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A Look Back at the Hardware, Releases, and Surprises of Microsoft’s 2016

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A New Message and More Freedom

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The Xbox message hasn’t changed all that much from 2015, though it has gotten stronger. When Phil Spencer took over as the head of Xbox at Microsoft, he made sure to put the focus on games and providing freedom of choice to the players. That message was further bolstered by their showing at E3 2016.


While a lot of the time was spent on upcoming titles, which has become the MO over the past couple of years, a good deal of it was spent on choice. The ability to stream games to more devices, apps on mobile and PC to make managing your gaming easier, console features that make building communities and finding people to play with much easier, and Play Anywhere, which makes your digital games on Xbox One available on PC (Windows 10), and vise versa.

Play Anywhere sounded like a crazy idea at the start. Microsoft was taking the best games on its struggling console and making them available elsewhere. On the other hand, though, it allows fans to enjoy their games however and wherever they see fit. While Sony and Nintendo were busy pushing new hardware to provide better ways to experience their games, Microsoft was providing means through what you may already own.

The ‘play what you want where you want’ ideology further expands with the growing backwards compatibility library. While the ability to play 360 games on the Xbox One started off relatively small, with just a handful of titles at launch, it has grown to a list of over 200 games. The team has been pushing to bring loved and/or forgotten games to a modern home, and the initiative continues to impress.

Of course, this isn’t to say that Microsoft completely focused on just messaging and didn’t bring any new hardware to the table. Part of freedom is choosing what you purchase, as well.

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