(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Microsoft Xbox is one of the biggest conferences to look out for during E3. Just how well did Xbox do this year? The Checkpoint crew gives their grade!
Nate “George Got Me Again” Bender
Microsoft easily had one of the best E3’s for them in like 7 years – the problem is I feel like they owe a lot of that to Sony just choosing to stay home. I’m by no means trying to rain on Microsoft’s parade – but at least ⅓’rd of the game trailers they got to include would normally have gone to Sony. That said, there was some good stuff here! They’re doing all the right stuff with Game Pass. Even with Game Pass Ultimate, they’re keeping pricing competitive and that will really win them some serious customers. I didn’t care about every game but there were a few that caught my eye. The Outer Worlds continues to look fantastic. Obsidian is really good at the whole morality system so I’m excited to sink my teeth into that gem. Blair Witch – I don’t know whether to roll my eyes or poop my pants – while that franchise might be old, that trailer had elements of Resident Evil and P.T. Keanu in Cyberpunk is a little over the top, but not unwelcome. That Flight Simulator trailer was insane how much detail was shown. And lastly, Elden Ring is exactly the game I’ve always wanted but never knew I wanted.
Robbie “No, You’re Breathtaking!” Landis
I don’t want to downplay the Xbox Show by talking about how they benefited from Sony’s absence, but it does still need to be mentioned. In years past seeing multiple Triple A titles debuting in several conferences took some of the bang out of it. So that alone helped Microsoft bring it home this year. I did genuinely enjoy their showcase, it didn’t feel like it dragged on, a lot of the new releases feel as though they’re filling gaps in the current industry and there’s a lot of exciting stuff to look forward too. I think Microsoft still falls short when it comes to their hardware, Scarlett sounds amazing, but so did the Xbox One X and no one seemed to care. Game Pass coming to PC is amazing, but only further serves to undercut anything hardware related. I think Microsoft does a lot of great things for the consumer but somewhere along the way hurts itself — I’m not sure where that falls on being a good or bad thing? By far though, the thing that really helped Microsoft have a great show was having the biggest and best pop of the week. Cyberpunk 2077 and Keanu ‘Goddamn’ Reeves. Regardless of what was announced or not, or how people even feel about Cyberpunk or Reeves, this surprise in my opinion is what E3 has always been about. The spectacle. It was nice to see Microsoft get that right for a chance.
Norris “We’re All Breathtaking!” Howard
NWE ARE ALL BREATHTAKING! Even without an appearance from the Baba Yaga, Keanu Reeves, Microsoft set a very high bar for this year. With no Sony in the mix, this E3 was Microsoft’s to lose. And with rumors of the expansion of collaboration with Nintendo and perhaps even Sony themselves the expectations were high. What came was over 60 game reveals and a small taste of the next gen with Project: Scarlet. And while that may seem like a disappointment in comparison, it really wasn’t. I personally hate that some of the keynotes easily eclipse 90 minutes this year, but with Microsoft I barely noticed. As a person who’s NEVER been a fan of anything Microsoft has had to offer, the newly announced PC Game Pass gave me a moment of pause. As I long to play Forza but could never justify the purchase of a console to play just one game. Scarlet has all the markings of the next gen like SSD and no load times but the Halo: Infinite just doesn’t do it for me. I love the fact that Microsoft came out swinging. But I can’t help but feel like even with all of the fanfare, and my own excitement, they were the de facto top dog. God help them if Sony returns in 2020.
Joe “Sony Who?” Sloan
Alright, Microsoft. I know I’ve been tough on you for the past few years, but I’ll give it to you this time. This was a really solid E3 show. There were some great games announced, release dates we’ve been hoping for, some fun cameo appearances, really everything you need for a great conference. It was missing that one special something that would push it into the legendary territory (like the PS4 price reveal), but that doesn’t mean this wasn’t a really good show. Cyberpunk 2077 looks amazing, Phantasy Star Online 2 was fascinating, and Elden Ring should be interesting just to see how much George RR Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s writing styles clash. Project Scarlett is something I’m torn on. As far as a console reveal goes, it was fine. I’d expect the price point next year, and revealing that Halo: Infinite will launch with the new system is a good call. I just don’t know how much desire there is for another generation of X-Box consoles. For me? Not a ton, but I guess that’s the brilliance of letting me play their games on PC, isn’t it? Overall, their biggest wins for me were with Game Pass and Cyberpunk 2077. Microsoft said they intended to step up with Sony gone this year and in my book, they absolutely did.
Christine “Ooo Maa Gaa, Keanu!!” Solis
KEANU, KEANU, KEANU! Of course, my biggest pop from Microsoft Xbox conference was Keanu Reeves coming out during Cyberpunk 2077’s presentation. Cyberpunk 2077 was not a Day One purchase for me. With the newest trailer giving us a better glimpse of the story and the addition of Keanu Reeves, Cyberpunk 2077 has fully captured my attention. Oh wait. What about the rest of the Xbox conference? Xbox hit us with another overloading conference with back to back game trailer to another game trailer to yet another game trailer. Phil Spencer did warn us that there were 60 highlighted games during the conference, but it was hard to keep up at times! I have to admit that I’m not much of an Xbox player. I have dabbled in the early Xbox days. I played a bit of Gears of War back in the day. Seeing a female protagonist in Gears 5 has got me a bit interested. The details of the Xbox Ultimate Game Pass is very intriguing! With a price of only $15 per month, I may have a hand back in Xbox. Would I get the new Project Scarlett? Probably not unless it was a prize that I won or if someone gifts it to me. Overall, I’m okay with you, Xbox.
Checkpoint’s Average Grade for Xbox: B
Xbox continues to show so many games and interest the crew in just a few of the games. However, Xbox is still one of the biggest press conferences Checkpoint will continue to look forward to. We’re keeping an eye out now in the next gen competition with the announcement of Project Scarlett.
How did the other press conferences do? Check out our other E3 Report Cards:
E3 2019: Checkpoint Report Card – EA
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