Xbox promised to “go big” with its E3 hype-parade, and does it get much bigger than Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077? No. Obviously. But besides what’s probably going to be the most talked about omg-moment of the show, the company also debuted its next-gen console and xCloud streaming service, confirmed its acquisition of Double Fine, and showed us some games.
Featuring a custom AMD core and built-in SSD, with support for 120 frames per second, up to 8K resolutions, and hardware-accelerated ray-tracing, Microsoft’s next-gen console is “four times more powerful than Xbox One X”. And I’d expect about four times the price too. Project Scarlett (or Xbox One-Two?) is expected to launch in time for the 2020 holiday season.
Project xCloud is the future
Powered by Microsoft’s Azure datacentre network, Project xCloud will let you hyperbeamcast your Xbox games to whatever screen you want, so you can play Halo on your phone on the toilet. TECHNOLOGY! But this game streaming service has one major feature that Google Stadia doesn’t – you can use your own Xbox One console as a personal cloud server.
A preview of the service launches in October, although prices and regional availability aren’t confirmed for the moment.
Double Fine has joined the party
Tim Schafer’s studio is now one of Microsoft’s acquisitions. OOOOOH. What’s perhaps most unexpected about this is that Double Fine and Microsoft have… history. Back in 2001, Microsoft signed up Double Fine’s cult-classic Psychonauts as one of its original Xbox launch games, but the deal was subsequently cancelled due to creative differences between the two and what Microsoft considered an over-extended budget and development time, forcing Schafer to negotiate a new publishing deal with Majesco Entertainment and what producer Caroline Esmurdoc described as “the most insane crunch I have ever witnessed”. I guess he’s over it now.
Despite the acquisition, Psychonauts 2 will launch on Xbox and PC, Mac, Linux, and PS4, though.
The Xbox Elite controller, version 2.0
I want one.
Everything is launching on Xbox Game Pass
Almost everything, anyway. Of the 60 games at the Xbox press conference, more than half of them will be launching on Xbox Game Pass, including Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds (!).
A beta of Xbox Game Pass for PC has also launched, with over 100 games available. If you can’t decide between Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass for PC, though, Microsoft revealed its new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combo subscription, with Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Live, for R199 per month. That’s R40 more than the regular Xbox Game Pass price, with three times the value – and if you sign up now, you can get it for R15.90 for the first month.
Most importantly, however, Neon Chrome is out now on Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass for PC. PLAY NEON CHROME.
Halo Infinite is a Project Scarlett launch game
So that means it won’t be out until the 2020 holiday season and that’s a bummer, but…
Gears 5 launches on 10 September
So we’ve got sometime else to play in the meantime. Also, besides the franchise’s now obligatory co-op, class-based Horde mode, the game introduces Escape, a new co-op, class-based mode for up to three players.
FromSoftware’s George R.R. Martin game isn’t A Song of Fire and Ice
But I don’t know what it actually is.
Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge is a 4v4 melee brawler
Not a Hellblade sequel, maybe, but it’s got a guy with a guitar and flamethrower face so count me in. A technical alpha launches on 27 June, and you can sign up now.