MICROSOFT will become the last of the world’s three big console gaming companies to shed light on plans for its next-generation system this week, with the firm set to present the new Xbox as more than a games machine.
The company’s Xbox 360 beat both Sony and Nintendo to the market when it launched seven and a half years ago, and has racked up around 80m in sales since. However, the next generation machine, codenamed the Xbox 720, is not expected to reach nearly that figure, due to the increased competition posed by smartphone and tablet gaming.
Although Microsoft’s target market of dedicated gamers is not believed to have dwindled as severely as Nintendo’s base of casual players, it will attempt to arrest this decline by pitching the Xbox as an entertainment centre, through which users will access internet TV channels and downloads, rather than as just a gaming machine. By offering more than a console, Microsoft will hope to avoid the situation its Japanese rival Nintendo has faced. Sales of Nintendo’s Wii U console have disappointing as gamers switch to increasingly powerful mobiles.
Microsoft will unveil much of its plans for the console tomorrow night, with a release expected before Christmas