Microsoft has announced that E3 2018 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) will be their “biggest showing ever.” The company has been a major part of E3 since 2000 (the debut of Xbox). However, with E3’s evolution, opening it up for fans as well as extended show hours, Microsoft aims to get more involved to reach a wider audience.
Last year’s E3 was the first to be open to the public, wherein anyone who bought a ticket could head into the Los Angeles Convention Center. Although it turned out to be chaotic, it certainly gave a cue to Microsoft about how it should progress at E3 2018.
Thus, to start, the company announced (via Major Nelson’s blog) that “in collaboration with the Entertainment Software Association, the organizers of E3, we’re excited to announce that Xbox will be taking over the Microsoft Theater.” The theater is aptly located in the middle of L.A. Live and across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC).
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According to Microsoft, the theater would host official E3 events like the Xbox 2018 briefing on June 10 along with other Xbox FanFest activities, hands-on gameplay and demos for all the E3 attendees and more. Further, the company stated that the massive theater allows them to accommodate more fans and partners in the Xbox E3 2018 briefing.
Alongside the theater, Microsoft would have a new booth at the LACC completely dedicated to Mixer. At the booth, fans would be able to play, stream and interact with games and catch the latest E3 news live throughout the week. The company believes that with a greater presence, multiple venues and theater they are more equipped to showcase a string of Xbox experiences at one primary location, and more importantly, convey their plans to the fans.
Now that Microsoft has announced the event to be a big one, fans are wondering if the company will launch new titles or if there will be any hardware announcement as well. Given the fact that Xbox One X was released just last year, the chances are thin that another console would be released anytime soon. Also, Mixed Reality headsets came into being just last year. So possibly nothing on this front as well.
Talking of the games, Microsoft’s Xbox One X is capable of running the VR games. Therefore, speculations are rife that some VR titles might be launched at the E3, notes CinemaBlend. If Microsoft indeed makes such an announcement, it would pitch the company directly against the PlayStation VR. The Xbox brand has faced a serious shortage of the exclusives, but E3 could well put an end to that.
Also, the launch of new hardware accessories such as controllers, racing wheel or an adapter for existing VR headsets cannot be ruled out. Since last year or so, despite the launch of the Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch hogged away all the limelight. Thus, 2018 will be a crucial year for the company if it wants to bounce back in the game.
In separate Xbox related news, Microsoft will roll out Xbox Live avatars for the players in April. As of now, all the live avatars are undergoing testing. These avatars, which were announced last summer, are almost complete now to replace those introduced with the Xbox 360 in 2008. These characters would come with an array of new features such as prosthetic limbs, new body type options and objects such as wheelchairs.
The Verge – citing an anonymous source – stated that Microsoft employees are already using the new avatars on their Xboxes, and the Xbox Alpha testers group will have access to them before the players. The company is also looking to stage a preview of the avatars in its Xbox Insider Program for feedback ahead of the mass launch in April.
Microsoft’s Xbox One has already been struggling to compete with the PS4, and it’s facing the risk of losing its second spot as well – thanks to the rising popularity of the Nintendo Switch. Since the start, Xbox One failed to gain traction among the players – thanks to its hefty $500 price tag. But, Microsoft was quick to rectify the mistake by doing away with the Kinect peripheral, lowering the price, and bringing in Phil Spencer to run the Xbox division.
Hopefully, the E3 2018 will trigger the boost that Microsoft has long been waiting for. “We’re excited and will have plenty more to share on our E3 2018 plans soon,” Microsoft says.