The en remained largely silent last week as Microsoft, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts announced their new wares at E3 2016. Once upon a time, this silence would have been because I had absolutely no time to write while covering the show for my freelance gig. This go-around, it was because I wanted time to pick out my favorites and come up with some petty jokes and Michael Jordan memes. I joke, but not really.
In quick order, Microsoft’s Scorpio and Xbox One S announcements were decent, even though I believe their press event left a whole in my heart. Sony’s long list of games and exclusive experiences was inspiring, but fell short on the details. Ubisoft brought the goods and the PC Gaming Show was about as exciting and interesting as a Train concert.
First, let’s talk about Xbox Scorpio.
Xbox Scorpio wasn’t exactly a surprise announcement. The folks at Thurrot, Kotaku and Polygon telegraphed the console’s announcement weeks before the event. Launching in late 2017, Xbox Scorpio is capable of handling 6 Teraflops of data. It’ll be powerful enough to handle virtual reality games, even though Microsoft hasn’t lined up a single deal to pair the console with a headset or offer virtual reality games of its own.
Aside from showing us a render of the device’s motherboard, Microsoft didn’t reveal more than that. We don’t know what Xbox Scorpio looks like, for example. We do know that it’ll be capable of running games at 4K resolution. You just have to pair it with a 4K television set. Folks freaked, others claimed that the announcement confused users. Personally, I’m not sold on VR. That being said, I do acknowledge how important it appears to be for gamers at this point. I’m all for better looking games though, so I’d say I’m comfortably in neutral on the Xbox Scorpio. I’m excited as any hardware lover is for a new console. I need pricing. Powerful hardware is powerful hardware, but I’ve never been a Live by the Resolution type of guy.
The Xbox One S is a cause that I can get behind though. It doesn’t look like something out of Darth Vader’s bathroom for one thing. It’s 40% smaller than the current console, with an integrated power brick and physical buttons so that your dog or “curious” child can’t walk up to it and turn it off while you’re playing. There’s no Kinect port, but Microsoft is providing USB adapters, which makes sense given the Kinect for Xbox One has a USB adapter for Windows anyway. It doesn’t support 4K gaming, but does have 4K video streaming through Netflix and Amazon. Bundled with the console is a “streamlined” Xbox controller that has Bluetooth. PC gamers of the world unite. Burn the Xbox One Wireless Adapter in jubilation.
A 500GB model will sell for $299 eventually, but Microsoft is kicking stuff off with a 2TB model coming in August for $399. I’ll absolutely buy one of these if either of my Xbox One consoles ever die on me. If that day never comes, I don’t think the 4K video streaming and HDR support so that you get better contrast in your games is worth it for me.
Hello Xbox One S. Xbox Scorpio can call me when it has a price and details.
Through the Xbox website, Microsoft will let users order a customized controller for $79.99. The color combinations are interesting, and I can definitely see myself purchasing one if I ever wanted a new controller. I have an Elite Controller right now though, so that’s not happening anytime soon. (Yeah, I’m a little salty about my $150 controller not supporting Bluetooth while this new one does, but Capitalism isn’t for the logical, I suppose.)
Ubisoft needs to go ahead and send your boy a copy of For Honor. I’m mildly interested in it. For sure, I’m pre-ordering a copy of Watch Dogs 2 through the Xbox Store for sure. Open-world adventure in San Francisco with a good soundtrack, a better hero and expanded hacking mechanics? It’s like if they looked up what Nerdy Trav dreams about and delivered. I’m buying, oh boy am I buying. Ditto for Ghost Recon Wildlands, which looks like The Division with less skyscrapers and an absent Faye Lau set in Mexico. That’s not until 2017.
Battlefield 1 doesn’t have me interested at all. Neither does Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. Full disclosure, the only title I’ve played all the way through in the latter series starred Kevin Spacey. I wasn’t that big a fan of the franchise as a whole. I showed up because I figured new episodes of House of Cards weren’t airing for a few months and needed something to pass the time.
Halo Wars 2. Why you gotta do me like that?
Here’s what I didn’t like about the show: Delays and setbacks. Microsoft’s briefing, while a great show, left me with way too many questions. Sea of Thieves, isn’t coming until 2017. That makes sense because it looked completely not done on stage. Halo Wars 2 is still on schedule to be done by Fall 2016, but now we’re not getting it until 2017. The letdown was real on that announcement. Crackdown 3 wasn’t at the show, despite Microsoft promising multiplayer sometime this year. Gears of War 4 looked perfectly fine, but the series was and won’t likely ever be a favorite of mine. We Happy Few was creepy as all hell, but I can appreciate that. I could be convinced to fork over the cash on that one day. ReCore looks very, very interesting to me. Not so interesting that I’m pre-ordering now, but interesting.
Sony got up on stage and got in on the action too. Detroit: Become Human looked fantastic, but I didn’t see a lot of gameplay. Insomniac doing a Spider-Man game is terrifically brilliant idea. PlayStation VR’s Batman Arkham VR gave me pause. Then I remembered I’m never buying a PS4 plus a $399 add-on to experience it. All the games that Sony showed were missing release windows and dates. Bonus points for Spider-Man, but how could you not throw us a bone on that one?
E3 2016 was definitely a mixed bag for me. It was heavy on promises and light on details sometimes. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either.
What say you fam?