Windows Phone Central's E3 2014 Plans and Predictions

E3 time is here again, loyal readers. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the single largest gaming event of the year. E3 2014 takes place from June 10-12 (plus press conferences on Monday) at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is open only to members of the gaming industry.

During E3, all of the major console gaming 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 2013 stories to get an idea of what goes down.

The very largest publishers and platform holders also hold press conferences on Monday, just before the show opens. Microsoft’s annual Media Briefing runs from 9:30-11am PDT. This is when the big MS will reveal the new shape of its gaming plans for the Xbox One. Windows Phone Central will be there and live blogging from the briefing, so make sure you check back with us Monday morning!

What should you expect in the way of Microsoft and Xbox news from E3 2014? Read on for our predictions!

Windows Phone and Windows 8: expect a shunning

Halo: Spartan Assault Windows Phone at E3

Last year, Windows Phone and Windows 8 were almost completely absent from E3. Nowhere did they come up during Microsoft’s media briefing, nor did Microsoft announce even one new game for either platform during the show. But they did dedicate a small section of their massive booth to the Windows Phone version of Halo: Spartan Assault, which had only been announced a short time before the show.

This year, I expect things to be even direr for Windows Phone and its tablet/PC cousin. Let’s just say the odds are 100-to-1 against Microsoft mentioning either mobile platform during the Media Briefing. The Xbox console folks have never had any interest in Windows Phone, so they’re certainly not going to waste a moment of their press conference spotlight on non-existing mobile gaming plans. Microsoft doesn’t even have any big Windows Phone games in development that we know of, so any booth presence would likely be limited to a few phones and tablets running old games off in the corner.

Then again, Phil Spencer is the new boss of the Xbox division. He has made vague comments hinting at more connectivity between all of Microsoft’s platforms. It’s still a longshot, but Microsoft *could* decide that Xbox games are coming back to Windows Phone. And they *could* announce that bombshell at E3. But don’t hold your breath, mobile Achievement junkies.

Xbox 360: Don't count it out yet

Xbox 360 E3

The Xbox 360 has been Microsoft’s most successful console ever, dominating the US market and putting up a good fight worldwide. Even though the Xbox One is now the cool kid on the block, don’t expect its older brother to sit E3 out. There will be numerous 360 games on the show floor, including both retail and downloadable titles. I’d say the number of big titles will drop by 25-50 percent compared to last year, but the B-tier and indie stuff will round things out well enough.

If Microsoft is going to announce a price drop for the 360 (possibly as low as $129.99 for the core system), the Media briefing would be a good time to do it. Then again, they might choose to hold off on such an announcement in order to keep the spotlight on the Xbox One. Having just announced Forza Horizons 2 for both Xbox One and 360 prior to the show, Microsoft might just have another exclusive title in development for both consoles at once. Third-party franchises aimed at both One and 360 are also very likely to appear during the press conference.

Xbox One: TV, TV, TV… Just kidding!

Xbox One E3

Last year’s press conference went badly for Microsoft. For one, Don Mattrick was part of the conference. Besides that, news that the Xbox One would launch at $100 higher than the Playstation 4 - as well as discussion regarding Microsoft’s strange DRM plans and online requirement plans - completely dominated the conversation among gamers. Disapproval of those plans was so rampant that Microsoft abandoned them less than two weeks after the show. And Mattrick left shortly after that, for the good of all.

Now that the more gaming-focused Phil Spencer leads the Xbox division, we can expect a much different more exciting presentation at this year’s event. Microsoft has already dropped the news of the $399 Kinect-less Xbox One package in advance of E3, just to get that discussion out of the way. It’s all games from here (maybe just a blip about the Halo TV series though).

Earlier this year, somebody leaked a big list of Microsoft’s Xbox One plans. Several items from the leak have proven true already, so it’s safe to expect most of the remaining unconfirmed points from the list to rear their heads during E3.

Halo 2

For example, everybody and his brother knows that a collection of classic Halo games is coming to the One this year. Phil Spencer even spoke hypothetically about the rumored Halo 2 remake. The collection – which is said to either include Halo 1-4 or Halo 2-4 in a single package – still hasn’t been officially confirmed by Microsoft, however. So the Media Briefing is the likeliest place for the official announcement. We’ll probably see the new Halo 2 in action (maybe not the other titles in the collection) and learn some of its multiplayer details.

The leak list also made mention of multiple special Xbox One consoles: a white console, a console with a 1 TB hard drive, and a Titanfall console. Well, we know Microsoft decided against releasing the Titanfall system. But a white console and a larger hard drive are very likely to happen. If either system (or one system with both features) is mentioned during the press conference, smart money says it will be bundled with the Kinect. Having just announced the cheaper Kinect-free console, Microsoft will want to incentivize purchase of the more expensive bundle.

Other games we expect to see during the press conference:

  • Halo 5 – maybe a glimpse of gameplay, maybe just a longer teaser
  • Forza Horizons 2 – just announced and coming this year
  • Fable Legends – not coming this year, so probably just a tease

Possible but less likely:

  • Gears of War – not coming this year, so maybe just a tease
  • Crackdown 3 – still not confirmed anywhere, but everyone knows it’s coming
  • Phantom Dust – A remake or sequel to the original Xbox classic is almost certainly in development. Will Microsoft announce it at E3? If they have anything ready to show, yes!
  • VooDoo Vince – Is Phil Spencer hinting at a revival of this original Xbox franchise?
  • Unannounced big-name exclusive – Rumor has it that Microsoft has secured a compelling new exclusive title for the One. If the rumor pans out, this exclusive will be part of an established franchise. What could it be?

Windows Phone Central at E3

WIndows Phone Central E3 plans

You can always count on us to show up at E3 and bring you exclusive coverage. Tune in Monday morning, June 9th for our live blog of the Microsoft Media Briefing, and check back throughout the week for additional news and videos from the show floor!

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!

  • Nothing wrong with TV / Entertainment apps ... I love the stuff and Xbox does need to continue down that path to expand its appeal in the living room.  But at E3, keep it out.  It was completely appropriate to make the announcements they did this week leading up to E3.
  • E3 isn't about W8.1 or WP8.1, so that is expected. Cant wait to see what they have in store for us.
  • On the other hand, to ability to stream the Xbox One screen to a W8.1 device would be awesome.
  • YES!. It is so maddening to have to use the clumsy remotes they have when I have a tablet with the app and all they have to do is stream the UI and stream back the touch points to the device. then I could interact with IE on the TV without using the worthless remore, and maybe even use the clumsy xbox OS without driving the remote against the drywall for once.
  • E3 is all about games. The platform on which those games are played really shouldn't matter. I am fine with them having a focus on console gaming... but the way that they pretend that Xbox for Windows Phone does not exist, and the way that they seem to shun PC gaming (even though it dwarfs consoles) has never made any sense to me. With Windows Threshold/9/One coming out next year that is supposedly going to unify the xbox, WP, RT, Windows OSs, it would not surprise me if MS started dropping some hints at more cross platform gaming capabilities, and a shift to selling games through the Windows Store rather than through Xbox... but that may be next year rather than this year.
  • ^This. +1020.
  • E3 is all about games? why not call it ge? Electronic Entertainment Exposition ......
  • More Dire............. It hurt me. Sorry, Paul.
  • Yes, what I wanted! Just games, and not stupid TV...
  • i think E3 for both ms and sony will be a bit lackluster, it is really set-up for 2015 and beyond since really i don't see many new games that will be unexpected coming out this year.  At least it will be better than last year, since it isn't that hard to match up last years bomb of a show.   
  • So much for "one Microsoft", they'll probably announce something for their beloved ios rather than WP.
  • The only thing that could excite me enough to possibly buy an Xbox One would be a new Gears of War game. Even that might not be enough though.
  • What about a possible app store, and lower requirements, so we can get more apps on the console?
  • -we're MSFT, we're here to follow, not lead.
  • If they really want to be seen as innovative, yes do all the game stuff but start with this: "xbox one now supports universal apps, download the update and enjoy thousands of apps today". Sony has no counter to this, in particular, all they can do is support android apps which won't be designed for the console given sony, unlike MSFT isn't a platform company. now if only app-stores with thousands of apps any developer can make were popular....hmm. where have we seen that?
  • So we might get two exclusives in 2014 announced? That's rather weak for the "launch window," IMO.
  • If anyone has actually used the Xbox One with Kinect with their TV, then I don't think they'd be poking fun at it much anymore. One you use it, you'll never go back to using your TV as you did before.
  • I hope they announce more stuff for the X1 that will be released THIS year.  I know most of the x360 stuff will be this year but I REALLY want to use this big $500 box for more than twitch streaming and games that look like they could have existed in 1998. Still hoping we hear something on a 360 emu or perhaps using the x1 controller on the 360 (wired of course).
  • Oh, good grief.  Windows Phone is no more a gaming platform than Android or iPhone.  There's no such thing as an awesome gaming experience on ANY mobile device, with maybe the exception of a high-end laptop.  Any game ever put on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone is merely a time-passer.  You're a fool if you have convinced yourself that any of these is even in the consideration.  This article should have completely left smartphones and even tablets out of the context and focused on real gaming platforms: consoles and full-up computers.
  • I agree with most of what you said. Mobile gaming is far from becoming a part of the same industry as traditional console and handheld games. When the 3DS launched, everyone said it wasn't powerful enough, 3D is a gimmick, tablets are gonna replace dedicated handhelds, etc. And yes, it is underpowered and the 3D is pointless now three years post-launch, but why does Nintendo sell so many? Because anyone who really wants a true mobile gaming experience is not gonna buy a tablet. They buy a 3DS or Vita. Simple as that.
  • There are some pretty fun Xbox games on Window Phone and Windows 8, actually.
  • No. (to ScubaDog)
  • Not mentioning Halo Guardians is like heresy
  • Why don't they allow everyone to install "xbox" games on WP? It's a disappointment to learn that a WP game is "xbox" restricted so I'm blocked from installing it (unless I create a new Microsoft account, which I'm not willing to do just to install a stupid game).  
  • Wait, what? Why can't you install Xbox games on your Windows Phone?
  • Has no one even thought to mention Cortana for x1? Not that I expect anything on it... But would be amazing if she was there :P or they mentioned about when we could expect to see her.. Also universal apps would be great!
  • I want to see some games for Xbone and PS4 that will make me want to go out and buy one. Lastly, Nintendo had better have Zelda Wii U ready.
  • They will, I'm pretty sure they said a little bit after E3 2013 that they'd be announcing the new Zelda at this year's E3.
  • What what what!! Phantom Dust??? When did this happen?? Sega owns that game if I'm not mistaken and I logged many hours playing that awesome Japanese game!!! Holy shit!!
  • microsoft owns that ip and the guy who did crimson dragon hinted at he wanted to do that for his next project.   On the predictions though fable legends has been stated by lionhead to be "big" at e3 and hinting at playable on the show floor so I think we will see alot of that.
  • I really don't understand why Microsoft isn't advertising the fact that they have Xbox games on Windows Phone and Windows 8. They should have commercials showing someone playing Xbox One at home, playing Xbox on the bus on their phone, playing Xbox on their tablet in an airport, etc.
  • I would like to see some data amongst serious gamers who own a smartphone just how attractive this feature is (having Xbox Live games on your phone). Because that's the audience that would be really invested in it.
  • I don't really understand why windowsphone matters in the gaming world. Most phone games are casual anyway. I have 0 interest on the Xbox. I don't even really watch tv regularly so the main "media" message doesn't resound with me at all.
  • Skype for XBOX360!!