Since 2016, the Xbox E3 Briefing is one of the biggest highlights of my year.
As a fan, deeply immersed in all things Xbox, the brand’s announcements at E3 each year often leave me feeling giddy with anticipation and incredibly, and sometimes overwhelmingly, excited, especially when I’m able to experience it in person live at E3, like I did in 2017 and 2018, thanks to the incredible team at Xbox.
This year is no different.
Though I wasn’t able to experience Xbox’s E3 2019 Briefing in person this year, I did manage to catch the live stream of the briefing at the Xbox GrE3n Carpet event, thanks to Xbox ANZ. This local Xbox E3 experience involved breakfast for attendees, as well as, a screening of X-Men: Dark Phoenix after the briefing.
Though the energy of the crowd was nothing compared to that at the Microsoft Theatre, I was hyped. Seeing the entire theatre fully kitted out in the Xbox colours, with the Xbox FanFest crowd cheering away, and knowing that all my Xbox friends (including the Xbox Ambassadors and staff) were having a great time, made me feel so at home. I was beyond thrilled and was on the edge of my seat throughout the two hour briefing.
Though many will argue that Xbox didn’t reveal too much that we didn’t already know, nor anything major to be a game changer, I revelled in each announcement. The world premiere game trailers and gameplay reveals were fun. I laughed out loud, both of surprise as well as excitement, when the LEGO Speed Champions expansion was announced for Forza Horizon 4. I was super pumped to see George R.R Martin’s collaboration with Dark Souls’ Hidetaka Miyazaki come to life through the reveal of Elden Ring. The Gears 5 announcement, which not only included a release date, but also several new game modes, including a brand new Escape mode, nearly made me fall off my seat!
All the game trailers and presentations were incredible, as always, however my heart stopped a beat when, just after it was revealed that Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, John Wick) will be playing a character in CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, the man himself, yes, THE KEANU REEVES, walked on to the stage to present! Never had I heard Xbox fans scream with sheer delight until that moment. Even I nearly burst with ecstatic cries of joy when his silhouette was revealed. Though I was screaming with elation, deep down I did significantly regret not being able to attend E3 this year. I would have given an arm and a leg, maybe even my soul to have been able to sit inches away from Keanu Reeves (I kid, I kid…maybe).
After his departure from the stage, the high continued, with Xbox’s Head of Partnerships, Sarah Bond, introduced Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, an incredible value for money service that offers Xbox Game Pass for console, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for PC all for just $19.95NZD a month! Not only that but a slew of new titles were announced to release on Game Pass as well.
Though the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was incredible, it was the reveal of xCloud, the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller (Series 2) and Project Scarlett that really had me glued to the screen.
Project xCloud, Xbox’s cloud game streaming service is confirmed to release this October and will essentially allow gamers to turn their Xbox One console into their own, free xCloud server. According to the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, “you’ll be able to stream your entire Xbox One library — including games from Xbox Game Pass — to a variety of devices”, making restrictions on where, when and how gamers play games a thing of the past.
The Elite Controller, though, got me good. As an Xbox One controller collector, I’ve got every iteration of the Elite Controller, including the Gears of War version and seeing the new updates brought to series 2, sold me. After all, having more sophisticated triggers and customisable profile buttons will hopefully help me improve my gaming.
With Project Scarlett, many of us had heard rumours of a new console swirling around for some time, with the code name even being hinted to via Xbox’s countdown to E3 tweets. It was exciting to hear that Xbox had partnered with AMD to bring the most powerful processor to the next generation console, making it forty times more powerful than the Xbox One X. It also boasts frame rates of up to 120 frames per second! Phil Spencer confirmed that the powerful new console will release with Halo Infinite during the holiday season in 2020.
The entire briefing was just two hours of fun, laughs, cries, and all around excitement, just like each year. Though there wasn’t much in terms of new methods to bring in inclusivity or accessibility, which was a major selling point at last year’s Xbox E3 briefing, with the announcement of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Xbox is still firmly committed to bringing gaming experiences to all gamers and look to be working hard on not just ‘Gaming For Everyone’ but also gaming everywhere.
I’m simply hyped for everything that Xbox is bringing to gamers in the near future and can’t wait to see what else they have in store. As for the GrE3n Carpet event, it was interesting watching a live gaming press conference on a big cinema screen while relaxed on comfortable seats, breakfast in hand. However, it was a bit humourous that the team chose to stream the briefing via YouTube, which was lagging rather badly, and not Mixer, Microsoft’s own broadcasting platform, which prides itself on Faster Than Light (FLT) streaming and low latency. Only when the YouTube stream crashed, did the team switch to Mixer. Perhaps future streams should be done via their owned channels? Hmm.
Needless to say, it was one heck of a good morning!