Thursday, April 25, 2013 , Updated 10:00 a.m., May 21, 2013
What can we expect when Microsoft unveils its next Xbox system May 21?
What we really need to hear is about the console's infrastructure and features.
Xbox Live’s Major Nelson has posted on his blog that they will be finally showing off their next system on May 21 at 12 p.m. Central Time during a live presentation that will be viewable online on Xbox.com, on the Xbox 360 itself and on Spike TV. There was no indication of how long the event would be, though the smart guess would be an hour or two.
This is 19 days before the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, which leaves me to wonder what big reveals they’ll have left for their big press conference there.
Sony blinked first on the next-gen news front between the two companies, revealing tons of information about their PlayStation 4 back in February. So we’ve already seen that controller and many of the systems games, and we’ve also been given lots of information about the console’s hardware and features. While the next Xbox (codenamed Durango, or referred to by some fans as the “Xbox 720″) will probably share quite a bunch with Sony’s console, there’s still a lot we don’t know. There’s also the question of “Why did they wait this long?” Were they just trying to get some distance from Sony, or have they been scrambling to put something together ever since?
So, what can we expect to see from this Microsoft event?
In terms of games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the third-party games we are already well aware of. Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs, for example, might make an appearance even though we’ve seen it several times before. Same for Bungie’s Destiny, and possibly Assassin’s Creed IV, which we know to be coming to next-generation platforms as well as current consoles.
In fact, games may not be a huge focus of this event as all, considering this line from the announcement blog: “Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.” Almost sounds like they’re trying to temper our expectations from the get-go.
But hey, an E3 press conference that’s entirely about games sounds super exciting, so maybe this will lead to that.
What will be most exciting is the unknowns. Halo 4 just launched late last year, so is it too early to see even a glimpse of 343 Industries’ next game? (Probably.) Will we get a new Forza title to show off fancy car models? I’m hoping for big third-party reveals, but unfortunately that may not be too likely (if anything, those will probably be an E3 thing).
What we really need to hear is stuff about the console’s infrastructure and features. How will Xbox Live benefit from the better hardware? Will the system be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games, or at least downloadable Xbox Live Arcade games (that’s the hope, though it’s tough to pull off. The PS4 will not be able to play any PS3 games)? A name would be nice, but not absolutely required.
Will it need an always-online Internet connection? That’s been the prevailing rumor for a very long time now. Will the next Xbox restrict used game sales through a required Internet connection? Will you still be able to play games (even single-player) if your Internet is down? Is the “always online” term more about the systems media features? What is the meaning of life? All great questions.
What about Kinect? The talk has been that Microsoft’s next Kinect camera is a vast improvement over the original, and the rumor is that one will be packed in with every console purchase. What’s the future of that hardware?
Don’t expect to hear about price or release date. This stuff would be fantastic to know now, but it’s too early. I think E3 is the soonest we’ll hear this information from either Microsoft or Nintendo.
Are you excited about the next generation of video game consoles? What do you think Microsoft has in store for this event? What are you hoping to see?