Microsoft’s E3 keynote brings new Xbox One S console w/ 4K, Forza Horizon 3, teases next-gen, more


Microsoft was the first major hardware company to announce at E3 2016 this year. After the stage was set by EA and Bethesda, it was time to get our first look at what we can expect from Xbox One in the coming months. Right of the bat, Microsoft announced a newly updated console that includes a significantly slimmer design, 4K video and a ton of other features. Best of all, it starts at $299. Head below for more including pre-order information, game updates from Gears of War 4, Forza and others…

The big news right of the bat was the Xbox One S. This is the first update to Microsoft’s console outside of limited edition designs and increased storage. All of the major technical boxes have been checked here, including 4K video support, HDR and internal storage capacities up to 2TB.

The white console is 40% smaller than the original and it appears to have dropped that annoying power brick, as well. Another interesting feature is a frontward facing IR blaster, leading us to believe that Microsoft will continue to try to put itself at the center of your living room. The console was displayed to the crowd in a vertical orientation, which would be a chance from the traditional horizontal Xbox design. It is now available for pre-order from Amazon with a August 31st release date.

Alongside the quick hit on the Xbox One S, was news of a fresh wireless controller with Bluetooth support and “increased range”. It has some Elite qualities but is clearly still a different device. Microsoft also teased a new custom controller design studio online with an iPod-like commercial. Gamers will be able to choose custom colors, gamer tags and more with this setup. No word yet on availability.

But it didn’t stop there. Microsoft also teased Project Scorpio that is coming down the line in late 2017. We didn’t see much more than a few teases and a lot of generic statements. Microsoft did promise that all Xbox One titles will play on Project Scorpio when it hits next year with full 4K gaming. More to come.

After the hardware was (quickly) announced, the show turned to software. We got an in-depth ten minute look at Gears of War 4. This was announced alongside Microsoft’s new Xbox Play Anywhere initiative that allows dual access to the game on your console and Windows PC with one purchase. We already knew that Gears of War 4 was coming in October (pre-order here!) but we also caught a glimpse at the first game-themed Elite Controller that will launch alongside it with all the blood and custom design you’d expect.

Then it was time for Microsoft Studios to detail the new Forza Horizon 3 that will be coming on September 30th. Aside from beautiful graphics, the latest simulation racer allows gamers to pair up for co-op multiplayer across platforms thanks to Xbox Anywhere. Final Fantasy 15 (September 30th) and a new expansion pack for Tom Clancy’s The Division were also announced during this time.

Battlefield 1 took the stage for a quick look at multiplayer as a follow-up to yesterday’s announcement. DICE also detailed early release perks for EA Access members on October 13th, ahead of the official jump off date the following week. Minecraft also discussed new cross platform capabilities that allow builders to play in the same world as those on iOS, Android and other compatible devices at the same time. Achievements from other operating systems will transfer to Xbox too.

Halo Wars 2 was also detailed today, making a valiant return after a seven-year hiatus. It is slated to release on February 21st, 2017. There will be a weeklong beta available for play on Xbox One today. More information is to follow, but this is a title that is certainly bound to be a hit with its loyal fan base.

Finally, Xbox Live received a few notable updates as well. Background music, custom languages and Cortana virtual assistant support are all coming over the next few months. Additionally, a new ‘Clubs’ and ‘Looking for Group’ feature allows gamers to easily find partners to play with. Microsoft described it as “want ads” for online play. A new tournament platform was also detailed that will make participating in tournaments “easier than ever”.

It was a big day for Microsoft at E3. Be sure to keep it locked to our news hub for all the latest announcements, info and more from this week’s event.

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