Regardless of your brand allegiance or controller preference, any conversation surrounding an upcoming console launch boils down to one inescapable truth: it's all about games. Here are our bets and dreams for the upcoming Xbox Games Showcase.
Microsoft have given themselves the best possible chance to succeed with Xbox Series X, thanks to regular messaging, a rambunctious approach to studio acquisitions, and a doubling down on value for money services.
Game Pass is without question ahead of the curve on a number of levels, and the idea that folks could pick up a next gen machine and have every first party game included with that subscription is certainly tantalising.
That being said, from a business perspective they're hardly leading the pack. Consumer friendly moves to this degree make a world of sense given their current [lack of] market share.
There's also a fair argument to be made that they've stumbled with the clarity of their presentation in the past; E3 2019 was a mess of forgettable CG trailers, and their most recent Inside Xbox did a poor job of setting viewer expectations.
Despite prior missteps, the stage is set for Microsoft to knock this one out the park, and all eyes are on them to finally show their hand and make good on their potential.
Revive Classic IP - We know that Microsoft are beavering away on a diverse portfolio, but outside of frustrating leaks and rumour mongering, we can't be sure of the specifics until this weeks reveal. Halo Infinite is one thing, but they'll need to do more than ride the rapids of past franchise good will in order to win over the wider populace.
However, Sony have proved the value of taking a beloved series and reinventing where it counts; God of War was a resounding success, and if the rumoured Fable and Perfect Dark projects turn out to be true, they would sit very nicely alongside some fresh new IP.
A Coalition Surprise - With Playground Games rumoured to be working on an open world action game, I think we could see something from The Coalition that has nothing to do with Gears.
Microsoft have already shown a willingness to reshuffle their Xbox Game Studios teams into multiple parts, each working on simultaneous projects with different scales and needs. Obsidian are developing their next big RPG alongside Grounded, while Rare continue to support Sea of Thieves and ramp up production on Everwild. Gears 6 is a guarantee at this point, but outside of Gears 5 updates The Coalition have been noticeably quiet.
I reckon we might see something non Gears related from them, even if it's just a teaser.
One More Studio - Microsoft have confirmed that this showcase is all about their first party, but I think there's a good chance we'll get to see a brand new Xbox exclusive title unveiled alongside another studio acquisition.
It makes sense for them to keep building their portfolio, particularly with Sony's recent purchase of Insomniac and partial investment in Epic Games. Tying together a new first party partner with a tangible game announcement would be a fantastic way to get people talking.
Conker / Banjo - Two of my absolute favourite platformers of all time are Conker's Bad Fur Day and Banjo Kazooie. But whenever rumours circle of a revival, the flames of excitement are often doused with talk of them "not being viable" or "too risky".
However, Game Pass negates traditional sales expectations, with an ever expanding, dedicated audience that regularly engages with new content thanks in part because the barrier of entry is so low.
If a game like Grounded can get so much buzz, and Sea of Thieves can soar it's way to 15 million players, Conker and Banjo could find a home again on Xbox Series X.
Super Subscription - With so many publishers creating their own monthly payment plans for their catalogues, it would be fantastic if you could pay one flat rate on Xbox that gets you Game Pass, EA Access, and Uplay+ (if it ever makes the jump to console).
The business machinations required to pull this off would be a feat of complex alchemy, but "dreams" aren't about the "how".
Steam Support - We've already seen cross play becoming more widely adopted throughout the industry, and going into next gen it will likely become standard practice for most big third party titles.
Where Microsoft could really push boundaries is offering integrated Steam functionality within Xbox Series X, allowing you to take your library into the living room, and potentially even further if xCloud is supported as well.