With a weaker console and waning fanbase, Microsoft had to deliver a convincing pitch for their mid-gen console release, Xbox One X, and bring the games to back it up. Reigning console champions Sony had high expectations to deliver developments and release dates on, with lots of previously revealed titles from last year’s E3 and PSX.

Microsoft’s conference aired first on Sunday with a relentless stream of new and exclusive titles. Each ran beautifully on the newly unveiled Xbox One X. Microsoft did well to start the show with a time-lapse of the best of memories from the original Xbox to now, showing off fan favourites such as Master Chief and Marcus Fenix in increasing resolutions before hitting the 4K Ultra HD banner.

It felt Microsoft was gunning to get back the customers they lost to Sony since the current generation launched. Xbox had arrived on the scene against the Playstation 2 as an alternative console for the console-gaming-purists, with greater power and memory allowing for greater performance, graphics, and speed. When this generation of consoles came around, and the PS4 was a more powerful gaming machine, where the Xbox One focused on being a one-stop-shop entertainment centre, Microsoft lost a lot of their original fanbase to those who chose Xbox for games.

“All of those very credible games will play better on the new Xbox One X”

This mid-gen console release then made for a perfect soft re-launch for the Xbox One – an opportunity grasped firmly with the announcement of 42 new games, 22 of them being exclusives. Each time the “exclusive” label played before a new trailer felt like another shot fired against Sony, and the hammering repetition that all of those very credible games will play better on the new Xbox One X was a great way to launch the console.

“The console will run about 30% faster than the classic Xbox One”

On the console, the technical headlines are a graphics processor that runs at 1.172Ghz hitting 6 teraflops, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM with a memory bandwidth of 326GB/s. In case that’s complete gibberish, the basics are that the console will run about 30% faster than the classic Xbox One, and the graphics processor is 4.6 times more powerful – it will look better and run faster. The ace card is that this will be the most powerful console on the market, receiving some grand support from the audience.

Deep Silver’s ‘Metro: Exoduswas a showstopping demonstration. It displayed the high dynamic range, atmospheric effects, and frame-rate the Xbox One X can achieve. Additionally, the One X reveals an excellent display of action/horror gameplay in tight, dark sewers and bright, overgrown, open areas to rival a first-person ‘Last Of Us.’

“Sea of Thieves demo was a personal favourite.”

The ‘Sea of Thieves’ demo was a personal favourite, showing a fun, pirate adventure with shooting, sailing and stealing with friends – an Indiana Jones meets Pirates of the Caribbean narrated by a Simon Pegg-ish Scotty character: a must-watch. These featured alongside a whole host of other very credible looking titles, including ‘Shadow of War’, ‘State of Decay 2’ and indie sidescroller ‘The Artful Escape’ that has a release date of “when its damn ready.”

I mentioned Microsoft’s relatively strong open: old favourites, heavily applauded console details and a display of ‘Forza’ in 4K at 60fps. Sony, on the other hand, had unfortunately started off rather weakly. Streamed pre-stage show start was a couple of TV spots for streaming service PS Vue (did they not get the “multimedia doesn’t sell” memo from Microsoft?) and the classic PS4 on special offer. I can’t say Sony’s exotic background music performance too enthralling either, but it goes to show Sony doing what it does best and where Microsoft failed – put on a show.

“It was relentless and exhausting”

As impressive as the roster of games Microsoft presented were, there seemed to be these vast periods of back-to-back trailers that we watched directly through the screen – it was relentless and exhausting. Sony put on trailers as well, but bring you out to the theatre, where dynamic sound and lighting fill the auditorium and set the stage for the feature before it appears and as it plays – none better than the thrilling ‘Days Gone’ presentation, another must-watch.

The ‘Days Gone’ presentation was perhaps the cause to the lack of ‘Last of Us 2’ content. Both being post-apocalyptic zombie thrillers too similar to show off together, although for many this was a disappointment.

There was then the ‘God of War‘ trailer, which couldn’t stand up to the extraordinary hype of last year’s gameplay reveal, but looked great, alongside another second trailer for PlayStation exclusive ‘Detroit: Become Human‘.

“Sony’s show gave us some great stuff, but it seems they’re leaving the big guns for PSX…”

It was also unfortunate to see that most of the exclusive triple-A titles are not up for release this year, some not even showing indication for a realease in 2018. But at least we’ll have the new ‘Unchartered’ to hold us over till then.

The extended gameplay demo of the exclusive ‘Insomniac Spiderman’ and the surprise announcement of the PS2 cult favourite ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ remastered stopped the conference from feeling too lacklustre. This just means we’ll have to pretend to forget the Microsoft promise of an entire catalogue of original Xbox games coming to Xbox Live Arcade.

“Keep it here on IGN”

Sony’s show gave us some great stuff, but it seems they’re leaving the big guns for PSX. This left Microsoft to clean up E3 2017 with a show full of new games, all which were exciting in their own right, and provided an impressive vehicle to show what the new Xbox One X console is capable of.

For more on E3, keep it here on IGN – that’s Impact Gaming Nottingham, not the YouTube gaming giant…

Rui Almeida

Image Credit to E3 Microsoft Coverage via YouTube

Media sourced from YouTube

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