It's shaping up to be a big E3 for Microsoft. With Sony skipping this year's event entirely, Microsoft's Xbox E3 2019 conference has the chance to steal the whole show. And it looks like that could be the case, with rumors circulating that E3 2019 will finally be the year that Microsoft unveils the next Xbox console (or consoles plural as the case may be).
We're expecting Microsoft to go full force with hardware this year, revealing details of the next-generation Xbox along with any games we can expect to see on the upcoming console. Despite this potential focus on hardware, we're expecting Microsoft to have some software exclusives up its sleeve too at this year's Xbox show.
We're also hoping to see more about what Microsoft has been working on with its newly-acquired studios, which include the likes of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice developer Ninja Theory and Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment.
So, without further ado, we've put together a list of everything we're hoping to see from Microsoft at this year's Xbox E3 2019 conference.
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Next-generation Xbox console (or consoles)
Could E3 2019 finally be the year Microsoft unveil the next generation of Xbox consoles? We think so. For a long time a new Xbox seemed like a dream, but now Microsoft has confirmed a next-generation Xbox is in development – and rumors suggest there's more than one console in the works.
The official story started last year when Xbox Chief Phil Spencer told the thousands of attendees at E3 2018 that the console (or perhaps series of consoles) is in development: “our hardware team is deep into developing the next generation of Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming.”
Since Spencer's announcement details have slowly bubbled up all around the net on the purported system. First we got a codename for the collection – Xbox Scarlett – and now we've heard rumblings of the first games to be designed for the next-gen Xbox: The Elder Scrolls 6, Cyberpunk 2077 and Halo Infinite.
There's even been a leak of the alleged specs of two upcoming next-generation consoles (codenamed Anaconda and Lockhart). What's more, this same report claims these consoles will be announced at E3 2019, with a release date rumored for 2020.
While we are taking these rumors with a pinch of salt, we do expect Microsoft will unveil at least one next-generation Xbox console at E3 2019 – and we can't wait.
It's likely we'll hear more about Microsoft's Project xCloud streaming service. Project xCloud was announced by Microsoft at E3 2018 but we haven't heard much about the streaming service since.
What we do know is that Project xCloud promises to let you play big-name games on whatever device you want, whenever you want.
Project xCloud will leverage Microsoft’s existing data centers across the globe, literally loading up servers with the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles, and using these to run the games streamed directly to your mobile device of choice.
The end result will be that gamers will be able to play the likes of Halo, Forza and other classic console and PC big hitters on their phones or tablets.
You’ll be able to use an Xbox controller hooked up to your mobile via Bluetooth, or if you want to dispense with that, Microsoft is promising touch controls that will work just fine as an alternative.
E3 2019 would be a great time for Microsoft to reveal more details on Project xCloud, including when we can expect a release, especially given that Google has announced the Stadia and Sony's cloud gaming plans have leaked.
George R.R. Martin and FromSoftware's unannounced title
According to a report by Gematsu, FromSoftware is working on a new project in collaboration with George R.R. Martin – the author behind the fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire, which was the basis of the hugely-popular Game of Thrones TV series.
Gematsu's source claims the open-world title (known internally as “GR”) has been in development for the past three years and will be published by Bandai Namco. But when will this new title officially be revealed? According to Gematsu's source, the game will be officially announced at Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference.
According to an investigative report from Spawn Wave and Liam Robertson (via GamesRadar), George R.R. Martin and FromSoftware are working on an open-world RPG title (rumored to be called “Great Rune”) which will explore Norse mythology and see the player on horseback.
Gematsu's report echoes these rumors and, in addition, Martin has confirmed in a blog post that he has “consulted on a videogame out of Japan”.
While we don't expect the title to be a Microsoft exclusive (unless it's timed), we're hoping the rumors will come true and we'll get an official announcement during the Xbox E3 2019 keynote.
Microsoft finally announced the the next entry in the Master Chief saga at last year's E3. While we didn't get any solid details about Halo Infinite (apart from the teaser trailer) it looks like it'll be the sixth main entry in the Halo series. Well, we're hoping that's the case…
We're also hoping that Microsoft will give us all the juicy details at E3 2019 – maybe alongside the next generation Xbox announcement? Halo Infinite looks likely to be a launch title for the next Xbox, so we aren't expecting a release until, at least next year.
We waited with bated breath during Microsoft's E3 2018 Xbox conference for the announcement of Gears of War 5 – and Microsoft didn't disappoint. The company revealed that Gears 5 is in the works and even dropped an enticing announcement trailer.
Gears 5 sees the series having its first female protagonist, Kait. Marcus Phoenix will still appear, but Kait will take the starring role as she takes her team on a personal mission which will continue on from the emotional ending of Gears of War 4.
While we garnered quite a few details about the game's story, we didn't get much in the way of solid details about when we can expect to get our hands on Gears 5, what gameplay will look like or what new features we can expect.
These are all details we're hoping Microsoft will reveal during its E3 2019 keynote, including whether we will see Gears 5 as a launch title on the next Xbox.
This is mainly optimistic thinking on our part, but Microsoft seems to really be dragging its feet when it comes to VR, instead putting a lot of effort into the HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset.
The PlayStation VR continues to grow in strength, so we expect Microsoft will be much more active about developing and progressing VR technology for the next-generation Xbox.
At E3 2018, we asked Xbox’s corporate vice president, Mike Ybarra, about Xbox's future VR plans.
“For us, we’re going to continue to invest on the Windows side where people are engaging,” Ybarra told TechRadar, at the time. “Our MR devices work with Steam games now – I love what’s happening there – and in the living room there are still, in my opinion, challenges to be solved. But we’re looking at that and we’re listening to customers and fans, but our investment profile will remain on Windows for now.”
When asked for any details about who Microsoft might be talking with to bring VR to its consoles, Ybarra said that he couldn’t comment on that at this time but at no point was there an outright no to VR on consoles.
We're hoping Microsoft will unveil further VR plans at this year's E3 keynote, maybe to coincide with the announcement of the next Xbox?
Alongside the games we already know about, we're expecting Microsoft to have some brand new exclusives up its sleeve. This seems pretty likely, particularly because the company has been acquiring studios left, right and center, including Ninja Theory, Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games and Compulsion Games (to name just a few).
We're hoping this will result in some killer Xbox exclusives, especially as the collection on the Xbox One has been pretty sparse. Whether these titles will be current-generation, next-generation or cross-generation will likely be tailored by whether or not we see the next Xbox.
- Here's how to watch Microsoft's E3 2019 live stream online