Windows Central's E3 2015 plans and predictions

Xbox chief Phil Spencer joins Microsoft's Senior Leadership Team
Xbox chief Phil Spencer joins Microsoft's Senior Leadership Team

Here at Windows Central, we cover just about everything a Microsoft fan could be into – and that includes games. In fact, our gaming coverage is highly worthwhile. We review a variety of games for Xbox One, including both AAA and indie titles, interview game developers, cover interesting Steam titles, and even write the occasional strategy guide .

We also attend and cover the big gaming shows and events. Nothing could be bigger than E3: the Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 and the preceding press conferences take place from Monday, June 15 through Thursday the 18th. This year we'll be there in full force, with four staffers on the ground playing games and interviewing their creators. You won't want to miss our Microsoft-oriented take on the news and games of the expo.

Read on to learn more about our E3 2015 coverage plans and predictions!

E3 2014 photo

E3 2014 photo from Wikipedia

What's an E3?

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the single largest gaming event of the year. E3 2015 takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is open only to members of the gaming industry. Still, it gets pretty crowded!

During E3, all of the major game developers and publishers crowd into the Convention Center and exhibit a selection of their latest and upcoming games for attendees to watch and play. Many new games will be announced, while others that we already know about will be revealed in action for the first time. Check out last year's E3 2014 stories to get a preview of what goes down.

The press conferences

The very largest publishers and platform holders will kick off E3 with press conferences. These usually take place the Monday prior to the show. But this year, there are so many conferences that they've spilled over to Sunday and Tuesday as well.

E3 2015 press conference schedule:

Sunday, June 14:

  • Bethesda – 6:30 pm Pacific Time

Monday, June 15:

  • Microsoft – 9:30 am Pacific
  • Electronic Arts – 12:30pm Pacific
  • Ubisoft – 2:30 pm Pacific
  • Sony – 5:30 pm Pacific

Tuesday, June 16:

  • Nintendo – 9 am Pacific (online only)
  • Square Enix – 10 am Pacific
  • PC Gaming Show – 5 pm Pacific

Microsoft's annual Media Briefing runs from 9:30-11am Pacific (GMT -0700). Windows Central will be there and live blogging from the briefing, so make sure you check back with us Monday morning!

Do you want to watch the Microsoft Xbox briefing live? We'll have the video embed right here on Windows Central in case you want to watch with us. You can also stream it on the Xbox One. We'll post more details on all of this later.

We'll also liveblog the EA press conference and cover news from the remaining conferences. Stop by for all the announcements that a Microsoft fan could want!

Bento box

Bentō photo from Wikipedia

The foods of E3

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of E3 is the opportunity to sample the Los Angeles cuisine. We all crave very specific foods when we're covering a show – things that keep our morale and concentration at their peak.

My E3 meal of choice is sushi. I always like to start out with a nice appetizer of edamame (soybeans), an excellent source of protein that's also fun to eat. If the Japanese restaurant offers bentō boxes, I'll always choose one of those. You get a good variety of items, all collected and separated by dividers in a box-shaped tray. The sushi (usually California rolls) and vegetable tempura are my favorite items in the box.

Check out the rest of the Windows Central E3 team's food picks:

  • Daniel Rubino: Hamburgers! He doesn't care where.
  • Mark Guim: Hamburgers from In-N-out Burger. Daniel will probably tag along. Jonathan loves that place too.
  • Jonathan Dollison: Poutine – a Canadian dish that consists of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Since nobody sells poutine in LA, Jonathan will have to settle for - Hot Pockets (free at this year's convention).
  • Jez Cordon: The J-man sadly can't come along to E3, but he'd totally eat spaghetti if he did.
  • Richard Devine: If Richard went to E3, he'd order plenty of French Toast.

Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer

The pressure is on Microsoft

Even though the main reason anybody goes to E3 is for the food, they also have some video games at the show. That way, attendees will have something to do between meals – it makes perfect sense.

Monday's Media Briefing is where Microsoft lays out its plans for Xbox One for the next year and beyond. Reception to the Media Briefing sets the rest of E3 and determines whether media and gamers consider Microsoft to be the winner, loser or runner-up of the expo.

This year, Microsoft needs a strong conference. Although the Xbox One is selling strongly in the US, it still struggles to catch up to the PlayStation 4's lead. The situation in other markets like the FIFA-loving UK and especially Japan is even more challenging.

The Xbox One reveal had a disastrous event at E3 way back in 2013, you see. A focus on media and entertainment functions, a high price tag resulting from the mandatory Kinect peripheral, and hardware that fell short of power compared to the PlayStation 4 all hindered the new Xbox out of the gate.

Microsoft quickly course corrected, replacing the media-focused Don Mattrick (largely reviled by gamers) with the more videogame-savvy and charismatic Phil Spencer. Phil and his new team presumably had an awesome meal and then quickly put plans into place to help the Xbox One catch up to Sony's competing system.

The thing is you can't just pull great games out of a hat. This year is when we really start to see the fruits of the current Xbox team's labors. We'll find out about the hot games that Microsoft has planned for fall and winter 2015, and perhaps get a tease of next year's titles as well.

Battletoads appear in Shovel Knight

The Battletoads cameo in Shovel Knight on Xbox One

Microsoft to bring in the big guns

Here's what I think Microsoft will announce at E3 this year. For another perspective, check out Jez's Top 10 most anticipated announcements of E3.

  • Tomb Raider: The latest Tomb Raider launches this fall as a timed Xbox One exclusive. You can bet we'll see it during the briefing.
  • Two games from Rare: Microsoft's Rare studio has languished for years making Kinect Sports games. This year, we'll finally see a traditional game from them at E3. In fact, my money is on two games! One is likely to be a new Battletoads or another resurrected property. The other will probably be a brand new IP – something meant to appeal to a wide swath of gamers.
  • Gears of War: The HD remake of the first Gears of War is Microsoft's worst-kept secret. The big MS could surprise us by releasing the remake as a downloadable title during E3, but it's more likely to be a retail release for the fall. Also, expect a teaser for the brand new Gears of War currently in development.
  • Halo 5: Of course they'll show off Halo 5, which comes out later this year.
  • Forza 6: The latest installment in the popular racing simulation series launches this year as well. The big question is whether it can compete with Forza Horizon 2's popularity.
  • Fable Legends: If the multiplayer Fable game doesn't show up at E3, Microsoft will probably show it off at Gamescom instead. However, I would read that particular absence as a vote of low confidence.
  • ID@Xbox: Sony has been killing it with indie support on PlayStation 4. The indie situation on Xbox One has certainly improved dramatically, but Microsoft still needs to catch up. Expect to see a few Xbox One exclusive indie games with mainstream appeal during the briefing.
  • Killer Instinct Season 3: Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct is no Street Fighter V killer, but it still commands a sizable following in the fighting game scene. Killer Instinct characters are released over time in seasons. The second season just wrapped up with the introduction of Aria. A Season 3 trailer has a decent chance of showing up at E3.
  • Halo Reach: With Halo 1-4 and the recently-released Halo 3: ODST available to play in the Master Chief Collection, only one classic Halo FPS remains unaccounted for. Halo Reach is quite likely to reach the MCC at some point, but I'm not positive they'll announce it at E3.
  • Joe Montana Football: Rumor has it that Microsoft is secretly working on a resurrection of SEGA's classic Joe Montana Football franchise. This title will be an Xbox One exclusive series, much like Sony's baseball game The Show. Depending on the title's progress, it could well debut at the conference.
  • Phantom Dust: During last year's briefing, Microsoft announced a new Phantom Dust game. Oddly, they produced the (crappy) E3 trailer without the consent of the game's developer. This year, they broke ties with said developer, which forced them to close shop. BUT! Supposedly a different developer has taken over the project. Microsoft could win back confidence in Phantom Dust by showing off an impressive new version at E3, but only if the game is far enough along.

Note that Crackdown 3, Quantum Break, and Scalebound definitely won't be at E3 because they are coming to Gamescom.

Follow the Windows Central E3 team

The following Windows Central team members will be present at E3 2015:

Follow us all on Twitter (and @windowscentral) for constant updates on the games and grub of the expo.

Be sure to check back at the site every day next week (and beyond) for our E3 news, interviews, and impressions. With your support, we'll continue to bring you the best dining, I mean gaming coverage a Microsoft fan could want!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!