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Microsoft Xbox at E3: all of the latest news and announcements

We've been expecting a big year for Microsoft at E3 this year — rumors have included two new Xboxes and a wave of exclusive games. Here's everything we got.

  • Chris Plante

    Jun 15, 2016

    Chris Plante

    How Microsoft feels about E3 leaks and the status of Kinect

    Last December, Shannon Loftis, Microsoft’s general manager of Microsoft Studios Global Publishing, shared a vision of the future in which Xbox extends beyond the game console, onto Windows 10 PCs, tablets, smartphones, virtual reality headsets, and anything with a screen and an internet connection. This week, Microsoft took the stage at E3 to formalize that plan, announcing two new consoles, and Xbox Play Anywhere, a strategy that intends for players to do just that.

    We sat down with Loftis to discuss the company’s plan for executing the controls of Xbox Play Anywhere, the status of the once champion Kinect peripheral, and the struggle to keep surprise announcements from leaking ahead of their announcement.

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  • Tom Warren

    Jun 14, 2016

    Tom Warren

    This USB adapter is Microsoft’s final admission that Kinect failed

    Microsoft had a bold vision for its Xbox One console that involved its Kinect accessory. While the Kinect for Xbox 360 was one of the most popular game console accessories of all time, a bundled Kinect with the Xbox One introduced a $100 price premium over the PS4 competition. Despite switching course and unbundling the Kinect, Microsoft hasn't recovered yet in the games console battle, with reports suggesting it has sold 20 million Xbox One consoles vs. Sony's 40 million PS4 shipments.

    Microsoft unveiled a new Xbox One S console yesterday, and it's 40 percent smaller with a Bluetooth controller. It looks great, and it's arguably the console Microsoft should have shipped originally. While it looks Surface-inspired, sources familiar with Microsoft's Xbox work tell us that Mike Angiulo's team helped build the new Xbox ahead of Surface chief Panos Panay's rise to leader of Microsoft's hardware efforts.

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  • Jun 13, 2016

    Chris Plante, Tom Connors and 1 more

    Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference in 8 minutes

    Microsoft crammed a ton into its lengthy E3 press conference — New hardware! Specialty controllers! More Forza! More Dead Rising! More Gears of War!

    Of course, many of you don't have time to watch the entire press conference, which also contains its fair share of executive preening and corporate monologuing. We've condensed all the important bits into an 8-minute video.

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  • Adi Robertson

    Jun 13, 2016

    Adi Robertson

    The 5 best game trailers from Microsoft’s E3 2016 press event

    Microsoft had so much to cover at this year's keynote that it had announced a whole new console within the first five minutes. By the end, we'd learned of a second, "VR-ready" Xbox coming in fall 2017. But there were also some exciting new game announcements, including Forza Horizon 3, Dead Rising 4, and Halo Wars 2.

    Forza Horizon 3 is our latest colorful open-world racing game, and the new trailer is basically about two things: really intense lighting effects and off-road driving. Lots and lots of off-road driving. The game is coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One on September 27th.

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  • Rich McCormick

    Jun 13, 2016

    Rich McCormick

    Sea of Thieves gives you the keys to your own pirate ship

    Venerable British game developer Rare has showed off the first footage from Sea of Thieves, the ambitious freeform pirate game it announced last year. A freeze-framed trailer gave us an idea of the nautical theme as it panned around a galleon in the midst of a ocean-bound battle, but it was a short clip of in-game action that gave us more of an insight into what players will actually be doing in the game — working together to take to the high seas, crew pirate ships, fire cannons, and presumably swab the poop deck.

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  • Chris Plante

    Jun 13, 2016

    Chris Plante

    Microsoft at E3 2016: the 7 biggest announcements

    Who would have expected, three years ago, that the biggest news from Microsoft’s 2016 E3 event would be not just a new console, but two new consoles. The Xbox One S and Project Scorpio were the standouts of an E3 event that underscored Microsoft’s new direction — a purposeful shift from the focus on entertainment and media to video games. Microsoft is treating the Xbox brand like Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem, envisioning a future in which Xbox games can be played on a console, a computer, a mobile device, or whatever else comes next.

    Microsoft’s vision for the future of games is so big, that it’s almost easy to overlook the actual games being produced in the present. The company provided closer looks at a number of announced titles — Recore, Halo Wars 2, and Gears of War 4 — and officially announcing a slate of sequels — State of Decay 2 and Forza Horizon 3.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    An exclusive look inside Microsoft’s plan to turn your Xbox into a PC

    It was a rare sunny day in Seattle and Phil Spencer seemed very pleased. Sitting across from me in a meeting room at Microsoft’s sprawling Redmond campus, the head of Xbox smiled as he talked, mixing serious discussion about the future of his business with jokes about how his employees dress. (He’s not a fan of cargo shorts in the office.)

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Project Scorpio is a 4K-capable, VR-ready Xbox One launching next fall

    The next major addition to the Xbox family is coming next year. Today at E3 in Los Angeles Microsoft officially revealed the long-rumored Project Scorpio, an enhanced version of the Xbox One that's capable of running 4K-native games, and which will also support virtual reality experiences and feature a hefty six teraflops of power. According to Xbox chief Phil Spencer, Microsoft views the new device as much more than a simple refresh.

    "The important thing for Scorpio is that it's a dramatic step up for us in terms of hardware capability," he told The Verge in an interview last week. "Because as we saw 4K gaming and really high-end VR taking off in the PC space, we wanted to be able to bring that to console. Project Scorpio is actually an Xbox One that can natively run games in 4K and is built with the hardware capabilities to support the high-end VR that you see happening in the PC space today... when it ships it will be the most powerful console ever built."

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  • Rich McCormick

    Jun 13, 2016

    Rich McCormick

    Halo Wars 2 is out February 2017, beta goes live today

    Halo Wars 2 will be released on February 21st next year, Microsoft announced at its E3 press conference today, and will be set immediately after the events of Halo 5. The sequel to 2007's Halo Wars, Halo Wars 2 offers a different take on the series' traditional first-person combat, giving players an aerial view to control human and alien forces in real-time strategy battles. A new trailer showed the forces of humanity fighting against "the Banished," a new race of aliens led by a brilliant general who looks quite a look like an angry monkey.

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  • Adi Robertson

    Jun 13, 2016

    Adi Robertson

    Watch 7 grim and gritty minutes of Gears of War 4's single-player campaign

    Gears of War 4 is the first game in the series since Microsoft acquired it from Epic Games, and it's being developed by The Consortium, formerly Black Tusk Studios. It will be released on October 11th, and it will launch alongside a custom Gears of War-themed Xbox Elite controller, which you can check out right here.

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  • Chris Plante

    Jun 13, 2016

    Chris Plante

    Watch the trailer for State of Decay 2, a bigger, flashier, multiplayer sequel

    State of Decay, the little zombie game that could, is getting a sequel. State of Decay 2 will be available for Xbox One and Windows 10, and will once again be developed by Undead Labs.

    The original game began as a modest but ambitious downloadable title for Xbox 360 in 2013. Critics and fans praised its stark, open-world and the opportunity to play as many survivors — all of whom could die, permanently. In years that followed, the game received a number of updates, supplemental content, and ports for Xbox One and Windows 10.

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  • Chris Plante

    Jun 13, 2016

    Chris Plante

    Tekken 7 is coming in early 2017, features Street Fighter's Akuma

    In 2010, two Tekken and Street Fighter mash-ups were announced. Street Fighter x Tekken shipped two years later, but Tekken X Street Fighter never materialized. Over the years that followed, crossover of the two huge fighting franchise slowed until today. To promote the release of Tekken 7, developer Bandai Namco streamed a trailer featuring Street Fighter villain, Akuma.

    Tekken 7 is scheduled for an early 2017 release on consoles.

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  • Adi Robertson

    Jun 13, 2016

    Adi Robertson

    Dead Rising 4, featuring Frank West, is coming this holiday season

    The latest installment in the Dead Rising series is officially getting closer. As leaked images suggested yesterday, a trailer for the game features original Dead Rising protagonist Frank West, who is dispatching zombies (in their natural habitat, a shopping mall) with everything from a super-powered suit of armor to what looks like a candy cane crossbow. Oh, and checking Twitter. We don't have an exact date, but given the Christmas theme and the fact that he's got 2016 Twitter followers, a release around the holidays seems reasonable. That'll have it launching almost exactly three years after the previous game, which was released exclusively on the Xbox One in 2013.

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  • Rich McCormick

    Jun 13, 2016

    Rich McCormick

    We Happy Few is a drug-addled survival game set in a creepy alternate 1960s

    We'd previously only seen snippets of the stylish We Happy Few, a singleplayer survival game that looked like A Clockwork Orange combined with BioShock, but Microsoft's E3 keynote has given us the best look yet at its creepy '60s-esque world. Indie developer Compulsion Games got main-stage billing, a new trailer showing in-game footage that set up its alternate reality world.

    The game seems to take place in a trippy '60s version of one of Fallout's vaults, a host of masked denizens taking copious amounts of mind-altering substances to avoid their nasty reality. The trailer shows as the player decides to stop popping pills and starts to see the world as it really is, watching as the "pinata" he smashes open reveals itself as a rat, smashed to bits and eaten up by crazed co-workers. His refusal to stay in drug-fueled denial doesn't go over well with his fellows, though, and they see through his sobriety, sending creepy white-masked police officers to beat him to death with billy clubs.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    The Witcher 3’s Gwent card game is getting a standalone release

    One of the best parts of the massive open-world RPG The Witcher 3 was Gwent, a card game you could play against other characters in the game. Now developer CD Projekt Red is turning Gwent into its own standalone release. The new game will feature the same basic gameplay, but with redesigned cards, a competitive multiplayer mode, and a full-blown single-player campaign. No word yet on when the game will be launching, but a closed beta will be available in September. It'll be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Inside, the twisted follow-up to Limbo, launches June 29th

    At first glance Inside doesn't look all that different from Limbo, the previous release from Danish studio Playdead. Both are side-scrolling platform games with dark, muted color palettes and more than a few creepy moments. But the more you play Inside — which hits the Xbox One later this month — the more the differences make themselves clear. It may have taken more than five years to develop, but Playdead's latest is proving to be worth the wait.

    Inside once again puts you in the role of a young, unnamed boy, and from the very outset you're on the run. There are patrolling guards and hounds after you, and it feels like any wrong step can lead to your capture (and death). You don't know why you're running or from whom, and as the game progresses things don't necessarily get any clearer. Your escape eventually leads you to a disturbing building full of strange experiments, and perhaps the most impressive aspect is that the story is told without any words at all, either spoken or written. Without spoiling too much, I'll just say that over the five or so hours Inside lasts, it throws a handful of major twists at you, each of which will completely change the way you see the game. It gets increasingly disturbing the more you play.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Xbox Design Lab lets you build your own colorful Xbox One controller

    You can finally design the rainbow-colored Xbox controller of your dreams.

    Microsoft is launching a new program called the Xbox Design Lab, which lets users visit a website to design their own controller by customizing the color of just about every part, from the front and back panels to the shoulder triggers and D-pad. According to Microsoft, there are around eight million possible color combinations. And in addition to picking colors, you can also laser engrave some text on the front, just so everyone knows your Gamertag.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Xbox Live’s new ‘clubs’ feature gives you a persistent place to hang with friends

    Later this year Xbox Live is getting a huge new update that will make it a lot more social. The update will introduce a new feature called "clubs," which lets users create pre-defined groups that exist outside of games, and include tools like persistent chat so that friends can hang out even when they're finished a round of Halo. "Clubs is sort of our version of guilds and clans in MMOs," says Mike Ybarra, director of program management at Xbox.

    The idea is that the owner of a group can create specific parameters — you might want a group only for highly-skilled Destiny players, or one for people who love to build cities in Minecraft — and then you can manage who joins the group. You can assign moderators, kick out troublesome players, or invite friends, and include filters for things like age or whether or not you want to allow swearing. "There's a lot of flexibility," says Ybarra.

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  • Rich McCormick

    Jun 13, 2016

    Rich McCormick

    Watch the first gameplay trailer for ReCore, coming September to Xbox One and Windows 10

    One of our favorite trailers from last year's E3 keynote was the Xbox One exclusive ReCore, which looked like Star Wars and Wall•E mashed together. And now it's almost ready to go: Microsoft has announced that ReCore is set to launch September 13th.

    A new trailer showed the wide cast of robots players will be able to guide around the environment, using their unique abilities to climb walls, leap over electric barriers, and destroy enemy bots. The game looks like a combination of third-person shooter and puzzle game, with the masked hero combining the powers of their robot friend with quick-dodging gunplay in a rusted desert world. As with most games Microsoft has showed off at this year's E3, ReCore will be playable on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.

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  • Ross Miller

    Jun 13, 2016

    Ross Miller

    Forza Horizon 3 is coming this September with off-road driving across colorful Australia

    Forza Motorsport's oddball, open-world cousin has returned. As expected, Microsoft has announced Forza Horizon 3, from perennial Horizon developer Playground Games. Whereas past titles centered around street racing events in Colorado and France / Italy, respectively, Horizon 3 takes place in Australia. More importantly, there are off-road vehicles you can drive. With the Motorstorm series seemingly on indefinite hold, this may be the new go-to colorful arcade racer.

    Forza Horizon 3 is due out September 27th — yes, this year — for both Xbox One and Windows 10, making it the first full Forza title for PC (the free-to-play Forza 6 spinoff Apex launched in open beta last month).

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Gears of War 4 is getting a ridiculously awesome Xbox Elite controller

    Gears of War is back, and the best way to celebrate is with an incredibly ornate custom controller. To celebrate the impending launch of Gears of War 4, Microsoft is releasing a special edition of the Xbox Elite Controller, one that’s absolutely packed with details for fans of the series. In addition to the gritty color scheme — which includes the new Gears logo on the back and what appears to be a splash of blood on the front — there are some great little touches. My personal favorite is the d-pad cover. In the game you use the d-pad to select your weapon, and the plate now has tiny pictures of Gears weaponry so that you never forget its purpose. The controller also comes with a carrying case complete with a chainsaw assault rifle on the front.

    The Gears of War 4 Elite controller is available to pre-order now.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Xbox Play Anywhere lets you play select games across Xbox One and Windows 10

    A new initiative from Microsoft is bringing the Xbox One and Windows 10 a lot closer together. It's called "Xbox Play Anywhere," and it lets you buy participating cross-platform games once, and own them on both platforms. If you buy a game on Xbox One it will simply appear in your Windows 10 library, and vice versa, and your saved games, achievements, and other information will carry over between the two versions.

    Currently the service is mainly focused on Microsoft's first-party releases, but the company expects that to expand to more third-party-developed games in the future. The complete list of Xbox Play Anywhere games includes the following titles:

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  • Andrew Webster

    Jun 13, 2016

    Andrew Webster

    Microsoft announces the Xbox One S, its smallest Xbox yet

    The Xbox One just got a lot smaller. Announced today at E3 in Los Angeles (and leaked a day earlier), the new Xbox One S takes the original Xbox One, shrinks it down, and gives it a fresh coat of white paint (Microsoft calls it “robot white”). The result is a striking new design that stands in stark contrast to Microsoft’s previous consoles. The device is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One, according to the company, and also does away with the frustratingly bulky power supply that the Xbox line is known for. And unlike the original Xbox One, the new console also gives you some choice on how to display it, thanks to an optional vertical stand.

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  • Tom Warren

    Jun 12, 2016

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft’s new Xbox One S revealed in leaked images

    In less than 24 hours, Microsoft will host its E3 press conference. The software maker is expected to launch a smaller, slimmer version of the Xbox One, and a fresh leak on the NeoGAF forums today is providing our first look at the new console. Sources familiar with Microsoft's Xbox plans had previously told us that the new Xbox One "Slim" would be 40 percent smaller, and the leaked image appears to show a smaller Xbox One in white.

    Alongside the image of the console, some specifications are also listed. Microsoft appears to be introducing a 2TB version of the Xbox One S, with support for 4K video playback, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). The image also notes a new "vertical stand" and "streamlined controller," so the new Xbox One S won't need to sit horizontally anymore. Ekim, another poster at NeoGAF has also revealed exactly what the vertical Xbox One S looks like thanks to another leaked image. Ekim also claims the power supply for the Xbox One S is built-in, a first for a recent Xbox console. There's no details on the "streamlined controller," but the leaked images simply show a refreshed white version. We're expecting to hear a lot more about the Xbox One S at Microsoft's press conference tomorrow. A Microsoft spokesperson provided the following statement on the leaks:
    "¯\_(ツ)_/¯ www.xbox.com/e3."

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