The Xbox E3 2019 press conference took place yesterday, with Microsoft making a bunch of new announcements related to big games such as Halo Infinite, Cyberpunk 2077, Gears 5, and more. It even featured an appearance from Keanu Reeves, who looked particularly chipper while discussing his involvement in CD Projekt Red’s upcoming sci-fi RPG.
But what were the best and worst bits of the Xbox E3 2019 event? We’ve compiled the highlights and lowlights from the event below:
Xbox E3 2019 | Highlights and lowlights
Highlight: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Xbox Game Pass is a tremendous deal, offering players a Netflix-esque subscription service in which they can download a slew of top-quality games from the Xbox One’s library. Now Microsoft is launching Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which will cost $14.99 per month and cover both Xbox and PC games, along with an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
This is tremendous value for money, bringing Game Pass to PC (a standard Xbox Game Pass PC subscription is also available for those without an Xbox One) and rolling up the Game Pass tiers into an affordable bundle for those who want to play their Xbox games across platforms.
Highlight: Cyberpunk 2077 finally has a release date
We can finally put an end to the copious speculation surrounding Cyberpunk 2077‘s release date, as it has finally been confirmed that it’ll launch on April 16 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. This is exciting news because it means this site can finally stop reporting on when we think Cyberpunk 2077 will/won’t launch, which is ultimately beneficial for all of our mental well-being.
Lowlight: No new Xbox?
The Microsoft E3 2019 presentation has come and gone but we still have to refer to the next Xbox as Project Scarlett. Yes, we’re still yet to see the console in action, and Microsoft instead spent its time at this year’s E3 discussing its SSD and lack of loading screens. Considering it was widely predicted the console would be fully revealed during the event, it’s disappointing that it was skipped over.
Highlight: Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077
Yes, another Cyberpunk 2077 highlight, but Keanu Reeves coming out on stage to reveal his cameo in the game was a nice surprise. Currently one of the most talked-about actors in Hollywood thanks to the success of John Wick 3, Reeves should fit right in with CD Projekt Red’s sci-fi RPG.
Lowlight: Bleeding Edge
After Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Bleeding Edge is pretty much the last thing you’d expect Ninja Theory to move onto. A loud, brash multiplayer game, the brief trailer wasn’t enough to make a judgment call on it yet, but there was nothing about it that was immediately gripping.
Highlight: Blair Witch
Our team thought this was a new Outlast game until the reveal of the creepy wooden stickmen (sorry, Blair Witch lore experts, but I’m not about to Google their real name while writing at this at 3.45 AM). Blair Witch is a damn creepy film and this is looking like a damn creepy game. I won’t be able to play it because I’m a terrified human being, but it looks great.
Lowlight: No Halo Infinite gameplay
If you’re not going to give us a Project Scarlett reveal, at least give us Halo Infinite gameplay! Unfortunately, while it was revealed that the upcoming sequel will be available for the Scarlett at launch, this trailer instead reacquainted us with Master Chief in a cinematic. Can we get a glimpse of its multiplayer at some point in the near future, please? I’m dying over here.
Highlight: Elden Ring
It sucks for Microsoft that Elden Ring was leaked before E3 2019, because this would have been a much larger talking point than it has been. From Software is collaborating with Game of Thrones author George RR Martin in order to bring us Elden Ring, a fantasy action-RPG with a creepy disembodied hand in its trailer. Though it’s undoubtedly big news, it does lead me on to my next lowlight…
Lowlight: Few new exclusives
Microsoft has had notable issues with securing exclusives for the Xbox One, and its presentation at this year’s E3 didn’t break that trend. We already knew about the likes of Halo Infinite and Gears 5, which are both as big as Xbox games get, but we’d have loved to have seen some more major projects in the works exclusive to Xbox. However, this really felt like a stopgap E3 for Microsoft as it preps for the Project Scarlett and the next console generation.
What’s next for Microsoft after Xbox E3 2019?
Microsoft has a big few years ahead of it, with the company having to recuperate after the struggles of the Xbox One and deliver a follow-up console that retrieves the audience it lost to the PS4. Its E3 2019 event was subdued, with its team bunkering down and working hard on Project Scarlett before its release in late 2020.
While Microsoft’s E3 2019 showing may have been disappointing, it’s not entirely unexpected. With the next Xbox nearly a year-and-a-half away, we’re going to be waiting a little while until a full debut of the console, and Microsoft will want to save a bunch of announcements for when this big reveal is made.
Still, it would have been nice to have seen some more surprising announcements at E3, just for those of us still clinging to our Xbox One X’s in the hopes that there’ll be an exciting new exclusive or two to play on it before the next-gen.