The “always-online” question has been the big hot topic for the next Xbox lately, but we haven’t heard much about a release date or price for Microsoft’s next TV platform. A recent podcast from What the Tech’s Paul Thurrott, however, reports that the new Xbox may already have a price in mind: about $500 for a regular purchase, and $300 with a subscription, taking a leaf out of the 360′s current pricing strategy. The console is slated for a November launch and will go head-to-head with Sony’s PS4, also set to launch this holiday.
He also mentioned that the Xbox reveal, which was originally scheduled for April, has been pushed back to May 21, less than a month before E3. You can catch his full comments by clicking below.
When the price question came up, he made sure to clarify that, yes, it’s going to be expensive, and yes, he did hear something about the online connection requirement.
Durango is going to be expensive [laughs], you know $500, $300 for the subscription, that kind of thing, but you know, Blu-ray, blah blah blah. But the thing that interests me, going back and 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.
However, he doesn’t believe this is as big a problem as people are making it out to be. Gaming is already shifting more toward persistently online-connected experiences, and the next Xbox is simply responding to this trend by embracing it fully:
I don’t know [if that's a bad thing] because I don’t know what it means. You know, when you look at some of the stories that were coming out this week about, you know, I saw a headline that said something like ‘Next Xbox could be okay without an internet connection for as long as 3 minutes’ or something like that. I don’t even know what that means.
For me, Xbox 360 is almost entirely an online experience. Most of the games I play are multiplayer, where you’re playing against other people online. Or you’re using it as an entertainment device when you’re connected to a service like Netflix or Xbox video, so that is an internet-connected device.
But what about the competition? Many people are already talking about skipping Xbox and moving over to PlayStation 4 to meet their “hardcore” and online gaming needs. Neither Paul nor show host Andrew Zarian believe it’ll be a problem due to the already-established Xbox Live audience.
I look at all this stuff that I’ve seen about Durango and I think, “it’s all positive.” I don’t really see any bad news here at all. Like to me, everything I’ve seen about this is really positive. It’s amazing to me that, based on like no information at all, everyone is like freaking out about everything.
I’ve actually heard from, by the way not one or two people, several people who’ve said, “based on what I’ve seen, Sony is going to blow them away.” Based on what you’ve seen? You’ve seen nothing. What are you talking about? No, but you’ve seen literally nothing from Microsoft.
(Andrew: I don’t think that’s even a possibility considering how many people use Xbox Live… You’re not going to have this mass Xbox audience jumping to Sony.)
The problem Microsoft has has nothing to do with Sony or Nintendo anymore, it’s Roku and AppleTV. The market for hardcore video games, the market of people will always buy the next Gears of War game, the next Halo game, the next Call of Duty game, it’s fairly finite. It’s a decent market, yada yada yada, it’s not the market for tablets, it’s not the market for smartphones.
Relevant comments begin at about 54:42 in the podcast, if you’d like to hear them straight from the source.