Update from April 6: We now have the facts. Read more here.
As Sony romps into the distance with massive sales of PlayStation 4, and presumably decent sales of PS4 Pro, Microsoft is waiting in the wings. Tomorrow it (via Digital Foundry) will unveil its next-step in the evolution of the Xbox console, as it too abandons the generational approach, going with mid-life upgrades.
PC owners may laugh as these consoles, made of PC parts, now mimic their upgrade processes, but a console (even one running Windows 10 under the hood) still remains a highly compelling purchase for families and gamers.
— Eurogamer.net (@eurogamer) April 4, 2017
So, on Thursday at 2 PM UK Time, 9 AM EST, 6 AM Pacific, the covers will come off Microsoft’s new box. Likely to claim all sorts of 4K gaming speed records, the company will try to dazzle with specifications, exclusive features, and new games.
Whatever the silicon upgrade, the Microsoft execs will be praying for a significant turnaround over the year, as Sony seems to have more console exclusives and the ability to charm gamers, while Microsoft’s industrial “we know better approach” has only harmed its sales.
At the other end of the power chain, it also has the new Nintendo Switch to contend with. Low on specs, it may be, but the hybrid approach and new Splatoon, Mario Kart and Zelda games are bringing out the inner child in many gamers, and capturing the hearts of younger players.
So, Microsoft needs to pull several rabbits out of the hat, and a silicon upgrade won’t be enough without a broad range of appealing and exclusive software, to justify the likely eye-watering expense. Consoles have always been about the games, and Microsoft managed to forget that mantra at the Xbox One launch, it had better not forget it tomorrow, as a glorified tech-demo won’t help it sell more than a few extra consoles.