The most anticipated E3 conferences each year are the first-party ones, and that's definitely the case in 2017 too. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that Microsoft is set to officially unveil "Project Scorpio". The reveal of a new console usually also means some exciting game announcements, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that we're looking forward to seeing what Microsoft has in store when their Xbox Briefing starts at 10 pm BST / 11 pm CEST on Sunday. In fact, we're so hyped that we have to share our predictions to relieve some of the pressure.
Let's start with the most obvious one. Microsoft has already announced that there will be a big focus on their new console at the conference and we expect to learn some very important details. We're obviously talking about the release date, price, and games line-up. These last few days, we've seen Microsoft hype their conference by using the phrase "Feel True Power", so there's no doubt what the focus will be. They're done playing catch up with PlayStation and want to show how much stronger the console will be. However, the powerful components inside the console aren't cheap. This has to lead to some very varied theories as to what it'll cost. We've heard everything from $399 to $599. Our guess is that it'll be closer to the former. Yes, we know Phil Spencer has said it's a "premium" console that isn't for everybody. That might seem as if he's preparing us for a "premium" price, but $599 is out of the question. The folks at Microsoft aren't silly. They know that power won't matter if it costs waaaaay more than a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro. Still, we doubt they're willing to sell the console at too much of a loss, so our prediction is that it'll cost $449 or $499.
October 13, 2017.
Theories and rumours about the launch date have also been appearing. When Warner Bros. unveiled Middle-earth: Shadow of War, they said that it would support the Scorpio. As the game was set to release in August, that lead many to believe that the console would be available by then. That's not happening! First of all, with the number of leaks we've seen from retailers and manufacturing companies through the year, we'd have heard something about that by now. Secondly, all console manufacturers want to release their consoles at a time where we've got a lot of game releases. That usually means October and November. It's also worth noting that the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, and Xbox One all launched in North America in November. One of the reasons for this is to coincide with the shopping spree that is Thanksgiving. There are however a few reasons for them to release it as early as October. It'll mean that the console is out right before the anticipated games of November arrive, and it would probably launch alongside Forza Motorsport 7 (more on that later). Some also speculate that Microsoft may have given us a big hint in one of their "Feel True Power" teasers. Look closely and you'll see the code "X10S101-317" on the stage with the huge crowd. The "X10S" part might stand for the Xbox Scorpio, with the remaining numbers meaning October 13, 2017. That's a Friday, a day that isn't exactly a stranger to console launches. And let's not forget that the Scorpio star sign lasts from October 23 through November 21 ;) Our prediction is that it'll launch mid-October.
Then we have the games. Multiple developers and publishers have already announced their attendants, so yet again we'll start with the announcements we are sure will be there.
Back in April, Undead Labs said that they would reveal State of Decay 2's launch date at E3 and we're confident this announcement will be made on Microsoft's stage. Expect a brand new trailer that shows how far the game has come and learn what they're doing better this time around. What will the release date be? We don't have a clue. We're guessing that the game is pretty much done and that Microsoft just wants it released on a date where it won't compete with their other titles. With that in mind, we'll venture a guess on August.
The main reason for this is that we think October is set aside for the all but announced Forza Motorsport 7. Most Forza games have launched in September or October, and we think Microsoft wants this to be the Scorpio's flagship when it launches. Forza is known as one of the most important graphical showcases for Xbox, so it makes sense that it'll be the one that shows just what the new console can do at launch.
Remember Crackdown 3? Consider how little we've heard from the game the last eleven months, we wouldn't blame you if you didn't. The last time we got anything besides a delay was at Gamescom 2015. That's where they showed how the game would use "the power of the Cloud" to create a whole new level of destructible environments. A very intriguing idea, but it went completely off the radar after that. We've heard rumblings of this being due to some significant changes being made, both in terms of gameplay and the Cloud idea. They apparently realised that the internet isn't exactly perfect around the world and that the Scorpio won't need the Cloud to create the desired destruction. Fortunately, the game is apparently set to launch this autumn. Back in March, Dave Johnson "art director" at Microsoft Studios said that the game would launch "Fall 2017 if not earlier", so there aren't all that many chances left for the game to be shown. This is also backed up by what the game's developers replied when a Twitter user asked about the release date:
"Are you asking for an announcement of an announcement?! You'll just have to watch the presser and see;)"
Chances of them just trolling are pretty much zero. We expect to get an extended gameplay presentation ending with a November release.