Microsoft Xbox at E3 2018: New console coming, Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Fallout 76 and more
The company makes its biggest case yet for why gamers should choose the Xbox over a Sony PlayStation or Nintendo Switch.
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Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
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The new Halo was just the tip of the spear. The day also brought announcements about 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 adventure games.
"The world of gaming is on a historic growth path," Spencer said. "In this significant moment, we are constantly challenging ourselves [as] 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, includes 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."
Microsoft said it's building a new Xbox, as well as creating a game streaming service. It also announced highly anticipated games like the space dramas Halo Infinite and Gears 5 and more. [Read our recap here.]
Bethesda showed off a bunch of new installments to its most popular franchises, including the alternative-history Nazi shooting game Wolfenstein Youngblood, a new game in the industry-defining Doom series, a sequel to the post-apocalyptic shooter Rage and a new Elder Scrolls game. Probably the most popular announcement of the evening though was Fallout 76, the latest in its post-nuclear-war series. [Read our recap here.]
Sony showed what it hopes will be a slate of upcoming hit games. It also gave shorter glimpses of other games including the follow-up to its samurai game Nioh, a remake of the zombie shooter Resident Evil 2 and a look at an action game called Control. [Read our recap here]
First published June 6 at 3:22 p.m. PT. Update, June 10 at 9:30a.m.: Adds details about what we expect in terms of a new Halo game, a new Gears of War and rumors about a streaming service. 1:54 p.m.: Adds details from the press conference about Halo, Fallout and others. 2:19 p.m.: Adds details about Cuphead sequel. 3:14 p.m.: Adds details about newly announced Xbox and streaming service. Update, June 11 at 12:38 a.m.: Adds details from Bethesda's press conference and interview with Microsoft exec. Update, on June 12 at 9:08 a.m.: Adds details about other press conferences; 10:12 a.m.: Adds rumors about next Xbox.