Bloomberg reported last night that Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox console will most-likely be coming in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season. Bloomberg’s sources declined to be identified, but have indeed that although Microsoft still wants to milk every penny they can out of the current generation, a fresh piece of home-gaming hardware is coming soon.
“[Microsoft] hasn’t decided whether to unveil the new Xbox at an industry event such as the E3 show in June, or a separate event devoted solely to the machine, one of the people said.”
The next generation of consoles are shaping up to be a very interesting bunch. With the Wii U already released and rumors swirling regarding the next Xbox, it is only a matter of time before the race is in full swing. Interestingly, there have been nearly zero rumors regarding Sony’s next offering, but it’s only a matter of time before they start rolling in.
Last generation, Microsoft had a head start being the first to release their seventh-generation console, followed by Nintendo and Sony a year later. The game is different this cycle, with Nintendo releasing the Wii U a year before its competitors will most likely see store shelves.
Microsoft announced today that it sold more than 750,000 Xbox 360 consoles on Black Friday, beating internal expectations and proving that the seven-year-old gaming console still attracts a considerable amount of consumer demand. According to The Verge, the Xbox 360 has been the top-selling gaming console in the United States for 22 consecutive months, a streak that is likely to continue based off these latest sales numbers.
Comparatively, Nintendo announced that it moved over 400,000 units of its new Wii U console during its launch week. It is likely that Nintendo could have sold more Wii U units had it not virtually sold out at retail locations across the United States. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the Xbox 360 remains the most popular console just weeks after smash-hit titles Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 launched on the platform.
Furthermore, three month Xbox Live gold membership subscription sales increased 50 percent year-over-year for Black Friday, while over 14 million Xbox Live players worldwide logged an impressive 72 million hours of game time last Sunday alone. Before it loses any momentum, however, Microsoft is set to announce its next-generation Xbox next year in time for the holiday shopping season.
[Major Nelson via The Verge]
Sources for Tom Warren of The Verge have said that Microsoft “plans to introduce a low-cost alternative to its Xbox console, designed to provide access to core entertainment services.” The move to create a cheaper, Xbox-branded device would in theory increase Microsoft’s presence in the living room and would compete with products such as the Apple Tv and the Boxee box.
Specifications of the upcoming hardware are not yet revealed, but it is rumored that the device will be announced alongside the company’s next gaming console. The system would “support casual gaming titles rather than full Xbox games” and although we don’t know much yet, it is rumored that it will be “an ”always on” device that boots quickly and resumes to provide near-instant access to TV and entertainment services.”
This put together with the other Xbox ecosystem rumors we have heard lately will no doubt make an exciting year for Microsoft in 2013. The Xbox line of consoles, the Surface Pro, and the entire new Windows ecosystem that Microsoft has built really exemplify that they intend to compete this year — on all levels, not just the business world and not just gamers. The “Xbox TV” is a new branch, the Surface is a new branch, and Windows 8 itself running on touch-screen PCs are great examples of the new direction Microsoft is taking.
Decade-old members of Xbox live are receiving various gifts in the mail from Microsoft this week as a thank you for their dedication to the service. This largely unexpected promotion honors those dedicated to the service by sending free custom consoles and avatar items to members who have paid subscription fees since the company birthed the service in 2002.
Various Reddit posts have been made over the last week speculating over who is getting which rewards and why they are receiving them. One distraught gamer posted a thread titled “That guy gets a free console for his 10 year Xbox LIVE anniversary, and all I get is this?” which links to the image below. Discussion continued as to why some members are receiving measly Avatar rewards while others are receiving consoles. Early speculation leads to the belief that Microsoft is not only taking into account the number of years members have subscribed, but also other factors such as gamer score and number of games played. While we are not all too sure who is getting what, it appears that the special edition Xbox is only being sent to a select few. Continue reading
New rumors are coming out of the country across the Pacific that the Microsoft Surface Pro may very well go to manufacturers as soon as next month, according to Network World‘s sources. While any and all rumors shouldn’t be taken very seriously, we already kind of know that the Surface Pro should be coming within 90 days of the release of the RT version, and therefore have no reason to believe that this speculation is untrue. The Surface Pro releasing 90 days from the release date of the Surface RT places the tablet’s release date in January, leaving initial manufacturing in December not all too impossible.
The Commercial Times is the largest financial newspaper out of Taiwan and has always been known for the numerous amount of electronics rumors that originate within their walls. According to this article (translated with Google translate,) Microsoft plans to begin production of the Surface Pro and Xbox Surface in December.
The purported Pro tablet is going to be a full-featured powerhouse compared to what we have seen with the Surface RT, but it will undoubtedly come at a price — rumors suggest upwards of $899 for the base model. The tablet will run the full version of Windows 8, and according to The Verge, will come with an Intel processor, 4GB of RAM, as well as 64 or 128 GB of storage space. Most importantly however, is that unlike the Surface we know today, it will be compatible with your “legacy” Windows 7 applications.
Are you holding out for the Surface Pro?
Last Tuesday marked the release of the fifth installment in the Halo franchise of video games, Halo 4. While the series is no longer spearheaded by famed developer Bungie, it was still able to soar to new heights this week, nearing $300 million in global sales and achieving $220 million of that number on launch day alone. The last installment of the series, Halo: Reach, was released in September 2010 and was the previous record holder for launch day sales, selling $200 million.
“We’re thrilled that ‘Halo 4′ has emerged as the biggest U.S. entertainment launch of the year,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. What is yet to be seen, though, is how the game will do in comparison to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is scheduled to release this Tuesday, November 12th. With Call of Duty being the best selling title on the Xbox, it will be interesting to see these two renowned first person shooters compete for sales going into the holiday season.
Halo 4 has been met with generally positive reviews across the internet, receiving a “Metascore” of 87. Most dedicated Halo fans were worried of how well the series’ new developer, 343 Industries, would be able to capture the essence of Halo. The general consensus is that they have done so successfully and have created an experience that lives up to the — more than a decade old — Halo game legacy.