[Update: In case the crazy source links didn't give it away, this is totally an April Fools' Day story. We expect a next-gen Xbox announcement in the near future.]
2013 was long thought to be the year the next generation of video game consoles becomes a reality, and after Sony’s official unveiling of the PS4, that future has finally become all the more real. Sony’s reveal was only one part of the equation though, with the other being Microsoft’s new console.
Many believed that gamers might see a next-gen unveiling from Microsoft at this year’s E3, while a more recent rumor suggested the publisher was taking a page from its competitor’s book and staging its own April event. As it turns out, though, neither are true.
In a sudden turn of events, Microsoft today confirmed they will NOT be releasing an Xbox 360 successor, but will be sticking to software development and publishing for the foreseeable future. After seeing what the PS4 was capable of, and looking at their own in-development next-gen hardware, Microsoft realized there was no way they could compete in the necessary time frame. And so, they have followed the old adage of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
Microsoft broke the news in a Press Release earlier today, which said the company was “very impressed” with what Sony had unveiled, and thought it best not to split the market for the next-gen:
“We looked at what Sony was doing, took a concerted look at our own console, and then decided it was in our best interests not to move forward with our next-gen console. Instead we plan to move into the development and publishing space, and have put into place the early phases of a partnership with Sony whereby all of our content would appear on the PS4.”
When asked what this would mean for in-development projects like the next Gears of War and Halo 5, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wouldn’t say much, but hinted that gamers should keep their eyes peeled to Sony’s E3 press conference for more news.
This means that future iterations of Microsoft’s prized franchises are all headed to PC and most surprisingly, Sony’s console, crossing a boundary that has never before been crossed. More gamers than ever will be able to experience some of this past generation’s most successful franchises.
This unexpected revelation should put gamers in a tailspin as they no longer have to save up for multiple consoles. Additionally, the “console wars” that have been fought for over a decade has lost one of its key combatants. With Nintendo losing favor among the next-gen crowd, it’s now down to the PS4 and PC in the battle for next-gen supremacy.
What do you think about Microsoft skipping the next-gen and moving into games publishing exclusively? Is this a smart move on their part?