Xbox previewed a flurry of new titles and deals with studios as the video-gaming division of Microsoft Corp. looks to compete more intensely with Sony Corp.’s PlayStation and a resurgent Nintendo Co. The new products, announced Sunday at the company’s E3 briefing in Los Angeles, includes Halo Infinite, a sixth version of its popular shooting title; Fallout 76, a prequel of the series made by Bethesda Softworks; and Forza Horizon 4, a racing title from U.K.-based Playground Games.
In all the company showed off 52 games, 15 of which were world premieres, Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox unit, told the crowd at the Microsoft Theater. Spencer said it was more game previews than the company has ever showed at the event, the industry’s biggest trade show. Xbox also said it’s doubling its number of video-game studios by acquiring Playground, Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory and Undead Labs, and by launching a startup called The Initiative in Santa Monica, California.
Xbox has lost ground in the current cycle of video-game consoles to industry leader Sony. At the same time, the big players are focusing less on new hardware and more on software — video games that can be turned into long-lived franchises with recurring revenue generated by in-game purchases and subscriptions.
Microsoft also announced a $50 price reduction in all its Xbox One consoles. In the past, it’s used the E3 trade show to reveal new video-game hardware, but that wasn’t the case this year. Spencer said the company was working on new console platforms and didn’t elaborate.
Spencer said the company was increasing its investments in existing game franchises and looking to create new ones. With Microsoft’s backing, the new studios, will have the resources to “take bigger risks” and “create bigger worlds,” he said.