Friday, June 12, 2009

ThrawnOmega Predicts the Future: The Next Xbox

It's my turn to write something again before Silva gets his hands all over the blog for the weekend, and I thought I'd bring out my crystal ball to gaze at what the future holds for the next Xbox. My crystal ball assures me it's taking the job seriously this time, unlike when if forecasted Onechanbara as Game of the Year.

First, I have a brief announcement about upcoming reviews. It seems when it rains, it pours, so I'm going to be more busy this June than I had previously anticipated. Here's a more accurate picture of what you can expect from me this month:

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (review is done, merely awaits posting)
Ghostbusters (will probably need an online co-op buddy)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (My 1st Sports Game review)
Fallout 3: Point Lookout

So, with 2 new games about to be introduced to my card, I'll be making a scramble over the weekend to clear room in "The Four" for them by completing Wolfenstein 3D and Wallace and Gromit. I haven't had much success working on my backlog lately LOL. (Every game in the current 4 has been purchased in the last month...)

ThrawnOmega Predicts the Future: Episode III: The Next Xbox

Idle speculation can be fun, so I'm going to throw down a few predictions on what Xbox Next (or XBN as I'm calling it, because 720 is stupid) will offer.

1. All XBN units will come with harddrives. Like the 360, these harddrives will be removable and come in different sizes. Microsoft will have learned from developers and the gaming public that shipping a unit w/o a harddrive was a stupid idea, and caused more trouble than it was worth. I forsee all XBN units coming with an 80gb harddrive on the cheapest model, 250gb as standard, and 500gb for Elite, if Microsoft goes with a 3-variant plan again. With the popularity of installing games on harddrives, XBLA, videos, demos, DLC, and all of that, I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft eventually rolls out a 1tb hard drive to be sold seperately. People with 360s will be able to transfer everything on a 360s hard drive to the XBN's hard drive.

2. XBN will be 100% backwards compatable. I think the 360 has been successful enough, and the gaming public unhappy enough about how the first Xbox ended, that Microsoft will make the XBN backwards compatable to keep making money off the older system for as long as possible.

3. The XBN will NOT suffer the hardware problems that have been the bane of the 360s existence. Call me an optimist, but I don't think Microsoft wants to spend the kind of money they did on warranties and repairs for the 360 ever again. Since they have a larger market share now, and beating out Sony to have a system out first isn't such a priority, they'll take the time to make sure the next system doesn't fail constantly.

4. XBN will be the cause of stampedes in Walmart during the 2012 holiday season. I will be taking its release week on vacation, out of fear for my life =P (and because I plan on being an early adopter this time around... I waited a year to see if the PS3 would suck as bad as I thought... it did {and that comes from a die-hard PS2 lover}.)

5. XBN will continue to feature Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix support, but there will be more. I find it amusing that a company that used "we're focusing on the games" as an excuse for not making a 360 Blue-Ray player has been making a lot of business moves that have absolutely nothing to do with games... What's the next major partnership? GAMEFLY. I'm sure you'll be able to organize your queue right on your 360, and Tweet all about what you're getting while you're at it. (BTW I absolutely abhor Twitter, but that's a rant for another day...)

6. Project Natal, or an upgraded version of it, will be built into XBN, and be available from day 1, in a further bid to siphon off some of the Wii crowd. The demo looked interesting, but I'm not convinced yet that Natal is anything more than a gimmick... we'll see if it can offer meaningful additions to games, or provide some great games of its own, and not be a door for Wii-esque shovelware.

7. Microsoft is going to steal the idea of Home from Sony and make something similar to it... I'm just waiting for "Avatar Town"...

8. XBN will be a Bluray player. GUARANTEED.

9. Microsoft Points will go the way of the dinosaurs, with transactions going directly to your credit card. Here's to hoping!

10. Direct-download retail titles will become a bigger deal, and more contoversial. Xbox Originals didn't sell well, but Microsoft is trying again with 360 titles. The advantage? Not having to wait so long to get your game. Disadvantages? Huge space requirements on hard drive, no physical copy, can't "shop around" for the best price. I don't see this significantly cutting into retail sales, but it'll be sticking around. I wouldn't be surprised if most of XBN's launch line-up is available to direct-download from Day 1. I have a crazier idea though...

11. XBN will feature direct-download game RENTALS. Right now, movies downloaded off the marketplace act like rentals, as they automatically delete after a certain amount of time. Imagine if you had the ability to download a new retail game the day it released for a fraction of the full cost, on the condition that it would automatically delete after 5 or 7 days and you'd have to re-rent (and redownload) it? Profits made from this would go to Microsoft, the publisher, and the developers, so companies like EPIC couldn't while so much about rentals hurting their profitability. Of course, the new whining would be that everyone is digitally renting and retail sales could possibly slump.

12. Say goodbye to the file-size limit for XBLA games. There won't be one.

13. Video party chats.

That'll cover me for today. As I spend more time thinking about it, there may be more XBN predictions in the future. Enjoy your weekends!


  1. Being able to download games as a rental would be awesome but a Gamefly service on my Xbox would be even better

  2. As gamerscore whoring has become massive I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft want to add gaming rentals to their console simply for that audience. It will however satisfy though people that love playing a game first and others too.

    It's a feature I am sure is going to happen one way or another (may just have a partnership with Gamefly as suggested) and I look forward to it.

  3. Im sure MS will spoil it with piracy protection software and validation codes that you will have to enter every time you start the system up but it will be a cool idea. I just hope x360 has some life in it to give us another 2 - 3 more solid years. I can't even fathom what is next.

  4. Oh and count me in for GHOSTBUSTERS!!!! Dun Dun, Dun Dun, Dun Dun, Deet Dun Dun Dun, Dun Dun, Dun Dun, Dun Dun, Deet Dun Dun Dun