Paul Thurrot, senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro, revealed some interesting information regarding the launch of Microsoft’s new Xbox console. Although the full reveal is scheduled for May 21st, Thurrot mentions that the console is expected to launch “early November 2013″ and will run the base (“core”) version of Windows 8. As far as price is concerned, the next Xbox will come with pricing options. A “standalone” console will sell for $499 while a $299 version requires a two year Xbox Live contract for an additional $10 a month (if you recall, Microsoft was testing the waters with a $99 Xbox 360 console). The new Xbox will contain a Blu-Ray optical drive. The Kinect will be non-optional as it will be integrated into the machine.
One of the biggest fears since OrthGate was whether or not the new Xbox will require a constant Internet connection. Here is what Thurrot has to say:
“The next Xbox must be Internet-connected to use. This is the source of the “always on”/“always online” rumors and isn’t as Draconian as many seem to believe.”
The most surprising bit of information in the article is the mention of “Stingray,” a third generation Xbox 360 console that will be ‘significantly less expensive than current models.” Off the bat, this sounds like “Xbox 360 Slim 2″ but Thurrot speculates that the development of “Stingray” is to have an out regarding backwards compatibility as the new console will not have it (this conflicts with a recent rumor that it will offer that functionality).
What do you make of this? Do you think the information (few pieces of which are speculation on the author’s part) is legit? Or is this a grand ruse? If the new console will require a constant Internet connection after all, will consumers dismiss it outright? Do you think they will offer something that makes a case for Internet connectivity? And how less “Draconian” will it be? Regardless, Microsoft’s reveal conference just got a little more interesting. I’m really interested to see them sell this thing.