Microsoft’s new Xbox: here is what you need to know about the next console

Xbox, a new generation revealed

OK folks, the time has come, on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013, Microsoft is scheduled to unveil the new Xbox game console in a press event that will be held at Redmond headquarters in Washington, at 1PM Eastern Time — show that will last for about an hour (words from Larry Hryb, a.k.a @majornelson) and everyone is invited to participate in the live stream.

Indeed this is an exciting time because we will finally see what the company has been working on these past years, and we will actually know which rumors and leaks we’ve been hearing for months are true. And it is also Microsoft’s turn to prove us that the new Xbox is an amazing piece of hardware that will arrive to refuel the game industry once again. So the next generation of Xbox will be unveiled on May 21st, and here is all we know and it’s likely to be confirmed at the event:

Hardware

According to leaked information, the new Xbox will be powered by an AMD 8-core 64-bit APU (processor + graphics in one chip) running at 1.6 GHz, which Bloomberg suggests is the same chip that Sony will be using in the Playstation 4. Also the console will come with 8GB of DDR3 memory, 500GB HDD to store games, video, and music, Blu-Ray drive, HDMI, USB 3.0 ports, Wi-Fi, Gigabit ethernet, and an almost unmodified wireless controller.

It is interesting to hear that Microsoft will include a Blu-Ray drive after many reports have revealed that “Durango”, the current Xbox codename, will not include an optical disc drive at all.

Kinect 2

Xbox Kinect 

A new version of Kinect is said to be “mandatory”, according to a report by Kotaku, which also said that the sensor has to be plugged in and calibrated for the game console to operate. The new motion-control sensor it is also expected to be bundled with every new Xbox, and it will feature better voice commands with better support for natural language controls, ability to wake the console with voice, and speech-to-text. It will also capture motions more accurately, it will bring an improved RGB camera, and dedicated hardware to process tasks.

Kinect 2 will not only be watching you all the time and know when you are excited, angry or sad, but it will be capable of tracking up to “six individuals” at the same time.

Game stream

There is a chance that Microsoft will also add the ability to stream games over the internet, instead of just using a disc. However discs aren’t going away.

Set-top box integration

Microsoft also seems to be planning to make the game console the ultimate media center, word in the street hints that the new Xbox will integrate with the cable set-top box to enhance the TV watching experience, similar to what Google TV already does. Although, the software giant is also gearing up to deliver the Xbox TV, a new streaming-only device to further take over the living room. But don’t get your hopes up, because this still in the works and Microsoft will not be unveiling it during tomorrow’s event.

How the Xbox will look like?

Perhaps one of the most guarded secret by Microsoft until today is how the next version of Xbox is going to look like. The mystery to why we don’t know anything about the console design, according to The Verge, is because Microsoft has “recently finalized its design and hardware”, to actually showcase the next generation of the console. Something that Sony failed to do with the Playstation 4 hardware — However, today the company seems to be trying to steal some of the Xbox thunder with a new video teasing blurry images of the PS4.

Xbox running Windows 8

If this turns out to be true, another big surprise will be tha

t the new Xbox will actually run Windows 8. The company has already been making changes to the Xbox 360 dashboard to make it look like the Windows 8 and Windows Phone user-interface, but the new version of Xbox is expected to match even further the Windows 8 tile UI experience and make easier for developers to build new apps — It is also worth noticing that this will not be the first time Microsoft tries to use Windows in a game console, previously Windows CE was part of some Dreamcast titles, and back in 1998 Microsoft tried to make Windows the main operating system for this game console.

Always-on dilemma

There has been a number of rumors around a required always-on and always connected to the internet console, due to a new anti-piracy game method that Microsoft will be introducing in the new Xbox. Despite to what you might have read or heard, there still isn’t a straight answer regarding the online requirements and if the folks at Redmond will be blocking users from using a game disc in another console.

Illumiroom

IllumiRoom Microsoft demo

Even though Illumiroom still a proof-of-concept augmented reality for the console that can project images outside the TV screen and extend the game experience into the wall, the company will be demoing the device in the press event in Redmond, Washington.

Tablet synchronization

xbox-smartGlass

Microsoft seems to be also working on a 7-inch Surface tablet, which will be unveiled later this year and it will be designed to integrate with Xbox using the SmartGlass application and it will also feature light gaming capabilities.

Sharing

It is also said that users will be able to make and share gameplay clips to social outlets, such as in Facebook and YouTube.

What will be the Xbox name?

Short answer, we still don’t know. Currently the unnamed console is codenamed “Durango”, many have speculated that Microsoft will simply call it “Xbox”. But other names also appeared around web such as “Xbox Infinity”, which turned out to be a hoax, “Xbox Fusion” and “Xbox 720”.

Pricing

How much will the new Xbox cost? This is also unclear, but Paul Thurrott, long time Microsoft watcher, suggested some time ago that the console could be priced “$500, $300 with subscription”. However, new information from Thurrott indicates that Microsoft will not be offering the subscription-based method.

While Microsoft will be unveiling many mysteries about the new Xbox, it is also certain that the company will keep some information for E3 2013 (video game conference). But at least we’ll have a better understanding on what to expect.

Stay tuned for tomorrow big unveiling event, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to keep you updated, you can subscribe to the Pureinfotech newsletter, and you can also follow the event on Twitter checking #XboxReveal and #Xbox hashtags, and @majornelson. 

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.