Without a doubt, Microsoft's E3 presentation was stellar, with the tech giant bringing real innovation to the table when it comes to the future of the XBOX brand. Some of the announcements most definitely put Sony on the defensive, as Microsoft's innovative features include cross-platform compatibility, native 4K support, an updated XBOX S console, and the official announcement of the brand's Project Scorpio, set to be released sometime next year.
Integration of The XBOX Brand and New Hardware Compatibility:
Microsoft's Windows product has long been the de-facto standard for home PC operating systems, and considering the fact their XBOX brand is among the largest in the home gaming console arena, it only made sense to integrate the platforms together to better appeal to a now cross-platform world. Coming soon, when gamers purchase an XBOX One title, they will be automatically playable in Windows 10 as well by default. Cross-play features are coming as well! Yes, XBOX One and Windows gamers will be able to play and compete seamlessly with gamers from both platforms.
And there's more, it appears Microsoft's Phil Spencer has stated the XBOX One will soon have full support for a separate mouse and keyboard. So far, the XBOX One development kit already has support for keyboards, and mouse support is soon on its way. Another plus is the soon to be added support for Cortana on the XBOX One as well. Yep, soon XBOX fans will have full voice activated support for their console gaming experiences.
With Microsoft's announcement of the new XBOX One S, and Project Scorpio consoles, comes the announcement of inter-compatibility for accessories on all 3 consoles. Also, all future games developed, including those for the Scorpio, will work on all current XBOX One consoles. The tough decision this leaves for XBOX fans is which console to purchase, the soon to come One S, or wait until 2017 for the Scorpio to emerge. While both consoles will have their benefits, including native 4K support, the Scorpio might just be worth the wait, although no official pricing has been set for the console yet. On the other hand, we know the new slim model will be $299 at launch, as was announced at E3.
The XBOX One S (Slim):
The new Slim comes packed with a newly updated wireless controller with better range and textured grips, integrated power supply, and will support up to 2TB of storage space natively. Considering that many games have now eclipsed the 60GB range, it only makes sense to provide more room for future growth. The console will also support 4K ultra HD resolution by default, and consumers can save space given the console's 40% smaller size as compared to the traditional XBOX One.
This is a beast of console! The upcoming Scorpio will feature 6 Teraflops of GPU power, an 8 core CPU, and a whopping 320GB/s of memory bandwidth. Considering all games, just like any common software is loaded into RAM before being processed, this gives Microsoft's Scorpio the power to render whatever creativity developers bring to the table, both today, and in the foreseeable future. The only downside is the price, since we don't yet know what it is, but you can definitely expect it to be considerably more pricey than soon to be released S model. Either way, you get 4K natively with both consoles.
The next installment in the Gears of War franchise will be the first title to support Microsoft's "Play Anywhere" feature, where the purchase of a compatible XBOX One version will provide gamers with instance access to the game on Windows 10 as well, and the game will provide for cross-platform play, where as we stated before, gamers from both platforms will be able to play together seamlessly.
Also at E3, previews of the upcoming Killer Instinct, and XBOX One exclusive Forza: Horizon 3, which takes place in Australia. The new Forza is a multi-environment racer, where the franchise takes gamers on multiple paths, from off road racing in the desert, to fast paced street racing challenges. The previews for Forza are breathtaking to say the least. The game will have a 4 player campaign co-op mode, along with 350 cars to chose from. The game's graphics are quite reminiscent of the classic Burnout games, but Forza is the first of its kind to feature open world maps, where players can travel off the designated paths, even driving through rain forests to take short cuts along the way, or racing on the outskirts of Australia's beaches.
Zombie fans rejoice, as Dead Rising 4 is coming, and the zombies are more detailed than ever before. The new trailer takes on Holiday theme, not surprising since its planned release is for Christmas of 2016. Frank West is back and loaded with anew arsenal of weapons, including rocket launchers and flame throwers, and even newly added exo-suits, that give offer Frank military grade body armor, as well as increase his stamina and overall strength.
The Future of XBOX:
Despite media and industry claims that Sony's PS4 would prevail, Microsoft clearly showed this year's E3 that the XBOX brand remains a force to be reckoned with. The integration of the XBOX and Windows platforms also gives Microsoft a huge advantage over Sony, as Microsoft pretty much owns the bulk of the world's existing PC audiences. Integration also appears to be key to Microsoft holding its grip on the gaming market. The company has long supported the use of its XBOX controllers natively in Windows for instance, and the announcement that gamers will be able to use their accessories on whichever platform they choose gives consumers more reason to stick with the XBOX platform over the long term.
The XBOX's cross-platform play features also mean competition for Steam, currently the world's largest online gaming platform for PC gamers. As many prefer to game on their custom built rigs, they'll now have the option to play the entire XBOX One library right on their PC, and connect with the same audiences they already do on XBOX Live.
As for the Scorpio, we're yet to see a full fledged prototype of the console, and its possible we won't until the next E3.
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