Amid growing doubts over its next-generation strategy, Microsoft today told the world’s gamers when they’ll be able to get hold of the latest and greatest Xbox, and how much they’ll have to pay for the privilege: this November, and $499, respectively.
Though the Xbox One’s holiday-season launch timing is standard for new consoles, the price surprised many onlookers. Pundits including Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter had predicted a $399 debut, in line with the Xbox 360’s premium edition at its 2005 launch.
Microsoft also took the opportunity to dive further into the console’s innovative online features. The Xbox One’s DVR features go beyond just recording TV; it’ll automatically record key gameplay moments, and let you add commentary and titles before uploading them to social media or other sharing services. Live streaming of your games is also possible, thanks to the Xbox One’s integration with up-and-coming streaming TV service Twitch.
But the Xbox One’s software capabilities weren’t the main focus of Microsoft’s press conference. Instead, the company unveiled a veritable avalanche of in-development Xbox One games, ranging from a creative, kid-friendly riff on Sony’s LittleBigPlanet series to a violent and gory action game set on the battlefields of ancient Rome.
“We have more titles in development now than in any other time in Xbox history,” Microsoft Game Studios vice-president Phil Spencer said. Among the titles Microsoft demonstrated were new episodes in the Metal Gear, Battlefield, and Dead Rising series, together with versions of PC hits World of Tanks and Minecraft.
Although the Xbox One will launch without a Halo game, Master Chief fans won’t have too long to wait. 343 Studios’ Bonnie Ross introduced the next installment in the game, which will continue the “Reclaimer” story that began in Halo 4. It’ll be launched in 2014, Ross said.