Now that Microsoft has officially announced the New Generations Xbox will be revealed at the end of May we will only have a few weeks before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (June 11-13) in Los Angeles. Until then we can only predict what the next-gen machine will look like, feature and cost. There are hundreds of rumors flying around the net thanks to a few tweets and “reliable” sources from Microsoft employees. The reality is that at this point in time nothing has officially been announced by Microsoft at all. So with that in mind here are my predictions for the Xbox Keynote at E3 2013.
Xbox 360 MINI = I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft start off by announcing a smaller Xbox 360 for release the same day. Sony have done this with all their PlayStation consoles and Nintendo did this with the Wii Mini. As a complete media entertainment unit a smaller Xbox 360 priced at $99 may not seem like such a bad idea. If they removed the DVD Drive completely and include a 100gb HDD this could be sold as an “Online Only” version. Focusing much more heavily on the Xbox Live Market place and customers signing up to a GOLD membership.
Portable Xbox = When I first saw the “Project Shield” game console from NVIDIA my first reaction was that it should have been a Portable Xbox. The look, layout and features are everything that you would want to enjoy HALO on-the-go. That said with the introduction of Microsoft “Surface” it is very much possible that we could see an “Xbox Surface” sometime in the future. This could be a great way to experience portable gaming and more importantly could be used as a Smartglass Device when at home.
SmartGlass Controller = The Xbox SmartGlass App has been available on our tablets and mobile devices for some time now. 2013 will hopefully introduce the ability to actually use SmartGlass as a gaming controller. There are many games where having your own private screen will benefit and enhance the experience. I would love to see more games utilize Smartglass as a “second screen” experience but more importantly as a way to get extra value out of the game.
Cross-Platform Gaming = Something that exists but has never truly been implemented on a mass level is the ability to play a game against someone on another platform. For example we have seen Microsoft release Kinectimals, Wordament and Halo Waypoint on the iPhone. Even the game “Shadowrun” was released for Xbox 360 and PCs to be Cross-Platform compatible. I think it is fair to say that with the power of Windows 8, Mobile Phone Technology and thanks to the purchase of SKYPE gamers should have the ability to buy a game once for multiple devices and enjoy them online. There is so much potential when you think about what could be possible with the FORZA series alone. With more social networking integration being built into the games from the start we could see that beginning of even more Leagues, Tournaments and Competitions on a global scale than ever before.
Next-Gen Xbox = Now that there will be a dedicated conference just to announce the Next-Xbox there are so many exciting opportunities for Microsoft to get everyone excited about at the E3 Keynote. It is going to be very interesting to see what Microsoft has up its sleeve to convince gamers why they should purchase another console when the Xbox 360 is still such an amazing machine. 3D, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are all very real possibilities. Either way the next Xbox may be more powerful and faster and support a 4K resolution perhaps but at the end of the day it comes down to the Games, Games, Games! The more exclusives that Microsoft can announce from day 1 the better. Microsoft must excite the hardcore/dedicated Xbox fans from the beginning. The next generation Blockbusters like Halo, Gears of War, Forza Motosport and UNO are a must.
We only have to wait a few weeks to see these announcements that will shock the world. Either way it is an amazing time to be an Xbox fan as there will be a range of quality titles to choose from at launch. The real question is will Microsoft get you excited enough about the next Xbox to pre-order one and line up for the midnight launch?