Ugh is it really time for E3 again so soon?
It’s still a month out? So then why am I writing about it?
Ah, because I want to make predictions, that’s right!
Yes, predictions. The great content cop-out. I could quite literally write anything in this column and it wouldn’t technically be incorrect right at this moment. We don’t know what is going to happen, but some people have ideas, and some people want to make predictions for what is going to happen based on the ideas that those some people have…or something.
Nevertheless, shall we begin?
This first article will be looking at what the official sponsor of the color green, and former lovable American monopoly, Microsoft, has in store for us.
First off, Microsoft has moved their big presentation to a new day, the Sunday before E3 so as to regale the myriad of lanky, be-speckled, audience members without fear of Sony taking all their headlines later in the day as usual. This is a great move for Microsoft, at least in this one’s humble opinion, but it does scream that Microsoft believes what they have to show is so important that it will need a whole day just to itself to let the industry digest it all. This naturally brings big expectations, but perhaps this year, of all years, Microsoft can live up to them with a fantastic full Scorpio reveal.
Yes, Microsoft’s mysterious half-console, half-“the future”, product they’ve been hyping the world up for a year is set to be fully unveiled at the show. However, last month Microsoft went ahead and let us take a peek at the specs surrounding this new console Microsoft is touting as the most powerful ever. Here is the video on that below:
Spolier Alert: It’s really, really surprisingly powerful.
The Scorpio is looking to bring the raw power of PC gaming to the home console market, the main facet of the industry’s business. Buzzwords like 4k and ‘teraflops’ are being thrown around in an attempt to make sure everyone knows how pretty this will make everything look when it releases later this year. The biggest question I have however is price. What kinds of losses can Microsoft stomach to make sure the price of the Scorpio is viable to the kind of consumers they will be targeting with this machine? A PC that can run games (effectively, and playably) at native 4k can cost you somewhere in the realm of the high hundreds of dollars, a price little Chad’s mom will not got feel comfortable picking up come December. Realistically, I feel Microsoft will have to price the Scorpio no higher than $500 to $550 dollars. That price, while already too high for most, will make the Scorpio comparable to the launch version Xbox One of 2013. It also keep the price within about $100 of Sony’s leading extra power-packing competitor, the PS4 Pro at $399.
To make it all worthwhile, the Scorpio will need to put on a show at the conference. Hopefully Microsoft has learned from the disasters of 2013 to know that the only effective way to do this is by showing games, games, and surprisingly, more games. So let’s jump into that shall we?
I think it is safe to say that one of the biggest games at E3 (like every year tbh) will be Call of Duty: WWII. Every year Activision graces one of the platform holders the chance to showcase the new CoD on their proprietary hardware. However, like last year I believe Call of Duty has a special partnership with Sony, so my first game prediction is that we will not see a Call of Duty at the Microsoft conference. A phrase that would have seemed blasphemous five years ago.
So what can Microsoft use to showcase the “Power” and “Force” and “Acrobatic Skills” of the upcoming Scorpio? A huge guess from me will be Star Wars: Battlefront II. While technically the fourth game in the Battlefront series, the upcoming Battlefront II will serve as Electronic Arts’ showcase game this fall (just in time for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ). While 2015’s Battlefront lacked depth, or truly interesting gameplay it was an absolute powerhouse of graphical prowess and immaculate sound design. I must believe that both EA and Microsoft know this and would like to work together to make sure the public knows just how pretty the series’ next installment will be. “Hey kids, ya’ want the prettiest game on the prettiest system? Just tell ol’ Santy Claus ta get cha’ a Scorpio for Christmas!”
Next on the list will have to be Microsoft properties. While Microsoft’s lineup of 1st party studios may pale in comparison to Sony’s. They do have some quality products that have kept the Xbox One plugging along with very respectable numbers. Will we see Halo at this conference. Part of me says they shouldn’t, at least not yet. Halo going on a few year hiatus to regain its mojo would most certainly not be something I would protest against. However the rational side of brain says that Microsoft may want to reveal the Scorpio with Halo 6. A game under development right now, and theoretically should be the end to the Master Chief’s story. Halo 6 will be a monumental event for Microsoft whenever it releases. It will also be very pretty. It makes sense from a business perspective to do these together, but, jeez, I don’t know if now is the right time. Lots of people still have the sour hangover-mouth taste of Halo 5 and the Master Chief Collection lingering around.
They will most likely not speak to Gears of War, the number 2 franchise at Microsoft. If they do it will most likely be to announce DLC of some kind. However, they will announce a new Forza Motorsport. The series, now a yearly staple, is, like the others on this list built from the ground up to be fun, playable, graphics porn. At the Forza games are stunning. One can only imaging how the stitching on the seats of new Bugatti Chiron will look in “native” 4k.
Also, where the hell is Crackdown 3? The follow up to Microsoft’s surprisingly good “cops in a super suit fighting zombies, Russian mobsters, and cybernetic ninjas” open world game was first teased with the reveal of the Xbox One all the way back in 2013. It has to resurface at this E3 or I fear it may never show up again. Games that disappear for four years without a peep never seem to climb out of that marketing and public attention hole ever again.