Xbox at E3

E3: There’s never been a better time to be a gamer, says Xbox chief

The head of Xbox has announced that there “has never been a better time to be an Xbox gamer”, after Microsoft unveiled a new family of Xbox One devices, a host of new Xbox Live features and the biggest line-up of games in the console’s history.

Phil Spencer took to the stage at E3, the annual video games conference, earlier this week to unveil a raft of new products and games for 2016 and 2017. This includes the smaller and sleeker Xbox One S, and the upcoming Project Scorpio – the most powerful console ever created.

“Gamers have never had more choice in how and where they play,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, at the conference in Los Angeles. “We are bringing our biggest games line-up ever to Xbox One and Windows 10, uniting gamers across networks on Xbox Live and expanding the Xbox One family of devices with the addition of Xbox One S and Project Scorpio to give gamers more choice in how and where they play. There’s never been a better time to be an Xbox gamer.”

One of the biggest events at E3 was the announcement of the Xbox One S, the latest console in the line-up. The new device is 40% smaller than the current Xbox One and will boast up to two terabytes of storage, double the current limit. It will also support 4K and HDR, and come with new controllers that can be customised via the new Xbox Design Lab. There are more than eight million colour variations to choose from for the controller body, D-pad, thumbsticks, ABXY buttons and more. Prices for the Xbox One S, which is released in August, start at just £249.

Looking further ahead, Microsoft announced Project Scorpio – the most powerful console ever created. Current Xbox One games and accessories for the new device, boasting six teraflops and supporting 4K, will be compatible.

Xbox Live was also high on the agenda, with new features designed to break down barriers between gamers playing on different devices and make gaming more accessible for all.

Xbox Live clubs will help gamers who have similar playing styles and interests to connect with each other, while those looking for players can announce “wanted” adverts. Xbox will release a tournaments platform for all ability levels. Arena on Xbox Live will take competitive gaming to Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, and allow players to compete for prizes.

Gamers on Xbox One and Windows 10 can now play certain multiplayer titles together, including Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves and Scalebound.

Those playing Minecraft on iOS, Android, Windows 10 phone and Windows 10 devices can also play together.

Cortana, Microsoft digital assistant, will make the leap over to Xbox One. She will recognise familiar voice commands and new gaming-specific scenarios, and will launch initially in the UK and US.

Gamers will also be able to see the top PC games on Xbox Live. Fans can use the Xbox app to see which PC games friends are playing, view game clips and upload their own, and message and voice chat with others across games.

New games were also announced, including war epic Battlefield 1, zombie fight-fest Dead Rising 4, the latest in the legendary Final Fantasy franchise, racing game Forza Horizon 3, swash buckling adventure Sea of Thieves, Halo Wars 2 and Gears of War 4.