Are you ready for the next generation of the Xbox? Microsoft is set to unveil its new console at a major launch event Tuesday, and speculation about it is flying thick and fast. Here’s a look at what’s been said about the console so far.
The name: For over a year, bloggers have been nicknaming the new Xbox the “Xbox 720,” (as in, the next step from the 360), but we were always pretty sure that name wasn’t going anywhere. Reports have been circulating that, inside Microsoft, the engineers call the console “Project Durango,” as IGN reported in February 2012. And an International Business Times report citing unnamed sources “related to development” of the console, said it will be called the “Xbox Infinity.”
Microsoft itself isn’t giving any clues about the name, saying only that it’s showing off the “new generation” of the Xbox and using the hashtag #XboxReveal for all of its promotions for the event.
Specs: Microsoft has also been tight-lipped about the console itself, but that hasn’t stopped rumors from flying. Bloomberg reported that unnamed sources confirmed that Microsoft will use an Advanced Micro Devices “system-on-a-chip” that puts the central processing units with graphics chips. Contrary to earlier speculation — and, some would argue, to consumer trends — Microsoft is expected to retain a physical disc drive in the console, indicating that not all titles will be available solely through digital download, Engadget reported. The tech blog also reported that the Xbox is going to have other, more PC-like hardware, which should beef up the console’s performance and make it easier for game developers to make titles for the system.
There had been quite a bit of controversy over speculation that the new Xbox would require users to have a constant connection to the Internet to play games — a line of speculation that didn’t sit well with many players who worried that their bandwidth consumption and ability to access the Internet may not match up with their gaming needs.
Ars Technica reported earlier this month that the console will not need a constant Internet connection, citing a supposedly leaked internal Microsoft memo that said requiring such a thing isn’t practical given today’s Internet environment.
What it’s up against: With the new Xbox, Microsoft is setting the stage for a major console showdown with Sony’s forthcoming PlayStation 4 and Nintendo’s Wii U. But Microsoft could lead in the console market with exclusive titles and robust media offerings.
Microsoft and other console makers are also facing increasing competition from mobile game developers who serve easy-to-play titles on smartphones and tablets. Microsoft has tried to address this shift by making the console a more social device and one that extends beyond the confines of video gaming, and we can expect Microsoft to continue to do so with its new console.
Where to watch: Microsoft is offering several chances to watch the unveiling. The company is streaming it at 1 p.m. over its Xbox Live service, at Xbox.com, and — in Canada and the United States — on Spike TV. Windows Phone 8 users can also download the company’s Live Event Player to watch on the (very) small screen.
And, if you miss it, the company will have it ready on demand at Xbox.com and over Xbox Live.
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