Next week the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, kicks off in Los Angeles. The long-running show is the most important event for video game news, as game publishers and console makers make their big announcements for the year. New games, new devices, new ways to play. Rumours suggest that Microsoft will make some big announcements this year, including new Xbox consoles, an ‘Xbox TV’ and even a merging of Windows 10 and the Xbox One. Here’s what you need to know.
We know that Sony is planning to reveal their intermediate ‘PS4.5’ console at E3 this year, and it’s no surprise that Microsoft are looking to match their Japanese rivals. Microsoft are said to be working on two new consoles, including a slim Xbox One and an upgraded ‘Xbox One-Two’, aka Project Scorpio.
According to the most recent rumours, the slim Xbox One will debut this year, and will be about 40% smaller than the original model and come with a 2TB hard drive. 4K video support is another rumoured addition, which is already supported by the PlayStation 4.
Project Scorpio is more interesting. A counter to the Playstation-VR-friendly PS4.5, the One-Two will support the Oculus Rift and come with a more powerful graphics card, allowing for developers to hit 1080p and 60 fps consistently (or potentially shoot for 4K gaming). Scorpio should even be more powerful than the upgraded PS4.5, giving Microsoft the first performance lead in this console generation. Project Scorpio won’t be available until next year at the earliest, so Sony will at least have a period of dominance.
Two Xbox TV devices
Petri is reporting that Microsoft will announce at least two streaming devices at E3. One is purportedly like a Chromecast, an HDMI dongle capable of streaming Xbox games (and other content) to any nearby TV or monitor, where it can be controlled by the Xbox One gamepad.
The other device is more interesting; an underpowered Xbox One that’s capable of running the interface, videos and casual games, at a lower price point than the full Xbox One. This Xbox TV has been rumoured for years, so it would make sense to finally see it announced now that Windows 10 has made it to the Xbox One. If it’s priced low enough, it could be great for consumers looking for something to stream Netflix and play basic games on.
PC gaming and Xbox, combined
Microsoft hasn’t been subtle about its desire to better combine Xbox and PC gaming, and that initiative, code-named Project Helix, should be front and centre at this year’s E3.
The Verge speculated that Microsoft may announce PC compatibility for Xbox titles, allowing the Xbox interface to run on top of Windows 10 gaming PCs. That would open up a wider market for Microsoft and their developers, and shouldn’t be too hard to pull off considering that Xbox runs Windows 10 already and is based on a PC x86 processor (unlike the previous generation Xbox 360). The only real challenge would be adapting the interface to mouse and keyboard controls, and even that doesn’t sound too difficult.
Every PC turning into an Xbox One? That would be pretty sweet.
Games, of course
Of course, Microsoft aren’t just going to be talking about new devices and software updates. The Redmond-based firm should also show off some of their latest exclusive titles, including Scalebound, Crackdown 3, Gears of War 4 and Dead Rising 4 — and it’s likely that there will be some surprises too. Expect most (if not all) of these games to be announced for both Xbox One and PC, as Microsoft continue their work to bring the platforms together.
While these rumours paint a pretty clear picture, nothing is confirmed until we hear it from Microsoft at their E3 event. Microsoft’s event begins at 5:30PM BST on Monday the 13th, so there’s less than a week to wait. You can watch the live stream at Microsoft’s site, or tune into our E3 coverage later on.
What are you expecting from Microsoft at E3? Let us know in the comments below or write to us on Twitter @mobilefun as usual!