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Microsoft Shows New Halo, Announces Gaming Studio Aquisitions

Hours after gaming powerhouse EA Games announced a new PC subscription service Microsoft has used the E3 gaming show in Los Angeles to announce the acquisition of new software studio’s while giving attendees a first look at the next Halo video game.

The US software Company only showed a few brief seconds of Halo Infinite – which will complete the second trilogy in the blockbuster series. Xbox chief Phil Spencer described as Master Chief’s described the upcoming game as the “greatest adventure yet”.

Currently the Xbox is struggling to hold onto marketshare up against a surge in demand for PC gaming and arch rival the Sony PS 4 which is due a makeover soon.

At the end of March 39.1 million Xbox Ones had been purchased worldwide – encompassing all versions of the games machine – according to market research firm IHS Markit. By contrast, 76.6 million units of the various PlayStation 4 consoles had been bought.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft claimed that their Xbox One X – released last November – boasts more powerful graphics hardware than the PlayStation 4 Pro.

At this year’s E3 more time was given to other exclusives, including fresh Gears of War and Forza titles, as well as games that will be delivered by two recent acquisitions.

A total of 18 “console launch” exclusives were announced at the Los Angeles event.

As for competition from the new EA games subscription service Microsoft claims that they already offer Xbox Game Pass – a Netflix-like subscription service that offers access to more than 100 titles including new first-party releases.

Microsoft said that the service would soon benefit from FastStart – a new facility that will use “machine learning techniques” to speed up game-loading times, although it did not explain how.

In addition, it revealed several third-party big-name releases from the past – including enhanced editions of Fallout 4 and Tom Clancy’s The Division – were being added.

What was shown was new footage from the highly-anticipated action-adventure sequel Crackdown 3 however Microsoft did not disclose the reason for Crackdown 3’s latest delay which was scheduled for release in 2016 but has suffered multiple delays, they are now talking of February 2019 as a potential launch date.

Microsoft announced that Forza Horizon 4, is due for release this year. This time round, the multiplayer driving game is being set on the UK’s roads and will let gamers race more than 450 vehicles around the UK.

A demo shown on stage featured a hovercraft, in addition to the racing cars normally associated with the series.

Studio takeovers

Mr Spencer addressed Xbox’s need to secure further Xbox and Windows-only titles in the future, part way through his presentation. “We know that exclusive games from our Microsoft Studios are what originally turned so many of us into Xbox fans,” he declared.

“This is why we are increasing our investment in our existing franchises that you already love, and this is why we are amplifying our investment in new worlds.” He said that Microsoft had purchased Undead Labs – the US studio behind the State of Decay zombie games – and Canada’s Compulsion Games, which is working on the crowdfunded retro-futuristic title We Happy Few.

The executive added that his firm had also created a new US-based studio, called The Initiative, which will be led by Darrell Gallagher, who previously oversaw 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot.

“These five new teams will have the resources, the platform and creative independence to take bigger risks,” Mr Spencer added.

One company-watcher commented that the moves effectively doubled the amount of games studios owned by the tech giant.

 

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