Next Xbox to cost $100 more than it should, has a subscription model, and will eat children
Okay, so I lied about the eating children part. Aside from that, both The Verge and Eurogamer have reported that Microsoft is planning to reveal its next-generation Xbox at a May 21st event. Microsoft analyst Paul Thurrott revealed that the console will launch in early November, so if you want to wait outside a store all night before release, there's a chance you could die in the cold.
The next-gen Microsoft console will apparently go with Apple's naming strategy for its iPad, as the next Xbox will just be named "Xbox." There will be two models available -- an expensive model that'll cost around $500, and a lower-priced $300 model that will be available with some sort of subscription. The only subscription I could think of would be for Xbox LIVE, and I doubt that the $500 version would do away with that subscription completely, so it'll be interesting to see what exactly this is about.
Then we have the issue with the "always-online" component of the Xbox. Leaked internal documentation referenced an "always on, always connected" design. Thurrott just confirmed that the design documents have mentioned the feature. He said, "Looking at some of the stuff I got a long time ago, it actually says 'must be internet-connected to use' in the notes. And that's all I have, but it does say that."
Microsoft creative director Adam Orth made some tweets last week that told people upset about "always-on" rumors to "#dealwithit." Stay classy Microsoft.
One last thing Thurrott mentioned was two other unannounced Xbox-branded machines. One was code-named "Yumo," and was described as an Xbox device purely for entertainment apps -- no games. However, that product has been canned. The other product is code-named "Stingray," and is a new budget Xbox 360 model. Due out for release later this year, Stingray will cost just $99.
If any of this is credible, the first question I have is: what the hell is the subscription with the $300 model? It's bad enough that always-online is probably going to be a thing; now you want to charge a subscription if people buy a cheaper model? It better just be Xbox LIVE's cost. I'd also be a lot more comfortable if the next Xbox cost $400. That's what I paid for the Xbox 360 at launch, and I don't see consumers being particularly eager to shell out more than that for a new console.
The good news is that I don't mind the next Xbox just being named "Xbox." I like it a lot more than "Xbox 720," which I never understood. Also, there's been no mention of the console eating children.