Those of us tentatively staring at our black boxes in our homes wondering if we should buy anything else for them have our questions answered at last: the new Xbox will be revealed on May 21st.
Since the Playstation 4 announcement, the main question has really been "how will Microsoft counter that?". Now, we get to find out.
There's a few speculative speculations that are playing havok with Microsoft's PR department at the moment.
Will it allow used games?
There are some frankly baffling rumours suggesting that the new Xbox won't play used games. Aside from the slight madness of this that seems to discount that it's not just a games machine, it would be a big middle finger to bricks and mortar retailers, who so far seem rather enthusiastic. So, maybe not?
Will it be always-on?
After the appalling SimCity launch kerfuffle that made the games industry seem like a collection of confused executives who don't play games and have never had a internet outage, comments boards all over the web have been alight with angry gamers.
With this furore in mind, I can't see it happening. There is a huge conflict between the fact that consoles are the "everyone can afford" gaming machine, and the indisputable fact that the often-not-that-wealthy "everyone" has a fancy internet line.
An always-on requirement could easily be seen as elitist at best and discriminatory at worst. The irony of a console that has been propped up by war games such as Call of Duty likely not being playable by soldiers sitting on the end of a sometimes-on satellite dish would be too large to swallow for me and I'm sure many executives.
If it does require always on, Sony will be able to plug that big debt with all those tasty Xbox consumers coming to the darkside.
Will it interface with your cable box?
Maybe! A part of me will be saddened if this happens. It's an admission of defeat that maybe winning over cable-cutters isn't as easy as it seems. A fair observation, but doesn't everyone like an underdog?
Will Kinect survive?
Yes, and it will be better. Hopefully it will be good enough that it will be able to do some even fancier stuff with group TV viewing as we described in our recent whitepaper about dynamic recommendations based on detecting who is watching what.
Will it have a Blu-Ray drive?
So, May 21st. Get excited.