Tomorrow, at 10AM PST, Microsoft will officially unveil the next-generation Xbox. While there have been countless rumors surrounding the new platform, I’m here to chime in on a few of the most popular rumors and let you know what I think of them, and what I believe you can expect to hear/see from tomorrow’s big reveal.
Will we see the box?
The short answer is yes, you will indeed see what the next Xbox looks like. Microsoft said they thought Sony’s PS4 reveal was odd, in that the company didn’t actually show us what the system itself looked like. This could have been done purposely to hide a few features the system itself may have. Which leads me to…
One of the biggest reasons why the PS4 wasn’t shown, according to rumors, is that it will feature an HDMI-in port, even though that wasn’t mentioned in the tech specs. Otherwise why not show the hardware? Seems silly, no? What I can tell you is that Microsoft’s new Xbox will have an HDMI-in port. The idea is that you never have to turn your system off. It’ll control your PVR, have access to your cable guide and much more. Expect it!
Count on it. I expect tech specs to be similar, if not identical to those of the PlayStation 4. This time around the differentiating factors between the two consoles will be more about multimedia functions and social features.
Yes, you can expect some major videogame announcements including Call of Duty: Ghosts. Activision has already confirmed it will be there, and I fully expect Microsoft to highlight other key exclusives. I think most of the reveal will be on the hardware and multimedia, but much like Sony did with the PS4 reveal, expect to see a lot of games as well.
I expect the Xbox 360’s dashboard to see a major overhaul, although I don’t really think we’ll hear about this tomorrow. I believe this will happen as E3. I think this will be the last major UI overhaul the system will have, and it will tie directly in to the next Xbox’s look and feel. You can also expect everything to carry over to the new platform from your current one including achievements, your friend list, etc. What will the UI look like, I’m leaning more and more towards the Live Tiles from the Windows 8 and Mobile platforms.
Right now all the big money is on Xbox Infinity, and I really think that’s what it’ll be called. There are so many marketing advantages to having a name like this. Infinite also works well. “Infinite Possibilities, Infinite Entertainment” and things like that. So my money is on one of the two names. Sure Fusion sounds cool, but from a marketing perspective it doesn’t quite have the impact as Infinity or Infinite. Heck they could even tie it into Windows 8, and an 8 turned on its side is ∞.
I don’t expect us to hear the pricing details tomorrow, but I do expect them at E3 so I might as well say what I think right now. Based on the rumored tech specs, the PS4 and the next Xbox are looking to cost consumers somewhere in the $399.99 to $499.99 range. Naturally there will a variety of SKUs available, so don’t be surprised if you hear about a $599.99 SKU with tons of bells and whistles.
There are always huge surprises at events like this. During Sony’s event we had no idea they would focus so much attention on games, but they did. With Microsoft’s event I think we’re all expecting to see the console, the controller, games, and multimedia features. I don’t think Microsoft will disappoint either. The question is, just how big are these surprises going to be.