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Major storage vendors map out 2020 plans

The largest enterprise storage vendors face a common set of challenges and opportunities heading into 2020. As global IT spending slows and storage gets faster and frequently handles data outside the core data center, primary storage vendors must turn to cloud, data management and newer flash technologies.

Each of the major storage vendors has its own plans for dealing with these developments. Here is a look at what the major primary storage vendors did in 2019 and what you can expect from them in 2020.

Dell EMC: Removing shadows from the clouds

2019 in review: Enterprise storage market leader Dell EMC spent most of 2019 bolstering its cloud capabilities, in many cases trying to play catch-up. New cloud products include VMware-orchestrated Dell EMC Cloud Platform arrays that integrate Unity and PowerMax storage, coupled with VxBlock converged and VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure.

The new Dell EMC Cloud gear allows customers to build and deploy on-premises private clouds with the agility and scale of the public cloud — a growing need as organizations dive deeper into AI and DevOps.

What’s on tap for 2020: Dell EMC officials have hinted at a new Power-branded midrange storage system for several years, and a formal unveiling of that product is expected in 2020. Then again, Dell initially said the next-generation system would arrive in 2019. Customers with existing Dell EMC midrange storage likely won’t be forced to upgrade, at least not for a while. The new storage platform will likely converge features from Dell EMC Unity and SC Series midrange arrays with an emphasis on containers and microservices.

Dell will enhance its tool set for containers to help companies deploy microservices, said Sudhir Srinivasan, the CTO of Dell EMC storage. He said containers are a prominent design featured in the new midrange storage. 

“Software stacks that were built decades ago are giant monolithic pieces of code, and they’re not going to survive that next decade, which we call the data decade,” Srinivasan said. 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s eventful year

2019 in review: In terms of product launches and partnerships, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) had a busy year in 2019. HPE Primera all-flash storage arrived in late 2019,  and HPE expects customers will slowly transition from its flagship 3PAR platform. Primera supports NVMe flash, embedding custom chips in the chassis to support massively parallel data transport on PCI Express lanes. The first Primera customer, BlueShore Financial, received its new array in October.

HPE bought supercomputing giant Cray to expand its presence in high-performance computing, and made several moves to broaden its hyper-converged infrastructure options. HPE ported InfoSight analytics to HPE SimpliVity HCI, as part of the move to bring the cloud-based predictive tools picked up from Nimble Storage across all HPE hardware. HPE launched a Nimble dHCI disaggregated HCI product and partnered with Nutanix to add Nutanix HCI technology to HPE GreenLake services while allowing Nutanix to sell its software stack on HPE servers.

It capped off the year with HPE Container Platform, a bare-metal system to make it easier to spin up Kubernetes-orchestrated containers on bare metal. The Container Platform uses technology from recent HPE acquisitions MapR and BlueData.

What’s on tap for 2020: HPE vice president of storage Sandeep Singh said more analytics are coming in response to customer calls for simpler storage. “An AI-driven experience to predict and prevent issues is a big game-changer for optimizing their infrastructure. Customers are placing a much higher priority on it in the buying motion,” helping to influence HPE’s roadmap, Singh said.

It will be worth tracking the progress of GreenLake as HPE moves towards its goal of making all of its technology available as a service by 2022.

Hitachi Vantara: Renewed focus on traditional enterprise storage

2019 in review: Hitachi Vantara renewed its focus on traditional data center storage, a segment it had largely conceded to other array vendors in recent years. Hitachi underwent a major refresh of the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) flash array in 2019. The VSP 5000 SAN arrays scale to 69 PB of raw storage, and capacity extends higher with hardware-based deduplication in its Flash Storage Modules. By virtualizing third-party storage behind a VSP 5000, customers can scale capacity to 278 PB.

What’s on tap for 2020: The VSP5000 integrates Hitachi Accelerated Fabric networking technology that enables storage to scale out and scale up. Hitachi this year plans to phase in the networking to other high-performance storage products, said Colin Gallagher, a Hitachi vice president of infrastructure products.

“We had been lagging in innovation, but with the VSP5000, we got our mojo back,” Gallagher said.

Hitachi arrays support containers, and Gallagher said the vendor is considering whether it needs to evolve its support beyond a Kubernetes plugin, as other vendors have done. Hitachi plans to expand data management features in Hitachi Pentaho analytics software to address AI and DevOps deployments. Gallagher said Hitachi’s data protection and storage as a service is another area of focus for the vendor in 2020.

IBM: hybrid cloud, with cyber-resilient storage

2019 in review: IBM brought out the IBM Elastic Storage Server 3000, an NVMe-based array packaged with IBM Spectrum Scale parallel file storage. Elastic Storage Server 3000 combines NVMe flash and containerized software modules to provide faster time to deployment for AI, said Eric Herzog, IBM’s vice president of world storage channels.

In addition, IBM added PCIe-enabled NVMe flash to Versastack converged infrastructure and midrange Storwize SAN arrays.

What to expect in 2020: Like other storage vendors, IBM is trying to navigate the unpredictable waters of cloud and services. Its product development revolves around storage that can run in any cloud. IBM Cloud Services enables end users to lease infrastructure, platforms and storage hardware as a service. The program has been around for two years, and will add IBM software-defined storage to the mix this year. Customers thus can opt to purchase hardware capacity or the IBM Spectrum suite in an OpEx model. Non-IBM customers can run Spectrum storage software on qualified third-party storage.

“We are going to start by making Spectrum Protect data protection available, and we expect to add other pieces of the Spectrum software family throughout 2020 and into 2021,” Herzog said.

Another IBM development to watch in 2020 is how its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat affects either vendor’s storage products and services.

NetApp: Looking for a rebound

2019 in review: Although spending slowed for most storage vendors in 2019, NetApp saw the biggest decline. At the start of 2019, NetApp forecast annual sales at $6 billion, but poor sales forced NetApp to slash its guidance by around 10% by the end of the year.

NetApp CEO George Kurian blamed the revenue setbacks partly on poor sales execution, a failing he hopes will improve as NetApp institutes better training and sales incentives. The vendor also said goodbye to several top executives who retired, raising questions about how it will deliver on its roadmap going forward.

What to expect in 2020: In the face of the turbulence, Kurian kept NetApp focused on the cloud. NetApp plowed ahead with its Data Fabric strategy to enable OnTap file services to be consumed, via containers, in the three big public clouds.  NetApp Cloud Data Service, available first on NetApp HCI, allows customers to consume OnTap storage locally or in the cloud, and the vendor capped off the year with NetApp Keystone, a pay-as-you-go purchasing option similar to the offerings of other storage vendors.

Although NetApp plans hardware investments, storage software will account for more revenue as companies shift data to the cloud, said Octavian Tanase, senior vice president of the NetApp OnTap software and systems group.

“More data is being created outside the traditional data center, and Kubernetes has changed the way those applications are orchestrated. Customers want to be able to rapidly build a data pipeline, with data governance and mobility, and we want to try and monetize that,” Tanase said.

Pure Storage: Flash for backup, running natively in the cloud

2019 in review: The all-flash array specialist broadened its lineup with FlashArray//C SAN arrays and denser FlashBlade NAS models. FlashArray//C extends the Pure Storage flagship with a model that supports Intel Optane DC SSD-based MemoryFlash modules and quad-level cell NAND SSDs in the same system.

Pure also took a major step on its journey to convert FlashArray into a unified storage system by acquiring Swedish file storage software company Compuverde. It marked the second acquisition in as many years for Pure, which acquired deduplication software startup StorReduce in 2018.

What to expect in 2020: The gap between disk and flash prices has narrowed enough that it’s time for customers to consider flash for backup and secondary workloads, said Matt Kixmoeller, Pure Storage vice president of strategy.

“One of the biggest challenges — and biggest opportunities — is evangelizing to customers that, ‘Hey, it’s time to look at flash for tier two applications,'” Kixmoeller said.

Flexible cloud storage options and more storage in software are other items on Pure’s roadmap items. Cloud Block Store, which Pure introduced last year, is just getting started, Kixmoeller said, and is expected to generate lots of attention from customers. Most vendors support Amazon Elastic Block Storage by sticking their arrays in a colocation center and running their operating software on EBS, but Pure took a different approach. Pure reengineered the backend software layer to run natively on Amazon S3.

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ZF Becomes a Provider of Soft

“In the future, software will have one of the largest impacts on automotive system development and will be one of the key differentiating factors when it comes to realizing higher levels of automated driving functions. We want to help drive this trend forward. The collaboration with Microsoft will enable us to accelerate software integration and delivery significantly. This is important for our customers who appreciate agile collaboration and need short delivery cadences for software updates. Moreover, software will need to be developed when hardware is not yet available,” explained Dr Dirk Walliser, responsible for corporate research and development at ZF. ZF will then combine its enormous know-how as a system developer for the automotive industry with the added advantage of significantly higher speeds for software development.

“Digital capabilities will be key for automotive companies to grow and differentiate from their competition. DevOps empowers development and operations teams to optimize cross-team collaboration across automation, testing, monitoring and continuous delivery using agile methods. Microsoft is providing DevOps capabilities and sharing our experiences with ZF to help them become a software-driven mobility services provider”, said Sanjay Ravi, General Manager, Automotive Industry at Microsoft.

“cubiX”: Chassis of the Future from Code

At CES 2020, ZF will showcase its vision of software development with “cubiX”: It is a software component that gathers sensor information from the entire vehicle and prepares it for an optimized control of active systems in the chassis, steering, brakes and propulsion. Following a vendor-agnostic approach, “cubiX” will support components from ZF as well as third-party components. “cubiX creates networked chassis functions thanks to software: By connecting multiple vehicle systems such as electric power steering, active rear axle steering, the sMOTION active damping system, driveline control and integrated brake control, ‘cubiX’ can optimize the behavior of the car from one central source. This enables a new level of vehicle control and thus can increase safety – for example in unfavorable road conditions or in emergency situations,” said Dr Dirk Walliser. ZF plans to start projects with first customers in 2020 and will offer “cubiX” from 2023 either as part of an overall system or as an individual software component.

ZF at CES 2020

In addition, ZF will present its comprehensive systems for automated and autonomous driving at CES. They comprise sensors, computing power, software and actuators.

For passenger cars, Level 2+ systems pave the way for a safer and more comfortable means of private transportation. New mobility solutions like robo-taxis are designed to safely operate with ZF’s Level 4/5 systems. Additionally, ZF’s innovative integrated safety systems will be on display, like the Safe Human Interaction Cockpit. Innovative software utilizing artificial intelligence to provide new features and further-developed mobility offerings will also be highlighted.

Join ZF in Las Vegas

Press Conference: Monday, January 6, 2020, 8 AM (PST): Mandalay Bay, Lagoon E & F. Alternatively, you can watch the livestream at www.zf.com/CESlive

ZF Booth: LVCC, North Hall, booth 3931

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Google-Ascension deal reveals murky side of sharing health data

One of the largest nonprofit health systems in the U.S. created headlines when it was revealed that it was sharing patient data with Google — under codename Project Nightingale.

Ascension, a Catholic health system based in St. Louis, partnered with Google to transition the health system’s infrastructure to the Google Cloud Platform, to use the Google G Suite productivity and collaboration tools, and to explore the tech giant’s artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. By doing so, it is giving Google access to patient data, which the search giant can use to inform its own products.

The partnership appears to be technically and legally sound, according to experts. After news broke, Ascension released a statement saying the partnership is HIPAA-compliant and a business associate agreement, a contract required by the federal government that spells out each party’s responsibility for protected health information, is in place. Yet reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian about the possible improper transfer of 50 million patients’ data has resulted in an Office for Civil Rights inquiry into the Google-Ascension partnership.

Legality aside, the resounding reaction to the partnership speaks to a lack of transparency in healthcare. Organizations should see the response as both an example of what not to do, as well as a call to make patients more aware of how they’re using health data, especially as consumer companies known for collecting and using data for profit become their partners.

Partnership breeds legal, ethical concerns

Forrester Research senior analyst Jeff Becker said Google entered into a similar strategic partnership with Mayo Clinic in September, and the coverage was largely positive.

Forrester Research senior analyst Jeff Becker Jeff Becker

According to a Mayo Clinic news release, the nonprofit academic medical center based in Rochester, Minn., selected Google Cloud to be “the cornerstone of its digital transformation,” and the clinic would use “advanced cloud computing, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence” to improve healthcare delivery.

But Ascension wasn’t as forthcoming with its Google partnership. It was Google that announced its work with Ascension during a quarterly earnings call in July, and Ascension didn’t issue a news release about the partnership until after the news broke.

“There should have been a public-facing announcement of the partnership,” Becker said. “This was a PR failure. Secrecy creates distrust.”

Matthew Fisher, partner at Mirick O’Connell Attorneys at Law and chairman of its health law group, said the outcry over the Google-Ascension partnership was surprising. For years, tech companies have been trying to get access to patient data to help healthcare organizations and, at the same time, develop or refine their existing products, he said.

“I get the sense that just because it was Google that was announced to have been a partner, that’s what drove a lot of the attention,” he said. “Everyone knows Google mostly for purposes outside of healthcare, which leads to the concern of does Google understand the regulatory obligations and restrictions that come to bear by entering the healthcare space?”

Ascension’s statement in response to the situation said the partnership with Google is covered by a business associate agreement — a distinction Fisher said is “absolutely required” before any protected health information can be shared with Google. Parties in a business associate agreement are obligated by federal regulation to comply with the applicable portions of HIPAA, such as its security and privacy rules.

A business associate relationship allows identifiable patient information to be shared and used by Google only under specified circumstances. It is the legal basis for keeping patient data segregated and restricting Google from freely using that data. According to Ascension, the health system’s clinical data is housed within an Ascension-owned virtual private space in Google Cloud, and Google isn’t allowed to use the data for marketing or research.

“Our data will always be separate from Google’s consumer data, and it will never be used by Google for purposes such as targeting consumers for advertising,” the statement said.

Health IT and information security expert Kate Borten Kate Borten

But health IT and information security expert Kate Borten believes business associate agreements and the HIPAA privacy rule they adhere to don’t go far enough to ensure patient privacy rights, especially when companies like Google get involved. The HIPAA privacy rule doesn’t require healthcare organizations to disclose to patients who they’re sharing patient data with.

“The privacy rule says as long as you have this business associate contract — and business associates are defined by HIPAA very broadly — then the healthcare provider organization or insurer doesn’t have to tell the plan members or the patients about all these business associates who now have access to your data,” she said.

Chilmark Research senior analyst Jody Ranck said much of the alarm over the Google-Ascension partnership may be misplaced, but it speaks to a growing concern about companies like Google entering healthcare.

Since the Office for Civil Rights is looking into the partnership, Ranck said there is still a question of whether the partnership fully complies with the law. But the bigger question has to do with privacy and security concerns around collecting and using patient data, as well as companies like Google using patient data to train AI algorithms and the potential biases it could create.

All of this starts to feel like a bit of an algorithmic iron cage.
Jody RanckSenior analyst, Chilmark Research

Ranck believes consumer trust in tech companies is declining, especially as data privacy concerns get more play.

“Now that they know everything you purchase and they can listen in to that Alexa sitting beside your bed at night, and now they’re going to get access to health data … what’s a consumer to do? Where’s their power to control their destiny when algorithms are being used to assign you as a high-, medium-, or low-risk individual, as creditworthy?” Ranck said. “All of this starts to feel like a bit of an algorithmic iron cage.”

A call for more transparency

Healthcare organizations and big tech partnerships with the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are growing. Like other industries, healthcare organizations are looking to modernize their infrastructure and take advantage of state of the art storage, security, data analytics tools and emerging tech like artificial intelligence.

But for healthcare organizations, partnerships like these have an added complexity — truly sensitive data. Forrester’s Becker said the mistake in the Google-Ascension partnership was the lack of transparency. There was no press release early on announcing the partnership, laying out what information is being shared, how the information will be used, and what outcome improvements the healthcare organization hopes to achieve.

“There should also be assurance that the partnership falls within HIPAA and that data will not be used for advertising or other commercial activities unrelated to the healthcare ambitions stated,” he said.

Fisher believes the Google-Ascension partnership raises questions about what the legal, moral and ethical aspects of these relationships are. While Ascension and Google may have been legally in the right, Fisher believes it’s important to recognize that privacy expectations are shifting, which calls for better consumer education, as well as more transparency around where and how data is being used.

Although he believes it would be “unduly burdensome” to require a healthcare organization to name every organization it shares data with, Fisher said better education on how HIPAA operates and what it allows when it comes to data sharing, as well as explaining how patient data will be protected when shared with a company like Google, could go a long way in helping patients understand what’s happening with their data.

“If you’re going to be contracting with one of these big-name companies that everyone has generalized concerns about with how they utilize data, you need to be ahead of the game,” Fisher said. “Even if you’re doing everything right from a legal standpoint, there’s still going to be a PR side to it. That’s really the practical reality of doing business. You want to be taking as many measures as you can to avoid the public backlash and having to be on the defensive by having the relationship found out and reported upon or discussed without trying to drive that discussion.”

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Trump HR plan may politicize federal workforce

The federal government’s HR operation may be one of the world’s largest, with responsibility for a federal workforce of 2.1 million. The Office of Personnel Management gives federal agencies policy expertise and HR technology advice. It is now embroiled in a debate about its future.

President Trump’s administration wants to merge OPM with the General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA manages federal real estate, but is also a center for technology expertise and creates vehicles for agencies to acquire technology and hire private sector professional services, including HR.

By merging OPM with GSA, the Trump administration said it will combine expertise, save about $23 million annually in administrative efficiencies and accelerate the modernizing of HR tech. But the proposal is generating a pushback from critics, who caution the move could fracture policy development and politicize employment decisions.

Splitting policy development between a handful of people in OMB and a group at GSA may make policies more likely to be driven by political concerns.
Jeffrey NealFormer chief human capital officer, Department of Homeland Security

The merger calls for giving federal workforce policy control to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The White House argued this change will help establish an enterprise-wide HR strategy for the federal government. The concern is this change will open the federal hiring to patronage where jobs could be awarded as election spoils.

“Splitting policy development between a handful of people in OMB and a group at GSA may make policies more likely to be driven by political concerns,” said Jeffrey Neal, former chief human capital officer for the Department of Homeland Security. He is a senior vice president at consulting and technology services provider ICF International Inc., in Fairfax, Va.

Moreover, Neal believes the plan could impede HR operations. “The merger would not give departments and agencies any authorities they do not already have and might impede the ability of the government to develop policies that could make the government more competitive in the labor market,” he said.

Federal workforce needs predictive analytics

Linda Springer, a former director of OPM, told lawmakers at a recent hearing about the proposal. She said OPM does need to improve some of its capabilities, such as “predictive analytics to anticipate the personnel management demands of the future and move to a proactive, rather than a reactive, posture.”

But Springer warned against the White House plan. It risks “tearing apart” an independent agency and putting it at risk of bad political practices, she said. 

“Is it reasonable for a White House office to issue policy guidance and review requests to appoint political appointees to competitive positions?” Springer said to lawmakers. “The proposal places federal personnel policy setting right back in a place where the spoils and patronage system had taken hold.”

House Democrats oppose the merger and recently voted to block the formation of OPM-GSA. A merger prohibition was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, a budget bill. The Senate has not acted on it.

OPM offers federal agencies acquisition assistance, which includes HR-related contract services. GSA awards contract vehicles for many of these services, “so an OPM-GSA merger would have little impact” on the contractors, said Ray Bjorklund, president of BirchGrove Consulting LLC, a federal contracting advisory firm.

OPM “must demonstrate certain aspects of its value to customer agencies,” Bjorklund said, otherwise agencies can do their own contracting. “I don’t think there will be much disruption in how the agencies contract for HR services,” he said, should the merger take place.

The “core value” of OPM is its policy expertise, and if the merger isn’t planned well, “some of the expertise now concentrated in OPM will get diluted,” Bjorklund said.

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OVHcloud expands US footprint with channel partner program

Europe’s largest cloud provider has stepped up its channel presence in the U.S. with a new partner program.

OVHcloud, which has its global headquarters in Roubaix, France, broke into the U.S. market only recently, following its acquisition of VMware’s vCloud Air business. With its U.S.-based partner program, launched this week, OVHcloud hopes to expand the reach of its IaaS portfolio, spanning VMware-based hosted private cloud, bare-metal server and public cloud options.

David WigglesworthDavid Wigglesworth

“I think we are the best-kept technical secret nobody has heard of,” said David Wigglesworth, chief revenue officer at OVHcloud, which has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Reston, Va.

The OVHcloud channel program features four partner tiers with incremental benefits and requirements. Partners will have access to training; marketing support, such as market development funds; and sales activity planning, the company said.

OVHcloud has already signed a handful of U.S.-based partners, including solution provider FusionStorm. Wigglesworth noted that OVHcloud’s offerings will also be sold by VMware sales reps.

HPE updates Partner Ready program

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) this week unveiled enhancements to the Partner Ready program, which now features increased rewards for resellers.

According to HPE, resellers can now earn increased rebates and other incentives for selling products in “high-growth markets,” specifically storage, composable infrastructure, hyper-converged technology, software and consumption services. The Partner Ready program enhancements will take effect on Nov. 1, HPE said.

“Because of the changes that we have made, resellers and other partner business types ought to look at this as an opportunity to redouble their focus and efforts around HPE because it will prove to be very rewarding,” said Terry Richardson, vice president of North American channels and alliances at HPE.

HPE’s products that align with the market opportunities it is targeting include HPE Nimble Storage and 3PAR for storage, SimpliVity and Synergy for composable and hyper-converged technology, and GreenLake and Datacenter Care for service-led offerings.

HPE said it will also enhance the Partner Ready program with the following features:

  • Further simplifications. For example, partners will now receive rewards from the first sale without gates, caps or targets, HPE said.
  • A push to increase HPE’s consumption-based offerings. HPE said it will roll out a new competency for the HPE GreenLake suite of pay-per-use on-premises offerings, in addition to a rebate for partners enabled in consumption-based models.
  • Expanded technical enablement, especially around HPE’s high-growth market opportunities.

RapidFire Tools expands MSP offerings

RapidFire Tools Inc., based in Atlanta, is expanding its managed services provider (MSP) offerings with InDoc, a tool that provides web-based access to clients’ network data.

InDoc, an Amazon cloud-based portal, is built into RapidFire Tools’ Network Detective Reporter product for scheduling automated network scans and reports. MSP technicians can use InDoc to obtain network data via desktop or mobile devices and can also store information on the portal, such as client-specific notes, remediation procedures, checklists and passwords. Information is stored in an encrypted data store. InDoc employs additional layers of encryption for confidential data and passwords. The tool includes a usage log that provides an audit trail of technicians who have accessed data and when they did so, according to RapidFire Tools.

Michael Mittel, CEO at RapidFire Tools, said more than 95% of the company’s business is to MSPs, noting service providers “are still a growing part of our business.”

He said RapidFire Tools now has more than 6,000 MSPs using its tools worldwide. He added the company is expanding its offerings to include products that MSPs can resell to their customers.

InDoc will be offered to existing Network Detective Reporter customers as a free upgrade. New subscribers to Network Detective Reporter will receive InDoc as a value-added feature at no extra charge. An unlimited amount of data can be stored via InDoc for each MSP location subscribing to Network Detective Reporter. The company said MSPs with multiple locations should purchase separate Network Detective Reporter subscriptions for each office.

Kaseya reports 30% growth, MSP signings

Kaseya cited MSP growth as it reported year-over-year growth in excess of 30% and projected annual bookings of more than $250 million.

The IT infrastructure management solutions provider said uptake of the latest version of its remote monitoring and management product, VSA, has exceeded the company’s expectations. In the first several months since its release, more than 300 organizations have adopted the technology, according to Kaseya. In addition, the company said about 400 MSPs have signed up for Unitrends MSP thus far in 2018. Kaseya acquired Unitrends, a business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) technology vendor, in May.

Other news

  • Sungard Availability Services, a DR and cloud service provider in Wayne, Pa., has expanded its Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard certification, offering compliant production and DR services on AWS and its managed private cloud.
  • AWS introduced a new program for channel partners in the public sector to grow their cloud businesses within a 110-day time frame. The AWS Public Sector Partner Transformation Program offers a cloud-readiness assessment, training and enablement resources.
  • HCL Technologies, a global technology company that provides infrastructure services, is partnering with ScienceLogic’s IT operations management technology. The partnership addresses the need for automated IT operations among HCL’s enterprise clients embarking on digital transformation projects, according to ScienceLogic. The arrangement also lets HCL’s DRYiCE division use ScienceLogic’s SL1 Automation Engine.
  • Cloud communications provider Avoxi unwrapped a global partner program. Through the program, partners can provide Avoxi’s virtual numbers in more than 120 countries for packaged minutes. Avoxi said it will soon roll out a new partner portal featuring partner sales and management tools and materials.
  • Calligo, a cloud infrastructure services provider based in St. Helier, Jersey, is offering Microsoft Azure Stack services from its Toronto branch. The company said the Toronto installation is its fifth Azure Stack deployment.
  • PSIGEN Software Inc., a document capture, business process automation and document management solutions developer, has inked a distribution pact with Access Control Devices Inc. (ACDI). PSIGEN Software, based in Madison, Ala., said ACDI will serve as its exclusive distributor in North America and Latin America. ACDI, a PaperCut Authorized Solution Center, targets the office equipment reseller channel.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Inside Xbox is Live from gamescom on Tuesday, August 21 – Xbox Wire

Inside Xbox kicks off one of the world’s largest video game shows with a live broadcast direct from Cologne, Germany on Tuesday, August 21 at 7:30 a.m. PDT/10:30 a.m. EDT on MixerTwitchYouTubeFacebook, and Twitter.

Our gamescom content will include the latest on Forza Horizon 4Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2, plus breaking news, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen content for many other games.

Stay tuned @Xbox on Twitter and here on Xbox Wire for the latest Inside Xbox: Live @ gamescom news, and mark August 21 on your calendar so you don’t miss out!

Inside Xbox is Live from gamescom on Tuesday, August 21 – Xbox Wire

Inside Xbox kicks off one of the world’s largest video game shows with a live broadcast direct from Cologne, Germany on Tuesday, August 21 at 7:30 a.m. PDT/10:30 a.m. EDT on MixerTwitchYouTubeFacebook, and Twitter.

Our gamescom content will include the latest on Forza Horizon 4Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2, plus breaking news, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen content for many other games.

Stay tuned @Xbox on Twitter and here on Xbox Wire for the latest Inside Xbox: Live @ gamescom news, and mark August 21 on your calendar so you don’t miss out!

Visit Xbox at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 – Xbox Wire

San Diego Comic-Con, the world’s largest comic and pop-culture festival, is coming soon and Xbox is bringing the fun with exclusive gear, panels, celebrity guests, and more! See below for details on everything Xbox at SDCC and join the fun from California or from the comfort of your own couch.

Xbox Booth (San Diego Comic-Con badge required)
Hall A, Booth #100

For the first time ever, Xbox will have exclusive gear available at SDCC! Stop by to pick up exclusive clothing and items from Xbox and your favorite games and then get them customized on the spot with your Gamertag. See some of the items available here.

Visit us on Thursday, July 19 and Saturday, July 21 for signing sessions with some of your favorite developers and designers, but get there early: only the first 100 people to receive passes will be eligible!

Signings (San Diego Comic-Con badge required):

  • Brendan Greene (“PlayerUnknown”), Creative Director, PUBG Corp – Thursday, July 19 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. PDT
  • Joe Neate, Executive Producer, and Mike Chapman, Design Director, Sea of Thieves – Saturday, July 21 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. PDT

Xbox Gear Comic-Con Sweepstakes

Can’t make it to the booth to pick up the exclusive gear? Retweet @Xbox to potentially win an Xbox Gear Comic-Con prize pack! Four winners will receive a collection of exclusive Xbox Gear, and one grand prize winner will receive the gear and an Xbox One X.

Follow @Xbox or @XboxCanada on Twitter and retweet the following tweet when it goes live at the start of San Diego Comic-Con: “RT and follow for a chance to win exclusive #XboxSDCC #XboxGear! NoPurchNec. Ends 7/22/18. #Sweepstakes Rules: bit.ly/2KV2DQ1.” You have until July 22 to enter. Click through for the Official Rules.

Sea of Thieves Panel (San Diego Comic-Con badge required)
Room 5AB, Saturday, July 21 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm PDT

Special guest and Sea of Thieves fan Freddie Prinze Jr. (“Star Wars Rebels,” “24,” “Scooby Doo,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer”) joins the Rare crew, Joe Neate, Mike Chapman, and Peter Hentze as they discuss the lore and expanded universe of Sea of Thieves. Attendees will also receive a limited-edition Sea of Thieves comic and time-limited exclusive in-game DLC!

Xbox Live Sessions

If you’re not in San Diego but still want to follow along with the fun, we’re hosting two action-packed Xbox Live Sessions that you won’t want to miss.

  • PUBG featuring Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene: On Thursday, July 19 at 5:00 p.m. PDT, PUBG Creative Director Brendan Greene (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) and Microsoft Executive Producer Nico Bihary (@nico_bihary) will join Rukari Austin (@rukizzelrukizzel) to get their loot on in PUBG’s Miramar map live from inside of a PUBG Bus created by West Coast Customs. That’s right – Xbox, PUBG Corp., and West Coast Customs have teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind, tricked out PUBG Bus which will be home to the livestream and available to see in-person at The Experience at Comic-Con.
  • Sea of Thieves with Freddie Prinze Jr.: On Saturday, July 21 at 5:00 p.m. PDT, Sea of Thieves fan Freddie Prinze Jr. (@RealFPJr) will sail the high seas with members of the Rare team and Major Nelson in an episode of Xbox Live Sessions that’s sure to test the sea legs of the seasoned actor. Fans at home can tune in and watch on http://mixer.com/Xbox  and http://twitch.tv/Xbox.

Xbox at “The Experience at Comic-Con”

SDCC map

Head over to Petco Park where you can play Xbox One games, earn free swag, and win awesome prizes! No Comic-Con badge required.

  • Visit the Samsung truck at The Experience at Comic-Con, located in the Lexus Lot at Petco Park. Climb aboard the truck to compete in Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox One X via Samsung’s 2018 QLED TVs. More information can be found here.
  • Come visit the first stop of the Xbox One Summer of PUBG tour. Win prizes, check out the PUBG Bus, and stick around for the Xbox Live Sessions! More information can be found here

For all the SDCC details, visit the Xbox SDCC website. For more Xbox news, follow @Xbox on Twitter and stay tuned to Xbox Wire. See you at San Diego Comic-Con!

Everything We Announced at the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing – Xbox Wire

Sunday’s Xbox E3 Briefing was the largest in Microsoft’s history with more than 6,000 people, including more than 1,000 fans, invited to attend in the Microsoft Theater. Microsoft announced it is doubling its game development studios and showcased a record 52 games on stage including 18 console launch exclusives and 15 world premieres. The diverse lineup included games for every type of player, from exclusives like Forza Horizon 4, Halo Infinite and Gears 5, and independent titles like Session, Below, Ashen and Tunic to some of the biggest blockbuster games coming in the next year like Fallout 76, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, Devil May Cry 5, Battlefield V, Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, many enhanced to take advantage of the power of Xbox One X.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the gaming industry, with creators large and small showcasing incredible new games for the more than two billion players around the world,” said Phil Spencer, head of Gaming at Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we are committed to empowering gamers to play the games they want, with the people they want, where they want.”

Investing in Development of Original Content

Microsoft announced it is doubling its game development studios by adding five new creative teams to the Microsoft Studios family. New investments include the formation of a brand-new studio, The Initiative, the acquisition of Playground Games, and letters of intent to acquire Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games.

  • The Initiative. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., The Initiative is a brand-new Microsoft game development studio headed by industry veteran Darrell Gallagher that is working to create groundbreaking new worlds, characters and game experiences.
  • Playground Games. Microsoft has acquired U.K.-based Playground Games, a development partner since 2010 that has helped grow the Forza franchise to new heights. In addition to its work on this year’s Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games will have a team dedicated to bringing their open-world expertise to an entirely new project.
  • Ninja Theory. The relationship between Ninja Theory and Microsoft started in 2000 when Kung Fu Chaos was in development for the original Xbox and culminated in the release of Hellblade on Xbox One earlier this year. Microsoft’s intent to acquire Ninja Theory will help ensure the creative team has the resources and freedom to bring more ambitious games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice to fans.
  • Undead Labs. Seattle-based Undead Labs is the creator of the popular State of Decay franchise, enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. In the first two weeks since State of Decay 2 launched, more than two million fans joined the fight to survive and took down more than two billion zombies. By entering into a letter of intent to acquire Undead Labs, Microsoft is signaling its commitment to growing the franchise and taking the zombie survival-fantasy genre to new heights.
  • Compulsion Games. As We Happy Few nears its full, multiplatform release on Aug. 10, Microsoft has entered into a letter of intent to acquire Montreal-based Compulsion Games. By joining the team at Microsoft Studios, Compulsion will have the resources, platform and freedom to take even bigger creative risks and create even more ambitious worlds with its future projects.

“The original games we create at Microsoft Studios are some of our biggest assets,” said Matt Booty, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Our growth strategy is to continue to expand the worlds that players love, while developing all-new exclusive games that deepen their engagement with our platform. We are thrilled to welcome five new studios into the Microsoft family. We believe these teams have the collective creative power and operational excellence to deliver the next industry game changers.”

The addition of these creative teams reinforces Microsoft’s vision for gaming, which starts with a deep commitment to original content. The company is developing a portfolio of games on every device, including newly announced Microsoft Studios games. Revealed on stage today were three new Gears of War titles — Gears 5, Gears Tactics, Gears Pop! — along with Battletoads, Forza Horizon 4 and Halo Infinite, a Master Chief story and the next major release in the franchise built from the ground up on the new Slipspace engine.

Access to your Favorite Games Faster and Better than Ever

Microsoft announced several new titles joining the Xbox Game Pass catalog this year including Forza Horizon 4, Fallout 4, Tom Clancy’s The Division and The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, as well as several new [email protected] games being added on their release date. Microsoft also introduced new innovations to push digital gaming forward, including FastStart, an innovation from Microsoft’s Machine Learning Team, and plans from Microsoft’s Gaming Cloud Team to develop a game streaming service to unlock console-quality gaming on any device.

“We’ve been thrilled to see the positive impact Xbox Game Pass is having on the gaming ecosystem, including increasing the number of titles gamers play nearly 40 percent and increasing gameplay hours by almost 20 percent,” said Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer for Gaming at Microsoft. “With the ultimate freedom to explore and play over 100 great games, Xbox Game Pass delivers our members an incredible value in gaming.”

  • Xbox Game Pass. The Xbox Game Pass catalog continues to expand, with exciting new blockbuster titles available to members starting today, including Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and Tom Clancy’s The Division. Microsoft also announced several notable titles launching through the [email protected] program that will be coming to Xbox Game Pass this year to coincide with their debut on Xbox One. These include Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Ashen, Afterparty and Phoenix Point, as well as blockbusters from some of our biggest first-party franchises such as Forza Horizon 4, Crackdown 3, Gears 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which will release later in 2018 and beyond.
  • FastStart (Xbox One). With FastStart, you can now jump into your game[i] twice as fast and play after downloading just a fraction of your title. FastStart identifies which files are needed to begin playing and prioritizes the download of those files first, enabling you to quickly jump into full-fidelity gameplay while the remainder of your title downloads in the background. Simply find the FastStart-enabled title you want to play, hit Download and your console will take care of the rest. It’s that simple.
  • Xbox Adaptive Controller (Xbox One, Windows 10). Beginning at 9 a.m. PT on June 11, preorders will begin in select markets for the first-of-its-kind Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed for gamers with limited mobility. Available exclusively through Microsoft Store for $99.99 USD, the newest addition to the Xbox family of controllers and devices is designed to be as adaptable as possible, so gamers can create a setup that works for them in a way that is plug-and-play, extensible and affordable.
  • Mixer, Microsoft’s live streaming service, is seeing continued growth with viewership doubling in just six months to more than 20 million. The majority of this is growth from viewers on mobile

 Best Place to Play Original, Blockbuster, and Independent Games

 Xbox One continues to be the best place to play the biggest blockbuster games with over 220 titles enhanced for Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console, with new games leveraging the power of the platform from some of the world’s most talented creators like Fallout 76 from Bethesda Game Studios, Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt RED, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 from Ubisoft Massive and dozens more. Independent game creators also continue to innovate on Xbox One with games like Session, Below, Ashen and Tunic coming to Xbox One as console launch exclusives.

  • Battlefield V (Electronic Arts). Available worldwide Oct. 19, 2018, enter mankind’s greatest conflict with Battlefield V as the series goes back to its roots in a never-before-seen portrayal of World War II. Take on all-out multiplayer across the world or witness human drama set against global combat in single player War Stories, including Nordlys — a first look shown in the Xbox E3 briefing — the story of a young Norwegian resistance fighter during the German occupation, you must pay an unthinkable price to save not only yourself, but also your family.
  • Black Desert (Pearl Abyss). Black Desert is a revolutionary MMORPG that delivers intense, fast-paced combat, profitable life skills and an expansive open world. Slay monsters, abominations and gods, or engage in relaxing life skills like crafting, fishing and cooking. Become your true self in this truly open world MMORPG
  • Crackdown 3 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive). Crackdown 3 brings the boom next February, where players will stop crime as a super-powered Agent in a sandbox of mayhem and destruction. Developed by Microsoft Studios in collaboration with Sumo Digital and Elbow Rocket, Crackdown 3 delivers cooperative mayhem, signature antics, explosive gameplay and an all-new multiplayer mode, Wrecking Zone, where destruction is your ultimate weapon powered by Microsoft Cloud. Available worldwide in February 2019.
  • Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course (Studio MDHR). In Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course, Cuphead and Mugman are joined by Ms. Chalice for a DLC add-on adventure on a brand-new island! With new weapons, new charms and Ms. Chalice’s brand new abilities, take on a new cast of multifaceted, screen-filling bosses to assist Chef Saltbaker in Cuphead’s final challenging quest.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt RED). Cyberpunk 2077 is a narrative-driven, open world RPG set in the most vibrant and dangerous metropolis of the future — Night City. You play as V, a hired gun on the rise, who just got their first serious contract. In a world of cyber-enhanced street warriors, tech-savvy netrunners and corporate lifehackers, today is your first step to becoming an urban legend.
  • Devil May Cry 5 (Capcom). A brand-new entry in the legendary over-the-top action series comes to Xbox One in spring 2019, complete with its signature blend of high-octane stylized action and otherworldly and original characters the series is known for. Years have passed since the legions of hell have set foot in this world, but now a new demonic invasion has begun, and humanity’s last hope will rest in the hands of three lone demon hunters, each offering a radically different play style. United by fate and a thirst for vengeance, these demon hunters will have to face their demons if they hope to survive. The devil you know returns in the most over the top, technically advanced, utterly insane action experience of this generation.
  • Dying Light 2 (Techland). The bold sequel to the open-world phenomenon, Dying Light 2 brings to life a unique post-apocalyptic vision of the Modern Dark Ages, where your parkour abilities and brutal combat skills are the only things that let you dive into darkness and emerge alive. Make morally grey decisions, shape the transformation of the City and ultimately decide its fate.
  • Fallout 76 (Bethesda Game Studios). The award-winning creators of Skyrim and Fallout 4 welcome you to Fallout 76 — a stunning prequel and the largest world ever created in the legendary Fallout universe. Set in the hills of West Virginia, you are one of the first to emerge, into a new and untamed wasteland.
  • Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox One And Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premiere). In Forza Horizon 4, seasons change everything. This highly anticipated follow-up to 2016’s breakout hit Forza Horizon 3 brings players dynamic seasons in a shared open world that change every week. Experience beautiful, historic Britain in spectacular native 4K and HDR, collect over 450 cars, and become a Horizon Superstar. Forza Horizon 4 will launch worldwide on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Game Pass on Oct. 2, 2018, as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.
  • Gears 5 (Xbox One And Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premiere). As Kait, journey across the biggest, most beautiful Gears world ever created. Play solo or with a friend in local split-screen co-op, or online co-op and experience every mode in 4K Ultra HD resolution with stunning HDR at a smooth 60 frames per second. “Gears 5” will be released in 2019 on Xbox One and Windows 10 and will come to Xbox Game Pass on the same date as its global release.
  • Gears POP! (iOS and Android Exclusive – World Premiere). Gears Pop! brings together iconic Gears characters in a cute Funko Pop! style. The game is being developed in partnership with Funko (Nasdaq “FNKO”) and inspired by the Gears of War vinyl collectible figures. It’s the perfect slice of mobile mayhem, available on iOS and Android in 2019.
  • Gears Tactics (Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premiere). Gears Tactics evolves turn-based tactics games combining signature fast-paced brutal action and character-driven storytelling with customizable squads, upgradable weapons, and, of course, massive boss battles. Gears Tactics is also the first Gears game to be specifically designed for PC gamers.
  • Halo Infinite (Xbox One And Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premiere). The Master Chief returns in the next chapter of the legendary franchise in Halo Infinite. Developed by 343 Industries and created with the studio’s new Slipspace Engine, Halo Infinite debuted at the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing with a thrilling engine demo that provides a glimpse into the future of Halo, leading the franchise into new and unexpected directions.
  • Jump Force (Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc). The greatest heroes and villains from the 50-year history of Shueisha’s influential Japanese Weekly Jump manga will battle against each other across iconic locations across Earth in this anime fan’s dream come true! Featuring the world’s most popular and classic manga and anime franchises including Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Naruto, and many others, players will be able to compete in hyper-stylish arena brawls set against familiar backdrops of famous landmarks around the world, including New York City’s Times Square and the Matterhorn.
  • Just Cause 4 (Square Enix). Rogue agent Rico Rodriguez journeys to Solis, a huge South American world home of conflict, oppression and extreme weather conditions. Strap into your wingsuit, equip your fully customizable grappling hook, and get ready to bring the thunder!
  • Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix). Kingdom Hearts III tells the story of the power of friendship as Sora and his friends embark on a perilous adventure and support each other through difficult times. Set in a vast array of Disney worlds, Kingdom Hearts follows the journey of Sora, a young boy and unknowing heir to a spectacular power. Sora is joined by Donald and Goofy to stop an evil force known as the Heartless from invading and overtaking the universe. Through the power of positivity and friendship, Sora, Donald and Goofy unite with iconic Disney-Pixar characters old and new to overcome tremendous challenges and persevere against the darkness threatening their worlds.
  • Metro Exodus (Deep Silver). Metro Exodus is an epic, story-driven first-person shooter from 4A Games that blends deadly combat and stealth with exploration and survival horror in one of the most immersive game worlds ever created. Explore the Russian wilderness across vast, nonlinear levels and follow a thrilling storyline that spans an entire year through spring, summer and autumn to the depths of nuclear winter. Inspired by the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro Exodus continues Artyom’s story in the greatest Metro adventure yet.
  • Nier: Automata Become As Gods Edition (Square Enix). NieR: Automata is a revolutionary action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by machine lifeforms and abandoned by mankind. As part of an android army created by humans to reclaim the planet, players will fight their way through the mechanical horde using a collective of close-combat weapons and ranged attacks.
  • Ori and The Will Of The Wisps (Xbox One And Windows 10 Exclusive). The highly anticipated sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps made its worldwide gameplay debut, showcasing Ori’s immersive world, dynamic combat mechanics, gripping enemy encounters and challenging puzzles in this story-driven adventure. Ori and the Will of the Wisps releases on Xbox One and Windows 10 in 2019.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Console Launch Exclusive). PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the tactical, high-octane battle royale phenomenon, debuted footage from two new maps: Sanhok, a smaller-scale, action-packed map inspired by the islands that dot the Southeast Pacific Ocean, and a snow-covered map currently in development. New footage also debuted of War Mode, a deathmatch-style battle royale gaming experience and the world premiere debut of the Ballistic Shield, a new tool for setting up quick cover for explosive and close-distance attacks. Sanhok and War Mode will debut on Xbox in late summer 2018.
  • Sea Of Thieves (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive). Sea of Thieves, the shared-world multiplayer game that provides the quintessential pirate experience, returns with additional content that continues to grow and evolve the game. Releasing in July, Cursed Sails will bring a new threat to the seas in the form of terrifying skeleton ships. In September, Forsaken Shores will reveal a perilous new part of the world, filled with dangers that will test the skill and nerve of even the most hardened crews. Each update will be accompanied by a time-limited campaign that introduces content in a fun, engaging and memorable way. Sea of Thieves is now available on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Game Pass as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Activision). A fantastical, dark and twisted new gameplay experience developed by the renowned team at FromSoftware and published by Activision. Directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a third-person, action-adventure game with RPG elements. The single-player game puts gamers in the protagonist role of a hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is scheduled for release in early 2019 for the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X. Preorders are available now at select retailers for the suggested retail price of $59.99.
  • Session (Crea-Ture Studios). Inspired by the golden era of skateboarding, the early 90s and early 2000, Session’s primary goal is to make you experience what skateboarding really is: an incredible sport where there are no other goals other than expressing your creativity and achieving success through hard work, perseverance and bits of madness for no one else other than yourself.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Square Enix). Experience Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will ultimately be forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc). Available this winter, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition celebrates the 10th anniversary of this cherished RPG with new fully playable characters, events and other additional content never released outside of Japan. Follow Yuri Lowell, a former Imperial Knight, as he befriends a colorful cast of characters throughout the world of Terca Lumireis and finds himself in the middle of a nefarious plot that threatens the destruction of the entire planet.
  • The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (Square Enix). Have you ever dreamt of being a superhero? Meet Chris, a creative and imaginative 10-year-old boy who escapes reality with fantastical adventures as his alter ego, the Awesome Captain Spirit! Return to your childhood and play a touching and heart-warming one-of-a-kind narrative experience from the directors and development team behind the BAFTA award-winning game Life is Strange. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is an original story set in the Life is Strange Universe that contains links to the brand-new story an characters of Life is Strange 2.
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (Ubisoft). Developed by Ubisoft Massive and the same teams that brought you Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online open-world, action-shooter RPG experience set in a collapsing and fractured Washington, D.C. This rich new setting combines a wide variety of beautiful, iconic and realistic environments where the player will experience the series’ trademark for authenticity in world- building, rich RPG systems, and fast-paced action like never before. Play solo or co-op with a team of up to four players to complete a wide range of activities, from the main campaign and adversarial PvP matches to the Dark Zone — where anything can happen.
  • Tunic (Finji). Tunic is an isometric action adventure about a tiny fox in a big world. Embark on an adventuresome questabout set in that place just beyond the farthest you’ve ever been! Explore ancient ruins, fight monsters and uncover mysterious secrets. The world is big and scary — so be brave, little one!
  • We Happy Few (Compulsion Games, Gearbox Publishing). After debuting as an Xbox Game Preview title at the 2016 Xbox E3 Briefing, We Happy Few 1.0, which includes an all-new narrative and community-driven improvements, will launch on Xbox One and Xbox One X (with 4K and HDR support) on Aug. 10, 2018. We Happy Few is a narrative-driven action adventure game set in a drug-fueled, retrofuturistic 1960s England. Uncover the mystery of Wellington Wells as you play through the interwoven narratives of three moderately terrible citizens trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial.

Biggest Xbox Sale of the Year Happening Now

Microsoft also announced its Biggest Xbox Sale of the Year where gamers can find discounts on hundreds of games, accessories, Xbox Game Pass and Live Gold subscriptions, plus $50 off ANY Xbox One. For more information, visit Xbox Wire.

Be sure to preorder now at your Microsoft Store or local retailer. With retail locations across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia, and through Microsoft.com, fans can begin preordering their favorite games and select accessories and hardware from this year’s Xbox E3 2018 Briefing right now. For a list of Microsoft Store locations, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/find-a-store.

Watch E3 Live Streaming on Mixer

For additional news, highlights, exclusive reveals and a behind-the-scenes look at some of your favorite games throughout the week of E3, watch Inside Xbox: Live @ E3 on Monday, June 11 at 3 p.m. PDT and tune in to live streaming on Mixer Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13.