E3 2019 preview: Xbox predictions, rumors and expectations

Credit: Microsoft
Credit: Microsoft /
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Microsoft /

Word is Microsoft is going all out with Xbox for E3 2019, and it might be their show to take this year with Sony not even appearing.

Let’s travel back in time to 2013, just before that year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Though not dominant outside of the US, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 — thanks to its popularity stateside — was practically neck and neck with Sony’s PlayStation 3, which had gotten off the generation to a pretty terrible start.  Microsoft seemed primed to at least keep a tight pace with Sony, if not finally overtake them and become the top dog in the gaming space.

Then the Xbox One unveiling happened and was literally one of the worst-received unveilings in E3 history. It was expensive. It wasn’t backward compatible. It was bundled with a new Kinect that was still terrible and no one wanted. It had to always be online. There wasn’t much even in the way of games. It was TV, TV, TV.

Six years later, the Xbox One and its various subscription offerings are arguably one of the best deals in gaming. But that initial showing did so much damage that they still haven’t really recovered.

Exclusives have been few and far between, those key third-party marketing deals often seem to go to Sony when it was almost always Microsoft last round. And while sales numbers haven’t been revealed for ages, it’s a badly kept secret that the PlayStation 4 has vastly outsold the Xbox One for pretty much the whole run of this generation.

However, Microsoft hasn’t been sitting idly by these past six years. They have fixed just about every major complaint labeled at the Xbox One, given it great backward compatibility with previous generations and offered some pretty cool online services that Sony hasn’t really matched. This, along with the recent creation and acquisition of a bunch of studios to make exclusive games for the next generation makes it seem like Microsoft is really primed to get back into the game in a big way.

Even if you don’t buy a box they have made. Let’s take a look a what we think we will (and won’t) see at Microsoft’s E3 2019 presentation for Xbox.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
Activision /

What We Will See: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Activision may not have a booth at E3 2019, but they will be at this year’s event. Even if they weren’t, I feel with the word on Microsoft being that they are pulling out all the stops this year, they would still show off the latest entry in the Call of Duty series from Activision.

Activision has had a timed-exclusivity deal with Sony for the past for Call of Duty titles, but it seems like that might not exist with this year’s game. At least, there was no mention or hinting at such a partnership.

Activision officially unveiled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare this past week, but it’s possible they were saving some gameplay for E3. Microsoft’s E3 showcase could be the stage in which Activision shows it off. Besides general details unveiled last week, specific gameplay has yet to be talked about.

The most interesting and arguably controversial tidbit that has leaked is that this Call of Duty: Modern Warfare features a single-player campaign specifically inspired by the “No Russian” level that opens Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the goal of the campaign in this new Call of Duty is to focus on “troubling, realistic emotions”. Can the Call of Duty franchise even handle that in a way that doesn’t seem like a Michael Bay film? We’ll likely find out at Microsoft’s E3 2019 presentation in just a few days.