Microsoft have let me down. There will not be a new Xbox in 2012, and that’s official. The only way they can make it up to me is by making it thrice as awesome as the 360, with Blu-ray and motion-sensors and stuff. So here’s why they’re not giving us what we want yet:
In 2000 the original Xbox was revealed. Since then, with the help of PC gaming companies’ publishing rights etc., Microsoft have been able to keep up the massively popular game console running. It evolved into the Xbox 360 in November 2005, and is still going strong today, but according to the cycle already in place, the next Xbox should have come out in 2010; instead Microsoft released the Kinect, roughly within the 5 year gap. Hopefully this doesn’t mean we’ll have to wait until 2015, but I expect when Microsoft get their heads into ‘game development mode’, magical things will happen…
According to Cedrick Delmas, Microsoft France Marketing Director, they “haven’t price cut this year,” meaning no new Xbox. Instead, it’s release has been postponed until late 2013, by which time they should have a GPU based on AMD’s 40nm Radeon 6000 architecture, and perhaps even a Blu-ray drive, which would be awesome for those of you who like to HD up your gaming experience. Although Nintendo plans to come up from behind with the Wii U, and Sony with the PSVita, Microsoft apparently feel minimal pressure to compete.
Rumours now lead towards Microsoft releasing two new products instead of just one: a high-end successor to the current 360, and a cheaper “set-top box” aimed specifically at Kinect gaming, possibly called Wave, a new “Project Natal”. This will mean an excuse to have the new Xbox on its own, yet have a completely separate product, similar to the Kinect, for the gamer who’s really into the motion-sensing tech. Also, by that time the technology will have gotten so much better that it will almost be necessary to have Wave as a separate console because of the updates.
Another reason Microsoft may be postponing their console is because they’re also half-way through developing Windows 8, which incidentally is technically available to download now, if you know where to look. Once they’ve got that sorted, perhaps more concentration will be inserted into their gaming assets, who knows? Maybe aspects of W8 are essential for the console itself and so they’re waiting for one before they can make the other. We shall see.
Mentioning the lack of price cut again, the “Xbox 360′s cycle is not at all finished,” and so there are clearly a few tricks left up the old sleeve to extend the X360’s life further yet. One thing’s for sure, Microsoft are likely to get as much out of what they have as possible, I mean, who wouldn’t?
Philippe Cardone, CEO of Playstation France, also made it clear Sony wouldn’t be rushing its next console release. “Wii is pressed for time because it’s in decline. In our case, we have a lot less pressure. We were the last to release PS3, and we will probably be the last to announce something.” [courtesy of Rachel Weber, GamesIndustry.biz] This says to me that neither of the big guns are particularly threatened by Nintendo, both say they’re not competing here. The Wii U has been public for some time now, but it seemed like Nintendo got a little desperate after the 3DS turned out to be a bit of a flop.
Although there’s no new Xbox in 2012, in June’s E3 conference, some say Microsoft will reveal their plans, or at least what they have in mind. Some new technology will certainly be there to boast about, and I’m sure some interesting things will come from Sony, too. All we can say for sure is that we’re going to have to wait. But boy, will the wait be worth it.