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Last year, Microsoft made a big splash over the number of studios they acquired. After year and year of the Xbox One having a paltry amount of first-party titles and exclusives, this was the first real step fans needed to hear in solving that problem. Fast forward to now, and this E3 will need to be the year that Microsoft shows off more than just studios purchased, but tangible products consumers can look forward to in the near feature with actual dates.
1Gears of War 5 Gets a Date
Last year Gears of War 5 was formally announced, but this year, we are going to need something more. Considering this is the only first-party title that seems to have any semblance of nearing competition, a release date announcement for Gears of War 5 is almost guaranteed. Without it, Microsoft would most likely not be able to point to any AAA game announcements that will be releasing anytime soon—putting them in a favorable position
2Halo Infinite Gameplay & Cross Gen
In E3 2018, it was discovered that the next (and subsequent) Halo title would be ditching their number naming scheme and switching to subtitled entries; enter Halo Infinite. Very little is known about the title with the exception of it existing, so its a fair assumption that we will be learning more about Halo Infinite and some gameplay to go along with it. At the time of the announcement, I assumed this would be an Xbox One and Xbox One X title, especially so as this came off the heels of the Xbox One X’s release. But with rumors swirling that we might be closer to the next generation than previously suspected, I believe Halo Infinite will serve as a cross-generational title, being both available for Xbox One X and the next generation console Microsoft is developing. To much the same way Nintendo found success releasing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to both Gamecube and Wii, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to Wii U and Switch, Microsoft needs a Halo game at launch to propel their next console’s launch.
3Ori and the Will of the Wisp Gets a Release Date
Again, I see Microsoft wanting to push the narrative that there isn’t a lack of first-party and exclusive titles. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is another such candidate, giving Microsoft another opportunity to highlight one of their most successful AA games developed for their platforms that are nearing release to put another notch in their belt of games being released exclusively for the platform. I doubt they would overlook said opportunity unless the game isn’t ready anytime soon.
4AA & AAA Title Announcements from Newly Acquired Studios
Microsoft purchased and created a handful of studios last year to end the recurring problem of lacking exclusives on their platforms. This year, it’s fair to say that Microsoft will more than likely want to show now what exactly those studios are up to and what we can expect. I highly doubt every studio will have something tangible, but it wouldn’t be too much of a reach to expect something more from Obsidian Entertainment regarding The Outer Worlds or even Rare Studios that has been hinting at a new title staring Conker just recently. But what is more important is what these other studios will show, as they will set the tone of the remainder of the presentation. If these new acquisitions can show some promise, then Microsoft will have a quality presentation showing that they have fixed one of their longstanding issues.
5Walking the Line Between Exclusives & Multi-Plat First-Party Titles
Microsoft has a bit of a tall task when it comes to appeasing both their goal of spreading their ecosystem to more platforms and not keeping their platform starved of enough exclusives to set it apart. We are well past the days of having console only exclusives for Microsoft, but there is still a need for titles that are exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms (Xbox & PC) to set themselves apart from the competition. On the same front, Microsoft wants to continue spreading their increasingly growing ecosystem on as many platforms as possible and will need games to be on those platforms to serve as entry points. Because of this, I suspect we will see a mix of first-party titles being announced that are either exclusive to Xbox & PC or multi-platform to serve both of Microsoft’s current interest.
We first had the Elite Controller, then the Adaptive Controller, and most recently, the return of the Duke controller. Suffice it to say Microsoft has made a bit of a name for itself creating new controller designs that a variety of different types of people have been able to latch onto. Considering the success of these past endeavors, it seems only logical that Microsoft would continue this trend and announce something new to provide even further options that always seems to grant them a string of positive publicity.
With Sony not participating at E3 2019, and Nintendo focusing on the Switch, it’s likely that unless a third-party developer is hosting their presentation, they will be ending up at Microsoft’s. Here I fully expect to see the likes of Activision with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), Capcom with Monster Hunter World: Iceborne or a new announcement, and even Remedy Entertainment providing more information on Control. Without Sony to split third-party developers up, it leaves Microsoft as the main presentation for them to flock to unless they intend on having a Switch port for Nintendo to feature.
Microsoft is in a position to right one of their wrongs and brings back first party studios and exclusives in a big way. If last year’s E3 for Microsoft was foreshadowing, this years would need to be tangible actions. While a failure of an E3 has never stopped Microsoft in the past, taking what can arguably be an easy win this year would propel Microsoft in a favorable position needed for the next console generation and show that change they have made in recent years come to fruition.