Road to E3 2016 Part 1 — Is Microsoft Ready to Unveil a New Console Already?

People walk past the Xbox section at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an annual video game conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 16, 2015

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is arguably the most important event in the video game industry each year, and we’re excited to bring you an inside look at the event. There’s already plenty to talk about, however. First up, Microsoft.

The house that Gates built is doubling down on E3 hardware reveals, with not one but two new console experiences reportedly prepared for the show. In a never before seen approach to the console market, these two separate systems will supposedly launch this and next year, before the current console hardware generation has ended.

The first will be a slimmed-down version of the current Xbox One, and in and of itself is not a particularly earth shattering revelation. The only known incentive to switch hardware aside from its physical profile is some sort of improvement to its wireless connectivity. But unless you’re desperate to save a few inches of space in your entertainment center, or want to install one in your car, the smaller console probably won’t offer anything more compelling than the current iteration.

Project “Scorpio,” also known internally as the “Xbox One Two,” seems to be Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s PlayStation “4.5” or “Neo” — but we’ll talk more about that later. Scorpio will reportedly have a much more powerful GPU and the capability to utilize Oculus Rift technology. Whether it will be some form of direct compatibility, or a more Xbox-specific version, is still unclear.

Scorpio is reportedly almost powerful enough to be considered a new console generation on its own, rather than a half-step forward. It will make the leap from the underwhelming 1.32 teraflops of the current console to a targeted 6. That’s nearly 30% faster than the Neo, already more than doubling the PS4’s 1.84. Still, these new almost next-gen systems could prove to be a hard sell for consumers who have so recently invested in the current generation.

Aside from hardware upgrades, Microsoft is diving further into the VR space. E3’s website quietly added an “Xbox One VR” section, to which four companies immediately attached their names. 3DRudder, Maximum Games, Rebellion, and Readily Information Company will presumably be making announcements regarding titles specifically for whatever form console VR is taking on the Xbox One.

Meanwhile, an unnamed “major” European developer is developing a VR title in a “long-running hit series” for release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The game will be shown at this year’s E3, according to Ars Technica. This lends further — arguably unnecessary — credence to Xbox One’s leap into the VR market sooner rather than later.

Regarding games, we can expect to hear a lot about the relatively strong line-up of exclusives, including Crackdown 3, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Scalebound, and ReCore.

Microsoft no doubt has other surprises hidden away, but rumor has already painted a very ambitious approach to this year’s show. For more from the Windows giant and E3 in general, be sure to keep an eye on Breitbart Tech.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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