It’s the last day of November, the end of one of the busiest months in terms of “next-gen” console talk and speculation we’ve seen in years. Nintendo’s first entry into the next generation of home consoles came in the form of the Wii U, selling 400,000 units in its first week. Whether it truly stands up as “next-gen” or quickly becomes “last-gen” remains to be seen.
According to the latest rumors, there will be something to compare the Wii U to next fall when Microsoft may release the successor to the Xbox 360.
With the sheer amount of “inside reports” and industry speculation, it seems almost a given that come time for E3 2013, Microsoft will have a new console to at the very least, tease. There are reportedly many major franchises in development for the next-gen PlayStation and Xbox, with multiple reports about dev kits being in the hands of major developers/publishers for quite some time.
The latest set of rumors seem to add credence to previous rumors from over the last two years, indicating that the Xbox 720 (potentially going with the simple name “Xbox” instead of Xbox 8 or something else) will include a Blu-ray drive, the next iteration of Kinect hands-free controls and potentially a new controller too go along with improved hardware specs.
Even more recently, we learned that Microsoft may be developing two different variants of the console, and not like the current availability of two Wii U models with different harddrives. The Xbox as it may be called, may ship with a core console designed for playing games and another geared towards home entertainment that would not be able play the triple-A blockbuster video games, instead embracing the idea that the Xbox brand is not just about gaming, but about servicing all home entertainment needs.
According to Bloomberg today, their insiders with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans say the next Xbox is absolutely coming next fall in time for the key Thanksgiving and Holiday sales seasons, but that they’re unsure if it will be unveiled at E3 2013 or a separate event dedicated to the console, not unlike earlier this year with the unveiling of the Surface tablet.
If we think back to the Xbox 360 launch in November 2005, a year before PS3 and the Wii, which also both released in the same 2006 launch window. Fast forward to present and the Wii U came out this month for the same important sales window and to get a head start on the inevitable competition. It was rushed due to the required massive updates, but the sales season is too important for Nintendo to pass up, especially since next fall it’ll likely have the new Xbox to compete with.
If this is true, we’ll see how successful Microsoft’s beefed up anti-leak security is come time for E3. We’ll also see when Sony plans to unleash the PlayStation 4.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.