Unveiling: It was first thought that Microsoft would announce their console before Sony but Sony made their’s quite early in the year. After the PS4 announcement in February rumor had it Microsoft postponed their reveal at a much later date to either match Sony or show them up. The official announcement will be May 21st, 2013 as stated from Xbox’s Major Nelson.
More time is always good to have, especially when you know what most of the cards on the table are. Issue here is the negative press from the infinite rumor mill had and still begins to spin out of control but fortunately it will all be revealed soon.
Name: Their had been several names floating around with the earliest campaign being Xbox 720 which seemed less likely as later on smaller internal conferences and rumors circulated Microsoft wanting to just call it The Xbox, like Apple’s iPad 3 is just the new iPad. Now reports are suggesting now that the name will be Xbox Infinity as multiple domain registrations are surfacing and sources close to development have confirmed it.To clarify the logo below is indeed a fake but we might see something similar since the report is real.
The Xbox Infinity name seems like a good fit for Microsoft coming full circle in the console/game market as this will be their third system. The brand choice does however seem to inadvertently close the chapter of the Xbox name unless they do decide to call the next one The Xbox which might not be a bad thing.
Hardware: While things are still up in the air on this, it looks like some are more concrete then others. A Kinect 2.0 has been in every speculated report and seems to be as confirmed as you can get without seeing it. The console has a blu-ray drive and is unclear if it is only for games or for movies as well but we would think for both. While not getting too specific its reported that curtain dev kit owners let some specs leak that believe to be for the next Xbox. An 8gb DDR3 Ram helms the thing, while on a X64 processor running at 1.6 Ghz across 8 cores that would run dedicated functions. Their is also talk that Microsoft might go with a solid state drive then an optical hard drive.
Hardware is very important but its only a piece of the puzzle. Xbox 360 was claimed an inferior unit compared to the PS3’s specs however the PS3 was not as friendly to work on. Many developers have been recently reporting openly that the PS4 is much easier and by the tone possibly more so then the new Xbox.
The Kinect in my personal opinion didn’t live up to or meet expectations they demonstrated at its E3 unveiling. With that said they will need to insure that what was promised can all be done with the Kinect 2.0 and much more. Microsoft recently showed off a new tech as well which will augment your perception of the game being played off the television set and onto the room itself. It’s called IllumiRoom, uses the Kinect and while the idea is like nothing we’ve ever seen it is still only in its prototype phase. We’re not sure what chances are they will have this ready come time for the consoles launch. Below you’ll find a video highlighting some of what IllumiRoom can do.
Software: The Xbox 360 has to be praised on its adaption over the years. From simply playing games, to enabling a party chat system and now becoming most peoples dedicated entertainment unit. The next Xbox should be no different and while nothing is confirmed their are rumors that Xbox will adopt a Windows 8 style tile system. This would bridge the gap certainly on their Windows PC operating system and the Xbox. Another is the rumor that the console will need to be Always On to play games in the first place. A second hand game blocking mechanism has also made it among the other rumors as some devs reported seeing not only documentation but prompts while using the dev kits for such things.
The issue here is that it’s all rumors with some looking more solid but then getting debunked soon after, to only be put back on the table. Any sort of blocking or forced way to play will only hurt Microsoft at this point, especially after Sony has expressed they’ve had no interest or consideration on doing such things. We also don’t know if they will continue with the Xbox Glass initiative on another note as their has been less talk of it recently. Luckily with only a week to go the nail biting will either end on the 21st or may just have you rip them clean off if your displeased with the results.
Games: The next Xbox has not seen any real promos to newer games that state they will be on its platform, however their are some games definitely confirmed for the system, outed by developers themselves. Watch Dogs from Ubisoft, Assassins Creed IV by Ubisoft, Destiny from Bungie, Call of Duty’s Ghost from Activision, Battlefield 4 from EA and The Witcher 3 from CD Projekt Red. Without going into a whole lot of detail as to the confirmation aspects we do know that either it was officially announced to come to the platform, confirmed to be on all major or next gen platforms or it would be insane not to assume so at this point.
Aside the fact that Microsoft likely wants to keep a tight lip until the unveiling to announce games officially it also makes sense of the uncertainty since the new name/logo will also be revealed that day as well and can’t be placed on an ad of any kind before that. This is the category where Microsoft could use all the help they can get as their focus has been less on making the current Xbox a games console in its core and making a entertainment hub. Lets hope their will be more light shed on stronger titles and the possibly rumored games like Forza 5, Halo 5 and Lionhead Studios next gen game.
To conclude the road coming into this week without letting anything leak will be one of the toughest Microsoft will face. The buzz will be swirling good or bad but the smartest thing the next Xbox can do is renounce itself as a ultimate game console first before making it your everything else device. Let us know your thoughts on what the next Xbox should or should not do going into the unveiling next week? Now take a look at this hard to find blast from the past video of the Xbox 360’s “The Next Generation Revealed” on MTV in 2005 below and see maybe some similar cues that could happen this time around, but lets hope not.