Phil Spencer promised to give us something memorable, but I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be the best Microsoft presser in years. The new hardware was there, the massive gaming lineup was there, but the connectivity with PC was without a doubt the central theme of the show.
Choice in playing together
As someone who has held off buying an Xbox One so far, instead opting to build a new PC, the announcement of Play Everywhere for all upcoming titles was a massive relief and a dream come true. Not only will I be able to play everything from Gears of War 4, to Sea of Thieves, to Forza Horizon 3, but I will be able to play them all with players on both systems. It’s the gaming eco-system I’ve been wishing for since, well, forever.
It’s not just about bringing in the PC gamers at long last, as two new pieces of hardware were announced for those not wishing to deal with building a rig. The Xbox One S, providing 4K visuals, will reportedly be priced at £249 RRP. I think we can all agree that is an absolute bargain of a price, even without a game included. That wasn’t all, as Project Scorpio was finally revealed boasting it would be the most powerful console ever made when it arrives next year. Regardless of whether that ends up being true, the fact all systems would work with each other, including peripherals, was what impressed me the most.
In short, Microsoft delivered on its promise to unify its systems and gamers as a whole. Forget the games – this is the killer app.
A varied lineup of games
This used to be where the PlayStation brand would excel, but Microsoft showed diversity in its upcoming catalogue of games in today’s show. The visually spectacular Forza Horizon 3 made me want to buy a driving game for the first in many years, while Re:Core brought the robo-dorable with its new sidekicks. While Gears 4 looked like more of the same, that’s kind of what I want along with the new Horde 3.0 mode (even if the dialogue was filled with terrible puns.)
There were far too many titles to mention here, but the other noteworthy announcements were clearly Minecraft’s Friendly Update, connecting PC with iOS and Android, and Scalebound showing off its giant boss battles and 4-player co-op. I should also probably mention Gwent while I’m here, because despite the fact it won’t be exclusive to Xbox it will consume everybody’s time once again.
And the rest…
Restricting myself to just a few main highlights for each show has been hard, because I could very easily have gone on about all the other games like Halo Wars 2, Dead Rising 4, and Sea of Thieves – all of which look fantastic. I’ve even had to bump the upcoming improvements to Xbox Live, which adds background music, Clubs for creating communities, and bringing in a Looking For Group feature, bringing a normally PC-centric feature to console gaming.
The end result of Microsoft’s presser was that I came away excited for the connectivity, relieved nobody would be left behind, and optimistic as a gamer. Basically, if I could sum up the presser in one picture, it would be the following.
Your move, Sony.
Do let us know what you thought of Microsoft’s efforts in the comments, and be sure to stay tuned for more impressions from the rest of this year’s pressers!