Yesterday we shared Metacritic’s report of video games in 2012 being of a lesser quality than the year prior, at least according to review scores. That’s partly a function of the aged current console generation where some franchises are seeing third, fourth, even fifth (and beyond) installments come out for the same console, more often then not, failing to offer significant innovation.

We found it interesting then that only two days into the new year and Major Nelson (Larry Hryb, Director of Programming for Xbox Live) is spotlighting Microsoft’s presence at E3 2013.

Taking to Twitter and his personal blog, Major Nelson posted a countdown timer that points to June 11, 2013, the first day of this year’s annual E3 event in Los Angeles.

Why highlight this now? We know Microsoft will be there with a press conference and a massive booth. It’s because they have something major to announce, and we expect it’s more than new installments in core franchises or more Kinect/Xbox Live functions.

Rumors over the last two years – especially recently – strongly hint towards the possible release of the next-generation Xbox console this fall, or at the very latest, 2014. With the last few E3 presentations from Microsoft focusing on Xbox Live features, Kinect gimmicks and new installments in their exclusive franchises, it’s become old and they need to do something big and new. Halo 4 and Forza Horizon already released, Gears of War: Judgment is on the way, and these installments have exhausted their lives on the Xbox 360.

We have a strong feeling that by E3 we will at least have an announcement for Microsoft’s next hardware platform, whether or not it releases for the 2013 holiday season. Such an announcement would be timed well with Halo 5 unveil and perhaps even the next exciting games from Bungie and BioWare.

With a new Xbox also comes the new Kinect, and Microsoft needs to showcase how it can work for “core” games after the repeated disappoints fans received in the form of Kinect Star Wars, Fable: The Journey and Steel Battalion.

Is it about time for Microsoft and Sony to showcase new consoles?

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Major Nelson