The Xbox E3 Press Conference has often been the place where gaming’s biggest news is dropped. Yet, for the last couple of years the show has been, let’s just say not the best of the year. Sony has dominated its competition, for a number of reasons, and Xbox’s show mostly became the place where you were pitched the Xbox One X and its features, with few games that actually brought players to the platform. That changed this year as the Xbox E3 2018 Press Conference was pretty stellar, as our other writer noted here. And while the show was one of the company’s best in years, I’m left wondering if it’s enough to turn the tide.
Despite having the most powerful console of all time, and despite making some very pro-consumer moves as of late, the Xbox One is trailing its competition by millions of units. Worse though, the general vibe among gamers is that the Xbox One might satisfy those who just want multi-platform titles, but if you want the best exclusives you have to turn to the Switch and PS4. Of course, Xbox seems to have noted this as well, which is why the entire press conference could be summed up with one word: exclusives.
What exactly is Halo Infinite? No one really knows.
Microsoft announced tons of new exclusives, at least console exclusives, as many of these titles will also appear on Windows 10 PCs. This is problem number one for a company that still wants you to buy their console, and hopefully sign up for Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass while you’re at it. They seem to have remembered the importance of good, exclusive games, but with PC gaming becoming more and more popular, they’d better be telling the truth when they say they just want you playing on a Microsoft platform.
The other problem that has kept me from lavishing as much praise on the presentation as others, is that many of the biggest games were announced with little detail. Look no further than the first big announcement of the night, Halo Infinite. What exactly is Halo Infinite? No one really knows. It seems like it’s Halo 6, featuring the Master Chief as the star, but without further confirmation we’re all left speculating. There were also a lot of announcements that had very specific wording, such as “console launch exclusive”. So while Microsoft is getting the Xbox One some exclusives, it seems like they can’t quite secure the major titles like Sony has been.
They did just buy a bunch of very good development studios though. This was possibly the best news of the night for anyone who is looking at the Xbox One’s future over the years to come. Still, we’ve seen before that Microsoft can sometimes have trouble managing their developers. Cancelled games following big promise has happened more than once. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again, but while Microsoft Game Studios expanding is good news, it’s news that holds potential, rather than actual improvement.
Overall, the Xbox One E3 2018 Press Conference was a great show, especially when compared to the ones from the last few years. Big game after big game were announced, with some true surprises baked in. Still, I’m not sure if this is a turning point for the console, or just a sign that fans of the platform won’t be so bereft of exclusive games. We’re just a few hours away from the PlayStation E3 briefing too, so that’s where we figure out which console manufacturer nailed it this year.