Microsoft To Announce New Xbox Tomorrow; Sony Teases Video Of Playstation 4 Today

It’s been three full months since Sony announced — but did not unveil — the Playstation 4 videogame console. And with Microsoft about to announce its follow-up to the Xbox 360 tomorrow, Sony must have figured today was as good a day as any to finally show a glimpse of the PS4.

There’s not much to say about the PS4 teaser, which you can see above, other than that it confirms that it’s black and is not shaped like a giraffe.

But there is plenty of speculation about the new Xbox, which has a code name of Durango, but almost certainly will be called something else when it’s finally announced tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.

Of course, it will be faster and have better graphics capabilities than the Xbox 360, which came out in 2005. And the user interface will likely retain the tile-centric look that Microsoft seems so committed to in its phones, tablets, and Windows OS, even while many consumers groan about it. Luckily, we don’t pick gaming consoles based solely on their home screens.

The new Xbox is expected to be equipped with the Kinect 2, a more accurate version of the motion/sound-detecting system released three years ago. While the first Kinect has spawned a number of motion-related hits, mostly dancing games, Kinect technology either failed to make its way into many standard games or often felt shoehorned in, as the developers knew that not every Xbox owner had a Kinect.

The newer sensor will likely be standard on the new console, giving game developers more reason to integrate its various functions into their titles. Kinect technology is expected to be a more accurate version of the Kinect motion-sensing system that Microsoft launched in 2010. That system enabled players to magically control their games with gestures, rather than controllers, using body movements.

Microsoft has repeatedly stated that it views the Xbox as much more than a gaming console. The current generation already features the ability to play DVDs, purchase, download and stream videos, and watch third-party services like HBO Go, Netflix, and others. It’s expected that the new console will offer even more ways to access online entertainment content.

A leaked Microsoft memo seems to indicate that the company will not go with an always-connected requirement, that would have made it impossible to use the console without being connected to the Internet. Gaming giant — and reigning Worst Company In America — EA took a lot of heat this spring when its latest SimCity game required users to always be online in order to play.

There are, however, still rumors floating about that Microsoft will make it difficult, if not impossible, to play previously owned games on the new console. EA recently announced it was ending its Online Pass program, which required buyers of used games to pay extra to access online content, but some believe this might just be a precursor to Microsoft and Sony crippling used games at the hardware level.

Tomorrow’s announcement will probably be centered on the tech side of things, with many important bits of consumer-related info — pricing, availability, release-date games — being detailed at a June 10 Microsoft event during the E3 trade show.

The new Xbox: what do we know about Microsoft’s next console? [TheVerge]
What to expect at Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox announcement []

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