Microsoft has a race on its hands this year, as it aims to keep up with Sony PlayStation’s software line up and range of exclusive IPs. With Project Scorpio waiting in the wings, though, it’s all up for the taking at E3 2017.
E3 2017 is all about selling Project Scorpio to current Xbox One markets and newcomers alike. To successfully show the console off, Microsoft has already relinquished its specification information, so don’t expect too much tech talk on the night. Instead, we will most likely be treated to some flashy light shows and awed silence as the console itself it wheeled in on its pedestal. Aside from such a show, expect some final release dates and prices.
The pricing strategy is key here. Microsoft needs to place its Xbox Scorpio at a pricing sweet spot to relate its high-end quality without putting consumers’ bank balances off. Their current position at $499 is sounding reasonable for a first launch, and we wouldn’t expect much higher or lower to be announced at E3 this year.
The Games On Show
More than anything, Microsoft needs to show consumers it’s refocused its attention on its previously failing games lineup. The lacklustre offering on display at the moment needs a serious adrenaline boost to light a fire under the Scorpio, especially with PlayStation’s impressive software plans for E3 breathing down its neck. A few console exclusives to get those PS4 players’ fingers twitching wouldn’t go unnoticed from Xbox this year, and could even pull them up in the rankings.
Forza Motorsport 7
Forza Motorsport 7 is expecting a full announcement this year, after several years of development confusion. The well established franchise will keep Microsoft’s stamp on the Xbox Scorpio and present a massive draw for existing players looking for a showcase of Scorpio’s visual prowess.
Revealed in 2014, Crackdown 3 has had a turbulent development so far. Fans are widely regarding E3 2017 as a last ditch plea for the game to be fully announced, and with everything pointing to such an ending it’s unlikely they’ll be disappointed. A demo and release date would show Reagant Games fans that the title is well and truly on its way, and can calm some of the flailing rumour spirals that seem to have surrounded the release so far.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves represented a highlight of E3 2016. This year may be a more understated affair fro the multiplayer sea jaunt, but a whisper of the title will keep us all hopeful for a near release date. It may be too soon to tell, but Sea of Thieves has seen little press coverage since last year so an indication of its continued development would be much appreciated by Xbox players.
Gears of War
Don’t get too excited, a new Gears title is still a decent way off in the future. That doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing a decent announcement trailer for the audience to go mental over, or at least a couple card board cut outs on the show floor.
While we’ve been gently let down that Halo won’t be making a conventional appearance at E3 2017, Microsoft have welcomed hype for a small Halo sized contribution to the preceedings this year.
The bottom line is, we can keep getting excited over future iterations of Xbox classics, but Microsoft needs to reinvigorate its exclusive IP lineup. With PlayStation bringing the titles in hard and fast, Xbox Scorpio runs the risk of falling into the lacklustre-lineup trap of its predecessor console.
Recore proved disappointing at launch, and yet Microsoft gave us a glimpse of their potential in the immensely successful Quantum Break – the smarts are there, they just need to take the plunge.
Microsoft VR at E3 2017
Sony jumped on the VR train early and has seen tremendous praise for its headset. While E3 will be spent providing the console with a new lease of life in the form of a slew of new VR-compatible titles for Sony, Microsoft is not far behind. The company have been keen to remind us frequently that Scorpio will release VR-ready, but with such a focus on mixed reality and augmented reality, gamers are often left scratching their heads over when gaming is going to enter the equation. The HoloLens has been in major development for a couple of years now, and Microsoft’s confidence over the Scorpio’s ability to carry a VR headset speaks volumes over their future plans.
Microsoft has already announced that Scorpio will support the mixed reality headsets already coming to Windows 10 devices, however to offer VR technology in the same breath here would be an incredible feat. This is where Oculus comes in. Microsoft already has strong ties with the ultimate VR creator. They’ve been supplying the Xbox One controllers for each console for years now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Xbox Scorpio was built to work with Oculus Rift headsets, and possibly HTC Vive. If so, it would be a massive bonus for Microsoft. Consumers no longer need to split their investment between PC and console for VR, and it opens the console to a whole new market of players already enjoying PC VR.
That being said, there is talk that Microsoft is developing VR headsets for PC. Whatever the outcome, we’ll have a clearer image of Microsoft’s VR future after E3 2017.
Backwards Compatibility and Games Pass
Xbox One’s backwards compatibility scheme has landed incredibly well with players. Offering everything PS4 has refused to easily provide, the opportunity to play through classics on your next gen console has been a major deciding factor in deciding consumers. A massive slew of new titles coming to the backwards compatibility initiative in honour of Scorpio’s official showcase would send ripples throughout the community.
Similarly, the Xbox Games Pass has been sprung upon us and yet still needs some work. The subscription service functions similarly to Sony’s PS Now, without the tricky need to stream each classic game as you play. Offering the actual classics at this stage would set the Games Pass off in great steed, however whether or not Microsoft will devote that much stage space to such a plan remains to be seen.
What do you think about Microsoft’s chances at E3 2017? Will you be looking to buy the Xbox Scorpio, or do you have any particular hopes for the console’s game lineup or VR capability? Pitch into the conversation downstairs and we’ll talk it through.