Microsoft’s E3 2019 Conference Highlights

Microsoft held their annual press conference at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Despite the company’s imminent transition to the next generation of Xbox this year’s conference provided scant details on the upcoming console, codenamed Project Scarlett. The small presentation they gave it felt like something to stave off questions from consumers and the press instead of an attempt to sell it to the audience. This is evident based on the fact that it was a quick announcement that happened at the very end of the presentation. Of course, it is possible that Microsoft is more prepared to showcase Project Scarlett at E3 2020 where they will have to face off against Sony who will more than likely unveil the Playstation 5 that same year.

While the console may only have a working title one of the most important details gleaned from the presentation is that it now has a release date. Xbox’s Project Scarlett is set to hit shelves just in time for the 2020 Holiday season with Halo Infinite set to be a launch title.

Attendees who were at the conference were able to watch the premiere of a brand new trailer for Halo Infinite which provides a few brief story details about the upcoming science fiction shooter. Based on the trailer, it would appear that Master Chief has been stranded in space, the Halos have been either reactivated or destroyed, and humanity is once again in trouble and he is the only one capable of saving them.

During the conference, Microsoft was able to provide details regarding the technical specifications on Project Scarlett. Project Scarlett will use a custom-made CPU designed by AMD with Zen-2 architecture. For RAM, it will rely on a GDDR6 and a solid state drive that will act as a virtual RAM cache. Based on this, the company intends to develop a console that is more powerful than its predecessor, the Xbox One X. Theoretically speaking, Project Scarlett will have reduced to non-existent loading times and proposed resolution and framerate peaks that run at 8K and 120 frames-per-second. Ray tracing has been confirmed to be supported. Like with the Xbox One, Project Scarlett will have backwards compatibility, but with a bonus. Instead of being able to reach back to just titles from the Xbox 360 days Project Scarlett will give players a chance to play titles from the original Xbox.

Obviously, this means that Xbox One and PC players are going to have a drought of games since both Infinite and Scarlett are a year and a half away. However, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft has no plans that run up to that time. There was plenty of content promoted to get everyone and their mothers excited for the future of Xbox and PC gaming.

Microsoft was able to display over 60 games that will be released from now to the Holiday 2020 season, all of which are planned for releases on PC and the Xbox One. Some of these titles were previously announced like Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order, Cyberpunk 2077, and The Outer Worlds but were able to make a comeback during the conference.

Polish publisher/developer made their return to the Microsoft conference to showcase a brand new story trailer for the widely anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. The new trailer drew attention after dropping the bomb-shell that John Wick star, Keanu Reeves will be starring in the science fiction title. Reeves himself was able to come out on stage to unveil its release date: April 16th, 2020.

It hasn’t been a secret that Microsoft has been snatching up developers left and right for Xbox Game Studios and today’s presser highlighted how aggressive these acquisitions were. The most high profile acquisition that was announced during the presser was the company’s acquisition of Double Fine Productions, who in turn announced a sequel to Psychonauts. The announcement prompted Double Fine’s founder and president Tim Schafer to take to the stage to unveil the brand new trailer for Psychonauts 2.

While no representatives from Rare were present at the conference, attendees got a first look at the fan-favorite Battletoads. While the trailer was brief it is evident that the brawler title will feature puzzle solving elements and cel-shading graphics.

Popular racing title Forza Horizon 4 is seeing a Lego-themed expansion with the Lego Speed Champions. With the expansion, players will be able to create their own Lego world and drive Lego versions of the various vehicles from the main game.

Japanese developer Sega made a surprising appearance with Phantasy Star Online 2 which has been available in Japan since 2012. Microsoft was able to partner with them to bring the popular online MMO to North America next year, where it will be available as a free-to-play title on both Windows and Xbox One.

Microsoft also announced that they have expanded the availability of Xbox Game Pass to PC users. If you are a PC user, you will be able to purchase a $9.99 monthly subscription that will grant subscribers access to an ever-expanding library of games just like with its console counterpart. For consumers who dabble in both PC and console gaming there is a monthly $14.99 bundle that will pair up the Xbox One and PC versions of Game Pass with the Xbox Live Gold online service. Coincidentally, a beta for the PC Game Pass has gone live with an app being available for download on the Microsoft store.

To further reiterate his company’s pledge towards the concept of game streaming and consumers, Xbox chief Phil Spencer officially announced the Xbox xCloud service and in-game streaming feature. Through xCloud, players will be able to access and play whatever games they want wherever they want remotely on their consoles, phones, and tablets. Attendees were able to get a taste of this on the showfloor. Microsoft has also planned a preview for some time in October.

For hardware, Microsoft has decided to revisit the Xbox Elite Controller Series with the with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. The new controller’s gamepad is similar to its predecessor with adjustable analog stick tension, shorter trigger locks, three customizable profiles, and Bluetooth connectivity. This new iteration of the Elite Controller is much more expensive than the previous one with a price-point of $179.99. The controller will be available for purchase this November.

While Xbox die-hards may not have gotten a lot of details surrounding the next generation of their favorite console they did get an idea of how powerful it may be and when they can get their hands on it. In the meantime though there are plenty of other games and services that they can enjoy to pass that time.

Stay tuned for the rest of Fandomwire’s E3 coverage!

What do you think of this news? What is your favorite highlight? Let us know in the comments below!