With the Scorpio readying for its launch this holiday season, there’s still some skepticism in the air about Microsoft after some rather disappointing cancellations and lukewarm reception to their first party content. Still, Microsoft can do a lot to switch things up, and with the conference just around the corner, now is a good time to reveal what else they’ve got up their sleeve. The GameSpot staff took some time to share their own thoughts about what the Xbox brand can do to improve, and how the Scorpio can make good on its potential.
What do you think about Microsoft’s outlook for E3 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to check out our other articles on Nintendo and Sony.
Reveal What’s Next For Halo | Eddie Makuch, Associate Editor
Microsoft has said Halo 6 won’t be at E3 itself, but instead we’ll see a “little something” related to the series. The Halo series feels like it needs a shot in the arm in terms of storytelling, and it’s exciting to think about what Microsoft might do to keep the franchise feeling fresh and exciting. The company says it’s taken the feedback around Halo 5 to heart, so now it needs to show how that is bearing out in reality. Interestingly, Microsoft has said it sees an opportunity to extend the franchise beyond the shooter and RTS categories, so it might finally be time to see what’s in store. If not a new game, it would be refreshing to learn more about the Steven Spielberg Halo TV show or possibly see an attempt to make a movie based on the series.
Reveal VR’s Potential | Justin Haywald, Managing Editor
VR is amazing technology, but it still hasn’t hit consumer critical mass. Microsoft has the ability to change that. While the company’s consoles don’t currently support any VR headsets, Microsoft invested heavily into its separate augmented reality Hololens device. Although that piece of hardware isn’t quite ready for consumers (and it works as a standalone computer anyway), having an Xbox One that’s compatible with either the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift would provide a huge boost to the number of people with access to hardware that can run VR games. We have yet to see a true “killer app” in VR gaming, and the support for Sony’s PSVR has slowed to a trickle. Microsoft isn’t going to be VR’s savior (not yet, anyway), but a big E3 announcement could push the tech back into the limelight.
Bring The Big Exclusives | Tamoor Hussain, UK Editor
Microsoft has some ground to make up in the exclusives department, especially after the high-profile cancellation of Scalebound. That Platinum Games title was the standout game in an exclusive lineup that is otherwise quite barren. Microsoft needs to bring big exclusives to E3 this year, and it needs to bring a lot of them. Of course, it’s only natural that much of Microsoft’s focus will be on Project Scorpio, but it’s important for the platform holder to also recognize that the Xbox One audience needs to be addressed. In all likelihood, there’s probably a large contingent of Xbox One owners that feel the console hasn’t justified itself at this point and will not be keen to move on to Scorpio just yet. To score big at E3, Microsoft needs to give those Xbox One owners as much to get excited about as it does potential Project Scorpio owners.
Show Why Scorpio Is Worthwhile | Chris Pereira, News Editor
Since launch, the standard PS4 has outsold the PS4 Pro, and Microsoft expects there to be a similar split between the Xbox One S and Scorpio. That’s no real surprise; Scorpio is intended as a more niche, hardcore-focused device, rather than the default option for someone interesting in playing Xbox One games. But that doesn’t mean Microsoft can’t win over some people with Scorpio’s E3 showing.
One hurdle to overcome is the notion that Scorpio is meant exclusively for those with a 4K display. Microsoft needs to find ways to make Scorpio’s benefits obvious–not everyone has a 4K TV, and the quality of streaming video won’t do Microsoft any favors in showcasing high-resolution content (as Sony discovered with its PS4 Pro reveal last year). Third-party games designed to run on all systems are unlikely to feature any meaningful Scorpio-only functionality, which may leave it to Microsoft’s own games to demonstrate whether there’s more to owning a Scorpio than better graphics. Whether it’s improved load times, enhanced visual effects, or something else, this E3 will play a major role in dictating how the public views Scorpio. Allowing people to walk away with the assumption that it does nothing more than play games at 4K would be hard to come back from.
Aggressive Scorpio Pricing | Michael Higham, Associate Editor
Project Scorpio’s technical details were fully unveiled back in April along with a few performance benchmarks. Its eight-core CPU and 6 teraflop GPU wrapped into a system-on-chip (SOC) with 12GB of GDDR5 RAM impressed us as it pumped out native 4K at 60 FPS in the Forzatech demo. But those parts aren’t cheap. So, what’s it going to cost us to game on the most powerful console to date?
We’ve all speculated anywhere between $400 to $600, but if Microsoft wants to reel in those on the fence and grab the attention of those only mildly interested, it needs to be priced aggressively. The lower the barrier to entry, the easier it’ll be for everyone to open up to the idea of buying an upgraded version of the Xbox console, allowing it to realistically compete with the PS4 Pro.
Don’t Rely On Scorpio As The Showstopper | Miguel Concepcion, Editor
Since it seems like Microsoft has already shared all the essential specs about Project Scorpio, summarizing familiar selling points about the console would make the media briefing feel drawn out and boring. Aside from a reasonable price point, the Scorpio can only increase consumer enthusiasm by finally showing how much better the games look on the console. This–along with a disappointing dry spell of exclusives recently–is why Microsoft can only win with a new hardware or software announcement that no one expected. If it’s VR, it needs to have features that the PlayStation VR lacks. If it’s a game, it needs to be on the same level as the surprise game announcements of Sony’s 2015 E3 press conference.