February 20th, 2013. Like a seismic earthquake rocking the New York terrain, the Sony press conference in the Big Apple sent shockwaves throughout the video game industry. In revealing the details for their forthcoming PS4, the Japanese juggernaut effectively ushered in the next-generation of consoles on the worldwide stage – the event was said to be watched by millions online.
On the other side of the gaming spectrum, the residual aftershocks were felt at Microsoft, too, who have witnessed their once unparalleled grip on the gaming audience to be slipping of late. In fact, the Playstation 3 is now outselling the Xbox 360 on the global market for the first time in six years so, undoubtedly, Microsoft has a fair bit of ground to recover before the leap to next-gen.
Now, we’ve all read the industry murmurs concerning the next Xbox. Always online. Backwards compatibility and Kinect 2.0 are all entities that have been floating about the gaming sphere recently, with Microsoft remaining mum about pinning any of the aforementioned rumours down. And that’s the thing. Sony let the cat out of the bag back in February and surprised everyone with the introduction of the Playstation 4, but all has been quiet on the Microsoft front – well, unless your name is Adam Orth.
At the time of writing, the all-but-confirmed event on May 21st is the first clear ray of hope for Microsoft fans that the industry titan is finally ready to unveil the Xbox 720 in some capacity. A point worth noting, though, is that multiple sources have said that the event will be much smaller in scale in comparison to Sony’s grand announcement – which points towards a proper reveal at this year’s E3. Speaking of which, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is creeping up, fast. And given the delicate nature of the current console market – which many attribute to this generation’s longer-than-average lifecycle – this year’s E3 may just be the most important exhibition in years.
As gamers, we are standing on the verge of the next generation, casting our collective gaze towards all the glitzy tech and innovative hardware lighting up the horizon. It’s an exciting time, but one that Microsoft must seize in order to reinstate the company’s place in the gaming community. So let’s dust off that crystal ball and start prophesising because, let’s face it, speculating about upcoming consoles is all part of the fun. And in Microsoft’s case, here are some of the attributes that I think will allow the company to establish a firm presence at E3 and next-generation’s console market in general.
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