E3 2019: Everything that matters including the next-gen Xbox, and more!

The E3 highlights: The next Xbox, Microsoft game streaming

Across the E3 press conferences, we go, with a host of new games and developments already announced. There’s too much going on, really, but here’s the big stuff you can’t miss.

Xbox Scarlett

Microsoft’s “Project Scarlett”: its next-gen Xbox console

Microsoft revealed some scant details about Project Scarlett, it’s next-generation Xbox console. A 3m 58s trailer on YouTube showed off some glimpses of the hardware, promising “this generation is going to bigger leap than any generation we’ve done before” - 4 times the performance of the current-gen Xbox.

What we know:

  • It’s powered by a “custom-designed processor,” from AMD, using latest Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture.
  • More specs: High-bandwidth GDDR6 RAM, and a solid state drive. Microsoft says the SSD is capable of a 40x boost in performance, meaning much faster load speeds.
  • 8K capability, ray tracing, variable refresh rate up to 120fps, and ultra-low latency input.
  • Sound familiar? Microsoft is offering much of what we heard out of Sony and the upcoming PlayStation 5, which will also feature SSD storage, 8K support, and 3D audio.
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  • And it’s also what game streaming services are promising in the next few cycles.
  • Arriving “Holiday 2020”.
  • Oh, and there’s a new Halo because of course there is.
  • Halo Infinite, will launch with the device as its major launch title, a whole new chapter for Master Chief, with this nearly six-minute trailer that disappointingly doesn’t contain a single second of gameplay.
  • By the way, Microsoft hid a tonne of keys in that trailer, all redeemed within minutes for three months of the new Xbox Game Ultimate pass. 
  • Microsoft also unveiled the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, with longer battery life, USB-C, Bluetooth, and a raft of other improvements. It’s also compatible with Xbox Scarlett, and launches November 4, for $179.99 USD.

Xbox Game Pass on PC

Xbox Game Pass is now available on PC

  • Xbox Game Pass has launched on Windows 10 as of right now, the service launching at reasonable $4.99 per month.
  • That’s an “introductory” price, with regular pricing at $9.99.
  • Xbox Game Pass for PC offers 100 games from over 75 developers and publishers, including Football Manager 2019, Imperator: Rome, and Metro Exodus.

Now, this is pretty good value, buuuut….

  • I don’t have a clear view ahead here but I’ve never liked that on Xbox you can only game online with a paid subscription. (The PlayStation originally had free multiplayer, before Sony borrowed Microsoft’s model, while the Nintendo Switch has a paid model too.)
  • Pay $60+ for a game, pay $49 a year (or $9.99 per month) for a Live Gold sub. to play online.
  • It’s been like that for years, too.

  • If that approach seeps into the world of PC gaming, even slightly, it’s not “for the gamers” however Microsoft spins its world of Xbox. To be clear, that’s not happening yet. But signposts are being erected.
  • One more thing - Microsoft launched Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, with PC and Xbox games, for $14.99 per month. Included in that is an Xbox Live Gold subscription, making it a nice all-in-one if that’s your ecosystem.

Microsoft’s Project xCloud

Microsoft isn’t letting Google Stadia muscle in on its hard-won gaming turf, with some more detail about Project xCloud - its own streaming service taking Xbox games and more to PC.

  • Essentially, this looks like it’ll be streaming from your Xbox One library - including games from Xbox Game Pass - to any device. 
  • We didn’t get a lot more detail than that, though. Microsoft didn’t provide any dates or pricing for its service, although a public preview starts in October.
  • On the E3 show floor, the service is being shown, with gamers able to try Halo 5: Guardians and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice streaming on smartphones and tablets.

What else at E3? Games!

Elden Ring is the new fantasy game from George R.R. Martin and FromSoftware - the folks behind Dark Souls (The Verge).

There’s a new Microsoft Flight Simulator (trailer) and some Gears 5 action (trailer).

Also, Keanu Reeves is in "Cyberpunk 2077" coming next year and all sorts of mania are happening (reveal trailer + Keanu).

Electronic Arts showed off 14 minutes of gameplay for its upcoming action-adventure game, "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" (trailer). Given the careful focus on the lightsaber and use of the Force via new mechanics, people are hype.

Also from EA, “Apex Legends” season 2 kicks off July 2, a new legend "Wattson" was introduced (trailer).

From Bethesda: “Ghostwire: Tokyo” has a lot of people talking (Kotaku), and it might be because someone on stage was a lot of fun. (Too scary for me, I’d say).

“Doom Eternal” is coming out on November 22 (trailer) and it looks devilishly good.

“Fallout 76” gets a huge (free) DLC in Fall 2019, plus battle royale, and it’s free to try from today for a week (trailer).

Also, Bethesda has new tech to make streaming games faster with lower requirements.

The Id Software classic “Commander Keen” is coming back as an iOS/Android game but … no one wants that? (I’m borderline irate over this. My colleagues think I’m nuts. Kotaku is with me, at least.)

And possibly the biggest news: “Final Fantasy VII Remake” will be released on March 3rd, 2020 (Engadget).

More to come: There's a PC gaming Show conference today, Ubisoft also has announcements today along with Square Enix, with Nintendo taking over tomorrow. (There's no Sony PlayStation event at E3 2019, just in case you'd forgotten!)

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