If you’ve read any of my articles on this site, you’ll know that I’m a huge Xbox fan. Growing up as a primarily Nintendo and Sony fan, Xbox became my go-to console when Halo 2 launched, and I was introduced to the world of online gaming. While the Xbox brand was strong in the 360 generation, Microsoft has been in an uphill battle throughout the duration of the Xbox One lifecycle. That’s not to say that the company isn’t making excellent decisions. Backwards compatibility, Game Pass including first-party titles at launch, and Xbox One X (the most powerful console on the market) are certainly moving the brand in the right direction. As a fan, I rejoice when Xbox does well, and I become disappointed when it misses the mark.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its plans for E3 2018. The most notable aspect of the announcement is that the Xbox press conference will take place in the Microsoft Theater, instead of the usual venue, the Galen Center. Not only that, Xbox will not have its typical spot in the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Microsoft Theater will also be host to the brand’s events and playable demos available to E3 attendees and media throughout the convention.
The Microsoft Theater will be home to official E3 events like the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing on June 10, 2018 at 1PM PT, various Xbox FanFest activities, hands-on gameplay and demos for all E3 attendees and more. Not only does the Microsoft Theater allow us to centralize our Xbox presence at E3, but it’s size enables us to include even more fans and partners in the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing than ever before.
“Microsoft Readies Biggest E3 Showing Ever” is the name of the announcement article, and while it should be cause for celebration, I can’t help but feel a little worried. That title could mean anything. What if the “biggest E3 showing ever” just refers to the amount of room that the Microsoft Theater has? That venue is quite large, and it’s significantly bigger than the space Xbox had in the convention center over the past few years. With more room to play demos and hold fan events, certainly, it will be the biggest E3 showing ever for the company.
Bigger could very well mean that Microsoft has a few tricks up its sleeves, and will blow us all away with a myriad of unexpected announcements and new IPs. New games would be the ideal outcome, but I’m not sure if that will necessarily happen. With the exception of Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and State of Decay 2 (all due out this year) every new game that was announced at E3 2017 was either also timed exclusives, third party games or console launch exclusives. All of these newly revealed games would eventually coming to a different platform. Nothing announced screamed “I need an Xbox for these games,” and as an Xbox fan, that was frustrating to see. The announcement that genuinely shocked me was when Bluehole revealed PUBG for Xbox One. Since it’s a game heavily associated with PC, I genuinely didn’t expect PUBG to come to consoles. With that being said, nothing in last year’s conference was game-changing.
I really hope that Xbox knocks it out of the park this year. After the last few showings, it almost feels like everything is riding on E3 2018. When I went to the company’s press conference in 2016, State of Decay 2 and Dead Rising 4 were the only new games announced. The company focused on ReCore (met with average reviews), Sea Of Thieves (which launches next week), and Scalebound (which was canceled the following year) as flagship titles. Since then, Microsoft has been dormant in terms of releasing and announcing first-party content. I believe that E3 2018 needs to be the moment where Microsoft knocks us all to the ground. No amount of excellent services and user-friendly practices will help if there aren’t enough games to back up their talk. I love backwards compatibility, Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox One X enhanced video games, but that is not enough to keep me, and others happy for the long run.
I’d like to be proven wrong, but I’m not sure what to expect at this year’s Xbox press conference. If the last few E3s are any indication, I don’t think we should get our hopes up. With that being said, Phil Spencer has been a Godsend for the brand. His attitude towards the gaming industry and Xbox fans have been incredible. He is so down to Earth, and you can tell that he genuinely believes in every single decision that he makes. There’s no doubt that Spencer has heard our cries for more games, and I hope he delivers in June.
E3 is an unpredictable, but exciting time. June is close, yet so far. I can’t wait to see what Xbox has in store for the fans, but admittedly, I’m nervous. Will their “big presence” pave the way for some major announcements or is this larger venue meant to get more people through the doors, and that’s it? The Internet likes to play judge, jury, and executioner during E3 week. There always “needs” to be a winner and a loser every year. Xbox is getting people hyped early this year with its new venue and plans for the event. Will Xbox be on the winning side or will we be adding another “L” to the scoreboard? Nothing is certain, but I’m hopeful that Xbox fans will have plenty to be cheering about when Phil Spencer takes the stage at the Microsoft Theater on June 10th, 2018.