Roundtable: Microsoft Event Predictions

The time is nearly upon us everybody. In less than 24 hours, Microsoft will reveal the “Xbox 720,” “Durango,” whatever it will be known as. Either way, we know it as the next generation of Xbox.

In light of the event, I, alongside some of my fellow Analog Addiction editors, jotted down some of our predictions for what the company will announce, especially since E3, arguably the biggest video game event of the year, is just around the corner.

Xbox 720 logo

Jamie Briggs: “Big Boss Man”

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Microsoft will most likely have some announcements ready for their next-generation reveal. With the effort Sony was able to showcase for their PlayStation 4 reveal, Microsoft would want a similar showing.

I expect we will be given a better look at Kinect 2, maybe even included in the system, removing the idea of a second purchase. Hopefully if this is the case, they are also able to prove the features work, smooth and more accurately.

Call of Duty: Ghosts has already been confirmed for the event, so I also expect some announcements of features coming early to Xbox or possibly a short gameplay demo of the game running on next-generation.

As for entertainment, I would think they will showcase some of the unique a custom experiences their TV studio has been working on, maybe even bringing some original TV series content.

But overall it is about the console and games. I wouldn’t be surprised by an “Alan Wake 2″ announcement, something from 343 (“Halo 2 HD”) or announcing Halo 5 etc, it would be wise to showcase Forza to go against Sony’s Driveclub and I would put money on Fable making an appearance in some shape or form.

As for the console, a general release window, maybe show the box and controller if it is modified, but of course no pricing.

Hugh Simmonds: “That One Guy”

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I think we’ll see Microsoft show off their new console which will be tailored to be the quintessential home entertainment system that does it all. Kinect will be built into it with regards voice control and there’ll be two packages. The “lite” and the other which comes with a couple of years Xbox Live gold subscription. The new Call of Duty will be shown with exclusive content for the new Xbox. New Forza will be unveiled with more game announcements to be made at E3.

George Sinclair: “Georgeo Armani”

I think they’ll definitely show the console itself and I guarantee when they do, they’ll have a pop at Sony for not showing it. 

I think it’s going to be very multi-media based with a general “look what we can do with this” kind of vibe. 

I don’t think all of the always online rumours are random flukes and I do expect the console to have it on some level, though not for games. 

I think it’s a sure shot they’ll have Kinect back, but I don’t think it’ll be like Sony with the Move where they’re trying to show us why we should like it. Instead, I reckon it’s going to built in and they’ll be giving it to us whether we want it or not. Alongside Kinect, I think we’ll have great deal of Kinect games.

When it comes to games, I’m not sure there’ll be many. You’ll have COD, you’ll have Forza. Maybe, a new Gears of War, but I reckon it’s unlikely. I think we might even see Destiny making an appearance.

Robbie Key: “Sir Writestoomuch”

First and arguably the most important factor of this conference is they will feed starving gamers the answer to whether or not the Xbox 720, Durango, whatever it is, will require a constant internet in order to do anything on the system. Obviously you guys saw the negative backlash at the rumors, especially with the Adam Orth episode, and I think Microsoft would be foolish not to address it.

They will either likely show the next generation of Kinect or show how the current one will be integrated into the console. It will of course contain all of the bells and whistles the current Kinect has; hands-free controls, voice-recognition, etc., and we will see how it will integrate into first-party games. There will also revealed details on the “illumiroom” and how it coerces with Kinect. And why not a stab-in-the-dark guess for a Kinect game: Kinectimals 2!

One of the games we know for sure making an appearance at the event is the next Call of Duty subtitled “Ghosts.” Ghosts is likely making its appearance at Microsoft’s conference because they have made some kind of special deal with Activision. More importantly, it will likely show off how the title runs on a next-gen system. Normally I wouldn’t be interested with anything Call of Duty for two reasons. One, I don’t like annual releases in gaming. I’m a guy who needs two to four year breaks for his games. Two, despite the the bazillions of dollars they’ve made off the franchise, they have not done much to fix the games technical problems. I’m intrigued though because I feel a next-gen Call of Duty could eradicate these problems and maybe get me interested in the series once again.

For games, it’s a bit tough to say. The obvious heavy hitters are Halo, Forza, Gears of War, Alan Wake and Fable. I can see something coming from 343 in regards to Halo whether it’s “Halo 2 HD” (make that happen 343!) or Halo 5. If it’s Halo 5, it’s going to be a teaser similar to the one we got on Halo 4 when it was announced at E3 2011: something small, yet enough to let us know the game exists and is in the works. Not including Fable: The Journey, I think we will see “Fable IV” for the next Xbox seeing as how it’s been three years since the previous title’s release. Forza is a given, though it could be shown at E3 instead. With Gears of War: Judgment having been out just a few months ago, we likely won’t see anything on the next one for a while. Remedy Entertainment, the guys behind Alan Wake, will show of their next game whether it’s “Alan Wake 2″ or not. As reported in late January, the developer was hiring for a next-gen title, so it will likely make an appearance.

They will additionally reveal the following: indie games, the next-generation of Xbox Live Arcade and they will put out original Xbox titles. There will be a ton of indie games and Xbox Live Arcade games will remain at the same average price of $15.

While some of these predictions are more likely than others, particularly tackling the always-online wonder, it is difficult to say whether or not what will be answered with E3 being less than a month away. With that said, the event will not be as big as Sony’s reveal from February since they do not have as near as much of a time gap.

There you have it readers. What do you guys think? Do you agree with any of our predictions? Do you disagree? What are your feelings towards the next-gen Xbox. Let us know in the comments, and find out what Microsoft will reveal on May 21 at 10:00 a.m. PDT.

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Robbie Key is a “Reviews and News Editor” for Analog Addiction, Entertainment Editor for the Pine Log newspaper at Stephen F. Austin State University, and blogger for IGN. Follow his completely relevant Twitter updates, watch his awesomtacular YouTube videos, and view his LinkedIn profile.

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