E3 is right around the corner and our resident video game fanatics are stoked! In part one of our E3 predictions, Aaron, Collin, and Andrew take a look at Microsoft and what they expect from them at the conference. What do they believe Microsoft will touch on at their E3 presser? Read on to find out! Also, leave your predictions in the comments below. We would be happy to hear
The only two announcements I feel like are sure fire bets is something about the already announced Halo 5 and Gears of War re-release. I would be really surprised if we didn’t see some type of gameplay for both of them whether it be a short level or even a boss demo, but I do suspect we will get some look at the title even if it’s just a pretty pre-rendered video. If they don’t show gameplay demos, live or otherwise, it may be a missed opportunity. These two games are the biggest releases for the consoles yet, and to not have actual gameplay to show from them may not do much for Microsoft in terms of building momentum. They may get some leeway with Gears due to how recent it was confirmed, but Halo 5 needs to have some type of gameplay from the single player campaign. The multiplayer got the spotlight thanks to the beta, but it’s time to show some single player action as well.
Other than Halo 5 and Gears, I have no clue what Microsoft has up it’s sleeve. I can only guess we will get some sort of update on what they plan for Virtual Reality since the hologram technology was announced a couple weeks back. Maybe a Master Chief helmet that you put on to play the actual game through (This is half joke and half serious. This would almost get me to buy an Xbox One. Almost).
I also wouldn’t be surprised to hear some type of third party exclusive announced. With Sony getting Street Fighter 5 all to themselves, Microsoft needs to counter with something besides a timed exclusive like Tomb Raider or a one note multiplayer game like Titanfall. In this renewed exclusivity war, Microsoft needs an ace in the hole to even the score with their chief console rival.
We may also hear something from Rare and what they have planned for the console. With Battletoads (more on them in a minute) showing up in Shovel Knight, I would be highly surprised if they didn’t follow it up with something else from the beloved studio. And now with the Kinect being shipped to the Island of Reject Game Peripherals to party with the Virtual Boy, Rare may actually be able to start making games we care about again. In a recent look at the history of Rare by the Retronauts podcast, they said the studio tends to have periods of silence before they release great games, then this E3 may be when we finally hear something legitimate that Xbox One owners can get excited about.
And I want to hear anything about Battletoads.
As an old school gamer that loved playing the original NES game, I would be pretty estatic to hear Microsoft do something with this property. Maybe an HD remake of the first game. Or how about a speeder bike racing game (Remember Diddy Kong Racing?). Possibly even an all-new game (my heart is a flutter at the thought). Anything would be nice. And let’s be honest, after they renewed the trademark, seeing Phil Spencer come out on stage with a Battletoads t-shirt on at the Windows 10 event, and the the Toads showing up in the aforementioned Shovel Knight, Microsoft may become the biggest troll in history if they don’t announce something about our favorite group of extreme toads.
Microsoft hasn’t done much to impress me in past years at E3. As a former Xbox 360 owner for most of last generation, I would be happy to see them give me a reason to consider them in this generation.
Predicting the big E3 megatons has been a bit of a bummer—mainly because of the increasing number of pre-E3 leaks and announcements that have been making the rounds over the past few years. We’ve already had Dark Souls III, Mega Man Legacy Collection, and Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice announced this year, but I’m sure that there are still plenty of surprises in store for next week.
Microsoft is in an interesting place this year. Although the Xbox One’s sales are still lagging behind the PS4, it was still April’s #1 selling console in the US. They also just announced a permanent price drop to $349 on their 500GB XB1s while preparing for a $399 1TB model—moves that will undoubtedly encourage more gamers to jump in if Microsoft can provide a healthy lineup of games. I’m sure that we’ll see more of Microsoft’s heavy hitters like Forza 6, Halo 5, and Gears, but I’m personally hoping that we see a little more of games like the Phantom Dust reboot (which has already had a pretty turbulent development thus far) and Platinum’s Scalebound, both titles that have been practically MIA since last year’s conference. I think that one potential big hitter will come in the form of Battletoads, as Microsoft has been hinting at it pretty heavily.
Personally, between all of this year’s conferences, I’m hoping that someone brings out some real megatons. I currently don’t have an XB1, but I’m definitely interested in picking one up if they manage to net the right game. I’ve been saying this for the past few years (it’s too depressing to actually count how many), but if Microsoft announces Shenmue III during their conference, I’m prepared to go out and buy a console right now. Luckily, even though my Shenmue dreams are likely to be shot down like usual, Microsoft still has both the money and brand recognition to pick up strong exclusives. Even if they don’t manage to showcase anything super big, Microsoft has spent the past year or two cultivating a number of studios that could potentially result in a strong new IP. Either way, I think that the Xbox’s 2nd place status this gen might give them an advantage—Phil Spencer has definitely pointed the Xbox brand in the right direction since the XB1’s original reveal a few years ago, so I’m excited to see what they bring to the table.
In terms of less exciting announcements, I also think that there might be a heavy focus on Xbox integration with the upcoming Windows 10. Microsoft has been making a big deal out of their upcoming Windows update and it seems as if they’re trying to bring the two brands together—which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Microsoft has a very bad history with PC gaming (I’m still mad about Age of Empires), so I would be thrilled to see them actually do something productive with the platform. In addition, considering the expected focus on Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus, I could also see Microsoft potentially stepping into the VR arena with some variation of their HoloLens tech that they’ve been showcasing for the past few months.
Microsoft has made a few major missteps with the Xbox One, most notably in its reveal, underperforming exclusives (“have you seen Titanfall!?!”…yeah, in the bargain bin), and some serious game problems (the Halo Collection is still having issues). However, they’ve been turning the ship around. I already own a Wii U and PS4, but I’m hoping that this year finally gives me something to help me pull the trigger on an XB1.
I haven’t seen the numbers, but the only people I know with an Xbox One are those whose kids’ friends stuck with Xbox because they had a 360. In other words, Microsoft has only really sold Xbox One on the strength of the Xbox 360, at least in my corner of the world. That’s not a sustainable model. So MS has to come out swinging, and I expect they will. However, because I don’t really follow Microsoft exclusive content, I have no idea what their big draw will be.
I’d say we’ll see something VR-related. You can count on Halo 5, Gears of War, and Forza 6. They’ll definitely give us a long look at the XBO exclusive Tomb Raider. And I’m guessing (emphasis on the guessing) we’ll see at least one more exclusive, possibly from Capcom (again, guessing). So all of that will be there, but even the strength of Halo 5 won’t be enough to propel MS ahead of Sony. They need something big, if not monumental.
When Sony got desperate, we got one of the best running deals in the history of gaming with PlayStation Plus’s Instant Game Collection. While I’m hesitant to declare MS in the dire state Sony was when PS+ was retooled to be awesome, I do think we’ll see them try something significant and win the consumer back from their 2013 PR nightmare. No, I don’t think it will be improvements to Games with Gold (although we should probably go ahead and count on that) or some other half measure that they only offer because their competitor does.
At the very least, MS’s new initiative will be something that genuinely appeals to and was built with the consumer in mind. To win people over, MS needs to do something new and unprecedented, and if I know that, then they certainly do. They’ll have something big. I don’t know that it will be enough to sway PS4 users to the green side or even big enough to steal the show, but it will at least catch your interest.
What do you think Microsoft has to do to win E3 2015? Leave your comment below! Check back tomorrow for Part 2 as we predict what Sony might do on the big stage this year!