Microsoft has announced a game showcase for the Xbox Series X on July 23 (9 am PT). Specifically, the company will highlight some of its first-party exclusives that will come to the console when it launches later this year. The event could also serve as a launch platform for the Xbox Series S (Lockhart) and for price confirmation for the Series X.
We'll touch on both those aspects below but it's worth mentioning Microsoft has not said anything about Lockhart or more details on the Xbox Series X. At the moment, the event is billed directly as a game showcase for Xbox Game Studios titles.
The event is part of Microsoft's Xbox 20/20 events, which run every month. Started in May, the events are packaging what Microsoft planned to announce at E3. Of course, E3 was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xbox Series X was clearly going to be a big part of Microsoft's E3 showcase. With that not possible, the company is taking its announcements online with the 20/20 events.
— Xbox (@Xbox) July 6, 2020
It's clear Redmond wants a robust catalog of first-party titles to accompany the Xbox Series X. The company has been working on building exclusivity in recent years. Numerous game studios have been purchased and folded into the Microsoft Game Studios Umbrella.
2018 was a proactive year for Microsoft in terms of Xbox-related acquisitions. The company bought Forza Horizon developer Playground Games. Undead Labs, Ninja Theory, and Compulsion games were purchased in June and confirmed at E3 that year. While developers work under the Microsoft Studios banner, most continue to operate independently.
What to Expect
Looking ahead to this month's showcase, Microsoft says 15 studios are developing exclusive titles for the Xbox Series X. Of course, 343 Industries will be among them and will be highlighting Halo: Infinite during the event.
As mentioned, Microsoft purchased Playground Games in 2018 and rumors abound the company is working on a reboot of the once popular Fable franchise. We know Microsoft opened a second studio for the company and the developer is working on an open world adventure. A return to Fable is a decent bet.
Other games to look out for are Age of Empires IV from World's Edge, Wasteland 3 by InXile, and Hellblade 2 from Ninja Theory. InXile is also known to be developing a new triple A titles that is leveraging the powerful Unreal 5 engine.
It is unclear whether Microsoft will use the event to discuss the Xbox Series X or the Xbox Series S. Now that Sony has confirmed most of the details around the PlayStation 5, Redmond may see this as an opportunity to open up about Series X.
However, it is the less powerful sibling, the Xbox Series S, that will cause a stir if it is announced. This is the Project Lockhart console, an all-digital variant of Microsoft's upcoming console. Notably, Microsoft has yet to confirm the existence of Lockhart. Still, Sony has its PS5 Digital Edition and all signs suggest Microsoft will compete directly.