Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Xbox by Christmas 2013?

Ars Technica is reporting that Microsoft will be launching a new Xbox by Christmas 2013. The whole thing is still mostly whispers and rumors but at first glance it passes the smell test. The 360 went on sale in 2005 and 8 years for a console is a pretty long run. Sure, I feel bad for all the kids that are bound to get one this Christmas but my guess is most owners have gotten their money's worth by now.

So what's going to make you and I want to buy one? The long standing rumors have the Xbox 720 or 360.2 coming bundled with the Kinect hardware. It'll have wi-fi built in and will probably have Blu Ray and 3D capability like the Playstation 3 does. But none of those things are going to get me to dip into Logan's college savings for one.

I'm sure the graphics will be better, storage will be higher. However multiple rumors have the specs being less than groundbreaking. The Ars Technica article states a rumored $299 price tag, which would put some credence to the idea that the technical specs might end up a tad underwhelming. Graphics cards and high performance memory cost cash money and if Microsoft is sticking to $299 you can bet they're not giving away caviar at fish bait prices.

That's not to say games won't look and play a hell of a lot better on the next generation of consoles. Battlefield 3 and Skyrim already look pretty poor when compared to their PC versions, Far Cry 3 barely even looks like the same game. Newer, prettier versions of Call of Duty and Madden will sell a boat load of units all on their own.

Anyway, what other new bells and whistles will the Xbox 360 part deux will have? I'm hoping for support for more than 4 controllers. The old PS2 multitap used to allow for up to 8 people on NBA Live or FIFA and it was awesome. In the same vein I would be interested to see support for more than 2 people on kinect. Also the controllers should have screens like the Dreamcast VMUs did.

I'd love to see a DVR built in, but that would require some sort of cable card/tuner hardware integrated and that'll probably cost too much. I'm guessing you'll see an expansion of channels like ESPN3 and MLBtv. Also there's no way you won't be able to play farmville or any of your other stupid facebook games on it. Everything will be networked with all your other Windows 8 devices and there will be lot more talk about the cloud.

The fan and disk drive had better be a lot quieter. If it's supposed to be the hub of my home entertainment center it needs to be silent. Also I'd appreciate it if it didn't red ring me half an hour into Red Dead Redemption II.




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