E3 is underway, with the last of the big press conferences finishing up today. Microsoft kicked yesterday off with a packed keynote, showcasing new Xbox games and hardware, and even Minecraft for Hololens. In case you missed the livestream, here are the platform announcements that were the most interesting.
First, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will get emulated backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 retail disc and digital games. At launch this holiday, compatibility will start with 100 last-gen games, and Xbox preview members get to try a selection of that now. Multiplayer support with Xbox 360 players was also promised.
The Xbox One also gets a new "Elite" wireless controller, which has pinky paddles, trigger sensitivity adjustment, button mapping, and a d-pad that can be swapped out. Like the existing Xbox One controller, it'll work with Windows 10 with an adapter. The catch: it'll cost $150. I'm not worried that this isn't the controller that will come with the Oculus Rift next year--this is not a mainstream product. As a side note, Microsoft also said it was working with Valve for SteamVR in Windows 10.
Like Steam Early Access, Xbox now has a Game Preview program that will let Xbox One owners buy and test beta versions of indie games.
Finally, Microsoft unveiled a version of Minecraft as an official game for HoloLens. Early HoloLens hands-on previews showed a version of this game, but the demonstration at the press conference yesterday revealed a fully thought-out version of augmented reality Minecraft. The Hololens headset displays the blocky game world on a flat surface like a coffee table, and users can build with voice and "air-tap" gesture controls, or a standard gamepad. Watch that demo and announcement in the YouTube video below, with more details promised this summer at Minecon.