Expectations high for next Xbox

May 20, 2013 by Derrik J. Lang
In this June 18, 2012 photo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer comments on Microsoft Xbox before unveiling its new Surface, a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad at Hollywood's Milk Studios in Los Angeles. With the next Xbox expected to finally be revealed Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., anticipation for what the company is planning for the next iteration of its gaming console is higher than Master Chief's last spaceship. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

It's almost time for a new Xbox. Eight years have passed since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360, double the amount of time between the original Xbox debut in 2001 and its high-definition successor's launch in 2005. With the next-generation Xbox expected to be revealed Tuesday, anticipation for the entertainment console's latest evolution is running high.

"People get excited about new consoles because consoles represent the future," said Stephen Totilo, editor of gaming site Kotaku.com. "When you buy a new console, you're essentially investing in five years of your future in the hopes that this box won't just be cool the day you buy it, but in five years from now, it will be even cooler."

The platform has been the exclusive home to such popular gaming franchises as science-fiction shoot-'em-up "Gears of War," racing simulator "Forza" and first-person shooter "Halo," starring super-soldier Master Chief. In recent years, Microsoft expanded the console's scope beyond just games, adding streaming media apps and the family-friendly Kinect system.

The next generation of gaming already got off to a rocky start last November when Nintendo launched the Wii U, the successor to the popular system featuring an innovative tablet-like controller yet graphics on par with the and Sony's . Nintendo said it sold just 3.45 million units by the end of March, well below expectations.

Microsoft will likely take aim at Sony during Tuesday's next-generation Xbox unveiling at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington state. Sony was first to showcase plans for its upcoming PlayStation 4—but not the actual box—at an event in New York last February. The reaction to that console, which featured richer graphics and more , was mixed.

Totilo said to wow gamers with the next Xbox, Microsoft must show off great games for it that players will crave, as well as technology that feels futuristic. He said there's concern from Xbox fans that Microsoft has lost interest in hardcore gamers with their recent efforts to attract casual gamers with the Kinect, its camera-based system that detects motion.

In this June 5, 2012 file photo, show attendees walk past Microsoft XBox booth at E3 2012 in Los Angeles. With the next Xbox expected to finally be revealed Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., anticipation for what the company is planning for the next iteration of its gaming console is higher than Master Chief's last spaceship. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

There will be at least one hardcore game showcased at Microsoft's event: "Call of Duty: Ghosts," the next chapter in the popular military shooter franchise from "Modern Warfare" developer Infinity Ward. Activison-Blizzard Inc. previously announced that "Ghosts" would be on display Tuesday and will be available for both current and next-generation consoles.

"They wanted 'Call of Duty' on their stage to show off what next gen is capable of," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. "We're excited about the approach that both Microsoft and Sony are taking to the next generation. Our business, of course, depends on them launching this new hardware, so we want to do everything we can to help."

For the past five years, questions and rumors about a new Xbox have circulated more than the chainsaw on the end of a "" rifle. What will the new Xbox be called? How much will it cost? Will it play used video games? Blu-ray discs? Will it be backwards compatible? Must the Kinect always be on? Will it require a connection to the Internet?

Expectations high for next Xbox
In this product image released by Microsoft, a Project Natal sensor for the XBOX 360 is shown. The sensor tracks a player's full body movement while responding to commands, directions and a shift of emotion in voice without the need for a controller. With the next Xbox expected to finally be revealed Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., anticipation for what the company is planning for the next iteration of its gaming console is higher than Master Chief's last spaceship. (AP Photo/Microsoft, File) ** NO SALES **

It's that rumor about an always-on Xbox which has ignited the most negative comments on social networks, according to research firm Fizziology. Overall, Fizziology said gamers seem to be more jazzed about a potential new Xbox, with 32 percent of the chatter positive compared to 10 percent of the sentiment negative in online conversations.

"I think because people have been waiting a long time, expectations are higher," said Laurent Detoc, North America president of Ubisoft Entertainment. "As a result, they may not be seeing what they anticipated. In the end, from the research we've done, there's a strong appetite for new machines. I have no doubt they're going to sell extremely well."

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gwrede
4 / 5 (1) May 20, 2013
What will the new Xbox be called? How much will it cost? Will it play used video games? Blu-ray discs? Will it be backwards compatible? Must the Kinect always be on? Will it require a connection to the Internet?
Always on??? What possible reason could there be for having to be always on??

If I keep my Linux system always on, that's my choice, and I also know what it's doing and not doing during the night. But if Microsoft forces me to keep one of their gadgets always on in my home, they can stuff the console somewhere else.

Aloken
not rated yet May 20, 2013
Always on??? What possible reason could there be for having to be always on??


To stop piracy, console modding and homebrew software.
Royale
5 / 5 (1) May 20, 2013
For always on, that's not a good enough reason IMO.