Xbox: The Next Generation

In about 24 hours Microsoft will reveal the next generation of its Xbox console. It will be the start of the next generation of consoles that includes the SONY PS4, the Nintendo Wii U, and contenders such as Valve’s Steam Box and the open source OUYA.

The Xbox will find itself not just in a crowded game space but also a changed one. Mobile platforms like iOS and Android have become the new go to place for casual gaming. Valve has become the defacto ruler of PC gaming and console gaming has declined somewhat over the last few years.

Expectations for the new Xbox are high but a bit muted because of rumors of “always-on” and possible lack of backwards compatibility with games. Many hardcore gamers are thinking that Microsoft will move away from gaming as part of the product’s core functions. Meanwhile analysts will be looking for how well the Xbox will play with Microsoft’s ecosystem.

There are a lot of expectations coming for the new console and while I don’t have the power to see the future, I am willing to make a few predictions.

1. Simply Xbox

One device with no extras like infinity or 720. Much like the simplification of Windows nomenclature, the Xbox will be brought into line with Microsoft’s other offerings.

2. Xbox everywhere

On Tuesday part of the presentation will be on how gaming is not contained to just the console but also the PC, phone, and tablet. To that end the Xbox team will talk about improvements to both Games on Windows and Xbox on Windows tablets and Windows Phone. I expect them to show of how one game can be ported across all three screens (PC/Console/Mobile).

3. Xbox as the Entertainment center

With something like 20 percent of its users using the Xbox for non gaming purposes expect a significant part of the presentation to be about the living room. Whether its watching Modern Family or Game of Thrones Microsoft will be positioning the new Xbox as the center of your entertainment life. Expect to also see updates to the Xbox’s own Movies and Music services with possible web versions.

4. Xbox, it’s still can game

Yes the Xbox will play games. You know the drill exclusives, new titles, and squeals. We may also see new stuff or mobile.

5. Xbox (Yes you can see the device right here)

There will be a device and a controller, and we will be able to see it.

6. Kinect

And you thought you saw the last of it. It will be refreshed

7. Xbox has Windows on the inside

Last prediction, the Xbox will be running Windows 8 underneath which means a possible app marketplace with the ability to port to PCs and Phones.

And that’s it expect Tuesday to tale the tale of how it came together. Have fun and see you again later for the wrap up.

To watch it live go here. Presentation starts at 1PM Eastern/ 10AM Pacific (US).

Also check The Verge and Engadget for live blog coverage

image: Engadget/Microsoft


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