The Daily Five: ‘Fact or Fiction?’ with NextBox Rumors

May 2, 2013 | By | No Comments

A lot of time will have passed between Sony revealing the PlayStation 4 in February and Microsoft showing off the next Xbox on May 21st. Naturally, rumors surrounding the system have been coming hot and heavy as the software giant refuses to confirm or deny any of it until the official reveal at the end of this month.

But just how realistic are these, really? Some of them seem plausible enough, but others don’t quite click with us. So we’re going to take the five most prevalent rumors and predict whether or not they’ll actually come to pass.

Always-Online Required

Prediction: Optimistically False

Paul Thurrott’s sources correctly stated that Microsoft would be holding their NextBox reveal on May 21st. Those same sources also claim that the next-gen console requires a constant internet connection to launch games and apps, and it’s tough not to take them as true at this point.

However, we hope that even Microsoft realizes how damaging such a move would be to potential sales of the console. We also hope that they realize that in North America — far and away their most prominent market — even highly-connected cities like New York and San Francisco have trouble with reliable broadband, and that says nothing of more isolated rural regions. And we really, really hope that Microsoft realizes that there’s very little for them to gain by implementing such a restriction on their system.

God, we hope.

$500 Price with $300 Subscription Option

Prediction: Half-true

When the PlayStation 3 launched at $600 and Ken Kutaragi said we’d all get second jobs to afford one, everyone had a good laugh at Sony’s sheer arrogance. PS3s, of course, sat on shelves for a good long while. There was also a $500 model with decreased storage and a lack of wifi, but it didn’t help Sony move consoles. As such, we don’t see Microsoft going past the $400 sweet spot that most gamers seem to be comfortable with.

However, the speculated subscription model is on par with what Microsoft currently does with the Xbox 360. You can buy a 360 for $99 by agreeing to a two-year commitment to Xbox Live Gold at $15 per month. That comes to $460 when it’s said and done, about $160 more than buying system outright. Assuming the monthly subscription price doesn’t go up between now and next-gen, we think Microsoft will continue to offer new systems at an initial savings of $200 with their new hardware.

$400/200 is where we see this going.

Windows 8 OS

Prediction: True

Between their desktop OS, Windows Surface tablets, and Windows Mobile, one thing is abundantly clear: Microsoft loves them some Windows 8. Using a modified version of the operating system in the next-generation Xbox, then, is a natural step in unifying everything under the same corporate umbrella.

Of course, Microsoft will eventually move away from Windows 8 like it does with all its other operating systems, and eventually that will mean an all-new UI. Whether the new Xbox would follow suit or keep the Windows 8 scheme…well, who really knows? It’s hard to go all Inception with these speculations. We’ll just have to wait a while and see.

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