Editorials

Xbox: The Next Generation – Great Expectations Edition

With the reveal coming on May 21st, the Gamer Horizion crew weighs in with their hopes and dreams for the next Xbox.

Sean Mesler

In the wake of the announcement of the next gen Xbox reveal happening on May 21st, Gamer Horizon has decided to weigh in on the speculation and wishful thinking. I asked the crew their thoughts on the next Xbox and here is what we had to say:

Chris:

What do you want from the new Xbox?

a)     I want the ability to play all my old games that I have on disc without having to jump through hoops to do so.

 

b)    Ditch the Xbox Live Gold subscription just to play multiplayer games.

 

c)     Do away with Microsoft points. The whole point system is annoying; it would be more consumer-friendly to just switch to a dollar standard than having the consumer wonder how many points they have.

What do you expect from the new Xbox?

I expect Microsoft to increase the price of the XBLA Gold subscription by adding more entertainment options that certain consumers may not want. With Microsoft adding more entertainment apps, the console moves farther from gaming and closer to a cable box making their system slightly gamer unfriendly.

What are three predictions for the press conference?

The Next Xbox will have limited backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games meaning the consumer will be forced to re-purchase certain games in order to keep playing them. The system will have an always-online connection for DRM purposes keeping the consumer from playing used games. The Next Xbox will come with more entertainment options making the system more like Apple TV or more like the failed Microsoft TV they once tried.

At least one random observation or thought about the new Xbox?

With all the upgrades and entertainment options the Next Xbox will come with, it’s going to cost the consumer more money in the long run. XBLA Gold subscription will go up in price along with the games at retail. I will just have to wait and see what the price of the console will cost and factor in all of the other addition before purchasing one.

Ari:

What do you want from the new Xbox?

I want a massive internal hard drive that I won’t have to upgrade out of the box, and a powerful responsive system that can deliver great performance that can compare well with today’s high end PCs. I want a fast operating system that is easy to navigate, capable of multitasking, and which can jump in and out of games as fast as the Vita.

What do you expect from the new Xbox?

At this point they really need to provide free online play for all Xbox owners. PlayStation Plus is a much better premium service than Xbox Live, which barely competes with the free PlayStation Network services to begin with. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect free online play from the next generation.

What are three predictions for the press conference?

I’m expecting some kind of preview for Halo 5 and the next Gears, though I doubt either will be launch titles. Oh, and some kind of obscure Square-Enix announcement that doesn’t actually tell us anything new.

At least one random observation or thought about the new Xbox?

I hope it runs cool and quiet. My old Xbox 360 is noisy as heck.

Ted:

What do you want from the new Xbox?

I want the ability to change a controller’s assignment, like say, make controller 2 controller 1. PS3 allows this by holding down the PS button. Xbox 360 requires you to restart the whole damn system. This is a huge annoyance for someone like me who owns a combination of wired and wireless controllers. I want a non-proprietary storage medium, so I can buy whatever the heck I want from Fry’s, when I need to. I also want the ability to download game updates without having to launch the game, then sign out, then download the patch, then restart the game. I want a Kinect that works in my small apartment.

What do you expect from the new Xbox?

Xbox Live is a joke. All their competitors offer the same level of content for free, and the myth that Xbox Live is a less laggy network has been busted wide open. They need to do something. I also expect, given the contract experiments with the Xbox 360, a contract plan where you must get 2 years of Xbox Live, but the console is only $200-$300. I also expect most consoles will be sold with this contract-based plan.

What are three predictions for the press conference?

Most of the presser will be about things that are not games: Lifestyle announcements and set-top box stuff. I also expect some kind of major TV-related announcement, maybe even that the Xbox can be used as an IPTV box. I also think we’ll see the resurrection of an Xbox franchise we haven’t seen in a while – Blink, or Brute Force, or something out of left field.

At least one random observation or thought about the new Xbox?

Will my expensive arcade sticks still work? Will ANY of my old controllers still work?

Sean:

What do you want from the new Xbox?

I would like the always-online requirement rumors to be false. I just can’t get behind my console being useless for single-player games if my connection goes out, or if I move or what have you. There are way too many variables, that while they might seem like rare cases, can and do happen and for this connection requirement to actually be a thing would make it a hard sell and is customer service nightmare. Also, I want to be able to play used, rented, borrowed games.

What do you expect from the new Xbox?

Take everything I want from the next Xbox and throw it in the trash. If the always-online thing were only a rumor we would have heard it once or twice. We haven’t. It’s been the one constant behind that Kinect will be included in the box/machine, whatever.  It’s a terrible idea and I fully expect Microsoft to back it. I do expect there to be a Blu-ray optical drive in it as well.

 

I also expect there to be some sort of subsidized version where the consumer will pay a lower price point up front as long as they sign a two year contract like a cell phone. If the rumors are true that live will be $10 a month, after two years it will be much easier to take. What people don’t understand is that this is how things work in subsidies. I paid $200 for my phone but after two years my phone has cost well over it’s $700 price point.

What are three predictions for the press conference?

I expect to see the console, and hopefully it’s not white. Not that it matters one iota what the box looks like. I have never, not once, skipped or bought a console based on how it looks. Ever.  When was the last time a console hasn’t been hideous? I bought the last one and it was only available in white at the time so I’ll buy anything as long as it has games I want to experience.

 

I expect to here a LOT about the entertainment capabilities of the next Xbox. How it is going to integrate/replace your cable box and how much they want us to want it to be the center of our entertainment hub.

 

Lastly, I expect at least one major game reveal/tease. Even though E3 is mere weeks away from the reveal, if they don’t show any games, the utter lack of perspective and rational that is the internet will explode and all of the good stuff they might unveil that morning will be undone because the lack of games will be what leads the conversations leading up to E3.

At least one random observation or thought about the new Xbox?

I don’t think exclusives matter in the long run for Microsoft. Sure they have Halo and Gears of War, but I think both franchises are on the wane, two third party, cross platform games have outsold their exclusives (Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto) and only two of Sony’s exclusives, while most are excellent, didn’t set the sales charts on fire (Uncharted and Grand Turismo). They might front load the line up with exclusives like last gen, but I think over time they will show it matters less and less to them. Just like this generation.

Alex:

What do you want from the new Xbox?

Free online multiplayer and a much more stable architecture. The fact that the Xbox 360 took several iterations just so that the RROD and E74 errors would go away is not something that I would like to happen ever again.

What do you expect from the new Xbox?

The only expectation I have right now is for Microsoft to “wow” me. The company has been mishandling their first party titles for the past several years now and their public perception, especially to third party developers, is that they are in an “arrogant” position given that they’re in the lead this generation. With Sony pulling out all the stops to try to take the next gen early, Microsoft needs to make significant strides to quell their competition and make people talking about the Xbox brand again. I’m calling it today: $500 for the next Xbox in November, with a subsidized model at $300 with a “reduced” Gold plan for $50 a year with 4 year minimum subscription required.

What are three predictions for the press conference?

1. Always on and online capability

2. Hardware design reveal

3. Ryse from Crytek as a launch title

At least one random observation or thought about the new Xbox?

I’m expecting the next Xbox’s architecture to almost match NeoGAF’s and VGLeaks’ leaked stats, with the RAM being equal to that of the PS4 but not utilize GDDR5.

So what do you think? Check back with us on May 21st and see how we did.

You can watch the announcement on Xbox.com, Xbox Live, and Spike TV on May 21st 10:00 am PST.

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