Microsoft sets a high standard for the rest of the industry every E3, and E3 2016 looks to be no different.
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With a rumoured new Xbox to be revealed, as well as exclusives like Gears Of War 4, ReCore, Crackdown, and Sea Of Thieves, Microsoft is primed for a big show as the Xbox One hits its peak.
Last year’s event was pretty massive for Microsoft and Xbox, and before Sony blew everyone away with the likes of Final Fantasy VII Remake and The Last Guardian, it looked as though they were going to take out winning honours for the event before it even began. They came close to taking it out, and will certainly be looking to replicate the hype of E3 2015 as they prepare for E3 2016.
There have plenty of memorable E3 moments out of the Xbox camp over the years, so let’s take a look back at the best and most exciting.
Microsoft’s first Xbox was in many ways a trailblazer. The company predicted a steady rise of online gaming, and introduced Xbox Live, which would help define the Xbox brand and shape the industry. It showed off Halo for the first time in 2001, enshrining the Xbox name in gaming history for years to come.
No one really knew what to expect of Microsoft and the Xbox after the show, but E3 2001 stands as one of Microsoft’s most memorable as it took the risk no one thought it had the capacity to take, and introduced a new major player into gaming after the fall of SEGA.
The Grand Theft Auto tattoo
Microsoft was leading the pack in the generation, having already released the Xbox 360 some seven months before E3 2006. Nintendo was wowing audiences with the Wii, with lines smothering the LA Convention Centre, while Sony was teasing the power of the PlayStation 3 (when it wasn’t trying to justify its ridiculous launch price). Despite the 360’s lack of mystery and intrigue, Microsoft still managed to wow the crowd at E3 2006, and Peter Moore took to the stage to deliver one of the more memorable E3 moments in the event’s history.
Much in the same way he revealed Halo 2, Moore lifted his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of the Grand Theft Auto IV logo, shocking the crowd in attendance. GTA was coming to Xbox, and the first time ever at the same time it hit a PlayStation console.
Final Fantasy comes to Xbox
Final Fantasy XIII had been announced at E3 2006 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, but E3 2008 would reignite the console fanboy wars when Square announced that it was also coming to Xbox 360. Square CEO Yoichi Wada took to the stage during Microsoft’s E3 2008 briefing and announced FFXIII for Xbox 360, sending Xbox fans into hysterics and PlayStation fans into pits of rage.
In many ways this announcement set the tone for the rest of the generation, with few third-party publishers releasing exclusives, at least compared to previous generations.
Halo 2 multiplayer revealed
It took three years, but Microsoft finally came true on its promise from E3 2001 to revolutionise online gaming. Halo 2 had been revealed by Microsoft the year before, but it wasn’t until E3 2004 that gamers had their first look at a multiplayer experience that would define a console.
The first Halo game set the foundations, but it was Halo 2 that propelled the franchise — and Xbox — into gaming royalty.
Halo 3 reveal
As Nintendo hyped up the Wii and Sony fired up the PS3, Microsoft was establishing the Xbox 360 to be the console to own in 2006. Disappointingly, while the 360 had a solid launch lineup, few games apart from Perfect Dark Zero and Call Of Duty 2 really tested out the console’s online capabilities.
Enter: Halo 3.
Microsoft quickly turned attention back to Xbox 360 after all eyes turned to Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3, and suddenly the 360 and Halo franchise were back on the map.
Metal Gear on Xbox
It took long enough, but finally, Hideo Kojima was bringing Metal Gear to Xbox.
Well, kind of.
The renowned game designer took to the stage during Microsoft’s E3 2010 press conference to announce Metal Gear Solid: Rising (eventually renamed Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance), which would be the first of Hideo’s famed franchise on an Xbox console. Of course we wouldn’t see a true Metal Gear Solid game on Xbox until 2014 with Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, but Rising was a start.
Rise Of The Tomb Raider
When Microsoft revealed Rise Of The Tomb Raider during its E3 2014 press conference, it raised plenty of eyebrows amid rumours that PlayStation gamers would miss out on Lara’s latest adventure. We wouldn’t find out that it was a timed Xbox exclusive until two months later at Gamescom, but E3 set the tone (and the fire) for a battle to sign third-party exclusivity deals on consoles.
While Sony has had the last laugh with PS4 sales trumping Xbox One sales, it hasn’t managed to snare as big a third-party exclusive as Rise Of The Tomb Raider.
This moment will go down as one of Microsoft’s best ever E3 moments. After a struggling first few years for Xbox One, Microsoft invested in the right areas and brought gamers what they wanted: Xbox 360 backwards compatibility.
It’s worked well so far, bringing a number of fantastic games back to the console and allowing fans to return to their favourite experiences.
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