As analysts, developers and gamers all look towards E3 and what revelations will arise during Nintendo’s unveiling of the Wii 2, more eyes are beginning to stare at Microsoft as well. With the Xbox 360 still breaking sales’ records (in no small thanks to the Kinect), Microsoft has stated that as long as the consumer is focused on the 360 and the Kinect, “we’re focused on that.”
According to Research Analyst Bill Pidgeon from Industry Gamers however, that may not exactly be the case. While the Xbox 360 is still seeing plenty of success in the European market, here in the United States, the console is beginning to ebb out, despite the 10.4 million Kinect units that have been shipped and sold since the 4th of November.
It all boils down to sales, and that’s what will force Microsoft’s hand into the new generation. Pidgeon speaks of the company squeezing as much as they can out of the current gen console before announcing the next.
“It’s in a vendor’s best interests to maintain a system’s viability as long as possible. On the other hand, should Xbox 360 hardware sales begin to drop off dramatically in Q4, or early in 2012 Microsoft will likely announce launch of a new system at E3 next year.”
We all already knew that Microsoft would have to unveil their next console in 2012 regardless, with Nintendo’s new console launching next year, and if the rumors of EA already having a dev kit for the “Xbox 720,” are true (despite their denial) it could even be sooner than some think.
Though another key factor is having the additional third-party to back your hardware up, and that’s something that even upcoming Nintendo will have to contend with if they want the Wii 2 to survive and flourish.
“Vetting the system’s basic capabilities with the top third party publishers and developers is a crucial phase of next generation design.”
Thankfully for Microsoft, that won’t be as much of an issue, as they tend to prefer working with third-party to deliver the best their console can offer.
So that means that the only company to not hint at a next-gen home console, is Sony. Unfortunately for Sony, they have their hands full dealing with the PSN to worry about the console race. Even worse, how Sony has handled the past few weeks and the outage may have put them firmly in last place, both in terms of development and in credibility with the public. Hopefully the NGP can impress at E3.
The world will get its first chance to see Nintendo’s console in June at E3, while we may very well have to wait another year before we see Microsoft’s.
Source: Industry Gamers