Microsoft has kept very silent when it comes to the next generation Xbox, allowing their closest rival to build up some enthusiasm with their new console aimed at bringing core gamers back to the system.
This has not stopped rumours from pouring in about the new gaming console by Microsoft and while the excitement has been overwhelming so has the negativity to some of the rumours.
Microsoft has finally revealed the dates for the next Xbox reveal and on May 21 they will be holding a press event. The company will show off the new console and some features within the system.
Two different invites were sent out: one for Xbox Live users and one for the press. The press will be invited to Redmond, Washington at the Xbox Campus to see the next generation.
Microsoft will be streaming the event on Xbox Live and at Xbox.com at the same time.
We are expecting Microsoft to run through a lot of new features and specs on the next Xbox. The PS4 event was significant because Sony basically sold itself to core gamers.
The Xbox will be more about entertainment and we are expecting Microsoft to reveal some new features that will change the way we watch content and use apps on the Xbox.
E3 for games
With the console being shown off at Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond, the company will wait until E3 to show off most of the games.
Right now, there isn’t a long line of games set for the next generation – Sony unveiled a few and developers have said their next launches will be tailored for the next generation.
Microsoft may have some new titles waiting at E3, we must remember Microsoft Studios publishes a lot of titles, including the Gears of War and Halo series.
It could be possible Microsoft has set up a few deals with previously published developers to make sure they have some exclusives on their platform.
“Always on” DRM
The controversy with the next generation console all comes from the idea the next Xbox will have “always on” DRM on every single video game, although this move has been disputed.
This means the gamer will always have to be connected to the internet in order for the game to work. This isn’t just for multiplayer games, this is every single game, no matter what modes are available.
Not only does this anger a lot of core gamers, it takes away a demographic of players who may not have good Internet connection or may not want to have the Internet constantly running.
This rumour exploded to life when Adam Orth, Creative Director at Microsoft, started questioning on Twitter what the problem was with always on. He believes we live in an always-on world, where connections can be stable 24/7.
The outrage at these comments made many retaliate and we believe Orth has lost his position at Microsoft because of the comments. It also sunk Microsoft’s reputation with gamers, we can see on Reddit most threads now have negativity against next Xbox rumours.
New rumours circulating around the web say Microsoft will implement an always on feature for games, but it will be at the publishers request. This means some games can stick to an offline mode, if they want.
The operating system on the Xbox 360 is slowly moving to a full Windows 8 look and we suspect Microsoft will continue this into the next generation.
Essentially what Microsoft want is all their platforms to look and feel familiar to one another. We expect the next Xbox to have an OS similar to Windows 8 but with more gaming and entertainment features.
With this move to Windows 8, the team may look to utilise applications onto the platform more than they have done with this generation’s console.
This will include being able to add mobile games and applications from the PC version of Windows 8 onto the Xbox system – since it is a more closed environment, we may see Microsoft handpick applications.
As we said before, Sony has put their bets firmly on core gamers and making sure it is simple and easy to play the best games on the most advanced platform.
Microsoft may hit back in an odd fashion though, instead of central focus on games, the Xbox will become an entertainment console.
This means apps, services and media will be fully integrated on the next Xbox. We are already seeing Xbox Live Video and Music becoming more popular and now the company is looking for original content to add to the services.
If Microsoft can make this an ample competitor in more than one field, it may sway people. Imagine, instead of buying an Apple TV, cable box and game console, you just bought the Xbox.
Kinect 2.0 is a shady subject, for some, it is still seen as Microsoft’s failed project they keep trying to bring into the gaming industry. So far, there has not been one core game that adds Kinect and improves the overall experience.
The next generation may integrate Kinect 2.0 into the console and the user can choose to set it up or keep it dormant. The possibilities on 2.0 will vastly improve from the first accessory.
Kinect 2.0 will track multiple people in one room, can monitor the movement of an eye and will allow more voice commands and movement gestures.
The real question is can it be an addition to a game that improves the quality? Can it make a game really standout with the voice or gesture commands? We will see.
There have been rumors floating about that the new Xbox will have a cable plug installed, allowing consumers to watch cable TV through the Xbox.
This would be a brilliant way to utilize TV on an Internet-based platform, instead of having all the media platforms separated. Microsoft has enough influence with cable companies to make this move possible.
Again, this will not be a direct move against cable, it will be embracing cable and giving it a significant platform to play through. Comcast, Time Warner and other cable companies will likely accept this move.
You may now feel submerged in what the new Xbox will bring to the table, but none of this may happen, it is only based on reports, leaks, and rumours within the industry.
We can see some of these coming without a doubt, the Windows 8 UI is a no brainer, Microsoft wants to incorporate the same look and feel across all platforms.
However, rumors like cable TV and the main focus being taken away from games should be taken with a larger dosage of salt.
Whatever the case, Microsoft has a very dominate seat in the future of gaming. If they can bring the game console at an affordable price and add the additional entertainment hub, it will most definitely be a powerful platform offering tons of features.