Each year our editors sit down and make wild and crazy predictions about what we expect to at all of the press conferences at E3 2017. Although most of them are just flat out wrong, every once in a while we can nail them. So sit back, enjoy a nice libation, and join our editors as we discuss our predictions for each of the big conferences this year. Today we're on our second entry into the feature with Microsoft, who's conference is up first on Sunday June 11th.
Scorpio Undercuts the PlayStation 4 Pro’s Price Point
It’s a fairly safe bet that the Scorpio will be the main focus for Microsoft coming into this year’s E3. They’ll have the games, killer apps, and features that we all want to hear about and expect. But where Microsoft can make waves is the price point of the console. It’s going to be expensive hardware that can run system-hogging games. It’s going to most likely blow the Pro out of the water in a technical comparison, so why not go crazy and make it $400? If it’s priced equally to the Pro, the gaming community will freak and Microsoft will have a big win.
Crackdown 3 is Still Alive
Microsoft is going to want something to show off its new Scorpio machine and what better title than one people got excited about in 2015 and heard little of since then? I’m going to bet that Microsoft will double down on everything there is to know about the open world superhero game, such as it’s release date and the number of ability orbs to collect. Much time will be spent showing off how Azure will take advantage of Scorpio while assuring everyone else that the game will run just fine on “older” models.
Rare Returns With an Old IP Out of Nowhere
While Rare right now seems to be busy with Sea of Thieves, their still mysterious pirate MMO thingamabob that they announced last year, I think the team’s had time and manpower and desire at this point to pull out one of their old IPs, dust it off, and decide to take another stab at it. My 2 main predictions would be a new Conker game since he suddenly and randomly appeared in some other game recently, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try again on Banjo (especially after Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter success suggested there was interest) but I think they should ditch all that and finally do what the world’s been craving: a new Cobra Triangle. Yeah, boy!
Microsoft Places More Emphasis on First Party Games
Microsoft has been criticized for not diversifying its first party titles; being a company that very strongly emphasizes Halo, Gears and Forza. While these titles are frequently well-received, Microsoft’s recent cancellation of Scalebound has made these sentiments stronger than ever.
I’m predicting that State of Decay 2 will be shown off in great detail for Microsoft’s E3. The original was something of a technical mess, but it acquired a notable following. With Days Gone announced and looking impressive, Microsoft will seek to compete with its own zombie brand. The Scorpio is dominating the 2017 discussion, and Phil Spencer has repeatedly mentioned the importance of first party commitment. Capitalizing on a relatively new IP’s polished sequel will be reflective of that.
Microsoft Stops Cancelling Cool Stuff
Microsoft has a weird relationship to the game’s industry. They were the underdog when they in launched the original Xbox. They killed it during the early years of the Xbox 360. But the Xbox One has been nothing but rocky. They’ve relied heavy on the traffic that games like Halo and Call of Duty bring and their library of games just feels stagnant. That’s most because they have announced numerous games and then quietly make them disappear. Fable, Scalebound, Project Spark, Phantom Dust… they’re all gone. I’m sure there have been some perfectly good reasons for this but it projects an image of a company that has no idea what it’s doing or who it’s audience is. So what I want more than anything is for the house that Gates built to stop cancelling everything.
I’d also like a sequel to Quantum Break please. And Sunset Overdrive.
Microsoft Keeps Cancelling Cool Stuff
Sorry, Jonathan. Microsoft is going to keep cancelling cool stuff. I have no proof of this, but, seeing that outside of possibly seeing the new Crackdown, I am kind of at a loss as to what to expect out of Microsoft. With the rollout of a new console this fall, I expect we’ll here plenty about that and see at least one new cool thing announced that will be cancelled by this time next year. Whatever game that turns out to be, just remember that you heard it here first.
Microsoft Brings at Least Two New IPs to the Presentation
Microsoft has found itself in a difficult position at this point in the generation. Despite fostering some good will with consumer-friendly practices such as Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility and cross-platform functionality through the Play Anywhere program, the visibility of the Xbox brand has been on a slow decline - dwarfed by PS4 sales and the attention Nintendo has received with the launch of the Switch. In launching the Scorpio, Microsoft could potentially regain some portion of the spotlight, granted the “most powerful console ever” comes in at a price-point similar to the PS4 Pro. What really brings the gamers in, however, are - naturally - the games. There are a few titles that are a pretty safe bet for this year’s E3:
Forza, Crackdown, State of Decay, potentially new entries in the Halo and Gears of War franchises. What Microsoft really needs, though, is something fresh - something to inspire trust in the brand and something to show off the Scorpio’s raw power. I am unable to believe that Microsoft doesn’t recognize this, and I anticipate no less than two new IPs to be announced, so that the Xbox might compete with the heavy-hitters that Sony has on the horizon.
A Halo 6 Bombshell
We still don't know much about Halo 6. I mean, we know that Cortana has bad intentions, and that Master Chief needs to stop her, but it's E3 that will reveal the first juicy details. And it won't end at pre-rendered stuff. Normally, I wouldn't bet on seeing anything outside of cutscenes, but the Scorpio needs a centerpiece for comparisons to the base Xbox One. The gap in power between these systems is enormous, so expect the side-by-sides to be more dramatic than anything at Sony’s conference. I can't imagine a better way to show off the upcoming console.
Microsoft’s Partnership with Playtonic Games
Yooka-Laylee marked the return of an old, beloved genre: 3D collectathon platforming. Whether you liked the game or not, the team at Playtonic Games (composed primarily of ex-Rare employees) put their heart and soul into making a game that captured the essence of classics like Banjo-Kazooie. I predict Microsoft will go ahead and buy or at least partner with Playtonic Games to bring back a true revival of Rare proper. I think we’ll see something brand new from the team that carries the spirit of Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee, and Rare’s stable of franchises.
Virtual Reality Gaming
Microsoft will attempt to bring out some brand new competition for the PSVR; and no, not the HoloLens. I think it’s safe to put the HoloLens into its own category of expensive tech equipment and forget about it when it comes to gaming. It has the capabilities to be a powerful gaming device, but the price point is simply too high for most people in the gaming demographic, or most people period. I believe that they will come out with a new, lower cost virtual reality device that can compete with Playstation. While this seems like it would be exciting, I fear it will only put Microsoft further down in the hole, but I do expect it out of them. There is already a lot of competition with VR, and considering the Xbox One’s small user base compared to the PS4, it will probably have a hard time. Maybe they could use it as a way to hype up the new Scorpio?
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to try and bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.