Microsoft teases coming games at E3: 'Halo Infinite' to launch later this year

The company also confirms anticipated role-playing game 'Starfield' will be released in 2022

Microsoft on Sunday showcased 30 upcoming games and said most of those titles will be available on its monthly subscription service, Xbox Game Pass.

The company said it would launch new games on Game Pass every month through the end of the year, including titles such as PC strategy series Age of Empires IV and racing game Forza Horizon 5.

One of Microsoft's big-ticket games, Halo Infinite, is now set for a holiday launch this year after being delayed due to the challenge of developers being stuck at home during coronavirus restrictions.

"Our team strives to make Xbox a place where you'll find the greatest games, the most dedicated developers and the most passionate community," said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, during a streamed event on the second day of a virtual Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Several of the game launches announced by Microsoft at E3 came from video game publisher Bethesda, behind hits such as Fallout and Doom. Microsoft last year bought ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda, for $7.5 billion.

Microsoft also announced launch dates of two big-budget games, exclusive to Xbox and PC – role-playing game Starfield and vampire-themed shooting game Redfall. Starfield will launch in November 2022 and Redfall will be released next summer.

Both Microsoft and Sony launched their next-generation gaming devices in November last year and have reported heightened demand for the consoles as gamers stuck at home due to the pandemic snapped up the devices.

Gaming analytics company Newzoo forecasts that the global games market will generate revenue of $175.8bn in 2021, with 2.9 billion players, and surpass $200bn in 2023.

Microsoft has also been developing its cloud gaming service to attract casual gamers and its own streaming devices.

Game Pass has hundreds of games playable on Xbox consoles, Android devices and PCs with a $9.99 monthly fee.

"What makes us different from a service like Netflix is that we give players both options, a subscription package and also a full retail store," said Spencer.

Award-winning Hades from Supergiant, meanwhile, is coming to Xbox as well as PlayStation, the independent studio said on Sunday.

Hades, a "dungeon crawler" that challenges players to fight their way through the underworld, has so far only been available for play on personal computers and Switch.

Many are expected to tune in on the closing day of E3 on Tuesday for a Nintendo streamed event at which it may reveal a new version of its coveted Switch consoles along with showing off new games.

- Additional reporting by AFP