Guide to E3 2017: The Big Three
We provide a look at what to expect from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo at E3 2017 over the course of this long weekend of press conferences.
E3 is back, and this year feels like an especially important year with a new piece of hardware that’s expected to be given final launch details along with the other two platform holders having recent launches that they can follow up on with strong announcements to keep momentum going.
This first half of 2017 has been crazy with great game after great game that has overloaded us in terms of covering them, much less for us to play everything we’ve wanted to play as they are released. This is going to be a big show for all of the publishers to showcase their wares for the rest of 2017 with some heavy hitters coming as early as August, and I’m sure we’ll see more crowding into the fall in October and November, though it’ll be interesting to see who joins Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 in passing on this fall altogether and hoping for a better shot at some space in early 2018.
Let’s move on to the actual preview part of this article and break things down to let you know what to expect from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s events at E3.
Microsoft – Sunday, June 11 at 2 PM PT/5 PM ET
- The most obvious thing about this press conference is that Microsoft will be announcing more details on Project Scorpio’s name, price, and release. I don’t see them pulling a Sony and keeping that stuff under wraps until a few weeks before launch. The safe money on price would be that it’ll be $500 to account for the more powerful components in the box, which puts them at a disadvantage with PS4 Pro that could drop in price at their show if they want.
- The big rumor about Project Scorpio leading up to this show is that Microsoft will announce an official Xbox VR platform, but which headset will they use? Oculus has the hardware already down and a Microsoft partnership to include the X1 controller in the box, but there have been a few Windows 10 VR headsets already announced that seems more likely to be the choice that could further support the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative if they can swap between platforms with ease.
- As for Microsoft first party games, Forza Motorsport 7 is an obvious way to showcase the more powerful Scorpio specs. Crackdown 3 has to show up here or else that game must have huge problems to disappear after being a posterboy for the early Xbox One cloud gaming push. Halo 6 seems like a lock for a teaser with a release in the fall of 2018, though a 2017 release would be a nice surprise even if it seems unlikely. Sea of Thieves will probably reappear once more after its long-closed alpha testing phase with a number of Xbox players. Gears will probably not show up at all since Gears of War 4 just released this past holiday season. State of Decay 2 should also make a big emergence to follow up the hugely popular XBLA game for a Fall 2017 release. A Sunset Overdrive 2 would be a nice surprise if Insomniac is in a good place to make that deal with Microsoft.
- After the failure of nearly every original IP this generation, Microsoft could very well pack it in like they did last generation, but this should be the start of a renewed focus on new IPs and partnerships with talented independent studios. I don’t see them pursuing another exclusive deal of a third-party after Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dead Rising 4 didn’t seem to sell nearly as well as prior entries and were more harmful to those publishers when they did make it to the other platforms, so those experiments seemed to be losses on both sides beyond E3 marketing hype.
- With the expected announcement of Xbox VR, there will need to be a lot of titles announced to help them catch up with Vive, Rift, and PSVR’s large lead in games, sales, and mindshare that requires a lot of time invested in that section of the show. Microsoft-developed titles could very well include games like Forza, some stuff from Rare, Mojang’s Minecraft, and maybe some original properties. Fallout 4 VR will probably be their big third party title.
- Expect plenty of third parties at the show, though which titles and publishers can be tricky due to Sony having marketing deals with a number of companies right now (EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II, Activision’s Call of Duty WWII and Destiny 2, and Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2).
- Ubisoft likely shows off a game at Microsoft’s show with it possibly being either Far Cry 5, The Crew 2, or the new Assassin’s Creed game making a debut and then getting further publicity at Ubisoft’s show the following day. Take-Two and NBA 2K18 seems like a good Scorpio showcase title to feature during the show, which would be great for Take-Two since they’re claiming they’ll only have that title and WWE 2K18 for their E3 titles. It doesn’t seem like this will be a big year for Capcom with Microsoft, as their big two games were announced at Sony and Nintendo events despite Marvel vs Capcom Infinite also coming to Xbox One. We could see WB’s new Middle-Earth: Shadow of War get a big push with Microsoft, which would be a good way to rebound from the recently-announced delay to October 2017.
- On the dashboard front, Microsoft has made a push for the recently re-branded Mixer streaming service that is a big part of the Xbox One dashboard and will be their main way to watch the press conference for everybody at home. The dashboard itself still has a ways to go, so it seems like the Scorpio unveiling will also has some effect to help take care of a number of the issues that currently plagues the dashboard with some extra power when not playing games. The same goes for the Xbox VR dashboard features that would be expected with Scorpio. The one thing that is very likely is to expect an official announcement for supporting refunds of digital purchases here.