E3 2016: Microsoft Predictions

Can you believe that E3 is less then one week away? Leading up to the video game industry’s biggest event, we’ll be bringing you our predictions for each of the main press conferences. Today we're discussing Microsoft who’s up first on Monday June 13, 9:30AM PST / 12:30PM EST.

Microsoft's a Rockstar by Allen Kesinger

Microsoft is going to be interesting this year. Hololens seems to be going in a different direction, leaving them without much to compete with Sony. And honestly, they don’t really need to. From my perspective, the Xbox One has been doing pretty well, despite not selling as many consoles as Sony, and doesn’t need to promote some external gizmo right now. Instead, they’re going to talk up games.. Out of all of the announcements, I think their biggest reveal will be the existence of Red Dead Redemption 2. It won’t be exclusive to the console (because that would be insane) though I expect a partnership will merit some timed-exclusive DLC.  

A Crack in the Schedule by Hiram Mojica

This year’s going to be dominated by 2 games for Microsoft: Gears of War 4 (AKA Ge4rs of W4r) and the new Crackdown. I can’t even predict which one they’ll get to open the press conference with, whether they think it’s prudent to show off what Marcus Fenix’ son’s been up to, or whether they want the bombast and awe of seeing buildings topple so someone can walk out and go “All of this and more only available with the power of Xbox!” Of course they’ll have other surprises, but it’s pretty easy for me to predict these will be their biggest ones.

Taking a Bite Out of the Apple by Jonathan Miley

For Microsoft, it has to be all about the games. Unlike Sony, who’s already convinced 40 million to buy PS4s and now needs to convince them to buy PS4 Neos and PSVRs, Microsoft, still needs people to board the Xbox One train. The best way to do that is to provide some awesome exclusives, which I think they’re actually doing a great job with. The other best way to do that is with a price drop and a new console SKU. I think we’ll see an reduced price Xbox Slim before we see an Xbox One Point Five. I think they’ll wait to see what Sony does with their upgrade before making the plunge. Plus, slimplicity could go in their favor. While Sony divides their own audience, Microsoft could swoop with a simpler, cheaper option.

The Return of the RTS by Jon Fisco

Besides the Gears of War 4 that will certainly see, I am genuinely interested in seeing Halo Wars 2. I predict that we’ll see gameplay of Halo Wars 2 and that it will be genuinely well received. No, nobody asked for this but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a surprise when people get their hands on it and find it to be a fun, easy-to-control game. I also think we’re going to hear a lot about backwards compatibility. I’m expecting a lot of big titles to be added to the already impressive list as the backwards compatibility piece is something Microsoft has over Sony.

The Building Blocks by John K.

I expect Minecraft to take center stage (they’ve got to recover that $2 Billion investment somehow).  Who knows what form that will take, but I would be surprised if there isn’t at least one Minecraft-related game announcement.  They will hopefully follow up on the new IPs that they teased last year.  I also expect to see a follow-up on last year’s VR demonstration, along with the usual assortment of Halo and Gears of War.

The Gears Keep Turning by Jordan Hurst

Microsoft’s presentation this year has me about as excited as I’m ever going to get about E3 (i.e. I might actually voluntarily check it out rather than just doing so because it’s my responsibility). Sure, it’ll have the usual stuff; there’s a Gears of War title, a Halo title (apparently Halo Wars 2 is a thing?), a Minecraft spin-off, and a bunch of multi-platform releases that have no business being exclusive to one company’s conference. But with previous attention-hogs like Quantum Break and Rise of the Tomb Raider finally out, maybe we’ll finally get some details about other announced-too-early titles like Scalebound, Phantom Dust, and Inside. Microsoft was also surprisingly eager to spotlight new indie IPs last year, and I’m hoping that trend continues.

'Prey'ing for a Miracle by Grant Gardner

I think Microsoft's new iteration of the Xbox One will be a prominent focal point during their conference this year. How they differentiate it from its predecessor will be key in convincing people who may have jumped ship to the PS4 to come back over to greener pastures. I'm also very curious to see how Scalebound is shaping up. I know the gameplay demo last year received a rather lukewarm reception, but I think Scalebound has potential. I'm looking forward to a more fleshed out demo this year and perhaps an earlier than anticipated release date. I also want to see what's become of Ashen. It's unlikely, but hopefully they'll dedicate a few minutes to show us some gameplay footage for that game. As far as far-flung predictions are concerned... Microsoft will resurrect Prey 2 as an Xbox One exclusive and it'll hit store shelves next year.

I Am Your Father by Brian Tyler

Marcus Fenix is the Commander of Whatever Squadron, and while you play as his son, you still spend 65% of the game listening to John DiMaggio’s gruff, gravelly Fenix voice over the comms while slow walking to a destination.

The Future is Oculus by Jonathan Paris

I have a huge wish list of games I hope Microsoft shows at their conference this year. I thought Scalebound gameplay reveal at Gamescom was rather underwhelming especially after the warm reception from its initial announcement. I have confidence in Platinum Games so that's still a title I'm excited to see. The AAA's like Gears 4, Forza, Crackdown 3 and Halo  (hopefully Halo Wars 2) will have a strong showing of course, but smaller titles like Cuphead (which looks phenomenal) and Playdead newest game Inside are the games I want Microsoft to give love to as well. My prediction however is that Microsoft will continue to focus on software, but to a lesser extent as they have the last couple of conferences. I predict this will be the year hardware comes into play and that Microsoft jumps on the VR bandwagon. I believe they will announce a partnership with Oculus and will be releasing a "Xbox VR" coming out 2017.I'm sure the recent rumors of a Xbox 1.5, Xbox Scorpio, or whatever you want to call it will prove to be true. I can't possibly imagine Microsoft remaining silent on the hardware side with all the moves Sony has been making recently.  

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.