The Xbox 720 release date may finally be in sight. Rumors that the Microsoft-designed game console could appear at E3 in June 2013 surfaced after company exec "Major Nelson" posted a countdown clock to the event on his blog.
Is the Xbox 720 release date set to coincide with E3 on June 11-13, 2013? There's little prof to go on, but that hasn't stopped tech writers and video game consumers from speculating wildly on the meaning behind Major Nelson (AKA Larry Hryb) recent mysterious blog post. Hyrb works for Microsoft as the director of Xbox programming, so clearly something huge and Xbox-related is coming this year. With the Wii U already available, it seems like the time is nigh for PlayStation and Xbox to gear up for the next round of console wars.
Word on the street is that Microsoft is pushing for a September 2013 release date with the Xbox 702 (code-named Kryptos), according to reports from both Bloomberg and SemiAccurate. Apparently, Microsoft already has the redesigned processor chips in development. So it makes sense that we could see an Xbox 720 demo at E3.
Either way, there's little doubt that the Xbox 720 release date will arrive in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season.
Last year, an internal 56-page Microsoft document detailing the company's Xbox long-term strategy was leaked online. Here's NDTV Gadgets' recap of everything we learned about the Xbox 720 during the leak:
In June last year, a leaked Xbox presentation spanning 56 pages revealed some interesting details regarding the Xbox 720. The console might include Blu-Ray support, be capable of playing 1080p HD movies, 3D viewing and an 'always on' state mode for faster start up speeds. Power is expected to be beefed up 6 times compared to the current Xbox.
Processor wise, Microsoft is currently debating between two options - use six or eight ARM cores or x86 cores clocked at 2GHz each with 4GB RAM. These would be put alongside 3 PPC cores clocked at 3.2GHz each to enable backwards compatibility with current Xbox 360 titles. Earlier speculations have also hinted at a quad-core Intel processor.
Xbox fans responded to Major Nelson's post with a mixture of excitement over the tentative Xbox 720 release date and criticism over the company's policies and strategy.
"New Xbox yesssss," wrote Stephen Robinson.
"They announced the Xbox 360 in May, then released it in September. They'll likely do the same thing with the next Xbox," wrote mcmax3000. "Announcing a year & half out is a dumb move when your current console is still selling decently, because then you're killing those sales for a year & a half, instead of just for five months."
"I hope new HARDCORE exclusives on Xbox 720, not some Kinect BS, if not, you lost me," wrote MauricioNoh.
"If Microsoft focuses more on multimedia (and Kinect?) more than us hardcore gamers, I'm abandoning Xbox," wrote fantomena.
"Don't get your hopes up. Casual will rule," warned Nitramuse.
"If Microsoft doesn't have the new Xbox this summer, and has no exclusive new games /IP's , then they are in BIG trouble!! Because Sony is blasting away this year with title after title, and the 360 owner will be absolutely pissed if Microsoft doesn't deliver the goods," noted Lunalicrichard.
"Actually Microsoft is in trouble if they lose the mobile war and if companies stop buying office altogether," warned Rafael Quint. "The Xbox is a very small part of the business of this 12-digit company."
"They are doing well, but only in the US. PS3 still wins in both Europe and Asia," explained asgaro.
According to another commenter calling himself Kevyne Collins, the Xbox currently dominates the American and European markets, but still trails behind Sony and Nintendo in Asia due to regional loyalties.
Clearly there is a war playing out over the future of gaming console design. On one side are the hardcore gamers who play for hours (or even days straight) and want a system with plenty of horsepower, solid games and no bells or whistles. In the other corner we have the casual gamer, who wants a console that lets them quickly jump from light gaming to online surfing to other digital content. Microsoft has made the Xbox a success by appealing to the hardcore gamer thanks to exclusive titles like "Halo" and "Gears of War." But based on the documents leaked last year, the company seems committed to expanding beyond their traditional fan base.
Will you buy an Xbox 720 if the release date arrives in 2013? What does Microsoft have to do to sell their next gaming console to you? Share our thoughts in the comments.