Microsoft unveils all-digital Xbox consoles, 'Doom' title at Games Showcase

FILE PHOTO: Microsoft signage is seen at the company's headquarters in Redmond

(Reuters) - Microsoft kicked off its annual Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday, unveiling a new all-digital version of its Xbox Series X and S consoles as well as trailers for more than a dozen games including the next installment of "Call of Duty."

The Games Showcase comes at a crucial time for Xbox and Microsoft as the gaming industry faces a downturn and publishers grapple with softer sales, layoffs and studio shutdowns.

Microsoft showed off three gaming consoles including a disc-less version of the Xbox Series X and S consoles, and a special edition of the Series X with 2 terabytes of storage.

The hardware refresh could help Xbox boost sales of its consoles which compete with Sony's PlayStation 5.

Among the games on display was "Doom: The Dark Ages", the latest installment in the long-running "Doom" franchise, as well as a sneak peak at the newest "Gears of War" title, ending a five-year wait for one of Xbox's most popular properties.

A sizable number of games including the new "Doom" and "Call of Duty" will be available on Xbox Game Pass on the day of launch, indicating that Microsoft is making big bets on the subscription service as it tries to woo consumers grappling with a relatively softer economy.

The Games Showcase was followed by a special feature from Activision Blizzard's studios that highlighted features, characters and gameplay of the new "Call of Duty: Black Ops 6", which is slated for a release in October.

Developers Treyarch and Raven software showed clips from the campaign of the game that takes place in the early 1990s, touting features such as a new movement system allowing players to sprint in all directions, and a glimpse at the fan-favorite "Zombies" mode.

(Reporting by Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Vijay Kishore and Bill Berkrot)