Console wars are a complex and many-parted affair, and Sony has launched its full salvo, with all eyes now on Microsoft to see what kind of return shot they can manage. The next-generation Xbox, codenamed Durango, will apparently get a preview at a special event in May, The Verge’s Tom Warren reports, with an official splashy unveiling at E3 in June.
Sony has already introduced its PS4 without formally introducing it, a move that was ridiculed by some in the Xbox camp, including Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, who took to Twitter to mock the no-show show back in February. The Xbox event had originally been planned for April 24, according to the Verge’s sources, but will instead push that to May 21. It’s unclear what exactly the company will be showing off in May vs. what it’ll demo at E3, but Hryb’s comments tend to suggest we’ll get eyes on some actual hardware.
The home console market is one that has been relatively well-guarded against disruption from newcomers and startups for decades now, and recent reviews of the earliest shipping versions of the OUYA Android-powered home gaming console suggest that they aren’t likely to be knocked off their lofty perch by any upstarts just yet. There seems to be a general decline in interest in console gaming overall, but new players aren’t responsible for that so much as a general shift in the way consumers enjoy and look for games.
The next Xbox has a chance to shake things up by providing an experience that’s truly connected across a user’s devices, and Microsoft, which controls software ecosystems across platforms including desktop, mobile and living room consoles as well as media ecosystems and cloud-based products, is uniquely poised to bring everything together.
If Microsoft is smart, it can own the space third-parties like OUYA are trying to occupy, while also becoming a platform for the living room along the lines of what Apple’s App Store is for mobile devices. It’s not at all clear that that’s what we will in fact get from Durango, but this is still a space to watch for developers looking to make waves in the home entertainment space.