Sony’s PlayStation 4 has overshadowed the Xbox for the majority of this console generation, but at E3, Microsoft has come out swinging.
The company unveiled a hefty slate of big games at its annual pre-E3 press conference, including Halo Infinite, a new installment in the Xbox’s biggest franchise, shooter Gears of War and the racing game Forza Horizon 4. Beyond new games, though, Microsoft announced the acquisition of four game development studios as well as the opening of a new fifth internal studio.
“We’re increasing our investment in existing franchises that you already love,” said Phil Spencer, who heads Microsoft’s Xbox unit. “This is why we’re amplifying our investment in worlds that will deepen your love of Xbox.”
Microsoft purchased Ninja Theory (makers of Hellblade and Heavenly Sword), Forza Horizon developer Playground Games, Compulsion Games (creators of the upcoming We Happy Few) and State of Decay creator Undead Labs. Beyond that, the company launched a new studio headed by Darrell Gallagher, who formerly headed the studio behind the relaunch of Tomb Raider.
The acquisitions and new studio will give Microsoft a deeper slate of games in years to come. But in the immediate future, there’s hardly a drought. Microsoft announced 50 games at its event, 18 of which were exclusive to the Xbox system.
There were some big ones, too.
Halo Infinite is the next in the long-running action series. The company did not give any information about the game beyond a teaser trailer, but the name would imply either a Fortnite-like battle royale style game or a persistent world.
Gears 5, out next year, is the biggest of three Gears of War titles in the works. The studio is also working on Gears Pop, based on the Fuko Pop dolls and Gears Tactics, a PC-based strategy title.
Other titles unveiled include Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a new franchise from Activision set in feudal Japan; Kingdom Hearts III, marking the series’ first appearance on an Xbox console; Devil May Cry 5; and Cyberpunk 2077, a new franchise from the creator of The Witcher games.
“We are now at a moment of exceptional creativity in gaming,” said Spencer.
That’s certainly true. The question is: Will the slew of big titles win over console players, who have so far show more allegiance to Sony.
Sony will reveal its big games of E3 Monday afternoon.