On May 21st Microsoft is set to unveil its newest gaming console that will rival the PlayStation 4 for the attention of console gamers everywhere. With the conference only 11 days away we here at VGU.TV have decided to weigh in on what we expect to see from the conference and what we hope to see from the conference. Here are our predictions for the Xbox event.
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The May 21st reveal of the next Xbox console from Microsoft is sure to be an exciting event that will answer tons of questions that gamers have had for months and will hopefully dispel some rumors that are less than favorable with most gamers. Here is what I believe Microsoft will do at the press conference.
-Show the Box
The PlayStation 4 reveal lacked one component, the actual box itself. While the importance of seeing what the box is going to look like is basically nil, many gamers wanted to see it anyway. When marketing a retail product it helps to show the product itself so people can see that is physically exists. Yes I know, no one questions that the PlayStation 4 exists but this is more psychological than anything else and it is an easy way for Microsoft to say “got you” to Sony.
Microsoft has a long standing policy that is does not respond to rumors or speculation from different sources and this can be frustrating when some of these rumors seem to be substantiated by your own employee (ex-employee now). The always online stipulation is one that most people seem to have a strong aversion to and hopefully Microsoft can now just reveal how the system will work without breaking the “we don’t respond to rumor” policy.
-Show Some Games
What kind of a console reveal would it be if Microsoft didn’t show any games? Obviously the next Xbox will need have a solid library to compete with the PlayStation 4 and Sony did show a good amount of games at its conference so the gauntlet was thrown down. Microsoft will probably end up focusing on showing third party games (like perhaps Call of Duty: Ghosts) but I am hoping to see some first party titles.
It’s no secret that gaming consoles have been pushing to become the “one stop shop” for entertainment in the living room and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 seems to be pushing more than the PlayStation. While Sony definitely announced features that will make the PlayStation 4 viable in this regard, I expect Microsoft to work even harder to make the next Xbox even more of an entertainment hub. Hopefully not at the expense of games but we’ll have to see.
The final thing that I think will definitely be involved in the Xbox presentation is going to be the actual name of the console. Rumors around the net are that it will be called the Xbox Infinity. We will have to see if those rumors turn out to be true but I can’t think of a scenario where the name isn’t given.
When the Xbox 360 was first launched I was really excited for all the possibilities. An open console with a robust network that could be personalized and where players could create content for other players, sell that content, watch TV, invite their friends, and pretty much become the center of the living rooms. It was a tantalizing proposition I couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately, the Xbox 360 didn’t live up to these expectations and it became a closed down system with a network that required you to pay to use most of the features. Eventually I switched to the PlayStation 3 and never looked back. If the next Xbox is anything like the 360 I can’t see myself getting excited to play it, or buy it, at all.
The idea of the next Xbox possibly being always online is also a turnoff even though Microsoft squashed those rumors a few weeks back. However, Microsoft is going to have to impress me with their next piece of hardware to make me care. Unless the next Xbox is some kind of Steam Box, or has the ability to play PC games, I really don’t see a purpose in buying it. If not it’s just going to be like the Xbox 360, a system with a bunch of features I don’t use, that I have to pay a subscription for on top of the other costs, that doesn’t have many first party games to play, then what’s the point? Granted there are third party titles but when it comes to big events Microsoft, only has about 1 – 2 titles if we’re lucky on any given year. There are only so many Gears of War and Halo games I can play before I start getting really bored of the whole thing.
If Microsoft wants me to buy the next Xbox, it better be revolutionary.
Microsoft has a lot to prove going into its Xbox reveal event on May 21st. Sony seems to have a huge chunk of the gamer mindshare right now, and for good reason. The Playstation 4 is an ambitious project that promises to bring gamers together through its dedicated share button on top of improved horsepower and streaming games through Gaikai.
Followers of the game industry will know about the recent controversy surrounding tweets from former Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth, wherein Mr. Orth urged gamers to simply “deal with it” should the next Xbox require an online connection. Microsoft’s first order of business ought to be dispelling the rumors of an always-online console. The trick will be to deliver this message without drawing attention to the controversy behind it, so expect a simple one-liner after a game demo along the lines of, “…and players can enjoy this great game both on AND offline this holiday season!”
Speaking of this holiday season, the most important bit of information Microsoft could give us is a solid release date and price for the console. We still don’t know what Sony’s plans are in this regard, and giving gamers a specific date to look forward instead of a nebulous release window could do wonders for the hype train. People like countdowns, and Microsoft would be wise to give gamers something to count down to.
I also hope Microsoft details how we’ll interface with the next Xbox. It seems like a given that every console will ship with an updated version of Kinect, but what about buttons and sticks? My hope is that the next Xbox retains compatibility with current 360 controllers. Beyond its godawful D-pad, the 360 controller is damn near perfect and it would be nice if I didn’t have to drop over $50 on an extra controller for local multiplayer.
In terms of backwards compatibility, I think it would be a smart move for Microsoft to find a way to let gamers transfer their XBLA library to their new console. It would give current 360 owners some incentive to stick with Microsoft, and gamers new to Xbox Live will finally have the chance to pick up modern classics like Fez, Trials HD, and Splosion Man.
But more important than all of the above will be new games. While I expect Microsoft to hold back on software announcements until E3, the May 21st event will need to at least have a sizzle reel of what kind of games we can expect within the release window when the console finally launches. Halo 5 is a shoe-in, but what of new IP? What is Rare working on? The 360 has seen a dearth of exclusives over the last year or so, and I suspect the reason is that Microsoft’s first-party studios have been hard at work developing software for the next Xbox.
Between the delays in its conference, Sony’s respectable PS4 showing, and the whirlwind of less-than-savory rumors surrounding the next Xbox, Microsoft’s got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do come the end of May. Here’s what I think we can look forward to at the presentation/conference/whatever.
First off, I can almost guarantee a lot of Kinect material, or whatever Microsoft is calling its successor. Microsoft’s desperate clinging to its half-baked motion control technology is depressingly admirable. There’s some chance the next iteration of Kinect will be more accurate and see better implementation, so I expect some shock and awe if it has been improved, but there’s still concern there that interest will drop off much as it did the first time around. Either way, Microsoft’s bound to be cramming it down our throats.
Game-wise, I don’t expect much of a showing. There’ll be some big in-house stuff, like a tease for the next Halo and probably something Forza-related, and maybe a couple of third-party surprises, but other than that? I expect more of an all-media focus, as has been the 360′s current drift. Apps, secondary implementations, and whatnot are going to be even further stressed this time around, much to the chagrin of people who actually expect the system to play games. Oh, and sports. There’s always sports.
One thing to definitely look forward too is a revelation of what the hardware actually looks like, as a shot over Sony’s bow for only having the PS4 controller to show. It wouldn’t be surprising to see multiple SKUs with different price points as well regardless of if the prices are shown.
All in all, I don’t see things being much different from the PS4 reveal. Some neat stuff, a bit of potential, but lukewarm overall. There’s a chance things will be a bit more fulfilling than Sony’s showing, which left a lot of people interested but wanting a bit more, but the need to conduct some damage control has a good chance of sabotaging Microsoft’s show.
That’s what our staff had to say about the impending Microsoft Xbox event but what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!