Gamescom 2014: Microsoft’s Xbox One

Earlier this morning, Microsoft gave its press conference briefing at the GamesCom 2014 convention in Cologne, Germany where a bunch of announcements were made, new hardware bundles were shown, and a whole lot of trailers premiered.

The biggest news of the conference was the news that Crystal Dynamics’ “Rise of the Tomb Raider” would be an Xbox exclusive. Details of this exclusivity however are still unknown for the most part, but it’s a major coup on Microsoft’s part and one they likely payed through the nose for.

Details of the “Halo 5: Guardians” beta were revealed. The beta will run from December 29th this year through to January 18th 2015 and will allow players explore several modes and maps from the full game.

The upcoming “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” will also unlock “exclusive content” for “Halo 5: Guardians” upon launch if you play through the four games and watch the included mini-series “Halo: Nightfall”. The Halo Waypoint game-tracking service is also getting rebranded as the Halo Channel.

“Evolve” will get an open beta in January, said beta will be an Xbox One exclusive. Pre-loading of digitally purchased games will be made available for Xbox One pre-orders starting with “Forza Horizon 2” and “FIFA 15”. Additional titles eligible for preloading will be revealed soon.

Sunset Overdrive will get a bundle with a white Xbox One, whilst the new “Call of Duty” will score a bundle with a terabyte hardrive. A new update to the operating system will give users the ability to stream media through attached USB devices. The new Media Player app will include more formats than the 360 version including MKV’s, MPEG 2 TS, animated GIFs and more.

In terms of games themselves, highlights include a several minute long trailer for “Quantum Break” which showcased some of the gameplay, the time altering new game “Super Hot,” and the beautiful looking “Ori and the Blind Forest” and “Below”.