Microsoft’s press conference was one to remember, with the focus clearly being on the gamers. That focus definitely paid off for them. Here are some of the highlights from the conference.
As a PC-first gamer, Microsoft’s play anywhere program came out on top for me, as it allows for the cross-buy and cross-play of games between Xbox One and PC. This means if you buy a game supported by this for PC or Xbox, you’ll get it on the other platform for free. It also means gamers on each platform can play cooperatively with those on the other platform.
Throughout the conference, games were announced to support this feature, including: Forza Horizon 2, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, ReCore, Scalebound, Ark, Survival Evolved, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and We Happy Few.
Microsoft also announced cross-play for Minecraft between Xbox One, Windows 10, iOS, Android and Gear VR.
Xbox One S(lim)
The rumored slimmer Xbox One console was the first thing unveiled at the conference and features an internal power supply plus a 40% size reduction compared to the currently available Xbox One. The console will release in August for $299.
Gears of War 4
Part of a level from Gears 4 was played on stage and showed off environmental effects and destruction, including high speed winds that blow enemies bodies away. The game looks like Gears, and will feature Play Anywhere in all co-op modes, including horde mode. The game will release October 11.
Clubs, Looking for Group, Arena
Later this fall Microsoft will release a handful of features to help gamers interact. “Clubs” allow players to create their own communities where they can meet new people. “Looking for Group” is pretty self-explanatory — it’s essentially a want ad for multiplayer games. “Arena” allows for online tournaments, and will be supported by EA in the coming years.
These three features should help bring the Xbox Live community together, or at least allow gamers to find like-minded people to play with online, which is sometimes difficult to do, so I look forward to seeing this roll out.
We Happy Few
This game set in a world where the populace is forced to take a happy drug got an onstage demo. The protagonist has decided to stop taking the drug, and is beginning to see the world as it truly is before being found out and hunted down by security. We Happy Few looks extremely good and Xbox One will be the first console to have it.
A more powerful console looking to take advantage of 4K television’s capabilities, Microsoft expects this to be the most powerful console ever made. The console will release during the holiday 2017 season, with all Xbox One accessories and games being compatible with it.
Also featured at Microsoft’s press conference:
Forza Horizon 3
Gwent from The Witcher 3
Final Fantasy XV
More Xbox Live servers
Dead Rising 4
Sea of Thieves
State of Decay 2
Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One beta out now until June 20)