E3 2016: What Microsoft Needs To Do This Year To Close The Gap With Sony

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it’s known, is nearly upon us. In a week, the luminaries in the gaming industry will take stage at their respective press conferences to announce their plans for the future of gaming, both for this year and beyond. All the eyes in the gaming world will no doubt be on Microsoft and Sony, the two “big” competitors for your time and hard-earned money still at play at E3. Microsoft has a long battle ahead of itself to regain lost ground against Sony, especially considering by recent numbers the Japanese company has outsold nearly two-to-one the Redmond-based Microsoft in console sales. The PlayStation 4 has seen a massive drive of love from consumers, able to tout their console as the more powerful of the two gaming machines. However, Microsoft seems to be moving a new direction in terms of target audience, courting the favor of the PC community by embracing them more than they have in almost half a decade.

But what does Microsoft need to do in order to stay close to rival Sony in terms of console consumer mindshare?

Officially Embrace And Announce “Scorpio”

Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer mentioned a while back the idea of an iterative console, one where we could see a more powerful machine improve upon the underwhelming Xbox One. This divided consumers and media alike, especially since many people buy consoles so they do not need to “upgrade” every few years or so to keep up. When Kotaku reported then that the “Scorpio,” as it’s codenamed, is real and possibly coming next year, Microsoft has been strangely quiet since. E3 would be the perfect place to embrace these reports, announce the Scorpio, and explain to consumers the actual plan moving forward with the console. Polygon reported that the Scorpio may be more powerful than the reported Sony equivalent, the PlayStation Neo, and the press conference at E3 2016 would be the perfect place for Microsoft to trumpet this, if it’s true. It’s where Sony did the same three years ago when the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were on display for the first time at E3 2013. Microsoft would be remiss to ignore these reports entirely, as the power of its flagship console is a major reason people buy the other one.

Bring More Major Titles To PC

This may seem weird when it concerns gaming, but Microsoft owns the OS the world’s majority of PC users use. However, in terms of gaming, they’ve been largely absent for the past five or so years. Games for Windows Live still haunts many PC players’ dreams, and Microsoft’s willingness to ignore the platform, which houses the most gamers and brings in the most profit, has caused others to step in a fill that void. Steam is the primary go-to for PC games, with GOG and other online retailers picking up the rest. Microsoft owns the platform, yet when games come to PC, they typically have a “half-finished” feel. Forza Motorsport 6 Apex and Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition are great for PC gamers to whet their appetite, but Microsoft needs to officially announce their largest franchises coming to both Xbox and Windows platforms. They are literally leaving money on the table by simply not doing so. Games like Sea of Thieves, Recore, and Halo Wars 2 are a great start, but Microsoft should also get ahead and announce Halo 5: Guardians coming to Windows 10, along with Gears of War 4 to show they really are intent on moving into the PC space. This doesn’t affect the offerings on Xbox, just that a whole subset of oft-ignored consumers by these giant companies will be able to enjoy these games as well, without having the shell out money for a console itself.

What do you think Microsoft needs to do at E3 2016 in order to close their gap with Sony? Sound off in the comments with what you’re looking forward to this E3.

[Image via Casey Rodgers/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images]