After a run of hardware rumours, it turned out that yes, Microsoft really did have two new consoles planned: the leakedand the unexpected , a VR ready, 4K beast. Those two announcements book ended the Xbox E3 conference but there was plenty on show in between. Here's how it all unfolded live from the show floor.
Straight into the new hardware, with the Xbox One S confirmed off the bat! White, with a new textured controller -- all just $299.
Gears of War 4 is the first game mentioned, with Xbox One and Windows 10 cross play confirmed. The game is "exclusive" to both that platforms, apparently. We're getting some live co-op gameplay and it's looking slick and brutal. The audience is loving this. It's loud, with lots of environmental damage. Looks as good as any Xbox One game I've seen. October 11, 2016 is the date. Oh, and there's a Gears of War edition of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.
Next up: the team behind Killer Instinct announce that General Raam from Gears of War is coming to the game as a player character. We're also hearing the phrase "Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive", so I guess that's a thing now.
Forza Horizon 3 is the next horse out of the gate, with the 'world gameplay premiere' live on stage. People on PC and people on Xbox, as they race around various areas in Australia. Speaking as an Australian, it looks pretty realistic. Four player campaign co-op is a new feature and we're now seeing PC/Xbox cross-play co-op. it's arriving late September.
Final Fantasy XVdevelopers on stage now, with a live demo. Always nice to see live gameplay at these events. The team is hyping the more fluid combat, with demo -- Trial of Titan -- having the characters squaring off against a stone giant. It's a little confusing to be honest: so much happening on screen. But you'll be able to buy it on September 30 and try it for yourself.
Now for some action from The Division, specifically the Underground expansion coming June 28. That morphs straight into Battlefield 1, which we covered from EA Live yesterday. However, Xbox Live players will get slightly early access to the game from September 28.
Mike Ybarra, head of Xbox platform engineering is now discussing Xbox Live. He's announcing some new features: language region independence (pick your own language no matter where you're based), background music play while gaming and Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant is heading to Xbox. New community tools allow for the creation of Clubs as well as a new "Looking for Group" feature to find other players. Arena on Xbox live is a new tournament platform for people looking for competitive play.
The Minecraft team now bring out the "Friendly Update" allowing for crossplay across different devices (including iOS and Android) plus dedicated servers for you to host your own world, called Realms. The team are showing gaming between a Surface and an iPad. John Carmack has joined them using a Gear VR. The team promise new stuff announced at Minecon in September.
Xbox Design Lab will build your own custom controllers with, apparently, eight million different combinations.
Inside is the new game from the creators of Limbo, coming June 29. Limbo will be free for all Xbox One players from today to celebrate. It's part of Microsoft's popular ID@Xbox program for independent developers. A sizzle reel shows of some of the ID@Xbox games coming including Cuphead, Hands of Fate 2 and much more.
A very unusual game, We Happy Few, is being demoed. It appears to be about memory and emotions and set in an alternate reality England in 1964. It's very weird looking and rather disturbing, all from Compulsion Games. Available on Xbox Game Preview July 26.
CD Projekt Red, creators of the Witcher series, confirming one of the worst kept secrets in gaming: a standalone version of Gwent, the in-game card game from The Witcher 3. This was hotly demanded by fans and will be full crossplay from PCs to Consoles. It's been completely redesigned from the original look. I found Gwent kind of confusing to be honest, but I know a lot of people who loved it, even ignoring the Witcher story to just run around playing cards. The beta of Gwent is coming in September, exclusive to Xbox and Windows 10.
Microsoft Studios now talking about the commitment to original games. Scalebound from Platinum Games is showing a co-op boss fight, again live on stage. It's a little like the Final Fantasy XV demo in that there is just so much happening. Scalebound is 2017 for Xbox One and Windows 10 only.
Another throwback to last year, with a big cinematic for Sea of Thieves, the pirate themed MMO being made by Rare. And yes, there's a gameplay premiere. A group of gamers were gathered, given now tutorial and then put into three crews and set out to play. It looks cartoony and fun.
Another couple of Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives and more zombies: this time it's State of Decay 2 followed by, drumroll please, Halo Wars 2. It's in Beta now for a week, with a February 2017 launch.
Looks like the Xbox One S isn't the only new hardware: in a classic 'just one more thing' moment Phil Spencer got up to wrap the show and casually mentioned 4K gaming and VR before seguing into a video showing off another new Xbox, one built for 4K graphics -- the most powerful GPU in a console to-date apparently. It's called Project Scorpio and it's coming "Holiday 2017". The VR version of Fallout 4 was specifically mentioned. Scorpio, Xbox One and the S will all be fully compatible -- all games will play across as consoles and all accessories will work.
And with that we're wrapped!