Microsoft is holding their Xbox event tomorrow at 10AM Pacfic time. The event venue (pictured) is in the Redmond, Washington campus of Microsoft. During a recent Major Nelson podcast, Microsoft’s interactive entertainment chief of staff Aaron Greenberg, confirmed that that the May 21st event would be “about revealing the next Xbox platform and our vision for the future of games.” For months, we’ve been hearing rumors about the console, internally codenamed Durango, that have set people buzzing.
Let’s recap the rumors, after the break!
One of the more persistent rumors about the next-gen Xbox is that it will require a constant internet connection to function. Either the console won’t work at all without being able to access Microsoft’s servers, or it won’t be able to play games without it because of DRM meant to combat used game purchases. Internal company emails suggest that this is not true and that the console will work in an offline mode similar to the current Xbox 360. Used game DRM may be left up to the publishers to implement (or not) as they see fit.
Paul Thurrott said that there would be a subscription subsidized next-gen Xbox meant to lock people into Xbox Live and allow a lower cost of entry, but has since claimed that this plan was scrapped. He does say that the impressive IllumiRoom project will be part of the event, although it’s unclear if it will be used as an example of where Microsoft thinks gaming may head or if it will be a more substantial demo. Thurrott was one of the primary sources of the always-online required story, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out.
Another common rumor about the next-gen Microsoft console is that it will somehow replace or take over your cable box to work directly with the TV channel display. While Microsoft has said that streaming media as well as original programming is a priority, and that the focus of the console will be skewed more towards being a general entertainment hub, the functionality between the console and the cable box has yet to be revealed.
One of the features rumored to be included with the new console is Skype integration. Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion and has pushed its use in Windows 8 as well as on the Windows Phone in place of instant messaging. We know that Microsoft has been hiring people for the Skype Xbox team, but Microsoft hiring is never a confirmation of a product since many projects never get beyond the staffing and planning phases.
Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, will be part of the Xbox event. It’s rumored that live gameplay may be shown as well as a tease of exclusive XBox content.
Finally, a pre-E3 event is scheduled on June 10th in Los Angeles, so any unanswered rumors will likely be transplanted to the new venue.
If you want to check out the event tomorrow, it will be streamed live over Xbox.com, Twitch, Xbox Live, and broadcast live on Spike TV.