Microsoft Goes All-Out With Hardware And Software Announcements Impossible To Ignore At E3 2016

Microsoft kicked off E3 today, despite Bethesda and EA having their conferences on Sunday, and they laid all of their cards on the table. The Big M announced new iterations of old, beloved IPs, introduced new ones, and also went hard with the new tech announcements, showing off both the Xbox One S, and the new Project Scorpio. Like the much-ballyhooed PS 4.5 (or PlayStation Neo), Project Scorpio is the Xbox One with much more impressive guts. Like the Slim, it will have 4K support and a staggering 6 teraflops of power.

“Project Scorpio will be the next addition to the Xbox One family, and it is ultimately the next step in delivering our vision of gaming beyond generations. When it ships next year we believe it’ll be the most powerful console ever built.” (H/T IGN)

Luckily for gamers who invested into this generation early, the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Project Scorpio will all be backward compatible and share accessories, which shows that Nintendo is still influencing the industry. Microsoft said they didn’t want to “leave anyone behind,” and it shows with this smart decision. No pricing for the Scorpio has been announced, but the Slim looks enticing, available “this year” at $299.

With the new Project Scorpio horsepower, VR will be coming to the system. It’s currently unknown what specific VR hardware will be used, but Fallout 4 VR is confirmed for the Scorpio, and according to Bethesda’s conference, it might exclusively be coming to the HTC Vive. But, if Microsoft is turning the Xbox One into a Windows machine and a Windows machine into an Xbox One, then perhaps they’ll be able to use both the Oculus and the Vive, which would be nice.

As interesting as the new hardware is, both Sony and Microsoft look to be waiting for 2017 to really start ramping up news on the new tech.

Oh yeah, and there’s software!

Halo Wars 2 is officially official. The game the essentially killed Ensemble Studios has moved to 343. It’s pretty wonderful to see the criminally underrated RTS get a new lease on life. It was ahead of its time last generation. Its interface and gameplay on a control pad may only be topped by its sequel. The beta for Halo Wars 2 starts TODAY.

Fans of ridiculous zombie humor will be happy to know Dead Rising 4 was also announced. Hopefully DR4 is better than its Xbox One launch title predecessor. The main game was fun, but it had some of the worst DLC of all time.

MOAR ZOMBIES! The very fun State of Decay is getting a much-deserved sequel. The original game was launched quickly on the back of the DayZ craze (remember those good times?) and while it was a solid game, it was single player. Surviving must be done with friends, and State of Decay 2 looks to deliver that experience.

A new game from Platinum Games, the makers of Viewtiful Joe, Okami, Bayonetta (and more!) have a new wisecrackin’ dude in their stable to kill ridiculously oversized monsters.

Perhaps the software that stole the whole show was Sea of Thieves. Rare is finally getting to work on something new, and the long-hidden new IP looks like it was made for YouTube. Sea of Thieves looks like a deeper Guns of Icarus that’s in the ocean and features more alcohol. Every day will be Talk Like a Pirate Day in Sea of Thieves. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the type of person you are, I guess.

I’m just excited to explore and run a ship with my dumb friends.

Tekken 7 will officially be coming to next gen consoles in 2017. We also saw that The Witcher’s Gwent will be coming to every device known to man. How much of the Magic and Hearthstone pie is there left to take?

We Happy Few finally got some new details, and it looks… Crazy.

Forza Horizon 3 was announced and, yes, it looks gorgeous. Yes, it’s going to be fun. Yes, you probably won’t get near 100% completion.

And lastly, there was no way Microsoft’s E3 presentation wouldn’t show off what should be their flagship game of 2016 — Gears of War 4. We got a campaign trailer, and the news that it will be a cross-buy/cross-play game, further merging the worlds of Xbox One and Windows 10. As a PC gamer with both, this makes me happy. I’ll play Sea of Thieves with friends on both platforms.

All in all, Microsoft really showed off some impressive stuff. There’s something for everyone. Microsoft seems to finally be admitting that they screwed the pooch with the Xbox One’s relatively weak power, and their cross-play/cross-buy initiative could be a major power play in the world of gaming.