Microsoft is primed to dominate discourse this E3.
Sony will not be at E3 this year, and Nintendo is already in a great spot with the Switch, which now is among the fastest selling systems of all time, and has a ridiculous amount of games announced for the remainder of the year—this also means that they can afford to go light this E3, if they choose to (though I am sure there will be some surprises nonetheless).
This leaves us with Microsoft—and that’s where things get interesting. Unlike Nintendo, who don’t directly compete with PlayStation and Xbox, Microsoft’s Xbox and PlayStation are locked in a struggle for the same demographic. Microsoft fought well last generation, but completely screwed up at the start of this one, ceding all ground to their rival. But this generation is almost over, and the next one is coming up—and with Sony not being at E3 this year, Microsoft gets the stage to itself to go big and make an early impression in the impending war for gamers’ wallets next generation.
Given that Microsoft is a fair few laps behind the competition—their exclusives situation has been dire all generation, thanks to their lack of first party studios, which is what led to them losing to Sony (and pretty soon Nintendo too, at this rate), now is the chance for them to come out and make a statement that next generation will be different, that next generation, Xbox will be home to many must-play games that will be available only there, and no where else—making the next Xbox a console you must buy.
Which makes this prospect so exciting here—Microsoft now has the chance of coming out swinging this E3, precisely because they have everything to prove. What’s coming to the Xbox One is pretty much already established—we have Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Battletoads. But it’s what they could announce for the next Xbox that gets exciting.
Imagine Microsoft coming for the kill this E3–announcing maybe a couple of new major studio acquisitions. What studios that could entail is anyone’s guess (which is precisely what makes it so exciting), but follow that up with Microsoft making announcements regarding what the studios they have already purchased been working on since last year. Imagine them showing several exciting looking projects coming courtesy of these studios, exclusively to the next Xbox console. All of a sudden, Microsoft is in a far better position going into next gen than they are right now.
See, Microsoft is at a disadvantage relative to Sony and Nintendo—you know a Nintendo system will have Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Super Smash Bros., Metroid, and so on, so you can count on a certain degree of great support for it even before it is properly announced. Similarly, you know a PlayStation system will have Gran Turismo and other 1st party games on it, so you can count on a degree of great games for it right off the bat too. Microsoft as of right now does not have that luxury—this may well change if they cultivate their first party well through this coming generation, but for now, they don’t have this benefit. Which means that taking this time to actually give themselves the buffer of “these are the amazing games headed to our system” this E3, when there is no competition for the eyeballs from Sony, is going to benefit them immensely.
Microsoft also stands to gain further cachet for next generation here and now at E3. As I have mentioned previously, this is a chance for them to have a bit of a concrete reveal for the next generation Xbox, at the biggest venue for video games in the world. Imagine, them announcing some finalized specs for their next generation system, clarifying the kind of power gamers can expect from their next hardware; them announcing some games for this new system, that can be played only there, and nowhere else; and finally, them announcing new studio acquisitions, to further fuel the output of games for this system, games that will be available nowhere else.
It could be a slam dunk—especially since, again, Microsoft has the stage to itself. Nintendo is doing its own thing, and Sony, their major competitor in this arena, isn’t there at all, having ceded the ground to Microsoft completely. Throw in a few great announcements and showings for games coming within the next year or so for Xbox—the aforementioned Halo and Gears should be great, alongside some third party games such as DOOM Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077, and maybe whatever Capcom has planned for the upcoming year—and it’s a great show. It’s jam packed, full of announcements about the current and upcoming generation, and by sheer lack of competition, it means Microsoft dominates the news cycle this E3.
Of course, Microsoft could still mess things up. Nintendo especially is a major wild card, and they may well have a few game announcements or showings that are out of the left field, but so compelling that they take the discourse by storm. Even not accounting for Nintendo doing especially well, Microsoft themselves could completely fumble the ball, which, given that they have only had one good E3 in the last five years or so, has high chances of happening.
But right now, it’s hard to imagine Microsoft messing this up in any meaningful way. Right now, it seems like Xbox may well walk away the undisputed crowned winner of E3 this year. In more ways than I can emphasize, the game is Microsoft’s to lose this year.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.