Microsoft just had its best Xbox Games Showcase in years

With blockbuster announcements and plenty of exciting Game Pass reveals, Microsoft had its best Xbox Games Showcase in years, though one announcement was MIA.

Microsoft just had its best Xbox Games Showcase in years
Sean Carey

Opinion by Sean Carey

Published

In recent months, the aura around Xbox has been negative, and for fair reasons. We've seen Microsoft lay off thousands of Xbox employees, shut down several studios, and fail to get a grip and control the messaging when plans to bring Xbox exclusives to rival platforms hit the internet. However, last night's excellent Xbox Games Showcase — the best Xbox showcase Microsoft has had in years — has somewhat lifted that ugly cloud hanging over the Xbox name, and it feels like we can all be excited again about what Xbox has to offer in the months and years ahead.

The Xbox Games Showcase was the highlight of Summer Game Fest

Microsoft came out swinging with a one-two combo of Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 and medieval prequel Doom: The Dark Ages — what a way to blow off the cobwebs! From there, though, the big first-party announcements and surprises just kept on coming. State of Decay 3 showed up to keep all of the ravenous SoD fans happy, the gorgeous South of Midnight got an outing and a 2025 release window, Fable broke cover once more with a humorous trailer and a release year, Avowed and Indiana Jones were showcased once more, and unexpected gameplay for Perfect Dark (seriously, how good does that game look?) came out of nowhere. To top it off, The Coalition announced Gears of War: E-Day to the haunting, soft piano of Mad World. The prequel is set 14 years before the original Gears of War and is an origin story featuring everyone's favorite COGs, Marcus and Dom — I think this was my highlight of the night, even though we didn't get a release window or even platforms for the game. All those first-party surprises in one Xbox showcase almost felt like an embarrassment of riches.

That wasn't all, of course. Microsoft did well to secure a bevy of excellent third-party reveals from Dragon Age: The Veilguard to Life is Strange: Double Exposure. I don't think there was a single dud among any of the third-party announcements, and they only increased the levels of excitement as the showcase went on. We had plenty of upcoming Xbox Game Pass games revealed, too. In total, eight new games were announced for the service, including the interesting-looking turn-based RPG Clair Obscur: Expedition 33 and the narrative adventure game Mixtape, which sounds like it's going to have a banger of soundtrack.

Microsoft just had its best Xbox Games Showcase in years

When it came to scoring the Xbox Games Showcase in our recent poll, I gave it an A. It was great to see Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, and Xbox Game Studios all united under one banner, and the energy throughout the showcase was through the roof. That being said, there could have been a couple of things that would have made the showcase even better. We could have done with some more solid release dates — there were too many vague 2024s and 2025s for my liking — but the one big announcement I thought was missing in action was that back-catalog Activision Xbox Game Pass drop. I would have loved to have heard more about when we can expect all of those older Call of Duty games and Crash and Spyro to join Xbox Game Pass. Now, I know I am being a bit greedy and impatient here, but with all the rumors and Activsion creating random PC ports of its games, I would have bet the house on an Activision Game Pass back catalog announcement being at the showcase. Alas, it wasn't to be — perhaps Microsoft is saving that reveal for Gamescom?

The Xbox Games Showcase felt like a real return to form for Xbox after months of few highs and many lows. With the first half of the year now behind us and a corner turned, it's time to start looking forward to a ton of new and exciting games coming out this year and the next, and maybe even an Xbox handheld.
Written by Sean Carey
Avid Xbox and achievement fan, Sean has committed to playing the best RPGs, racing games, and first-person shooters Xbox Game Pass and his precious free time will allow. Prior to joining TrueAchievements, Sean gained a degree in journalism from Solent University.
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