The year bears a lot of different connotations for a lot of different people.
Some think it’s when the Mayans predicted the end of the world – though others think they simply got bored counting or were ended themselves. Some are excited for the Summer Olympics, the iPad 3, and, if they live in Northern Australia, a total solar eclipse. Then there are those who might merely be looking forward to a special wedding anniversary, a birthday, or a graduation date.
Recently though, gamers have added themselves to the list of those clamoring about the year, as rumors have run rampant in recent months about the next generation of the Xbox perhaps being revealed at 2012’s E3 and later set for a Q4 release.
Get as excited as you want, but there’s one simple reason why these rumors are unequivocally false. And no, it has nothing to do the world resembling the contents of Don Draper’s ashtray come the end of next year.
It’s not because Microsoft is pumping tons of money and resources into turning the current-gen Xbox Live dashboard into a hub for TV stations
and cable programming, or because they also have plans to add features like cloud storage, YouTube and Skype.
It surely has nothing to do with Microsoft lining up big first-party releases for the Xbox 360 in 2012 and beyond like Halo 4, Fable: The Journey, or Ryse.
It’s also not because many industry analysts are downplaying the rumors, with Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, for example, calling the reports “silly” and predicting that “the rumors are based upon leaks about modifying the current Xbox 360 to allow it to operate Windows 8.”
Nor is it the fact that the fledgling US economy is spawning fears of another recession, which haunt the dreams of hardworking consumers like a grown-up version of the boogeyman. After all, what company would want to release a new system into the market when Xbox 360’s are still flying off the shelves at $200, and then expect consumers to pay twice, if not more, the price?
No, the easiest way to know that the current generation will still be current until at least 2013 is the fact that plausible rumors of a next-gen console release would never have waited this long to leak themselves for a date less than a year away.
For those who remember back to when the “next generation” meant the “Xbox 2” and the Playstation 3, the rumor mill really started whirling as far back as late 2003 / early 2004 for the Xbox 360’s eventual November 2005 release. Take the Ubisoft rumors for example. If they were really so careless as to let loose a massive scoop surrounding next gen development projects set for 2012, we’d have heard about around turkey time last year and not this November.
I might be wrong, but rumors tend to have an uncanny way of following a natural progression, with an unwritten timeline beginning at “pipe dream” and ending at “stone cold lock”. Right now we seem to be balanced right in the middle, and it will likely be about a full year until the muck turns into concrete.
When do you see the next generation of video game consoles arriving? Is 2012 too soon or are the current consoles starting to get stale? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment, or join our secret society in the forums.