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Letters from the Front

2018 was the year that it all changed for Microsoft. It was a year of preparation for their ambitions and they do have very big plans. 2018 was the year that Microsoft stepped across the invisible line and now we’re going to see a new Microsoft, a new Microsoft risen from the ashes.

The company spent millions upon millions to acquire the lineup that they currently have in their pockets and I believe that they aren’t done just yet. Microsoft picked up some good companies like Obsidian, developers of Fallout: New Vegas and the upcoming Outerworlds and InExile, which is led by Brian Fargo, the original creator of Fallout. They picked up not only them but also Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, and Playground Games, creators of the excellent Forza Horizon set of games.

Late last year, we started to receive rumors and rumblings about Microsoft’s next generation plans. The rumored names of the next generation Xbox, seeing glimpses of Project xCloud, amongst other things that are quite interesting.

As 2019 begins, let’s take a peak into the magic crystal ball and make some excellent predictions for Xbox in 2019. 2019 is going to be a very interesting year for Redmond.

Games, Games, Games!

Now that the power narrative has shifted to Microsoft with the release of the Xbox One X back in 2017, does Microsoft now have the goods in order to push the Xbox One X without the need of Third Party?

God of War won last year at the Game Awards for Game of the Year, you have to wonder if Microsoft can ever live up to that and have to wonder when will we ever see something quite as good as God of War on the Xbox? Most of Redmond’s efforts have been focused on budget-friendly games or games in a continuing franchise like Forza, Gears, and Halo.

2019 will be different as we will hear more on Gears 5 and its subsequent spin-off Gears: Tactics, as well as Halo: Infinite or so I hope. We should also see Microsoft giving the stage to its recent acquisitions to show off what they’ve been working on. There have been rumors that Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds , despite being published by Take 2’s Private Division, will have marketing rights on Xbox. We should also be teased on what Ninja Theory’s next game will be which is sure to be interesting given the amount of pedigree that Hellblade received.

All of this doesn’t end with just that, however, I do expect some big surprises on this front of the war, which it has been a problem as this generation unfolded.

E3 2019

E3 2019 is starting off to be one of the interesting parts of this year. Sony pulled out of E3 for unknown reasons, giving Microsoft all the attention with the cards that they have close to their chest. Microsoft must come out and give a good show, as they’ll be the only ones there outside of the publishers.

Rumors and leaks have pointed that the next generation Xbox is being scheduled to release Holiday 2020. I believe that Microsoft will give this next generation Xbox the same treatment they did with the Xbox One X back in 2016. The tease for the X went down pretty well and it benefited them as they had the talk around town for nearly two years. Microsoft may want to jump in the pool early, particularly if the leaks about the two consoles is true.

If last year was any indication, then Microsoft will bounce off from where they started last year and give a really good show. They’ll double down on the games and double down on their commitment to first party games, here is hoping that more acquisitions are made.

Next Generation

Believe it or not, we’re already in the final days of the Xbox One. This will be the last year of the current generation before June of 2020.

2019 should be the year that we start to hear things and possibly see things about the next generation consoles. At Microsoft’s E3, hopefully, we will be teased on the future of the Xbox brand and what are Microsoft’s plans as we enter the new generation of hardware.

At this stage of the game, we already know the codenames of the next generation Xbox if the leak is to believed ( Anacoda and Lockhart.) and that Microsoft will hit the ground running in Fall 2020, something that MS should’ve done this generation. Hopefully, we’ll hear a tease about these two consoles at E3 if the Xbox One X’s inital tease is anything to go by.

Project xCloud

Project xCloud is Microsoft’s streaming device. It is far from being a simple piece of hardware, Project xCloud is expected to improve the laggy solution that we have seen time and time again with different hardware.

Streaming is the future and I believe that regular gaming consoles will be replaced by a streaming device as time goes on when ISPs hopefully get better. If Microsoft can prove that Project xCloud is the future of streaming and can learn from Playstation Now and other devices then Microsoft has a winning formula in their pocket and they can build on that as time goes on. I suspect we’ll see more on it at E3 2019 and before.

2019: An Interesting Year Ahead

If 2018 was the resurgence of Microsoft and laid the groundwork for their comeback, then 2019 will see them rise from the ashes and will be a year of messaging and positioning themselves for 2020. Up to this point, that began with the release of the X, we have seen Microsoft on the defensive but now they’re taking ground back and being on the offensive.

I’m very optimistic for the future of Xbox and the future of Microsoft’s gaming plans as we head into next-generation. They face a long road ahead in this final year of this generation, why not end it with a bang?

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