What didn't Microsoft deliver at Xbox E3 2018?

Xbox @ E3
Xbox @ E3 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft's E3 2018 showcase was an incredibly impressive show, debuting over a dozen new games, showcasing the future roadmap of Xbox, and delivering responses to several key feedback points. But we didn't get everything we were expecting.

Here are some of the things we were hoping to see at E3 2018, but didn't.

No new Elite controller?

Microsoft is undoubtedly working on a new Elite controller. It seems as though early prototypes may have leaked, and patents relating to potential features have also emerged. We even have a codename for the device, and some idea on its features owing to drivers found in the Xbox OS.

Since stocks of the existing Elite controller have dwindled close to zero, we were firmly expecting a new Xbox Elite controller to make a debut at E3 2018. The original controller added several extra configurable buttons, magnetic thumbstick customization, hair-trigger locks, and more. But the design wasn't perfect, with many users reporting rubber grips coming dislodged, and triggers becoming stuck or dislodged. Hopefully, the next Elite controller will build upon what Microsoft started with the original, and debut sooner rather than later.

Cloud streaming promise, but no demo

Microsoft announced that it was exploring cloud streaming to mobile devices, allowing you to take your games on the go. Microsoft Research is currently working to solve some of the biggest issues relating to latency, but there are various outstanding questions about how it will work.

Touch controls suck for playing the vast majority of console games, due to reaction speeds and accuracy requirements. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft solves some of these issues, but it would have been even more interesting to see them debut it on stage at E3 2018.

Five studios announced, but no new IP

Microsoft confirmed a massive first-party games investment at E3 2018, adding five new studios to its portfolio. The award-winning creators of Hellblade, the team behind Forza Horizon, and more signed up with Microsoft, but we haven't really got much of an idea what they're working on.

Playground Games is rumored to be working on a reboot of Fable, Microsoft's somewhat legendary RPG series, but any potential debut missed E3. Microsoft is also rumored to be working on a reboot to Perfect Dark, perhaps led by Darrell Gallagher and his new studio The Initiative.

Microsoft did unveil new Gears of War games, a new Halo, and a new Forza, but it would have been nice to have seen some real surprises too.

Where is Crackdown 3's multiplayer?

Crackdown 3 is a game marred by delays, and at the very least, the most recent delay seems to have led to big improvements. Microsoft showcased a new trailer for Crackdown 3's campaign, featuring Terry Crews' explosive talents. The game looks like it's shaping up rather nicely, but, where is its big unique selling point?

Microsoft has very curiously kept Crackdown 3's multiplayer features hidden since its initial debut. We tried them out for ourselves at Gamescom years ago, and we were shown servers lighting up in real time to process the physics and destruction. Microsoft's reluctance to show off developments in this area has led to speculation that it's the multiplayer aspects of the game given rise to the delays. Microsoft had an opportunity to silence the naysayers at E3, but the fact they didn't will continue to cast dark clouds over... well... the cloud.

No answer on VR


HP HMD (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft announced that the Xbox One X was designed with VR in mind, and did a bunch of demos on stage featuring Minecraft in Mixed Reality. However, in recent years, Microsoft has completely ignored VR on the gaming side, specifically for Xbox.

In our interview with Xbox CVP Mike Ybarra, he noted that Microsoft will continue to invest in the PC side instead for VR in the near-term, but for those wondering whether VR is coming to Xbox One X or not will remain in the dark.

What did you find disappointing?

It's hard to nitpick a show that was mostly awesome, but there are still plenty of areas Microsoft needs to improve. The Microsoft Store for Windows 10 still needs improvements, the Movies & TV operation is missing Android and iOS apps, and Movies Anywhere support. UWP for gaming is still an area that needs many new features and support, and despite the announcements, broad mouse and keyboard support for Xbox hasn't materialized.

What did you find disappointing about E3 2018? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!