May 21, 2013 -- After eight years on the shelves and having sold some 70 million units, Microsoft's Xbox 360 is finally getting a successor today. The Xbox reveal comes a bit late to the party, as the last of the big three home console makers to announce a new system. Exactly three months ago today, Sony introduced the PlayStation 4, which will be out this holiday season and Nintendo released its Wii U late last year.
So what does Microsoft have to put on the track in forthcoming gaming console race? We'll get details this afternoon at Microsoft's event in Washington at 10 a.m. PT/ 1:00 ET., but in the meantime, here is a guide as to you can expect.
The new Xbox -- the Xbox One -- has been announced. Check out all the details here.
No, this isn't just another one of Microsoft's software-updates-to-Xbox events. The company is expected to show off the new Xbox hardware, which is said to be powered by an eight-core AMD processor and a very powerful graphics processor. Codenamed "Durango," the console, gaming site Kotaku reports, will have 500GB of storage space, 8GB of RAM and USB 3.0 connectivity. It might have a Blu-ray drive.
Kotaku also reported that the Kinect camera and sensor, which attaches to the Xbox now to put players in the games, will be upgraded to a full 1080p sensor. It also reports that Kinect, which ships separately now, will be included with every Xbox. The Verge reports that it will also have advanced voice command functionality. No word on what the controllers will look like and if they will rival Sony's DualShock 4 Controller.
Less likely, but still possible, features may include an augmented reality headset that looks something like a cross between Google Glass and the Occulus Rift. This theory emerged after documents leaked last summer, pointing to AR on the roadmap for Xbox. Microsoft Research has also been experimenting with a projection device called the Illumiroom, which may factor into its plans to transform the next generation of living rooms into fully immersive environments.
A New Name
"Durango" is but one of many codenames the next Xbox has gone by, and while the final name is still up in the air, the Internet has had a field day with guess-work. Reddit seems to believe that Xbox Infinity (or jokingly, xfinity) will be the triumphant title. "Xbox 720" has been kicked around as the logical successor to the 360 name, though fans, developers and domain registration documentation has also posited NextBox, Loop, Xbox 8, Kryptos and Yukon as potential nomenclature.
New Gaming Services
Of course, that hardware will enable some really stunning gaming graphics. Similar to the PlayStation 4 event, we expect Microsoft to demo the next-generating gaming platform with some graphical oohs and aahs. Microsoft has said that it won't be detailing the launch titles until the E3 gaming show in June, but all signs point to them showing off at least some Microsoft-created games, like Kinect Sports, to exemplify the graphics.
There's speculation that the next Xbox would require an Internet connection or an always-connected state. With that, we expect there to be talk of social or connected gaming.
New Content and Video Services
But those that think the Xbox is just a gaming console should think again. Microsoft is bound to focus on the entertainment and content aspects of the hardware that lives in the living room. While there are already a number of media services integrated into the Xbox 360, including streaming video services and content stores, there are greater reports that Microsoft wants to take over the cable box.
According to The Verge, a feature will allow it to integrate with a cable or set-top box, allowing it to display your cable content alongside other Internet content. And in keeping with that always-on theme, an online connection will allow for more streaming and always-connected TV services.