Microsoft hit a home run on Monday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. Attendees at E3 2015 voted them the star of the show, conquering the attention of all who attended and beating Song, Ubisoft and EA. All this popularity was generated off the back of the announcement of one shared and unanimous gaming desire: To be able to play old games on new consoles.
Microsoft’s gaming division announced that backward compatibility will become available for popular video games that would have typically cost $60 and more. Besides the huge hype about unlocking consoles to play older games, they also teased us with some exclusive content from “Halo 5 Guardians,” loosely discussed launch dates for the highly anticipated game “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and explained their new partnership with Oculus Rift.
Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Xbox division head announced to the attentive gaming crowd, “There has never been a better time to be an Xbox gamer.” “If you have been waiting to move from your Xbox 360 to Xbox One, now is the time.”
The launch of the Xbox One in 2013 witnessed an annihilation by Sony’s PlayStation. Microsoft’s response to this trouncing was reducing their price and increasing its focus on game play, moving away from features such as streaming movies. This proved to be an effective strategy as since then the console has flown off the shelves and really began to capture market share.
Microsoft looks to have learnt from its previous mistakes and wants to re-focus its attention back on gamers and their gaming experiences.
Phil Spencer reinforced this with his comment, “Xbox One backward capability allows you to play the games you have already invested in.”
The response from the crowd was ecstatic, with roars and cheers indicating that without a doubt this was music to everyone’s ears. Spencer added that this was one of the most requested features from fans. Microsoft hope to have the new backward compatibility operational by the end of the year, supporting play for selected Xbox 360 games. The best part of all was that this new feature will be completely free.
Mike Ybarra, Microsoft’s Xbox executive announced that over 100 Xbox 360 titles will be made available for backward compatibility by the end of the year, mentioning that his personal favourite “Mass Effect” will be among them.
Microsoft also continued to announce other aspects of how it was refocusing its attention solely onto the gamer’s experience and how it is intending to improve. The company is investing heavily into franchises to improve original content from small independent studios. They announced new partnerships with Japanese game designer Keiji Inafune, Mark Paini and teams from Comcept and Armature Studio to debut in an exclusive Xbox title called “ReCore.”
If you are also interested in other independent games currently being worked on, Xbox mentioned its work on a title called “Beyond Eyes,” where the main character is completely blind and must engage with her world using other senses. This along with “Cuphead”, a typical1930’s styled cartoon game, was some of the exciting things Microsoft could give us a brief insight into.
If you also happen to use Microsoft computers then you will be happy to know Xbox announced its new harmonisation with the Windows 10 operating system, due to release later in 2015.
Virtual Reality Gaming
At E3 Microsoft then continued to delve into its latest ventures within the virtual reality gaming platform. A new partnership has been formed between them and Valve VR to make Windows 10 compatible with reality headgear. If you’ve heard about the Facebook owned Oculus Rift then you will also be excited to learn that the reality headgear will come with an Xbox controller as a result of a new alliance with Microsoft.
Phil Spencer said that the new virtual reality experience will be built into Windows 10 and that certain Xbox games will be playable on Rift. He added “We believe we will be able to create state-of-the-art virtual reality experiences on the Oculus on top of Windows”.