Microsoft held its annual E3 press conference this morning and we’ve got a quick look at the biggest announcements for the Xbox One and beyond. The announcements were both ambitious and plentiful. It’s no secret that Microsoft has been trailing behind Sony throughout the current console generation, and while Sony will unveil its upcoming lineup tonight, Microsoft has gone first to deliver a bevy of games and two new pieces of hardware for the fans.
The heavily rumored transition to incremental upgrades to the existing consoles has finally begun with the official announcement of Project Scorpio from Microsoft. The console itself was not shown, but there was a shadowy outline that looked similar to the new Xbox One S design. Microsoft was boasting that Project Scorpio will be the most power console ever created when it releases during the 2017 holiday season.
One of the big setbacks Microsoft has had with the Xbox One is the fact that Sony’s PlayStation 4 is a more powerful system. This causes a multitude of games to run at higher resolutions and frame rates on the PS4 when compared to the Xbox One. Microsoft is hoping that changes with Project Scorpio, boasting a considerable upgrade to the processor and the ability to play games in 4K resolution. But if you’re not in the market for a new console, fear not as every Xbox One game and peripheral will work on the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.
Xbox One S
Microsoft’s new, smaller, more streamlined Xbox One will debut in early August for $299. It will be able to have 4K video, HDR and it will come with a 2 TB hard drive, four times the size of the hard drive in the launch Xbox One. The Xbox One S is 40 percent smaller than the current Xbox One and comes packed with a bluetooth controller that’s slightly enhanced over the standard Xbox One controller. The new controller is designed with an improved grip, and the bluetooth gives it more range than the original controller.
One of the most fun activities in The Witcher 3 was playing Gwent. We even offered a few Gwent guides to help players with this popular card game. Now CD Projekt Red will be releasing a significantly enhanced standalone Gwent game for Windows and Xbox One with a closed beta starting in September. There’s no word on a PlayStation 4 release, but we may find out more at Sony’s press conference tonight. In the meantime you can sign up for the Gwent beta at playgwent.com.
Halo Wars 2 Open Beta
Halo Wars 2 won’t be releasing until February 2017, but Microsoft surprised everyone with an announcement that an open beta for the game is available right now on Xbox One. The beta will run through June 20, 2016 giving players ample time to get their hands on the beta, even if they’re attending E3 this week. The flashy cinematic trailer that accompanied the announcement should be enough to convince even casual Halo fans to give the upcoming RTS a shot.
Sea of Thieves
Rare was on hand to show off a play session with community members that occurred at Rare HQ a few weeks ago. The people invited to the event had never played Sea of Thieves before and went in without a tutorial or any guidance. The result is what seemed like a crazy amount of fun as the three pirate crews explored the open waters, stopped by an island pub to get drink (and actually have difficulty walking) before they were ambushed by another pirate crew and forced into a brutal naval battle.