Today, during the latest episode of Inside Xbox, Microsoft Xbox Division Head Phil Spencer talked about the company’s E3 plans and more.
Spencer mentioned that recent announcements including the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition are part of a strategy about putting the gamer at the front and center. Microsoft doesn’t start with the device, but thinks about the customers and what they want. They’re driven by the idea that gamers want to play the games they want to play with their friends on the devices they want, anywhere they go.
Speaking about his recent trip to Japan and Korea, he explained that he always loves his time at the studios, and he had the opportunity to play their games early and talk to them about the things Microsoft is going to present on stage at E3.
Spencer is “really proud” of the partnerships built over the last few years with local developers and publishers, and “good progress” has been made with those studios.
“I think we’re going to have a great show at E3 from developers all over.”
We also hear about Project xCloud. Starting in January, Spencer has been carrying around his controller and smartphone during his travels, and he’s been alpha testing the service.
“It’s been awesome. I’ve found half of my Crakdown  orbs while I’m away from home, just running around and using xCloud, and running Destiny strikes with my friends online. It’s just a test setup, and it’s me playing the games I like to play. I have one server that is set up for me so it’s kind of like my own Xbox in the cloud.
Figuring out latency when I was in Japan in a hotel 8,000 miles away from my server, what that feels like… Our solution is using Azure, so your server will be close to you to minimize ping time and any latency you have.
But I will say there is something magical about taking my Xbox experience with me. When I boot up it’s me. P3 [Spencer’s Xbox Live gamertag] is on. All of my friends are there. All of my messages are there… I don’t feel like I’m disconnected and I can launch my games. I don’t have to grind a separate set of characters or something.
It’s my state that I have when I’m sitting at my home at my PC. It goes with me and I really love that.”
Spencer added that he’s a product person and he has to use the product to feel what he likes and what he doesn’t in order to give feedback to the team.
He then talked more about the plans for E3 2019.
“This is going to be an interesting one. We’re the platform holder that has a live stage show, and it’s kind of just us this year. I feel the responsibility of that and I want to represent gaming.
I feel it’s an important time when the larger community, news, and other things are looking at the gaming industry at E3. I think it’s a time we pop up above a lot of the noise that’s out there.
With the whole team, we’re taking the responsibility of being out there, represeting gaming and wanting to do a good job with that.”
Spencer mentioned that he’s excited to spend time with the fans and the community, and also about what he is going going to present at the show.
“Our new studios are going to have things to show, which is going to be awesome. Some new things that nobody has seen before, which will be fun. Obsidian had a great show at the at The Game Awards with The Outer Worlds, and we’re going to see more of that.
It’s been nice starting to work with these studios. They came in and I think they’re starting to see how big of a deal E3 is for our platform, and I can see them getting excited about that. It’s kind of different than being an independent studio. It’s going to be exciting to see the studios.
It’ll take kinda years to really have them fully integrated in and delivering the same way all of the teams do. That’s because differnet teams are in different parts of the development cycle, but I think it’s going to be really interesting to have those team showing up this year and starting the show with what they’re building for us.”
Microsoft’s Chris Munson also talked about Xbox Fanfest, mentioning that this year there will be 700 tickets for the event. Attendees will be able to be at the press briefing on June 9 and then at the fanfest itself at the Microsoft Theater the day after on June 10, with plenty of hands-on gameplay, access to developers, food, drinks, and a “secret gear backpack” full of goodies.
Like last year, attendees will be drawn randomly, in order to give everyone a chance to be part of the show. The ticketing site will become available on Friday, April 19, and the drawing will happen on April 25.
Tickets will cost $45 and all the proceeds will go to charity. They will include access to the E3 expo itself, which is a really nice bonus.
Earlier today, Microsoft announced more details about its plans for E3 2019, including the traditional press briefing.