My Speculative Approach To The New Xbox, What’s Yours?
As Microsoft finalises its new-Xbox launch, for Tuesday evening, one can only wonder what the software giant has in store. A couple of months ago we saw the PlayStation 4 reveal, where Sony showed the world that they are very gaming orientated. Sony incorporated a lot of features that shows that gaming is the console’s first and best feature.
Microsoft could do the same. Or they could change their stance to a more social approach.
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The following is speculation on what may or may not be revealed at the Tuesday evening event. By Wednesday we will know what is true and what is not. The idea, here, is to talk about what we have seen and heard, before the event takes place.
From what we know, Microsoft could create a one-for-all entertainment hub for the living room. Rumours claim that it will include TV support, by connecting to your set-top box (DStv, etc). The console will then provide the functionality needed to control the relevant device(s).
Other rumours note that the next-generation console will come with social networking elements (same as Sony) as well as an array of new achievements. This is essentially aimed directly at the gamer, where developers will have the power to create and integrate new Achievements into games. How Achievements work could possibly change too.
Respawn Entertainment–the new IP from Jason West and Vince Zampella–could launch their first game as an Xbox exclusive. It is rumoured that the game is a futuristic multiplayer shooter, which is not too farfetched considering the founders are the creators of the hugely popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series. West and Zampella did say something about the future.
One of the most concerning rumours about the new Xbox has to be the talk of always-online requirements. After a big fuss regarding always-online requirements, leaked statements from Microsoft regarding the new console does note that offline play will be possible. However, nothing is yet confirmed.
Rumour also has it that Microsoft might call the new console the Xbox Infinity.
Touching on the above, my speculation is that Microsoft will aim for a more social approach, especially when compared to Sony’s gaming-orientated approach. I am not at all saying that the console will not be powerful and very “next-generation-like”, I am only suspecting that social-networking integration as well as entertainment features will be a very large focus of the console. Always-online, I disregard this. I do not think that Microsoft will implement this for all features, however I do feel that certain features will require always-online. It will be a mix, with single-player games not needing online but any other feature might very well require an internet connection that is constantly running. The downside to this is that Microsoft might very well log what people are using the console for, for “research” purposes.
On the games front, Microsoft will need to sign new contracts with developers and publishers for exclusive content. Sony has signed many new contracts and will launch a lot of new IP in the coming period, for the PlayStation 4. Microsoft will not only need to compete with that, they will also need to attempt to better that. I do suspect that Microsoft will top the amount of exclusive IP seen in the 360-era, however this increase will come throughout the console’s life-time at not at launch alone. To compete with Sony’s exclusive-gaming-approach, Microsoft’s social-entertainment offering could possibly be the leading differentiating factor. This will cater to a different sort of market, and allow Microsoft to avoid the hardcore exclusive IP approach used by Sony.
The reasons for my suspicions of Microsoft going social is, chief amongst the above, the position and functionality of Windows 8. Microsoft is attempting to gain market share in the social space, an area where mobiles and tablets for entertainment plays a large part. Microsoft’s overall company offering is far larger than that of Sony–with regards to software for hardware. By implementing the ability to control the new Xbox from a Windows 8 mobile, tablet, or PC, is something very appealing–no doubt. The offering of Windows 8 and what Microsoft wants to achieve is no doubt going to fall in line with the new Xbox. The console can easily offer functionality similar to that of the Apple TV, for its own technologies and maybe Android, too.
The above alone, for me, is a deciding reason as to what Microsoft will aim for. Windows is what made Microsoft famous, and with the release of Windows 8 and the large change that comes with it, it will be silly for Microsoft to not offer capabilities with the new Xbox. Therefore, Windows 8 users (for mobile, tablet, and PC) should get ready for easy and efficient cross-platform integration. And possibly play.
As for the name, I am not sure what to expect. Infinity works. Is there something more pleasing out there? Possibly.
What’s your thoughts on what to expect? Feel free to agree with me, or elaborate on my points. If am I wrong–which I very might well be–share your thoughts. Very interested to debate the future of Microsoft, speculatively.
Finally, what features do you want to see?
* The image above is a rendering. It’s fake.