E3 2019: Microsoft Keynote Leaks Reveal xCloud, New Xbox, and Halo Clues

It's going to be a blowout.

who won e3 2018

With Sony sitting this year’s conference out, Microsoft essentially has an open goal at this year’s E3 2019 to make the biggest splash, but a recent leak suggests they aren’t leaving anything up to chance. If the leaks are right, the company’s annual briefing, which will take place in the Microsoft Theater and the Xbox Plaza at LA Live at 4 p.m. Eastern, is sure to be a blockbuster.

The treasure trove of details comes from a post on gaming forum NeoGAF, published on May 19 by an anonymous account named Braldryr. They claimed to be an insider with connections at Microsoft who gave them a sneak peak at the company’s next-generation console plans, cloud gaming roll out, and the games expected to be announced.

Microsoft has been tight-lipped about both its upcoming Xbox “Scarlett” consoles and also the new titles slated for 2019. It recently announced that its cloud gaming service, xCloud, will soon be ready for public trials but has yet to reveal a date of when a beta might become available.

xbox microsoft
Microsoft might have the biggest announcement at E3 this year.

The company has a ton up its sleeve for the rest of the year and 2020, and E3 is where it will likely lay out the timeline for all of its upcoming releases. Here’s everything notable in the leak.

Microsoft at E3 2019: Xbox Scarlett

Braldryr revealed that Microsoft will use its E3 keynote to make the first formal announcement about its next-generation console. But the leaker also says this won’t be a full reveal, instead, Microsoft will simply confirm the console is happening and detail its basic specs. Most likely, we should expect a very similar amount of detail to what Sony revealed about the PS5 in an April interview with Wired.

“No physical look of the console, but a baseline of specs including [teraflops], RAM, Bandwidth, CPU, [solid-state drive (SSD)] and of course ray-tracing,” they wrote.

While exact specs have yet to be revealed, this is the first time we’ve heard that a solid-state drive and ray-tracing could be included in the new Xbox consoles. Both are features that Sony confirmed would come with the PS5 and could bring consoles closer to PC gaming than ever before.

The Xbox One X pictured next to the Xbox One S.
The Xbox Scarlett consoles might redefine what the Xbox console experience has been for that past decade.

SSDs will replace the old Xbox’s hard disk drives (HDDs) and provide much faster memory fetching and storage. Ray-tracing is a graphical rendering technique that will make games rendered on the console much more lifelike.

The company is still thought to be cooking up two variants of its next-generation console, one code-named Xbox “Anaconda” and the other known as Xbox “Lockhart.” Anaconda is expected to go toe-to-toe with Sony’s PlayStation 5 in terms of specs and capabilities. Lockhart, on the other hand, is expected to be a budget console that will likely rely heavily on xCloud.

Both an SSD and a graphical processing unit (GPU) that supports ray-tracing are both premium features that won’t come cheap. It’s likely these will only come with Anaconda, while Lockhart will take a more barebones approach but lean on xCloud to deliver economical and high-quality gaming.

The Xbox “Scarlett” GPU will be provided by chipmaker AMD, which will also host an event at E3 2019. Microsoft is likely to tease some of its new Xbox’s capabilities, but AMD will also likely use its June 10 keynote to offer even more hints about what these GPUs will be capable. E3 is shaping up to be more generous with the hardware news than we originally thought.

A breakdown of how xCloud will work.

Microsoft at E3 2019: xCloud

Braldryr also revealed that E3 will see xCloud finally spread its wings. After more than two years in development, Microsoft is expected to announced when public test dates will begin, and possibly even offer guidance as to when the service will be released to general consumers.

“This will be Microsoft’s…biggest if not the biggest focus this year prior to next-gen system launches,” they wrote.

The service will leverage Microsoft’s Azure data centers, which are available in 140 countries worldwide. The servers have been equipped with an array of stripped down Xbox One consoles which will allow them to stream any game playable on the console to users’ phones, tablets, and other smart devices.

Once the Xbox Scarlett consoles are released, Microsoft will likely update xCloud to support its next-generation hardware. While Braldryr doesn’t elaborate on how this will work, it seems likely that the company will place a stripped down Xbox Anaconda on its server blades and allow Lockhart owners and mobile users to rent the hardware for a month fee, through the internet.

halo
Halo is expected to make a triumphant comeback.

Microsoft at E3 2019: New Games

It wouldn’t be an E3 presentation without game announcements. Braldryr stated that Microsoft will announced the following 11 games.

  • Halo Infinite: A new trailer and a 2020 release date to be announced.
  • Gears 5: Full gameplay reveal, an onstage demonstration of single-player and multiplayer gameplay, and a release date.
  • Gears Tactics: A new trailer and a 2019 release date for PC.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps: A new trailer with a 2019 release date.
  • Bleeding Edge: A teaser trailer with a 2020 release date.
  • The Outer Worlds: New gameplay trailer and a release date.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: New gameplay trailer, update on development progress, and a targeted release date.
  • Age of Empires IV: Gameplay demonstration with a 2020 release date.
  • Fable: A teaser trailer with a potential 2021 release date.
  • Sea of Thieves: A teaser trailer.
  • Battletoads: A full gameplay demonstration and a 2019 release date.

Between the console teasers, the xCloud beta announcement, and its stacked game, Microsoft’s E3 event is shaping up to be an absolute blowout. Watch the keynote live on Microsoft’s site or on the Xbox YouTube channel.