The company makes its biggest case yet for why gamers should choose the Xbox over a Sony PlayStation or Nintendo Switch.
Microsoft’s next Xbox console could come as early as 2020, if rumors are to believed. But while you wait, the company’s got a new Halo for you.
The hit Xbox action series starring the superhuman Master Chief in his latest adventure to save the galaxy was teased Sunday during the company’s press conference here at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of Xbox, said it will be the character’s “greatest adventure” yet, though the company didn’t say much more than that, nor when it will be released. The game will be called Halo Infinite.
The new Halo was just the tip of the spear. The day also brought announcements on some 50 games and 20 exclusives designed to show the world the Xbox is the gaming device to buy, even if it’s not the most popular.
To emphasize that, the company wowed attendees at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles with a series of announcements about plans for its most popular franchises, including the Gears of War space shooting epic and its hit Cuphead and Ori adventures games.
And if that’s not enough, Microsoft also dropped hints about its next Xbox console, saying teams are “deep into architecting” the next device, though it didn’t give a timetable for a release (Thurott.com cites a source saying the new device, codenamed “Scarlett,” will land in 2020. Microsoft declined to comment.) The company also said it’s building a new streaming service designed to allow gamers to play on an Xbox, PC or phone.
“The world of gaming is on a historic growth path,” Spencer said. “In this significant moment, we are constantly challenging ourselves to where we can take gaming next.”
The message throughout all of it: Microsoft wants fans to know it hears them. The company has been criticized for its lack of compelling and exclusive new games, something Nintendo and Sony have been successful at over the past few years. The top recently released games list on CNET game-review aggregating sister site Metacritic, for example, include Sony’s God of War epic and Nintendo’s update for Donkey Kong. While Microsoft does have some popular exclusive games of its own, such as Halo and Gears of War, the criticism has grown louder.
“Listening to the fans about how important exclusive games is is really important to us,” said Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Xbox and Windows Platform at Microsoft, in an interview after the presentation. He added that by showing 50 games on stage during the Xbox press conference, the company was all about its commitment to giving gamers a wide selection of popular titles to play.
That includes exclusive games made by Microsoft. “We always tell our teams to focus on the gamer,” he added. “If fans ask us for exclusives and first-party titles, that’s where we’re going to focus.”