Looking ahead to E3 – Microsoft needs a Homerun

It’s no secret that Microsoft needs a win. Sea of Thieves has been done well commercially, but doesn’t have the content currently to keep players engaged. It doesn’t help that it’s received mixed critical reviews and seen its player base drop since its release. State of Decay 2 is buggy and unintentionally hilarious as a result, it also has been receiving mixed reviews. The first half of the year for Microsoft’s Xbox brand has only seen two releases and the second half is currently a question mark.

E3 could change all of that.

Crackdown 3 needs a firm release date, as does Ori and the Will of the Wisps. There needs to be something palpable for the Xbox fan base to get excited about. I expect something regarding Halo, possibly Gears, and definitely something Forza related. But let’s be honest, Microsoft needs a win. A new IP or two that will get fans amped. Scalebound is gone and honestly that was a shame because it showed some promise. There are numerous avenues that Microsoft can take, but it’s got to be something new and fresh because the big 3 are being milked for all they’re worth.

Forecasting what Microsoft will do seems simple. But what they should do is introduce an IP or two that is exclusive to the Xbox One X. If this is truly the most powerful console on the market, feature a game that only runs on this hardware. It would provide incentive to the consumers that this console is worth purchasing. Don’t hammer home what the Xbox One X will do for current games, showcase a game that can only run on the console. This would be an interesting deviation from how Microsoft has conducted its previous E3’s. To remain competitive against the surging Nintendo Switch and the dominant PS4, Microsoft needs to make a push.

Emphasizing the Game Pass or relying on nostalgia just isn’t enough for savvy consumers to dust off the Xbox One. Right now, the PS4 and Switch have a stronger catalog of games and that list will surely grow after E3. Sony is already pushing to showcase their Big 4 in Spider-Man, Ghosts of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and The Last of Us 2. Nintendo will showcase Smash and hopefully Metroid Prime 4. You can also bet that Nintendo will introduce new IP’s as they’ve done in past E3’s. To get outdone by publishers that you were crushing the last generation has to be deflating.

One trade show should not be considered make or break for Microsoft. But, it has been a long time since they’ve had a positive memorable moment. The over-reliance on established franchised that have run their course is a recipe for mediocrity. I am ok with another Halo or Gears of War, even though the continuation of both franchises feels unnecessary. Microsoft needs to introduce new IP’s and be all-in. Sunset Overdrive deserved a sequel and so did Quantum Break. Crackdown 3’s delays are troubling especially since last year the showing was lackluster, even if Terry Crews is the man. The Forza franchise is guaranteed to be released this year, it’s the one yearly franchise that no one seems to mind.

On June 10th, Microsoft has the chance to set the tone for the Big 3.

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