While Microsoft preps the bite-sized pizza squares, witty banter cue cards, and spider pit under the seats just in case of any Twitter controversy ahead of tonight’s next-gen console reveal event (7 PM local time, broadcast live on Xbox… LIVE), I’ve finished the internet three times already to compile all the currently available information – speculative or otherwise – about the company’s next big thing, The Nextbox 3000. That’s not what it’s actually called, mind you so let’s call that the first thing we know for sure:
It’s not called the Nextbox 3000
During development, the next-gen console has been codenamed Durango, but no official name has been confirmed yet. It’s probably not called the Xbox 720 either because that sounds stupid and it’s definitely not called the Xbox Infinity because the guy who created the Xbox Infinity image that went viral a week or two back was all, like, “Um, guys, I made that.”
I’ve got ten bucks on just Xbox, and another ten bucks on Xbox3 just in case Microsoft decided to adopt the Alien naming convention.
It’s launching this year and it’s ****ing expensive
According to celeb Microsoft analyst Paul Thurrott, it’s out in November with a pricetag of $299 or $499 with or without a mandatory two-year Xbox LIVE subscription (totalling an additional $240) respectively.
By the power of Greyskull
Unverified leaks have claimed that – much like Sony with the PS4 – Microsoft is dumping the Xbox 360’s PowerPC architecture for an x86 PC system with two quad-core 1.6GHz AMD CPUs, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, and a custom 800 MHz GPU featuring 12 shader cores. Given that these specs fall somewhat short of the PS4’s, it’s possible that these might have been hastily upgraded since Sony’s February announcement.
Because of the change to x86 architecture, backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games is not guaranteed, although at least one source has claimed that the new console has a dedicated system-on-chip (SoC) to handle this.
More recent leaks have suggested that the console will ship standard with a New! Improved! Now with more grievous bodily harm potential! Kinect sensor that can even track user eye movement, although Voight-Kampff support has not been confirmed.
Always-online or not?
HD DVD is dead, long live HD DVD (but not really)
The new console may or may not include a Blu-ray disc drive, and the disc format may or may not use Blu-ray technology with storage capacity of 50 or 100 GB. The internet just can’t make up its mind about this one. What we do know for sure is that the new console won’t use HD DVD, because nothing has used HD DVD since 2008 and nobody even remembers that far back.
Games, games, games
Obviously no (new) exclusive games have been named yet, although whatever it is that Respawn Entertainment is working on is one of them. Crytek’s Kinect-powered flap-‘n’-slash Ryse, first revealed at E3 2011 before people mysteriously stopped talking about it is also expected to be a next-gen contender, as well as the inevitable new Forza from Turn 10.
We already know that Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, Bungie’s Destiny, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and Eidos’s next Thief game are all scheduled for next-gen console launches.
I’m calling Alan Wake 2 now, so I look really clever when Remedy announces it.