Nintendo’s been creating a lot of buzz (and even some fears) surrounding the successor to the Wii. Wii sales have started to slip and general gamer opinion of Nintendo as a serious competitor in the hardcore gaming space is that they aren’t. Now it seems that Nintendo might have even more trouble on the way, with reports suggesting that Microsoft’s next console is already in the hands of Electronic Arts.
According to Develop-Online, a trusted source has revealed that an early build of Microsoft’s console has been delivered to one of EA’s studios. Sitting in a PC case, the console prototype has likely been given to Electronic Arts so that some early work on next generation titles can begin now.
So does this mean that Microsoft may be planning to upstage Nintendo at this years E3 by revealing a console of their own? Not likely. For any kind of software to be ready for presentation to the public, developers would need some time with the console, and it sounds like this prototype has just recently been delivered. What this could mean is that we’ll be hearing about Microsoft’s next console at next year’s E3.
Further confirmation seems to come from Eurogamer, which recently reported that their own source has claimed that an E3 showing of any kind for Microsoft’s next console would be highly unlikely. Naturally, both Microsoft and EA declined to comment on these reports.
Microsoft’s own plans for its next console have been rather obscure, but industry analysts have indicated that Microsoft may wait until 2014 before releasing another console. Sony seems intent on milking the PS3 for as long as they can before revealing another console and will no doubt want to see what Microsoft is cooking so that they can provide a better offering.
If Microsoft is indeed prepping for an E3 reveal next year, then a 2013 target for their next console may be possible. That would only give Nintendo about a year to make any gains in the marketplace, which may not be enough time to earn a significant foothold before a potentially more powerful machine comes along.
[Update: Industry Gamers has recieved word from EA that they do not have an early prototype build of Microsoft's next console. EA corporate spokesman Jeff Brown said, "This story is a total fabrication - 100 percent not true." Perhaps Microsoft really is going to be waiting it out with Sony and giving Nintendo a chance at building a bit of steam with their next console.]