Microsoft Press Conference at E3 2016

With rumors and leaks circulating online for weeks, we weren’t sure if Microsoft’s Xbox conference would have many surprises in store for anyone. In fact, a Twitter account leaked most of the conference’s keypoints 30 minutes before the show even started. Despite that, the company still put on a great presentation and seems to be on track to focusing on gaming.

 The conference started off with the reveal of the Xbox One S, a $299 slimmer 4K and HDR compatible console. Being 40% smaller and having integrated power, it will be much more manageable for keeping in your entertainment space.

 Microsoft is also focusing on a concept called Play Anywhere, which closely ties in the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC platforms. Players will be able to switch off between console and PC games, and continue their game on whichever platform. This will definitely make things easier, especially for those that tend to travel a lot.

 Following a look at some footage of Gears of War 4, which looks terrific but does still look like another Gears of War game, there was a reveal of General RAAM for Killer Instinct, who was made available right away after the conference.

 Next up was a reveal of Forza Horizon 3, this time taking place in the exotic locales of Australia. Taking advantage of the Xbox One S’ HDR capability to produce gorgeous looking visuals that really make you feel like you’re drifting through the Aussie shores. The game is releasing on September 27 this year.

 We also got a look at gameplay of ReCore, which doesn’t seem as polished as it could be but still looks like it will be a good exclusive addition to the Xbox One and PC. As a sole human survivor, you partner up with a cast of robotic friends and play as Joule, who will dash and hook herself around various environments.

 CD Projekt Red also came out on stage to give a look at the full standalone game of Gwent, the minigame from The Witcher series. While the card game segment may be a little bit oversaturated now, it seems that CD are putting some fresh new ideas into the title and it will at least be something to keep Witcher fans interested.

 Platinum Games’ Hideki Kamiya also appeared on stage to give a reveal of Scalebound, the dragon-fueled action game that is also exclusive to Xbox One and PC. The gameplay demo showed off a behemoth crab battle, with co-op players partnering up with each other as well as dragon companions to fight from the ground or scale the creature. It seems that the focus is on these intense boss battles, and will provide a good dose of action.

 As a final reveal, which had been speculated, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer made an announcement of a new Xbox console coming holiday 2017 tentatively named Project Scorpion. Hailed as the most powerful console ever, the specs stand at 8 cores, 6 teraflops of GPU power, which basically translates to this being able to handle 4K and run VR out of the box. The upside to this is that the company specifically mentioned all the Xbox versions will have the same game library; whether you have the Xbox One, Xbox One S, or upgrade to Project Scorpio you can play any of the released games, with improvements on the more specced-out consoles of course. That’s reassuring for fans who are not so willing to upgrade to another console so early in the cycle.

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International Concert Photojournalist at Live in Limbo. His work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Alternative Press and many more.