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What to expect from Microsoft at E3 next week

E3 is coming, and that means that gamers are about to get a hefty sack of gifts from the proverbial Santa Claus that is the Xbox team. The next year promises to be one that’s full of exciting new frontiers for not only Xbox, but for the gaming community at large. The advent of new hardware – including the general availability of virtual reality – is going to be delivering a brave new world to gamers, ensuring us an absolutely stellar future.

NEW XBOX ONE MODELS

This is the one you’ve probably heard about already. Turns out that Microsoft will most likely be releasing a brand new Xbox One in the near future, making the initial announcement during this year’s E3 conference. Just like PlayStation’s rumored PS4.5, the Xbox might just be making some upgrades to its current gen console in order to make room for the future. This seems like it’s going to be manifesting in two different ways – an “Xbox One Slim” type of device and something that’s been codenamed “Scorpio.”

The slim device would be pretty similar to the Xbox 360 slim version that was announced all the way back in 2010’s E3 conference. You’d be looking at just about the same hardware that we have right now, just slimmed down to look a bit nicer and fit better on your shelf. Along with the prettier console, there’s also rumors that it’s going to be announced right alongside an updated design for the controller. If the announcement of the Xbox One slim goes anything like the announcement of the Xbox 360 slim, we’re probably going to be seeing it come VERY soon – the Xbox 360 Slim was publicly available just a week or so after the announcement.

Scorpio is the working name for a fully updated version of the Xbox One which is shaping up to a must-own for any Xbox fan that wants to be on the bleeding edge of the tech market. The device’s purpose mostly seems to be to support virtual reality, primarily the Oculus Rift, which the Xbox One’s current hardware just can’t keep up with right now. If we see Scorpio making an appearance this E3, it’s probably not going to be that in-depth – it’s more likely that we see a short teaser for a full reveal later in the year, or something to that effect.

XBOX STREAMING DEVICES

Xbox is going to be doing some interesting stuff with both hardware and software in the next year, but one thing you might not have seen coming is a dedicated streaming device. While the new model of the Xbox One is plenty exciting, more casual Xbox fans might be excited to hear that Microsoft might just be announcing at least two different Chromecast-like devices in E3.

The first one is supposedly going to be just like the Chromecast, but with some extra bells and whistles thrown in. It’ll plug right into your TV, but it can also interface with your Xbox One controller – the goal here would be to allow you to stream games or movies from the Xbox One in your house to some other room without having to haul it around. This sounds like it would be a pretty amazing device for families that like together for game nights, or people who just happen to roam around the house a lot for some reason or another.

The other streaming device would be more of a standalone thing, plugging into your TV and letting you not only stream content from an Xbox One, but run UWP apps without the assistance of any other device. For Windows fanatics who don’t want to drop the cash on a new Xbox, this could be a great addition to Microsoft’s hardware roster – and it could even gain traction among a more general audience if it’s marketed and priced well.

ANTICIPATED SEQUELS AND HOT NEW IP

At the end of the day, nobody cares about a console if there aren’t any exclusive games making it special. The Xbox One has been driven mostly by Halo, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Quantum Break this year when it comes to exclusives – while those games are all great, we’ll be seeing Microsoft crank it up to 11 with the upcoming year. Games like Gears of War 4, Sea of Thieves, ReCore, Below, Scalebound, Crackdown 3,  and so much more are just on the horizon for Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers who are hurting for some new content. Beyond those already-announced titles, it wouldn’t be E3 without Microsoft hitting us over the head with some brand new IP (Intellectual Property) that we haven’t seen before. Mix that in with the possibility of sequel announcements for amazing Xbox One classics like Sunset Overdrive and you’ve got yourself a world of possibilities lined up for gamers that want to take a peek at what’s on the horizon.

CURVEBALLS

Battletoads remake? Hololens integration? Halo news? The sky’s the limit in E3, and even when speculation is running rampant, a few things manage to stay secret until the folks at Microsoft step onto the grand stage to blow our minds. Rule #1 of E3 has always been to expect the unexpected – be ready to hear some crazy news out of left field that’s going to leave you absolutely baffled.

E3 is without a doubt the biggest event of the entire year for anyone with even a remote interest in gaming. It’s a time of hype, fun, passion, and all around excitement each year. If you want to watch the keynote live, you can check out the streaming schedule right here.

 

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What are your predictions for E3?