Microsoft may unveil its next, next-gen console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles next month. While Microsoft hasn’t officially announced the system yet, industry insiders point to a few reasons why gamers should look out for the machine.
The Future of the Xbox
According to a source with ties to Flextronics in Austin, Texas, Microsoft’s next generation console is already in production. (Flextronics is the company that manufactures the current Xbox 360 and other devices for Microsoft.)
For gamers the next questions are “What features will the machine have?” and “When will it be available?” As far as features go, insiders say the machine will NOT have a Blu-ray player, but will have double the processing power of the current Xbox (hence the 720). Why no Blu-ray? Simple. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a digital-download world: Blu-ray as a format is dying (just compare the prices of Blu-rays against what they were a year ago). Plus, the Xbox 360 already serves up movies (via Netflix) and Microsoft doesn’t plan to add Sony technology to its console anytime in the future.
It’s also been rumored, the Xbox 720 (which hasn’t officially been announced, so it has no release date) will also integrate Kinect and user control in a bold new way. No surprise there, since progressive game design is an Xbox mandate.
Next Gen is In
The current next-gen systems are beyond their life cycle; in the past, new consoles would have already been introduced. But Nintendo was late in introducing the Wii and thanks to motion controllers like Kinect and PlayStation Move, Microsoft and Sony have found a way to extend the lives of their current consoles. (Nintendo has said it will release a new console this year: the Wii U.)
The Xbox 360 is still the best-selling video game console. So it’s no surprise that Xbox 360 game development is still big business, even though sales are down. How big? As of the first of the year, video games are a $1.06 billion dollar business. Industry analysts have cited that Microsoft may try to support both the 360 and 720 for a period. Now that’s smart business.
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