It’s generally not prudent to put much stock in to random forum posts from random people – as they quite often tend to be filled with random rubbish, but a post on the Gamespot forums caught my eye. In it, Gamespot forumite ShoTTyMcNaDeS suggests the next Xbox might only see retail in 2014.
“I was talking to the clerk at this store and was asking her if they have heard anything concrete about the next XBOX. She said that their MS retail rep told them that the next XBOX isn’t expected until Fall of 2014 because there is simply no way that MS can launch a new console without any of its flagship franchises in tow..i.e. Gears of War, Halo and Forza. All three of these franchises just had new incarnations in recent months and to expect the developers to have next gen titles ready by this Fall is simply unrealistic,” he says.
Yes, a random statement from a random Gamestop employee is something to be taken with a rather large grain of salt, but the reason it caught my eye is that one of our own industry sources has told us not to expect Microsoft’s next-generation console this year – and it does make sense. It’s incredibly unlikely that Microsoft could have any of its flagship titles ready for release this year, and launching new hardware without a big enough exclusive draw is a risky proposition.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Industry analyst Michael Pachter believes that Microsoft will only release its new console around this time next year.
Speaking to Nowgamer, Pachter said that “If I were a betting man (and I am), I would say a spring 2014 launch makes more sense, since hard core Xbots could get a console without having to compete with moms buying gifts at holiday, and it is likely that they won’t manufacture more than a few million units for launch.”
That ties in further to reports from last year saying that production on the console’s chips were yielding low rates, making a delay in to 2014 quite likely. If this does turn out to be true, Microsoft will have squandered the head-start that afforded it its position this generation, and it’s quite possible that gamers, desperate for more capable hardware, will jump ship to Sony’s PlayStation 4. sony’s console is expected to be released in time for the holidays this year.
Microsoft has yet to even acknowledge that a next-generation Xbox exists, with rumours pointing towards a reveal next month. We’ll definitely see the next-generation Xbox this year, but whether or not it’ll be available at retail in 2013 is another question entirely.