Sony may have pulled out of E3 2019 for the first time in the event’s history, but Microsoft steamrolled ahead with a few announcements that whet the appetite of gaming fans worldwide.
Of course, most gamers have eagerly been anticipating the reveal of the Xbox Project Scarlett—The Verge reported that Microsoft has been slipping in hints about their next-gen console within several promo videos pre-E3 (colour codes that, when combined, form the RGB colour code for Scarlet).
But in its keynote address, Microsoft revealed details that went beyond its next-gen gaming console; including release dates for much-awaited games such as Halo Infinite and a brand new Elite controller.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the highlights:
Xbox Project Scarlett
Let’s get to the most exciting news first: Xbox Project Scarlett. Microsoft has stolen the march on Sony by unveiling its next-gen console ahead of a potential PlayStation 5—Project Scarlett is projected to launch in late 2020.
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that the console (codenamed Project Scarlett) is a beast on paper.
Capable of 8K graphics along with SSD support, Microsoft is claiming that its latest console will be up to 4x as powerful as its current flagship console, the Xbox One X. Project Scarlett will also be using a custom CPU (based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture) and GDDR6 RAM, which will give gamers the chance to run games at higher framerates (up to 120fps) and resolutions than ever before.
Microsoft also explained that this new generation of SSDs will also allow the console to utilise the drive as virtual RAM, which will result in games being loaded a lot faster.
Halo Infinite & Gears 5
Having teased the audience with snippets of Halo Infinite at last year’s E3 event, Microsoft returned this year with release dates for the latest titles in both franchises.
Gears 5 will be officially available to play on September 10 2019, while Halo Infinite will only be available sometime in late 2020. The silver lining to that? Halo Infinite will be available as a launch title with Project Scarlett.
Not a bad title to pickup alongside a brand-new console, don’t you think?
Elite Series 2 controller for Xbox
Microsoft also announced a new iteration of its Elite Series controller for Xbox, with even more customisability and flexibility for gamers—again, support for Xbox One and PC is available.
Gamers will be able to enjoy adjustable-tension thumbsticks, new interchangeable components, up to 40 hours of rechargeable battery life, and other options on the Xbox Accessories app.
After the Google Stadia was announced only days ago, Microsoft has seemingly risen to the challenge almost immediately. xCloud, their cloud gaming service, will allow users to stream games from their consoles to multiple devices.
Microsoft have also previously stated that the xCloud service will support every Xbox title as well, which gives it a game library of over 3000 games. According to Xbox head, Phil Spencer, this will turn your Xbox One into your own personal and free xCloud server).
xCloud will be available to Xbox users in October 2019.
And more to come
In other news, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin’s collaboration with FromSoftware (creator of Dark Souls) has also been confirmed, while the open-world title, Cyberpunk 2077 will feature… Keanu Reeves as its star. Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on April 16th, 2020.
One last thing: If you’re a little more old-school with your gaming, you’ll be pleased to know that Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is back from the dead—the iconic game is scheduled for release in 2020 and will be available on the Xbox Game Pass.