Tech

Microsoft unveils new Xbox games ahead of next-gen console war with Sony

Key Points
  • Microsoft kicked off its hotly-anticipated online games showcase Thursday with gameplay from its upcoming "Halo Infinite" title.
  • The company also announced "Fable," the first new title in the role-playing game franchise after developer Lionhead was closed in 2016.
  • The Xbox Series X is due to be released later this year, setting the stage for a fresh console war with Sony.
Phil Spencer, executive vice president at Microsoft, speaks at the company's Xbox One X reveal event ahead of the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on June 11, 2017.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft pulled the wraps off a slew of new video games in a bid to impress gamers ahead of the release of its upcoming Xbox Series X console.

The company kicked off its hotly-anticipated online games showcase Thursday with gameplay from its upcoming "Halo Infinite" title, which is the sixth main instalment in the "Halo" franchise. The game series is arguably one of the defining franchises of Microsoft's Xbox brand.

The "Halo Infinite" reveal began with a look at the sci-fi shooter game's campaign story, which features main protagonist Master Chief battling alien enemies in similar fashion to its predecessors. Players will this time able to use a grappling hook to get up close and personal with enemies. The game also features a new villain named War Chief Escharum.

One surprising announcement from Microsoft came in the form of "Fable," the first new title in the role-playing game franchise of the same name after developer Lionhead was closed in 2016. The unveiling of the game was scant on detail.

Next-gen consoles

Microsoft didn't divulge any new information about its upcoming console, though. The Xbox Series X is due later this year, setting the stage for a fresh console war with Sony, which is gearing up to launch its own new device, the PlayStation 5. 

Both companies have been unable to market their next-gen consoles and games physically due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there have been fears this could delay the release of the new machines. Although both Microsoft and Sony have said the new gadgets are on track to launch in the holiday shopping season this year.

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In fact, the outbreak has even seen a surge in video game sales due to government-enforced lockdowns around the globe. In Microsoft's fourth-quarter earnings report, the tech giant said Xbox content and services revenue rose 65% with record engagement as people stayed home and played games.

Other games featured at Microsoft's big event Thursday included: 

  • "Avowed"
  • "State of Decay 3"
  • "As Dusk Falls"
  • "Forza Motorsport"
  • "The Gunk"
  • "Tell Me Why"

Microsoft's Xbox unit is also increasingly banking on cloud gaming. The company recently announced it would launch its xCloud streaming service commercially in September, bundling it with its paid subscription service Xbox Game Pass which gives gamers access to a catalog of games.

Microsoft said that "Destiny 2," a first-person shooter game made by former "Halo" developer Bungie, would be coming to Game Pass in September, meaning gamers will be able to play it on their smartphone or tablet as well as console or PC. A new expansion pack for the game, "Beyond Light," will arrive in November on Game Pass as well.

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