The vast majority of Microsoft Xbox users have known that May 21st was likely the date that the next generation of their console would be revealed. Now, it’s finally official.
Invitations were sent out today to the media, most of whom had already been publishing the speculations of the special event on the 21st. This will be the final unveiling of a major console with Nintendo unwrapping the Wii U last November and Sony unveiling the Playstation 4 in February. This is by design – Xbox has been dominant in sales the past two years and wanted to be the last to the party. Nintendo needed a boost but are still showing their second quarterly loss in a row. Playstation wanted to get ahead of the Xbox to get the impatient gamers on board, the ones who are console-agnostic or who buy multiple consoles.
This is a no-lose situation for Microsoft when it comes to features. If the new console doesn’t “wow” audiences, they won’t lose much as Sony and Nintendo failed to “wow” with their releases. If they come in with something extraordinary, it could spell doom for Nintendo and help pull more from Sony’s market share.
The vulnerabilities that the new Xbox could face are two-fold. First, speculation of having an “always online” model has been greeted with vitriol from the blogging and gaming world, particularly after the EA SimCity debacle. If they go with an always-on model or a hybrid, it could turn many faithful off who do not want to be stuck with internet connectivity challenges that could alter their gaming experience. The other potential downfall is timing – rumors say they’re going to miss the 2013 Christmas season. This would give Sony a big jump if the spring, 2014 rumors are correct.
That’s all speculation. Here’s the reality – the invite is out and the event is happening in less than a month: