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Microsoft E3 2016 live blog: New Xbox One hardware, Gears of War 4, and maybe even VR

E3 2016 is here, and Microsoft is starting Monday off with a massive press event. It seems inevitable that we’ll see at least one new piece of hardware today, but it’s safe to assume that the majority of this event will be spent discussing the software lineup for 2016 and 2017. Check back here at 12:30pm ET (9:30am PT), watch the live stream, and follow along with our live blog.

Yesterday, a few pictures of a so-called “Xbox One S” were leaked on NeoGAF. This slimmed-down version of the Xbox One supposedly features UHD video support, HDR support, a 2TB hard drive, a vertical stand, a revised controller, a 40% reduction in the overall size, and an internal power supply instead of a giant power brick. Considering just how massive the original Xbox One was, this is definitely a big step forward design-wise. This leak more or less lines up with what we heard about a two-model release plan, but we won’t know for sure if these leaks are completely accurate until official word comes from MS one way or the other.

Like we mentioned before, there’s a possibility that we’ll see the Xbox 1.5 or a VR/AR announcement on stage today. But considering that PlayStation brass has already confirmed that the PS4K won’t make an appearance at Sony’s event, it would make sense for Microsoft to downplay the future hardware for now in hopes of selling more standard Xbox Ones and the new slim design this holiday season.

On the software side, expect to see Gears of War 4, a new Forza game, ReCore, Scalebound, Halo Wars 2, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and Dead Rising 4 highlighted at today’s event. EA and Bethesda have partnered with Microsoft in recent years, so despite the fact that both of those publishers already held events yesterday, they might show up again to announce some sort of timed exclusivity deal on upcoming titles.

Even though we’ve already seen a number of leaks, let’s hold out hope that Microsoft has kept a surprise or two under its hat. After all, Redmond’s showing last year was top-notch, so I’m willing to give the Xbox team the benefit of the doubt.

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