It’s that time of year again… In just a couple of weeks, the eyes of gamers will focus on LA as Sony, Microsoft and a host of others reveal what they’ve been working on these past 12 months.

And for Microsoft, this E3 could be their most important in god knows how long. Perhaps ever. Without a new shiny piece of hardware to get games journalists and fans talking, they’ll now have to rely on games and more games to show fans it’s worth investing in one of their consoles.

No Wind in their Sales

Judging by figures that EA released in the last few days when compared to the PS4, not too many of you feel it’s worthwhile investing in an Xbox One. According to EA, as of 31st of December 2017, Xbox has sold an estimated 29.5 million consoles. Given that it’s now May, that figure has more than likely surpassed 30 Million. But its still nowhere near Sony’s 70+ million consoles sold.  Those numbers just show why Microsoft was wary of making them public.

Can’t Buy Time

Phil Spencer has done a great job in repairing Microsoft’s reputation after the Don Mattrick ****show

We’ve been hearing these past few weeks and months is that Microsoft is investing in AAA games and even creating new studios to develop those games. But, a successful studio and AAA games don’t just happen overnight. It can take 3+ years to make a true AAA game. Just this week Rockstar has revealed that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been in development for 8 years.

If that’s the case it may be too late for Microsoft to salvage some pride this generation. We may have to wait for what’s presumably going to be called the Xbox Two. In that scenario, what in God’s name can Microsoft show gamers to get them excited about the next couple of years on Xbox?

It seems a safe bet that we’ll either get a reveal trailer or gameplay of Quantum Break 2. Remeber Quantum Break? It was released in those days that Microsoft thought TV was just as important as games to gamers. Let’s hope they’ve learnt their lesson and not include a tv show of the game as well.

Another Halo has surely been in the works at 343 Industries these last few years. Personally, I think Microsoft has milked that game for all it’s worth and now I just see any sequel doing damage to its own stellar legacy. After the cluster**** that was the Master Chief Collection and a good-but-unspectacular Halo 5 Microsoft needs to get back into Halo fans good books. It’s also one of Xbox’s few IP’s that can compete on a global level with anything Sony has to offer. Well, it was.

Small in Japan

Phil Spencer confirmed on Twitter that Japanese games will be showed off on the Xbox stage at E3 2018. Xbox has never sustained support for Japanese games on its console
and because of that its sales numbers in Japan are woefully bad. In fact, when the Xbox One S was released, it was advertised in certain Japanese stores as a 4K Blu Ray player instead of a console. That speaks volumes.

The gift that keeps on giving

But Japan is a market that Microsoft have tried and failed at before. Each previous Xbox has seen similar, albeit less loud, talk of ‘breaking Japan’. Xbox may well put their back into offering a meaningful third option in the far east this time around but given the writing in on the wall for this generation, it is probably pointless.

Sony fans may enjoy seeing Microsoft in this vulnerable position, but most gamers will know that one dominant system isn’t good for anyone except that system maker. If Sony becomes more dominant, what’s going to stop them from upping the price of their console and accessories? We’ve seen this generation the lack of appetite from Sony to make the PS4 backwards compatible. I’m certain if this generation was neck and neck, Sony would have introduced it. We’re not even taking Nintendo into consideration even though the Switch has been an incredible success for the Japanese company. I don’t believe that Nintendo is in competition with Sony and Microsoft but instead with other mobile offerings.