Before the internet came along and spoiled everything, E3 used to be a more surprising event. Chalk that up to plain ignorance. Back in the early days of E3, people simply had almost no idea what was going to be on display. Now, game studios can’t help but tell the world about what they’ll be showing at E3 as quickly as possible.
Microsoft, for instance, will almost certainly devote the majority of their E3 showcase to their upcoming 4K console, Project Scorpio. If that proves to be the case, it will be hard to blame them. After all, when hasn’t a new console been the centerpiece of a company’s E3 presentation?
Then again, Sony did reveal the PS4 Pro at a separate event prior to E3 2017. Nintendo also hosted a separate event for the reveal of the Switch. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think these companies have learned that E3 isn’t always the best place to fully debut a new console.
In the case of Microsoft and Project Scorpio, it most certainly isn’t.
Even though Microsoft hasn’t officially unveiled Project Scorpio in full, we still know quite a bit about the console including the system specs. Given that there will be no exclusive Project Scorpio games, the biggest things Microsoft can reveal about the console are its name, its price, and the release date.
In other words, the most Microsoft can do with Project Scorpio is get to the point. When can we buy this, what is it called, and how much will it be?
Part of the reason that Sony and Nintendo have opted to reveal their respective new consoles outside of the E3 timeframe is because a console reveal requires a great deal of spin. Hosting a separate event for the console itself affords a company the press time they need to ensure that everyone is talking about their system. This is part of the reason why Nintendo has dropped traditional E3 presentations altogether.
The nature of the Project Scorpio device only adds to this dilemma. Microsoft knows that there is a very select market of gamers who want to buy the system. Not even 100% of the E3 crowd is going to be interested in buying the console, and that’s a hardcore contingent of gamers. Not to mention that E3 is the one “trade show” where things like market revenue and performance power usually don’t wow anyone in attendance that doesn’t work for the company giving the presentation.
So, what should Microsoft focus on? Well, games are an ideal candidate, but it’s still not entirely clear how many heavy-hitters Microsoft has up their sleeves for E3 2017. Even still, extended gameplay demos of whatever titles will be on display – especially demos running off of Project Scorpio – are sure to go over well with the crowd. Focusing on Xbox Game Pass, backward compatibility titles, and the company’s other strengths might also be a great way to go.
That’s not the point. The point is that Microsoft has been teasing Project Scorpio for over a year now and fatigue is starting to set in. If they choose to devote the bulk of their E3 to the console, they may be surprised to find that the response is an awkward whimper.