Microsoft is set to unveil its next next-gen console tomorrow on its campus in Redmond, Washington. When it hits store shelves this Fall (widely believed to be November), the Xbox “Durango” (codename) could once again steal the hearts of hardcore and casual gamers alike.
The pressure is on. Microsoft sold 130,000 Xbox 360s last month, once again making it the best selling video game console in the country. Fans and investors both have high expectations for the product. Last year the entertainment and devices devision pulled in $4.24 billion in revenue. Microsoft said that there are now 66 million Xbox 360 consoles and 18 million Kinect sensors. Xbox LIVE has 40 million members globally.
After month’s of speculation we will finally get some insight into what Microsoft has planned. The “720” moniker, though a favorite of many, will likely not be the device’s actual name. “Fusion” and “Infinity” are popular alternatives. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail tomorrow and it simply referred to as “Xbox” – a brand that Microsoft has spent millions upon millions, successfully striking fear into the likes of Nintendo (Wii U who?) and Sony (who’s PlayStation 4 reveal earlier this year underwhelemed).
Spec-wise, the odds on favorite config amongst the more reliable sites looks like this: blu-ray drive, 8-core AMD CPU running at 1.6Ghz, 8GB of DDR3 Ram and a built-in hard drive.
Given that mobile gaming has exploded, thanks mainly to iOS and wildly popular devices such as the iPhone and iPad, Microsoft will likely make hay about several features designed to synchronize mobile with the Xbox. Expect some sort of interplay between the console and Windows Phone 8. As the entertainment hub most likely to conquer today’s living room, the console could also see several non-game oriented features highlighted, such as: Skype video calling, streaming video, advanced multimedia web browsing, and social networking.
Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott predicts the console will cost $499, or $299 for customers who also buy a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription ($10 per month).