E3 kicks off this year on the 13th of June, it is without doubt the world's biggest and most important event on the gaming calendar. Each year the show is packed with new games from the biggest developers on the planet and its also the place where the console makers try to make as much noise as possible about their current or upcoming new hardware. This year will be no different, I'm 100% sure we will see a host of brand new games on display as always, but this year we will only see one new console on the show floor, the Xbox Scorpio.
I think its fair to say that all eyes will be on Microsoft this year because of the Scorpio and in my opinion they really need to deliver an all fronts, not just with the new hardware. First up I'll take a look at the Scorpio, Microsoft have to nail the reveal this time around, then the games, again the big M has to deliver, Xbox owners are screaming out for new software and lastly, public perception, if Microsoft deliver on the hardware and software fronts, then I'm pretty sure Xbox fans and maybe even some Sony fans will be looking forward to the rest of this year and beyond. If they screw this up, there might be no clawing back their market share from both Nintendo and especially Sony.
Any Xbox fan out there worth their salt will already have seen or read Digital Foundry's deep dive on the specs for the Scorpio, if not, shame on you, if you like, you can follow the link to check it out, its a great article. It is all well and good that Microsoft's new baby looks the part on paper but we have seen nothing in regards of games up and running on the system and until we do, there is always going to be scepticism surrounding it. Microsoft have made a lot of promises to their fans with the Scorpio, true 4K gaming, high fidelity VR and the ability of the Scorpio to make the games you own already, look and run better. Come the 13th of June, all these promises have to ring true or else the Internet is going to start taking this machine apart bit by bit.
The other major factor will be the price, in my opinion, this thing has to be priced under the $500 mark, $400 – $450 I think would be acceptable to most gamers, if the machine can match up to its promise of course. Anymore than that, well then I think Microsoft risk a sales disaster come launch day. Now, this might well just be wishful thinking on my behalf, I'd be a happy gamer if the price is $400 – $450, but there is a very real side to this, Sony WILL drop the price of the PS4 Pro around the Scorpio's launch window and the Pro is only $399.99 as it stands right now. If Sony knock $50 off the price and the Scorpio launches for $500, then you can see the problem that Microsoft will have straight away. They might have the worlds most powerful console but if it comes at a cost that people can't afford or if gamers think, you know what, the Pro might be less powerful, but it is still a far more attractive proposition than the Scorpio given it's $350 price point. If that happens, then Microsoft could be in big trouble. And we can't forget Nintendo either, they could have a very strong line up of games coming this year too, the Switch is selling very well I believe.
Regardless of the Scorpio's price or performance or even competition, for me anyway, the best thing that Microsoft can do at this years E3 is deliver on the games front. For far too long now Xbox owners have been watching exclusive after exclusive launch for the PS4, Sony is really knocking it out of the park at the minute in terms of games. Microsoft needs to respond to this and fast, the PS4 continues to pull away from the Xbox One on the sales front and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why.
For a start, all third party games look better on it and there is a far more diverse selection of exclusive titles on the PS4 also, with a lot more coming in the pipeline. Microsoft, now more than ever have to announce some brand new IP's, not just another Gears, Forza or Halo and with a bit of luck, I really bloody hope that Scalebound is the last game we see to get cancelled for the system, that did not go down well with any Xbox fans.
Of course there is some good news on the games front, we will see Xbox Game Pass launch shortly, Microsoft's Netflix like service should be up and running before E3 even kicks off and while I know that the hundred odd games that will be included in the new service will just be old games you might already own, in my opinion, if Microsoft does this right, it could be a system seller in itself, they just need to include some top notch AAA titles in there and people will bite.
At this moment in time the Xbox One is doing OK, its still selling well, its just not selling anywhere near as well as the PS4. Momentum is still on Sony's side, if you are a casual gamer and you decide to buy yourself a brand new current gen console, chances are your picking up a PS4. Microsoft really needs to start turning heads again, with the Scorpio they have every chance but games and not power is still king when it comes to deciding the success of any console system.
When this years E3 is all done and dusted Microsoft will have played their hand and the companies fate in the console market place will have been determined by the promises they have made and kept, by the games they have lined up and by their ability to have blown people away with first class, consumer friendly features that no self respecting console gamer can do without. If they make a mess of this, if the Scorpio is not all they said it would be, if there are no new exclusive games coming soon, Microsoft might just run out of goodwill with their own fans.
This E3, in my humble opinion, is by far and away the biggest and most important one that Microsoft will have done to date, the Xbox is at a crossroads, all the momentum they had with the 360 is now gone. The Xbox One, though it still remains a sucsess in its own right, is been pummelled to death by the PS4 everywhere on planet Earth. Microsoft needs to turn the tide back in their favour now, E3 2017 needs to be flawless.
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