e3 News: The future of xbox
Microsoft is already working on the next generation of consoles ahead of anyone else
What a show. This year’s E3 was absolutely phenomenal, and leading the pack was Microsoft, championing 50-plus games, including 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres on their stage. There were so many games announced it was a struggle to fit them all in the mag, but it all goes to show just how bright the future of Xbox is looking. There was a real sense of excitement when leaving the show, and a feeling of all gamers sharing in that together. We’ve got Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4 to look forward to in the coming months, but what has us most excited is what’s in store even further in the future.
It was only mentioned very briefly, but Microsoft is already hard at work on the next generation of consoles. “The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming,” head of Xbox Phil Spencer said while up on stage at the conference.
What does that mean? Since work is already underway, it sounds like we won’t have too long to wait until we’re playing with an even more powerful console than the Xbox One X. While we doubt anything will be ready for next year with so little teased, the year 2020 feels like it’d be a great time to launch a console—it’d be seven years after the first Xbox One appeared on shelves which is a great length for a console generation. That, coupled with a few other announcements, is pointing towards an amazing few years ahead for Xbox fans.
Quite a few game announcements are also pointing in that direction, such as Halo Infinite, which only had the briefest tease and no mention of a release window. It’s also being made in an entirely new engine, which suggests it’s being pushed hard for some new tech. Elsewhere, The Elder Scrolls VI was also teased with some gorgeous-looking mountains, but looks nowhere near ready for this generation. We also got to see a tease for another Bethesda game called Starfield that looks like it will have a sci-fi setting. There have been rumors that they’ve been working on the project for quite a while now already, but this was the first we’ve seen of it, and it still has a ridiculously long way to go.
A new console generation also helps explain why things have been so quiet recently—while last year was jam-packed with new games, things definitely feel like they’ve slowed down in 2018. Elsewhere, we know a new Fable game is being worked on potentially by Playground Games (the studio behind Forza Horizon), although it was conspicuously absent at E3
so perhaps they’re waiting until a new console launch for it to make its debut. But that isn’t the only news to come out of the studio, it’s also now been officially bought by Microsoft securing its future as a big Xbox developer over the coming years.
They’ve also bought Undead Labs (famous for State Of Decay), Compulsion Games (the minds behind We Happy Few), and Ninja Theory— best known for the excellent Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice released on Xbox One earlier this year. By investing in such hugely creative studios, it shows that Microsoft is very much invested in its future and securing the best games.
As well as buying four studios, they’re also launching a brand new one called The Initiative, based in Santa Monica and led by former Crystal Dynamics boss Darrell Gallagher— responsible for overseeing the Tomb Raider reboot. While they have confirmed they’re currently working
“There’s a lot of potential in a console that can play anything”
on a game, it’s still far too early to announce what it is—so another contender for the next generation Xbox then.
But what kind of shape can we expect a new console to take? With all the emphasis on power with the Xbox One X, Microsoft still very much wants to be known as the maker of the world’s most powerful consoles going forward. It certainly has a nice ring to it, and is a great way to push what it’s capable of doing differently. Backwards compatibility is also likely given the success it’s had with it this generation, and the fact that no other console makers are doing anything similar. In a world where most companies will charge you again to rebuy a game you already own for a new platform, Microsoft puts gamers and their collections first. There’s a lot of potential in a console that can play anything.
There’s also been another mention of future tech in the shape of streaming console-quality games to any device including both PC and mobile. A lofty aim, but if anyone has the chops to do it, it’s Microsoft. It also makes a lot of sense as games like PUBG and Fortnite are crossplay on mobile, PC, and consoles—it’s only a matter of time until other big games also make the leap to mobile. In theory you could have your super new Xbox at home, but still be able to play games on it from your mobile while waiting in a coffee shop somewhere. It also ties
Above Luckily you don’t have to wait until next gen to race around in a seasonal UK in Forza Horizon 4.