Microsoft's E3 2019 Highlights
E3 2019 is over now and Microsoft had a very interesting press conference this year. Next gen is being talked about openly now, there is some new hardware, a software boost plus a range of upcoming games shown off on stage. Including the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 which will be releasing in 2020, not this year.
The next game from CD Projekt Red is almost here. It was uncertain if the game would be at E3 this year however, it was confirmed before the conferences even began. As is E3 tradition, huge posters went up around the host location including a large one for Cyberpunk 2077. Not only was the game at E3, there was a gameplay demo at the event and gameplay footage is now available online to view. To put the icing on the cake, they gave us a release date. The game will release April 16th 2020.
Actor Keanue Reeves was the one to come on stage and talk about the game before announcing the release date to the world. He has become a meme now amongst gamers for his come back on stage when someone yelled “you're breathtaking” at him from the audience. Reeves responded with “you're breathtaking! You're all breathtaking!” which has become very popular amongst gamers. There is even a petition to CD Project Red asking them to include a 100% completion of the game with the name “You're breathtaking”.
The responses to the gameplay have actually been a little mixed in places. The general consensus seems to be that the combat feels a little lacking but everything else has been very positive so far.
While not titled Gear of War in full, we all know that Gears 5 is the next game from that series. This is the sequel to Gears of War 4 so some of the characters will be returning. JD Fenix, Delont Walker and Marcus Fenix will all return in Gears 5 however, the game will focus on Kait Diaz as the main protagonist. She's an outsider of Locust descent and was also an important character in Gears of War 4. From what we know so far, players will uncover the origins of the Locust and of Kait's family.
The campaign will be solo only but there is a new multiplayer mode come to the game in Gears 5. It's an experimental approach to team-based PvE and different to the classic Horde battles that have usually been featured in the Gears series. Called “Escape” players need to work together to escape and take down difficult enemies that lay in their exit route.
Gears 5 is coming to Xbox One and PC this year in September 10th. The game will be releasing for the Windows Store and also Steam for PC gamers.
The 2019 conference also gave us more information on the next Halo game that was announced in during E3 in 2018. Halo Infinite will continue the story of Master Chief as the sequel to Halo 5: Guardians. Details on the game are very limited right now as there is no release date confirmed yet but we do know it will arrive sometime next year.
Details are very lacking right now due to the fact the game won't release for at least another year but we do know a few small things. There will be multiplayer of course and will also include split screen for local play, Forge mode will return and developer 242 Industries insists it will not have a battle royale mode.
Halo Infinite is expected to release alongside Xbox Scarlett next year which is the upcoming next generation console from Microsoft. The game will also be releasing for PC.
Hardware & Software
It was speculated that Xbox would be announcing a new console but it was uncertain that it would be next gen. Rumors had suggested that the Scarlett console was the nickname for a new Xbox One that didn't have a disc drive. Those were crushed during the E3 conference when Phil Spencer announced that next gen would begin next year during the holiday season.
The release date for Xbox Scarlett is Holiday 2020 and much more information will be coming over the next year and a bit. Of course, the bulk of the new information will most likely be revealed at E3 2020 along with the start of pre-orders for the next console.
Currently what we know right now is that Xbox Scarlett will be a very powerful console which will make it much more powerful than the Xbox One X (which is the most powerful console right now). Scarlett will include 8K resolution support, a SSD and will allow for up to 120 FPS. Currently there are very few 8K TV's (the ones available are very expensive) but Microsoft is clearly looking to future proof the console to give it a long lifespan and ensuring it does not fall behind. The next gen console will be four times more powerful than Xbox One X from a processing perspective but right now we have limited information regarding the graphics card. All we know is that it comes from AMD based on their new Navi technology.
Project Scarlett currently has no price. News for this will come in the future.
Xbox Elite Controller 2.0
While there were many that weren't interested by the Elite Controller Series 2 announcement, the redesign is definitely interesting and a good change. The new model comes with a range of new and upgraded components to improve our gaming experiences with a controller.
The trailer shown for the Elite 2.0 showed that it now has a rechargeable battery with Bluetooth connectivity for a wireless connection though it does still come with a USB-C cable - which we always recommend over wireless. It can be used with both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC which is perfect for someone who owns both platforms. The controller also includes adjustable-tension thumbsticks, redesigned bumpers and a rubberized grip. It even includes three custom profiles for players to switch between and set controls exactly how they want for different games or according to what they're using the controller for on the Xbox or PC.
Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 will release on November 4th in 24 countries at $179.99 which is slightly more expensive than the original model. Pre-orders for the controller are now live so you can ensure you will get one at launch.
Xbox Game Pass
Everyone with an Xbox One has been enjoying the Xbox Game Pass for quite some time now but Microsoft has been slowly paying more attention to PC gamers once again. At E3 2019, it was announced that the Game Pass is now available for Windows 10 users. Games on the subscription system are not all available for each platform however as there are a few exclusives to PC and some to the Xbox One as of launch. The PC version is still in beta right now, but anyone can purchase the subscription and get to playing new games with it.
With the PC version announcement, Microsoft also announced an Ultimate version. The Ultimate Xbox Game Pass provides access to both the PC and Xbox One versions of the Game Pass along with Xbox Live Gold for console multiplayer and free Games with Gold and even Gears 5 Ultimate Edition when the game is released this year. It's a huge deal right now made even sweeter by the fact it's been reduced to $1 as a part of the E3 and announcement celebrations. It's impossible to say that the Xbox Game Pass isn't worth the price. Even full price the subscription is very good value.
Both the PC version and the Ultimate version of Xbox Game Pass are available right now for those interested in getting a subscription. Be quick about it however as the price will raise back to normal in 2 weeks time so this is a good time to grab a subscription to take a closer look.