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 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • The biggest thing I was hoping to see was more info on Age of Empires IV. Secondly, I wanted to see a release date for Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack. Sadly, neither of those things were mentioned. I'd also like to see Microsoft try to get more of the popular mobile games in the market to come to Windows 10. For example, I love Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. I would love that to come to Windows 10 so I can play on a tablet.
  • I was expecting the return of HALO to the PC. Perhaps they are saving to GamesCon, as PC gaming is far stronger than Xbox in Germany. Considering the points raised, I feel Microsoft already answered the VR question. Xbox will not have it. I guess they consider it, at this point, mostly a gimmick and prefer to wait until the public really embrace it.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if the next Halo is an Xbox Play Anywhere title. In fact, I'd be surprised if it wasn't. So I imagine it will return to PC.
  • Confused by your comment, since they confirmed in their trailer that Halo Infinite is for both Xbox and Windows 10. So mainline Halo (in addition to the Halo Wars series and mobile games like Spartan Strike) is indeed returning to the PC.
  • I was referring to the rumors that the Master Chief Collection would be ported to the PC.
  • I was somewhat hoping to hear about new hardware. I also expected to hear more about the new avatars.
  • It felt strange to see people say this was a perfect conference.
    Many of the people trashing Japanese games or who downplayed the need of exclusives, moved the goalpost and started celebrating Japanese ports and "new studios" with promise of new exclusives... Anyway, I'll post my negative points about this conference. I already posted the positives and negative on the forum.
    I do have to say that if you're a MS fan who doesn't want to hear or gets upset when people criticise MS/XB, please stop reading here. (you have been warned lol)
    1) Mostly 3rd part or multiplats
    What I can't do is give much credit to MS for most of what we saw. It was almost entirely about 3rd party or multiplats.
    We've seen many games but it's just about making a long conference not to showcase your games but mostly showcase other people's work. It's not reasons why to buy a XB1 if I already own another platform.
    2) "Console launch exclusive" bs
    It's horrible how they STILL try to mislead consumers with their "exclusive" message. Trying to pass timed exclusives as exclusives. How they use the confusing term "Console launch exclusive" that they invented. That's a huge negative for me. Covering your lack of investment in exclusives by trying to trick gamers with timed deals. And why do the need to have that voice say "Exclusive"? That to me is very misleading...
    3) new studios?
    It got to be noted that going into this generation MS had more studios. They ended/closed 3 studios.
    I've been hearing a lot of the "5 new studios". There is one new studio. 2 were second party studios who were already working and making games for MS. Then they bought 2 studios.
    What they end up doing is ending/closing 3 studios, creating one new one here, and bought 2 studios who were making games for all platforms. While buying 2 studios who were already working mostly for MS.
    Both studios that the bought are small studios but the real question mark here is that knowing MS's history with studios, how will these two studios do?
    They still need to prove themselves. All we are left here is hope that it turns out alright.
    I hope they give these studios creative freedom to do what they want. No microtransactions, no forced multiplayer coop, no "game must be 4K", no "neverending sequels", no "meet the deadline" pressure, no game as service bs...
    4) Nothing in the next 1-2 years?
    Last year we were told that games will not be announced to early. It is unlikely that either Halo or Gears will come in the next 12 months. Ori that was announced last year was said to come in 2019, so we're talking 18-30 months after it was announced.
    5) Depending on the usual Halo/Gears/Forza
    Last year, Spencer said MS doesn't depend on Halo, Gears and Forza.
    But what did we get here? Halo, Gears and Forza were the only AAA console exclusives by MS.
    It's crazy to think that we are almost 34 months since we last had a non-Halo/Gears/Forza AAA console exclusive announced and it's likely to be at least 46 months till next E3.
    6) What was Spencer doing since 2014?
    Spencer took charge in 2014. His games are supposed to be coming out right about now. How can a drought like this be acceptable? 2016-2019. 4 years!! What was he planning all these years?
    At the start of this generations MS had many studios Twisted Pixel Games, Lionhead Studios, Press Play. So they bought two third party studio but closed down these three.
    7) Next console? Already?
    They hinted for a new console even though the XB1x released recently. The drought probably won't end anytime soon and that these studios are probably making games for the next console. The question is why is this good for people who believed on the XB1x? Why should believe in this system?
    At the end of the day this was more a 3rd party conference about some stuff about the future. They are promising dreams. And once again we'll have to wait and see what happens... As much as MS fans were talking about not knowing stuff too early and how they only want to hear things 12 months before launch, here, they are actually celebrating "studios". We probably won't see the result in another 4 years or so... For me, this wasn't much about the current XB1, but more a preview of the next console. This reminds me of 2011-2012 where many of the games talked about for the 360 ended up launching on XB1.
  • The only reason people (other than Xbox fanboys) are saying that it was a good press conference is because Sony's was so unbelievably bad. I agree with most of your points, though. But on nº 7, I would just question the need to talk about a console that is only coming two years from now. Unless it was to shut up the people who still say "console generations are over bla bla bla".
  • Well, to be fair I also found the Sony conference awful. In fact I found most conferences bad. I think they are already trying to hype the next gen because maybe for them this gen is over for them a bit like how soon they released the 360. I'm really getting that 2011 vibe where we are building towards the next console... I guess that will soon be the direction they and their fans will take...
  • The most disappointing thing at E3, to me, was Sony's Press Conference. The Xads one was rather good by comparison. But it was still a bunch of announcements for 2019 and beyond, or about a bunch of the same old boring rundown games (Gears, Forza, Halo). I also thought Microsoft would have the courage to stop overpricing the One X and would lower the price to 399 to see if they could finally start selling enough consoles to entice developers but nope.
    They've clearly already thrown the towel and are now focusing on the next generation to try and not make it fail again.
    Though...well...being Microsoft, it's very likely the PlayStation 5 will also win the next generation thanks to Microsoft's continuous "US first, US only" policies.
  • The whole bloody E3 was just a massive waist of time. Im a x gamer and to be honest, it looks like if you want choice xbox is not the system. Very sad state of affairs.
  • For the second year in a row they show Crackdown 3, and for a second year in a row, no environmental destruction anywhere to be found. It's clear the game is much different than the original demonstration of Crackdown 3 led us to believe it would be. I wish Microsoft would just come out and be honest about this.
  • They said two years ago that environmental destruction was limited to MP, and not a feature of the single player campaign. I'm not aware of any communicated changes to this plan, so unless you have specific reason to believe otherwise, I imagine that's what we'll still get.
  • Let me know when it supports Window Media Center with television recorder or similar and I will plug it back in.
  • MS didn't have a dancing panda.
  • Basically cloud streaming needs to be ready for the Asus phone, or it'll crash and burn (unless Nvidia brings its streaming service to mobile devices).
  • Of all the things that weren't delivered, everything is trumped by the fact that Unravel Two was revealed at E3, and released at E3, nothing else matters and that was a fantastic surprise.
  • No Xbox One X refresh with 2TB storage
  • On another site (sorry for the link), there was word of Xbox not getting VR support: https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/20/17485852/microsoft-xbox-one-no-vr-hea...
  • Was disappointed there was no Xbox/Alexa integration announcement. I really want to be able to control my Xbox through Alexa.
  • I was really hoping to hear more on that as well.
  • It was great compared to Sony's poor display. 50+ games and over 10 exclusives. Can't go wrong with that. And the Most powerful console right now.
  • No Shenmue 3
  • Theres no such thing as a perfect conference. If you step into the press conference from the stance of I am a casual who plays games on xbox then the conference is rock solid. two of Jez own disappointments are rumors VR and elite controller. Niether of which would have made the show better. Vr would take too much stage time and ruin the pace. Elite controller really doesn't need to be on the e3 stage at all. Inside xbox is good enough for a controller. Don't really care much about new IPs. Afterall the last new IP sea of thieves the community threw under the bus. Same for re-core and quantum break. Crackdown is just lost in space but really if it wasn't releasing in the next few weeks it would probably get swept away this fall. I can wait especially since that trailer was above and beyond good looking. If the multiplayer is any good they can show it the day before it comes out and it'll sell consoles. No idea what they're adding to the game but im sure this extra 9 months cant hurt the game.