The next generation video game console battle is about to heat up, as Microsoft has confirmed that it will be holding a special presentation on May 21 to unveil its next Xbox console. We've been pondering a few things regarding this system, with so many whispers and rumors making the rounds on the Internet. Here are our biggest questions.
1) Will there be more than one model?
Back in December, rumored specs for the next Xbox console leaked, including the mention of a four-core CPU. But one of the more intriguing details was the possibility of two models — one with a disc drive, and one without, made primarily for digital downloads. Though the basic design of both systems would stay the same, there would obviously be a difference in price.
2) Will an 'always online' Internet connection be required?
Rumors have been running rampant that the next Xbox game system will require an "always on" Internet connection, with users staying logged in to the Xbox Live network in order to play. Many people have expressed negativity over this, especially those who don't have the access to speedier Internet. (And always-on connections for some games, like " Sim City," have proved disastrous.) Lately, rumors have surfaced that Microsoft may have changed its mind in requiring an always-on connection.
3) Will backward compatibility be included?
Though it didn't support the entire library, the Xbox 360 did support several original Xbox games, including "Halo" and "Panzer Dragoon Orta." Considering the amount of money players have invested in retail and digital Xbox 360 games, they're curious as to whether they can bring them to the next Xbox console. If Microsoft can find a way to make it happen, it would have a major advantage over the PlayStation 4, since Sony confirmed that its backward compatibility is limited to games over cloud streaming (instead of physical discs). [See also: PlayStation 4 Leaves 5 Important Questions Unanswered ]
4) What will the new Kinect be like?
When the next Xbox specs were leaked last year, the "Kinect 2.0" was mentioned, indicating that the motion-tracking device would be improved. Rumor has it that the device will be enhanced with single-digit tracking (fingers, facial features) and a wider range for player movements. However, we've also heard that it may be required to access the system's menus and some applications, which may leave those players who aren't crazy about motion-gaming miffed.
5) What will the games be like?
When Sony unveiled its PlayStation 4, it also announced several games to get excited about. Microsoft will probably have something similar lined up, including new entries in the " Halo " and "Forza Motorsport" franchises. We've also been hearing whispers about new games, including Crytek's "Ryse," which was previously teased, and the return of the "Project Gotham Racing" series, which garnered a huge following on previous Xbox consoles. It'll be interesting to see what Xbox Live Arcade titles are also being planned, since the digital service is quite popular with subscribers.
6) What will the future of Xbox entertainment hold?
In addition to games, Microsoft seems to be investing quite a bit in its entertainment lineup for the next Xbox system, following the success of such apps as Netflix and ESPN, as well as online shows such as " The Guild." The company may also be looking into developing its own original programming. It recently opened up a development facility in Los Angeles and was also inquiring about resurrecting the NBC science fiction series "Heroes." Though nothing is confirmed as of yet, the Microsoft could be entering the programming-on-demand venue, similar to what Amazon and Netflix have done.
Hopefully, we'll get encouraging answers to these questions when the system officially rolls out next month.
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