The Xbox Games Showcase needs to be clear, transparent, and show a hell of a lot of gameplay

(Image credit: Rare)

The Xbox Games Showcase is right around the corner, and it's safe to say that expectations surrounding the event are high this year. Following a pretty small slate of releases in 2022, coupled with some big upcoming Xbox Series X games we've yet to hear all that much about, the event undoubtedly presents Xbox with the chance to reignite our excitement about the future of the platform. 

But after last year's showcase and the rocky launch of Redfall, it feels more important than ever that this year's showing is as clear and transparent as possible in its messaging, with plenty of gameplay packed in to really restore confidence that we have plenty to look forward to in the future.

Looking back

Last year's Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase was certainly full of future releases, with looks at everything from Pentiment to Forza Motorsport and Starfield. The latter was undoubtedly a memorable way to close the showcase, with our first glimpse of gameplay for Bethesda's new RPG. While it didn't lack for games or gameplay, the main sticking point was the fact that Xbox stated that for the first time, the "entire show is focused on games you play over the next 12 months". At the time, this was very exciting indeed, especially given that games shown just moments before this statement included some highly anticipated titles – not least Hollow Knight: Silksong

While it's difficult to anticipate pushbacks, two of Xbox's major exclusives – Redfall and Starfield – both went on to be met with delays, and towards the end of the year, it had been quite some time since we'd seen a big first-party exclusive land. Of the games shown during the event, just over half of them actually released within the 12 month time period. Upon reflection, Xbox was promising quite a lot with that one statement, one it ultimately didn't deliver on in the end. In fact, Xbox head Phil Spencer even acknowledged this when he spoke of last year's showcase in a recent interview with Kinda Funny, during which he also directly addressed Redfall's disappointing launch. "We didn't deliver, " Spencer said in response to Parris Lilly highlighting the "12-month plan" for Xbox in the 2022 Xbox Games showcase. "It's not 'necessarily', we didn't deliver". 

Perhaps if the statement hadn't been quite so bold in its messaging, the fewer releases we actually saw wouldn't have stung quite so much. Still, delays do happen that can't be anticipated, and from Spencer's own acknowledgment, I get the sense that this year's showcase will be a little more defined and clear in its messaging after the 12-month plan didn't quite shape up.

The future 


(Image credit: Obsidian)

"With the Starfield Direct set to give Bethesda's major space-faring release its own dedicated event, it'll be interesting to see just what Xbox showcases and how much we get to see."

Spencer previously acknowledged this year that 2022 was light on games and that 2023 would have a strong line-up. But while Spencer has revealed we can expect new game reveals during the event, what's more exciting for me personally is the hope of finally getting updates on games that have already been announced. Back in 2020 and even 2019, a slate of interesting new projects were revealed, such as Everwild, Contraband, or the highly anticipated return of Fable from Playground Games. But all of these titles were decidedly absent from the showing last year, and it's been a long time since we've seen or heard about any of them. 

Now feels like the perfect time to put some of these games in the spotlight and give the community an update on what Xbox has already confirmed is in the works. But if we are going to see some of the new adventures finally pop back up, I feel like we really need to see some gameplay to get a better sense of the new experiences in the pipeline. There's so much we still don't know about the likes of Avowed, for example, or just what direction Everwild is going in after we last saw it. There's already growing excitement at the prospect of seeing Fable at long last after a teaser from Xbox seemingly hints at its forthcoming appearance, but again, only time will tell just how much is shown. Just like so many, I really hope we get a substantial look beyond a cinematic. 

With the Starfield Direct set to give Bethesda's major space-faring release its own dedicated event, it'll be interesting to see just what Xbox showcases and how much we get to see. But after last year's show and a quieter slate of releases in 2022, it feels like 2023's showcase is going to be an important one for the platform. I personally can't wait to see what they show, I just hope we get a decent helping with transparent messaging about just what we can expect in the months to come. 

Check out our E3 2023 schedule in full and keep your finger on the pulse  

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.