E3 2014, short for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, takes place next week from June 10 to 12. While it is closed to the general public, Jeff Rubenstein, Microsoft’s senior Xbox evangelist, wrote in a blog post, , that the company “put together a number of great events taking place throughout the week of E3, both in L.A. and online.”
The events kick off at the Century City Microsoft Store in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 8. Microsoft will be granting access to the following day’s Xbox E3 Media Briefing event and post show to 100 attendees. A raffle will determine the winners.
Besides a shot at attending the media briefing, visitors will be able to play ID@Xbox titles before they are officially unveiled at E3. As its name suggests, ID@Xbox is Microsoft’s independent game developer program for the Xbox.
Of late, the company has doubled down on its efforts to court small-scale game developers by offering them free software tools and allowing their titles access to share the same virtual shelf space as games from big publishers. At last count, the program boasts 200 developers that are creating games for the Xbox.
On Monday, June 9, a day before E3 officially kicks off, Microsoft will host the Xbox E3 media briefing to show off upcoming Xbox One games. The show will air on Spike TV and will be streamed on Xbox.com.
A “post-game show” will immediately follow on Twitch.tv, the popular streaming site that is reportedly being acquired by Google for $1 billion. “Guests include Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox), Chris Charla (ID@Xbox), Yusuf Mehdi (Microsoft Devices & Studios), Ted Price (Insomniac Games), and Bonnie Ross (343 Industries),” Rubenstein wrote.
Incidentally, June 9 also marks the day a Kinect-less version of the Xbox One goes on sale for $399.
Since Xbox One’s debut, Microsoft has been plagued with criticism for making the Kinect motion sensor a mandatory part of the Xbox One experience, a move that drove the console’s price up to $499. Sony’s PlayStation 4, by comparison, costs $399.
According to Sony’s latest figures, the Japanese electronics giant has sold 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles. Microsoft, meanwhile, claims that it has shipped 5 million Xbox Ones to date. After June 9, Microsoft will continue to sell the Kinect bundle for $499 and is planning to release a stand-alone version of the motion sensor in the fall.
During E3, Microsoft will refocus its attention to independent developers by showcasing two ID@Xbox titles each day on Twitch.tv. On June 11, the company returns to the Century City Microsoft Store to give visitors some hands-on time with the upcoming Xbox One game, Sunset Overdrive.