Xbox Nation, your time is on its way. Xbox FanFest is returning to E3 this June, giving 500 lucky gamers a sneak peek at what Microsoft has in store for the future. While the first 400 tickets were raffled off back in April on a first-come, first-service basis, 100 tickets were withheld by the company to giveaway through various promotions scheduled from now until June.
If you managed to snag a ticket, that means you have complete access to all things Xbox at the expo this year. That means your ticket will grant you entry to Microsoft’s press briefing. Held on Sunday, June 11, the Microsoft keynote signifies a change in tradition.
Regular E3 enthusiasts will remember Microsoft typically presents its conference on the Monday morning of every expo, followed by Sony in the afternoon. In moving their schedule up by one entire day, it looks like Microsoft is gearing up for something special.
The time change was accompanied by a complete turnabout regarding location. In the past, Microsoft has shared the West Hall with Sony with roughly the same sized booths. This year, Microsoft has headed towards the South Hall where it will set up a small booth. The move has allowed Sony to gobble up some of its former space. Though technically smaller, the separate booth will set an exclusive scene of what we like to think as a Microsoft gaming campus.
A totally new time and location gives the company considerable visibility during a jammed packed event, and it will make damn sure no one can overlook Codename: Project Scorpio and its Xbox games. Remember those tickets to FanFest? Not only will they grant you access to the press conference, but they’ll give you an exclusive, hands-on first look at Scorpio.
Speaking of the Scorpio, Microsoft has revealed some hardware specs in preparation of June’s expo. It’s a monster of a console, with an 8 custom x86 CPU, 6 teraflops GPU, and 12 GB GDDR5 RAM. That translates into a system that’s 30% faster than the Xbox One and 4.6 times more powerful, which should make Scorpio more capable of 4K gaming than the PS4 Pro. It’s enough for Digital Foundry to call it, “console hardware design pushed to a new level, with a meticulous focus on appealing to the core gamer.”
Though it still has no official name or price tag, Phil Spencer has confirmed we will see it at E3 this year — so there’s no take backs. We can also expect the console to perform as backwards compatible, playing both Xbox One and 360 games. This is great news for any gamer who has built up quite a library of older games, as you won’t have to abandon any of your old favorites just to play the new console.
You will have to wait a while until you get to experience Scorpio, as Spencer has hinted at a holiday release. We know of a lot of gamers who are putting the new console on their Christmas wish list, alongside special accessories and games to complement the system, including Xbox skins. If you can personalize your Xbox One console you can bet that you’ll probably be able personalize the Scorpio, or whatever it ends up being called.
If you’re still on the fence about the upcoming console, check out some expert’s write-ups that provide a more comprehensive look at what’s under its hood. There’s also a quick comparison chart that sets the Scorpio against the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro to help you determine if it’s the system for you.
Of course, nothing will top the hands-on look a FanFest ticket will afford you, but we can’t all be so lucky. For the rest of us, we’ll stay glued to our screens as E3 unfolds this June.
Michael Sanduso lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a freelance writer and editor, tech geek, and stay at home father.