Microsoft E3 2016 Predictions: Why Sony Might Join Microsoft Onstage

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With many believing that they had the most impressive showing last year, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the Microsoft E3 2016 presentation. But what will the company showcase this around? Will the rumored new Xbox One be unveiled, and if so, how will this change Microsoft’s outlook in the near future? 

Here are our top 5 predictions for the Microsoft E3 2016 press conference:

 

Xbox One 4K will be more powerful than PS4 4K

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Rumors have continued to circulate regarding potential upgrades to both the Xbox One and the PS4, though while many are all but convinced that Sony will debut a 4K version of their console at E3 2016, it’s deemed much less certain that Microsoft will follow suit.

However, if Sony has been working on the PS4 4K (reportedly codenamed the “Neo”), it’s imaginable that Microsoft would have developed their own upgrade to the Xbox One, too. It’s also imaginable that, considering how the Xbox One has suffered in sales as a result of being less powerful than Sony’s console, they will take this opportunity to really up the ante this time around and push out a console more technically impressive than their peer’s. 

According to a report from Polygon, Microsoft is actually planning two versions of the Xbox One, the first of which will be a slim model that will launch later this year and the second a “huge upgrade” that will launch in 2017. According to the publication’s sources this new Xbox One, codenamed “Scorpio,” has a performance target of approximately 6 teraflops. The Xbox One currently features performance numbers of 1.32 teraflops, while the upgraded PS4 is rumored to peak at 4.14 teraflops. If Polygon’s report is to be believed, then this presents a major technical leap between the current Xbox One and its upgrade, placing it ahead of both the current and upcoming incarnations of the PS4.

However, there are some concerns that announcing both models of the Xbox One could effectively cannibalize the Xbox One slim, given that the majority would inevitably want to hold out for the Scorpio, meaning that the console’s major upgrade may not be officially announced until 2017. On the other hand, Microsoft may not want to lose ground to Sony and the PS4 Neo, so they may continue to march ahead with unveiling the Scorpio at this year’s E3.

 

Oculus Rift support on the Xbox One Scorpio

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With it being suggested that part of Sony’s reasoning for releasing the PS4 Neo will be to increase the console’s virtual reality capabilities, that the Xbox One Scorpio is said to be notably more powerful has inevitably sparked rumors that Microsoft is looking to enter into VR, too. However, unlike Sony the prevailing theory is that Microsoft won’t create their own VR headset, but will instead provide support for the Oculus Rift.

As a number of developers have already hinted at Xbox One VR being on its way, it should be noted that Oculus already shares a partnership with Microsoft as a result of Xbox One controllers shipping with the Rift, and with the Xbox One Scorpio apparently capable of supporting the VR device, this would open up a whole new avenue for Microsoft that would effectively burst Sony and the PlayStation VR’s bubble if it went ahead. With many not jumping onto virtual reality as a result of the hassle of setting up a VR-capable PC, Microsoft allowing people to circumnavigate this issue by allowing them to simply buy a console that would allow them to use an Oculus Rift would be a major coup for the company.

 

Halo 6 will make an appearance

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Sony pulled out the most crowd-pleasing E3 2015 presentation by essentially pointing towards a bunch of games that didn’t even have confirmed release dates, with The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy VII: Remake being two of the most heavily discussed newly announced titles during the event, though neither of them were set for release in the PS4’s immediate future. On the other hand, Microsoft announced a bunch of games that Xbox One owners could get their hands on in a much shorter time period, but a lack of breathtaking revelations meant that their presentation made less of an impact. 

This year Microsoft will likely learn from that mistake, which could lead to a teaser for Halo 6 showing up at some point during their press conference. With Halo Wars 2 heavily expected to make an appearance during the event, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Master Chief pop up in a short trailer that, while not exactly indicative of the direction the new Halo will go in, will at least stir up a great deal of excitement from fans of the sci-fi franchise.

 

Sony will join Microsoft onstage

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Earlier this year Microsoft made the first move towards changing online play forever, by outstretching an invitation to other video game online platform holders to allow for cross-platform play. This effectively opened the door for Xbox One and PS4 owners to play with/against one another in the future, and though Sony didn’t officially confirm that they would be taking Microsoft up on the offer, they did state that they would be open to such a collaboration.

Though Microsoft has been quiet regarding cross-platform play since touching upon it earlier this year, it should be expected that the company will discuss it in further detail at E3 2016. As such – and this isn’t a likely prediction, but an exciting one nonetheless – Sony may well join Microsoft onstage during the latter’s presentation to discuss a fledgling partnership between Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

Though such an occasion would have been unfathomable in the past, Microsoft and Sony have been buddying up to one another during this current console generation, with Microsoft having more or less conceded defeat when it comes to the Xbox One surpassing the PS4’s number sales. As a result, it has instead shifted its focus towards making the Xbox One a more integral part of the Windows 10 ecosystem, rather than directly competing with the PS4. This therefore makes it much more plausible that Sony would want to work alongside Microsoft in order to establish cross-platform play, and increases the likelihood of a Sony and a Microsoft rep taking to the stage with one another during Microsoft’s press conference.

 

Sea of Thieves will steal the show

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Out of all the games Microsoft unveiled during its E3 2015 presentation, Sea of Thieves intrigued me the most. Though it’s being developed by Rare, a studio that is now completely unrecognizable from their former glory days, it looks set to be an ambitious title that combines The Division-esque PvE questing and dangerous PvP encounters, only with pirates instead of a post-apocalyptic militia. Little is known of the game at the time of this writing, though Rare has said that it will allow players to group up with their friends, sail the seas, throw one another overboard, stage mutinies and engage in firefights with other bands of pirates.

Though it was only briefly touched upon last year, it’s expected to be given a prominent showing during this year’s presentation, and I’m going to throw my hat into the ring and suggest that it’ll be the stand-out game featured in Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference. We’ve all been waiting for the modern Rare to live up to their namesake for so long, so perhaps there’s an element of wishful thinking here, but Sea of Thieves will be the first time since 2008 that the company hasn’t been tasked with developing a Kinect game outside of their Rare Replay collection. Hopefully