback drives Team Xbox every day, and is the reason for most of the programs and updates to the Xbox One. As a result, some of the new features coming to Xbox One this summer include background music, language/region independence, and Cortana.
The three most requested features will be coming this fall to all games, and for all users of Xbox Live:
- Clubs on Xbox Live will allow gamers to create and join clubs specific to games.
- Looking For Group will allow you to team up with other gamers in different games.
- Arena on Xbox Live is a new tournament platform which allows you to discover, register, and compete solo or with your friends in Xbox game tournaments.
Next up, Lydia Winters and Saxs Persson from Mojang hit the stage to talk about Minecraft. Until now, Minecraft users haven’t been able to share and connect to players on other platforms. Starting today, players on iOS, Android, Gear VR, and Windows 10 can now play and share crossplatform. Minecraft Realms lets you create worlds and your friends can play — even when you’re not. The demo continued and showed Lydia playing on an iPad, while Saxs joined on his Surface, and John Carmack joined in on his Oculus Rift.
Add-ons are coming to Pocket and Windows 10 editions of Minecraft this fall, allowing players to modify the default behaviours of zombies, villagers, and other Minecraft assets for customized gameplay.
Minecraft Realms will be available today for Pocket and Windows 10 versions, and will be coming to Xbox One and consoles next year.
New Xbox One Wireless Controller
The new Xbox One Wireless Controller is customizable with various colour options via the Xbox Design Lab. You can design it from scratch, or choose from existing designs, and can even add laser engraving.
Now you can personalize your very own Xbox Wireless Controller with Xbox Design Lab. Start from scratch or customize an existing design online, choosing from a wide range of color combinations. You can even add laser engraving for a more personal touch. You design it. We build it. With Xbox Design Lab, the next Xbox wireless controller is truly in your hands.
From the creators of Limbo comes another game, and more footage of Inside was shown. The game will be coming to Xbox One on June 29th.
Limbo is currently free for everyone on Xbox One starting today to celebrate the launch of Inside. Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox spoke a bit about the ID@Xbox program and queued a sneak peek at some of the games coming to the ID@Xbox program.
For those who bought Ark: Survival Evolved, you’ll get a copy for Windows 10 as the game is now part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program.
Guillaume Provost from Compulsion Games came on stage to show us a new game coming to the Xbox Preview Program next month on July 26th, We Happy Few.
Looks pretty bizarre…
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
CD Projekt Red’s Lead Developer, Damien Monnier came up next to talk about The Witcher 3, and mentioned that players spent hours playing Gwent, the in-game card game. Over the past year, the company has been working on Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Gwent features a full multiplayer crossplay experience, as well as a single player campaign. For those unfamiliar with Gwent, each player starts with 10 cards and battle each other
You can register for the closed beta at playgwent.com, with Gwent coming in September.
Katsuhiro Harada from Bandai Namco also announced that ll week Xbox Live Gold Members can download Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for free via Xbox One Backward Compatibility Program.
Dead Rising 4
Get ready to smash, crush, and kill zombies in the most bizarre ways possible in Dead Rising 4, coming this holiday.
Shannon Loftis, Head of Microsoft Studios Publishing came on stage, and talked about how gaming is all about moments and introduced Hideki Kamiya, Creative Director from PlatinumGames. Kamiya demonstrated the biggest boss fight, in co-op mode, from the upcoming Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive, Scalebound. The game is also part of the new Xbox Play Anywhere program and is coming out in 2017.
Sea of Thieves
Another Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive which was announced last year, Sea of Thieves from Rare, was demoed.
State of Decay 2
The next installment in the critically acclaimed State of Decay franchise immerses you in an all-new, multiplayer zombie survival fantasy. Build a lasting community, working with other players or solo to overcome challenges while exploring your own unique story in a world that remembers the choices you make. NO ONE SURVIVES ALONE. Another Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive, State of Decay 2 will be coming in 2017.
Halo Wars 2
We get our first peek of Halo Wars 2.
Dan Ayoub from 343 Industries spoke about the continuation of the Halo Wars story. In Halo Wars 2, the Spirit of Fire and her crew, led by Captain Cutter, face a deadly new faction known as The Banished. Their chief, the Brute warlord Atriox, is both a deadly warrior and brilliant military leader in control of a massive army. The key to victory is knowing your enemy, but Atriox is a threat no one is prepared for. The game will launch on February 21, 2017 and will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title. You won’t have to wait until 2017 to experience the games as a week long Xbox One Multiplayer beta starts now through June 20th.
Phil Spencer came on stage and reminisced for just a moment. 15 years ago we saw the original Xbox, now we see a whole new gaming landscape pushed forward by creativity, innovation, and technology. Xbox wants gamers to be able play where you want, when you want, with people you want, and thus the Xbox Play Anywhere program was born.
This is just the beginning though, and Spencer also confirmed the existance of Project Scorpio — the next addition to the Xbox family shipping next year. With 6 teraflops of power, true 4K visuals, premier VR experiences, and greater graphic fidelity, Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console to date. Spencer reiterated that all peripherals and all games will work on the original Xbox One, the Xbox One S, and Project Scorpio.
And there you have a brief overview of all the Xbox E3 2016 announcements.
What was your favourite Xbox E3 2016 announcement? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.