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Why Microsoft's Keeping the Next Xbox Under Wraps 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-figuring-out-how-to-make-it-infinitely-social dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "Microsoft recently confirmed that it's not going to be talking at all about its next Xbox, codenamed Durango, at this year's E3, instead keeping the focus on Xbox 360. Forbes columnist Chris Morris explains that Microsoft likely doesn't have games to show for the system yet — and why should they take the focus off Xbox 360, which currently has a lot of momentum? Ultimately, though, the decision not to show the next system 'could have a ripple effect on the rest of the industry,' he says. And by pushing Durango's unveiling back a year, 'Microsoft could find itself going head to head with Sony in a battle of features, even if the machines don't hit shelves at the same time.'" The latest rumor is that an ARM-based Xbox 'lite' is planned for 2013, with a true successor to the 360 coming some time after that.
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Why Microsoft's Keeping the Next Xbox Under Wraps

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  • by MasterMan (2603851) on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:33PM (#39476975)
    I think that while Microsoft would certainly like to release the new Xbox already, they are afraid of doing so. Not because of Sony, but because of Nintendo.

    The last generation surprised everyone on the console front. Hardcore gamers kept playing with PS3 and Xbox360, but Wii ultimately won the round by attracting general population into gaming. Suddenly you had millions of new people introduced into gaming, especially girls. While Microsoft has always produced quality products and by far they are the best on the industry on lots of products, they don't know how to capture that market. They want it badly, but they want to look how Nintendo succeeds with their Wii successor. By delaying the release they can learn from Nintendo's mistakes and hit them hard next year and become the #1 of next generation consoles.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:37PM (#39477013)

      Well, the red ring of death would seem to indicate that MS's gear isn't always the highest quality...

    • by P-niiice (1703362) on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:40PM (#39477039)
      Wii won in unit sales, but they have turned a generation off with a (yes, huge-selling) fad device and continued rehashes of old franchises.

      If they don't steal some core players from MS and Sony, they're sunk this time around. they need to out-power the big boys and deliver some adult games that compete with the exclusives that Sony and MS own.
      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        Xenoblade, Last Story, Monster Hunter Tri would like to have a word with you, but in the end I really can't disagree with your statement.
        • by Dahamma (304068)

          Xenoblade, Last Story, Monster Hunter Tri

          See, now, that's precisely the problem. Even their good games sound like stupid kids games from the 80's. Maybe they should make the translations from Japanese a bit less literal...

      • Nah, Nintendo couldn't care less about older gamers. Their target audiences are children, teens and young adults. They can continue to re-release effectively the exact same game over and over forever to this group because the group it's self it transitory.

         

      • If they don't steal some core players from MS and Sony, they're sunk this time around.

        Because if there's one thing that the recent success of the Wii, games on mobile devices, and the move to freemium models has shown us, it's that the market for casual gamers is much smaller than the market for "core" gamers.

        No, wait. I have that backwards.

        As much as I would LOVE to think otherwise, the fact is that casual gamers outnumber hardcore gamers by a wide margin, they're quickly becoming worth more to the companies making games, and companies have no need to cater to us if they want to succeed. In

        • and normal people are getting frustrated by the difficulty of dealing with consoles that require constant firmware updates and patches. They want an appliance, not a computer.

          Actually computers still let you work while they are downloading upgrades. They also let you choose when you want to get your upgrades. And what irritates console gamers the most, from what I gather, is being forced to wait while a full Gb of updates is downloaded just so they can play their games (I still hold a grudge, Heavy Rain). I have a 512Kbps connection - and a very unstable one, to boot -, so a console like that would be highly impractical for me.

          Anyway, my point is that you kind of got it backward

          • I don't disagree with what you said. Traditional computers are definitely about giving users control, whereas appliances are not. That said, I think that's a discussion along a different axis than where I had intended to go. The axis I was talking about was the level of hassle. Computers, because they give users more control, also offer more nuisances than locked-down devices. That's just the nature of the beast.

            Appliances are supposed to be things that you simply use without having to think about the detai

        • by P-niiice (1703362)
          Those pro-wii arguments are a couple of years old. Selling a zillion consoles is most deffinitely a success, but failing to continue to sell games is a problem. You sour parents on the next Nintendo consoles when their child isn't playing the dust-covered wii anymore.
          I think Live and PSN 'panned out' just fine, and the complex consoles did fine, even with lower sales than the wii. They built customer base for this gen coming up, and had games that warranted more than 15 minutes' play. I don't think N
          • I don't disagree with most of what you said, but I think you misunderstood some of what I said. Let me clarify.

            I do disagree regarding game sales for the Wii mattering as much as you say. The lack of sell-through on games isn't, I believe, as much of an issue as we might hope. I know a few different people with Wii consoles, and the only one getting dusty is mine. All of the others see regular use with their older games. A group of light-gaming college guys I know still play Super Smash Bros. Brawl regularl

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            I keep hearing online how no one plays the Wii, but everyone I know that has one plays it plenty. I know that it gets used noticeably more in my home than the 360.

            The Wii wasn't underpowered at launch. It was correctly powered. The PS3 and 360 were over powered. That is the reason that so many more Wiis sold than PS3/360s. The PS3/360 was way too expensive for the market because they tried to pack in too powerful of a system. The power of the PS3/360 would have been properly sized for 2 or 3 years l
        • Wait a second, did you say you've been buying 360 games even though you don't have a 360?
          • A handful, yes. I also have a few original Xbox games as well and no way to play those either.

            These days, in addition to new games I love picking up games that passed by me the first time and playing them, and I plan those purchases out well in advance. I knew I wanted to play these games years ago, so when I spotted good deals on eBay, I went ahead and picked them up, knowing that I'd eventually pick up a 360 (or a later device with the same compatibility) when the price was right. All told, I doubt I've s

        • by Kjella (173770) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:11PM (#39478675) Homepage

          Nintendo proved that you could sell an underpowered console at a profit from day one and still make piles of money. Apple and numerous Android manufacterers have shown that you can sell a nifty device at a decent profit margin and satisfy millions of people with $1 games.

          Yeah, if anything I think it's the other way around. Casual gamers are often very casual - a $1 smartphone/tablet game may be enough, why get a $200-300 console? In 2006 there really weren't many other casual gaming options except flash games, in 2013 there are plenty. Hell, sometimes they drive an insanely crazy bargain against themselves, for example I got Hector: Badge of Carnage for the iPhone and it's a steal for $3 - actually 3x$1 so you can try it for a dollar, as opposed to paying $19,99 on the Telltalegames site. I can get Angry Birds [amazon.co.uk] for the PC at a bargain price of only 6.47 GBP. It's like they don't want to sell for the PC at all unless you're hemorrhaging money.

          As for the xbox/ps3, I think they both know the next generation will last much longer than this one - just look at graphics card reviews and how far they have to crank it up to 2560x1600 at Ultra/Extreme/Enthusiast/Maximum quality level and the most punishing AA modes to show the difference. The next gen consoles will have full HD and "enough" shaders for a 1920x1080 screen and will not be outdated for at least a decade. They're waiting because they want to have a little edge over the other - better to have an edge in 10 years than be first to the market for 1 year. Microsoft couldn't honestly couldn't care about their positioning relative to the Wii U, it's their positioning relative to the PS4 that matters to them.

        • by Daetrin (576516)
          I'm going to elaborate on what Kjella already said. I don't disagree with you on the idea that the casual gamers are here to stay and they seriously outnumber the hardcore games, i just disagree with the implication (based on the quote you're replying to) that it means Nintendo has nothing to worry about.

          The Wii came out in 2006, and the world was a very different place then. The iPhone didn't exist, GOG didn't exist, even Steam had just started making third-party games available. There was no cheap and e
          • I think I agree with everything you said, except the reason for your post. :P

            The point I was trying to make by pulling the quote I did was that I do not believe it is necessary for Nintendo to cater to hardcore gamers to succeed (i.e. it was not my intention to suggest Nintendo is in a solid spot, merely that they have other viable options than catering to hardcore gamers). It's reasonable that they could establish a successful business plan that caters exclusively to casual gamers. They helped to demonstra

          • Also, thanks for the post! I love reading well-considered responses.

      • by vux984 (928602) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:30PM (#39477665)

        Wii won in unit sales

        And turned a profit on every unit sold.

        but they have turned a generation off

        That "turned off generation" already abandoned them on the gamecube. But nintendo found a whole new market of people to replace them.

        continued rehashes of old franchises.

        Lets see what's most anticipated according to gamestop's website:

        Assassin's Creed III
        Another Ghost Recon
        Witcher 2
        Borderlands 2
        Tiger Woods PGA 13
        Another Star Wars Game
        Halo 4
        Prototype 2
        Warriors Orochi 3
        Darksiders II
        Resident Evil 6
        Another Bioshock
        Max Payne 3 (with BONUS!)
        Sniper Elite 2
        Dragons Dogma * first game that is not a continued rehash of an existing franchise?
        Another Medal of Honor
        Lollipop Chainsaw * second game that is not an existing franchise
        Far Cry 3

        Yep, continued rehashes of old franchises for the win. And a near uninterupted parade of FPS games. How is it you are not turned off by the xbox360?

        they need to out-power the big boys and deliver some adult games

        Why is that? There aren't enough Medals of Honors and Halo's on your xbox that you'd buy a wii 2.0 to play even more of them?

        Hate to break it to you, but Nintendo already lost you. Pandering to you with a parade of FPSes featuring giant robots that dismember alien zombie hookers isn't really going to win you back... that market is saturated.

        Going after new markets is a winning strategy... New Super Mario Bros Wii is probably one of the best games I've ever played. Super Paper Mario and Super Mario Galaxy were great too. The Metroid Primes were well done,and Kirby's epic yarn was pretty much adorable, and the kids loved them all too.

      • by tgd (2822) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:31PM (#39477677)

        Wii won in unit sales, but they have turned a generation off with a (yes, huge-selling) fad device and continued rehashes of old franchises.

        And, more to the point, lost *badly* in game sales. There are a LOT of people with Wii consoles, and most of them have Wii Sports and maybe another game or two.

        That didn't put Nintendo out of business, as they don't sell the Wii at a loss, but it sure limits the upside of each sale. Sony and MS make dramatically more money per console sold, because they sell so many more games per console.

        • First is that they tend to be an "and a" console. Meaning people seem to own one of the others "and a Wii". Ok, nothing wrong with that, but it does seem to be that it isn't so much competing and taking away the market for the other two, but living along with them. That does, of course, mean fighting in terms of getting game sales. People may well elect to buy for their other console.

          Second thing I've noticed is they don't seem to get used that much both by the people who have multiple consoles, and those t

    • That may be part of the reason, but I think it may also be that they don't want people to just dump the platform (Not buy new games or new consoles) figuring that the brand new system will soon be out.

      If they can release at the same time Xbox360 lite and the 720 then they are in a good position. First game sellers will still sell their old stuff for all those people who got the 360 lite where they were just too expensive before and the Hardcore will get the 720.

      Microsoft made a fare amount of ground against
    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      It's highly debatable whether the Wii really "won" anything in this generation. The Wii hard great hardware sales at the beginning, but its software attachment rates were awful, it's hardware sales eventually bottomed out (while the PS3 and 360 kept going strong), and with its weak online system it had no real way to make significant income from DLC and subscriptions (just think about how much MS makes each year off of Xbox Live alone).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If there's anybody to be blamed for the Wii losing momentum, it's the third parties. They saw the Wii was selling out, and there was a huge untapped market, and they released... Rehashes, ports, and shovelware. Nintendo can only do so much in terms of software production, and there was a lot of money on the table for third parties to develop a decent game for the Wii. So what did they do? They chose to leave that money on the table, and piss away their money developing 'blockbuster' titles for the PS3

        • by alen (225700)

          it was a fad

          other than nintendo fanboys it was people like me buying the wii fit and EA Sports Active and that's it. the fit board sucked and now i have an x-box with kinect

    • by Isaac-1 (233099)

      I think it comes down to one thing, why replace a money maker, the buzz about Kinect has seemed to breathe a bit more life into the platform, the latest generation of the entry level console has brought the price point down to be competitive against Wii, and more and more of the game complexities are being handled on the server end. So again why replace a money maker, instead spend more time developing Kinect 2.0, get it right, and then own the industry.

    • by s.petry (762400)

      While Microsoft has always produced quality products and by far they are the best on the industry on lots of products, they don't know how to capture that market. They want it badly, but they want to look how Nintendo succeeds with their Wii successor. By delaying the release they can learn from Nintendo's mistakes and hit them hard next year and become the #1 of next generation consoles.

      Sorry, but the reason I won't own a Xbox is because of the quality. My Sony devices can run 24/7 and be just fine. Xbox on the other hand tends to burn up if you play regularly (better now, but still not the same quality as Sony or Nintendo).

      A few people I worked with were Xbox fans. All of them had the same issues. 5-6 hours of hard game play daily and their Xbox would die. One guy complained to Microsoft after having to have his Xbox replaced for the 4th time in 3 months and received a reply from the

    • Sold about 20M more units but from what I've read in Business Week I think it was a few months ago the problem is in game sales. Those casual gamers tend to by a few games and then stop. XBox and PS3 gamers tend to by a few games a quarter. Wii has a lot of add ons too but I suspect XBox with Kinect and its higher initial price probably makes the hardware sales a wash but they sell more games.

      A bigger issue might be Kinect: maybe they don't have a new piece of hardware available yet and don't want to get ca

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      " While Microsoft has always produced quality products"

      Never owned a Xbox360 have you. The graphics chip falling OFF the board because of a massive defect in cooling design is not my definition of "quality product"

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:42PM (#39477065)

    Just keep in mind, MS and Sony, that every year your systems age is another year for more of your users to look at their friends' new PC's and say "Wow, that blows away my console!" Being more-and-more obsolete is not a good position to be in in the videogaming world. Every time I've turned away from consoles in the past, it's been because I was impressed by how advanced the PC's had gotten compared to the consoles.

    • by Joehonkie (665142) on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:44PM (#39477091) Homepage
      I know, Microsoft loses so much when you buy a Windows PC.
    • by alen (225700)

      ok, until you get to the part where you have to buy a $500 graphics card plus the other parts of the PC

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:45PM (#39477097)

      Every time I've turned away from consoles in the past, it's been because I was impressed by how advanced the PC's had gotten compared to the consoles.

      Fortunately 90% of PC games are now just crappy console ports so they don't have to worry about the PC looking better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And the other 10% are actually worth playing.

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      No one does this, haha.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If anything is going to kill off console gaming it certainly will not be desktops. It will be cell phones. Within a few phone generations (which are remarkably short) we'll have pretty staggering graphics capability on our cell phones. Perhaps the 3rd gen XBox will be a mobile phone + controllers...

      • by P-niiice (1703362)
        THIS HERE WHAT HE JUST SAID. It's phones, not Nintendo or Desktops that are threatening consoles. Phones are killing consoles, Desktops AND portable gaming devices. No one sat there and said, "you know, maybe I shouldn't buy a console because PC's are so much better". They weighed between a 360 and a ps3 and then everybody also bought a wii no matter what they chose. Desktops will be along for the ride again this gen. Sorry, there's nothing to turn that around on the horizon. The question remaining i
        • by P-niiice (1703362)
          I meant phones and tablets....
        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          Just bought daughter iPhone and Xbox. We're replacing a Wii that died. Daughter (11) is ready to move on from basic Wii games but still likes iOS games.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:27PM (#39477615)

        Within a few phone generations (which are remarkably short) we'll have pretty staggering graphics capability on our cell phones.

        Indeed. In a few years you might be able to play a game on a tiny phone display which looks as good as a current console.

        You might even be able to play it for ten minutes before the battery goes flat.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Or you could set it in the dock that is sitting under the TV that routes the picture up to the same screen that the traditional console would have used, and then use a bluetooth controller to control it. The Game Console/Phone market is ripe for convergence.
          • Why would I want to lose the ability to use my phone as, well, a phone to plug it in to my TV and play games or watch movies on it? I could instead just buy a device that plays games and does so better, and then keep my phone as a phone.

            To me this is like suggesting you get rid of your oven, toaster, kettle, and so on and only have a microwave. Yes, technically you can get along with just a microwave, it'll cook most things, with some potential issues and reservations. Or, you know, I could not get rid of t

            • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@anasazi s y s t e m s .com> on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:34PM (#39479817)

              Try looking a little deeper into the crystal ball.

              If I can use my phone as a console, playing games on a large TV with a wireless controller, I am pretty certain that I'll also be able to use (or already wearing!) a wireless Bluetooth headset as well. The phone menu will allow me to answer my phone and chat to friends, or use Google+ Hangouts to have team based voice chat going. This doesn't seem like particularly far-fetched science fiction.

              As an added bonus, you can bring your phone with you to your friend's house, and access your apps, your saved progress, your controller settings, your favorite servers, etc. I think that would be extremely awesome. God help you if you lose it or someone steals it, of course, but by then I'll hope to have Steam For Phones that will let me re-download anything I've bought already. (Does the Android market do that already?)

          • Or you could set it in the dock that is sitting under the TV that routes the picture up to the same screen that the traditional console would have used, and then use a bluetooth controller to control it. The Game Console/Phone market is ripe for convergence.

            That's one of those ideas that sounds nice, right until the first group gathering where the person whose phone is being used as a game console gets an important call...

        • Or plug it into your tv via hdmi giving you 1080p. Connect the controllers wirelessly and you're flying.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Meanwhile, you can now piece together a PC from 5-year-old parts from the garage and have a PC that's capable of playing games better than the 360.

      You're forgetting that the 360 was meh for hardware when it came out. A $400 PC will run circles around it today, as will a $400 PC from several years ago.

    • I don't have any friends who have PCs.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Just keep in mind, MS and Sony, that every year your systems age is another year for more of your users to look at their friends' new PC's and say "Wow, that blows away my console!" Being more-and-more obsolete is not a good position to be in in the videogaming world. Every time I've turned away from consoles in the past, it's been because I was impressed by how advanced the PC's had gotten compared to the consoles.

      Most of the games industry is focused on consoles (more recently mobile devices) anyway because that's where the profits are. Sure PCs are more powerful but these days games companies want to reach more users across more platforms which means developing for the lowest common denominator. I haven't seen that many PC games that whip the current gen console games aside from cranking up the resolution, which doesn't really matter when you're comparing it to a HDTV that you don't sit particularly close to anyway

  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:11PM (#39477417)

    Why pre-announce something that is far from being ready to ship? All that would do is steal sales and thunder away from your existing product. The only reason to announce a new console early is if a competitor is getting ready to release something significant enough to affect your market share. Seems like this is just an excuse for a fluff article.

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:12PM (#39477431)
    The current Xbox 360 is still generating massive amounts of revenue, http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2012/01/12/xbox-360-extends-win-streak-to-12-straight-months-with-banner-holiday-sales.aspx [technet.com], if they introduce a new platform, it will kill off the current version and forego the millions in additional revenue by extending the life of the 360. only when sales start to slump will the 720 be announced.
    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      Funny, they're printing money even with piracy.
    • by blackicye (760472)

      The current Xbox 360 is still generating massive amounts of revenue, http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2012/01/12/xbox-360-extends-win-streak-to-12-straight-months-with-banner-holiday-sales.aspx [technet.com], if they introduce a new platform, it will kill off the current version and forego the millions in additional revenue by extending the life of the 360. only when sales start to slump will the 720 be announced.

      It's ok, because they will just suddenly pull the plug and cease all development for the Xbox 360 when the 720 is announced. Microsoft did this with the first get Xbox and I have the utmost confidence that they will do it again once their next gen is ready to be launched.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        They only did that with the First Xbox as they had no choice. Nvidia were screwing them over big time and had iron clad licensing terms about what they could and could not do. MS did the only thing they could do, learnt their lesson and moved onto a new platform where they control the licensing terms for both software and hardware.
      • by alen (225700)

        so?

        there are lots of GOTY editions of awesome games to keep you playing for another few years. Mass Effect games, fallout, dragon age, etc. you can buy them cheap with all DLC included

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