What to expect from the Next Xbox
This upcoming Tuesday (the 21st if you’re counting), Microsoft will reveal their next Xbox console to the world, bringing the video games industry even closer to the eighth generation of video game consoles. This month, there has been lots of speculation and predictions of the capabilities of this new Xbox. There are rumors of the console requiring a constant internet connection and then subsequent rumors that deny this claim. There have speculations on the look of both the console itself and the controller, and just about everyone has a different name for this new console. I feel the need to throw my hat into the ring. So here it is. This is what you can expect from the next Xbox.
It is a near certainty that the next Xbox will include support for the Kinect. While most of you might groan at this, Microsoft has put so much of their money and effort into marketing the Xbox 360 and the Kinect in unison. The Kinect is part of Microsoft’s vision for the industry and it’s here to stay. Microsoft clearly wishes consumers to think of the Kinect when they think of the Xbox; this will continue with the new console. There is a possibility that the next Xbox will have Kinect built-in, or at least be bundled with it. Though, the former would increase the starting price of the new console, which brings me to my next prediction. The new Xbox will be sold in multiple retail configurations, similar to the “Core” and “Elite” versions of the Xbox 360. This is common among current consoles, including the Nintendo’s Wii U. There may be a more causal-oriented edition that includes a Kinect and a smaller hard-drive and a cheaper starting price. This isn’t going to be big news by any means, and it may not even be brought up during the event (similar to what Sony did with the Ps4). It’s possible that Microsoft will save this announcement for E3.
The next Xbox will feature an upgraded version of Xbox Live. Microsoft’s online service is one of the most successful achievements of the Xbox 360, so expect them to make a splash regarding Xbox Live. I doubt Microsoft will make the service free, however they may reveal a new subscription option similar to Playstation Plus (Xbox Live Platinum maybe?). Xbox Live will probably be accessible on multiple devices in some way, adding to what Microsoft is doing with the SmartGlass app. There will be better browsing on the internet and better networking capabilities. The Xbox Live Marketplace is also going to change albeit very slightly. Microsoft Points are probably on their way out. The achievements system will likely remain unchanged.
As far as hardware goes, I’m not sure Microsoft’s machine will outperform the PS4 in the processing department. The new console will play Blu-Ray, which may make backwards compatibility an issue. If the next Xbox is unable to play 360 games, expect Microsoft to use Sony’s solution of streaming games online or selling them online. Sony has a tradition of going for processing power, so Microsoft will likely try to beat the PS4 for value, starting with a lower price. Given Microsoft’s current foray into motion control, don’t expect any major changes to the controller. At best, it’ll have a built-in microphone. The guide button that the 360 introduced will be expanded upon in some way.
With E3 less than a month away, Microsoft may play it a little safe with software demonstrations. The new Call of Duty game has already been confirmed for the event so expect at the very least, another trailer, a gameplay demo or possibly both. Bungie’s new MMO, Destiny is likely to get at least a trailer though Bungie has been teasing an E3 reveal for a while. There will be the usual slew of Kinect titles (hopefully Microsoft will manage to avoid embarrassing themselves for a third year in a row) and there will some sort of announcement about Halo 5, probably a teaser trailer. Whatever is revealed, Microsoft will expand on their software lineup at E3.
The next Xbox isn’t shaping up to be anything revolutionary, however Microsoft may have a few surprises in store, I expect a lot of social integration from their new console much like the PS4. It’ll focus more on integration with smartphones and PCs, maybe integrating Windows 8 into the console itself. The 360 has been shifting away from core gamers for a long time; that trend isn’t going to change now. Don’t expect anything spectacular from Microsoft, if the PS4 was any indication, gaming will go social, but won’t change too much. That’s what I expect from the next Xbox. In one week we’ll know how I did. Check back then where I’ll go over the reveal in greater detail.
Posted on May 16, 2013, in Editorials and tagged Call of Duty, Destiny, gadgets, Games, gaming, May 21st, Microsoft, Next Xbox, retail configurations, Video Games, video games industry, Xbox, xbox 720, xbox reveal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.