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Report - Next Xbox priced at $500

Report - Next Xbox priced at $500

Mon 08 Apr 2013 11:15am GMT / 7:15am EDT / 4:15am PDT
Hardware

Tech writer sets May 21 as reveal, says it will require an online connection

Tech journalist Paul Thurrott has revealed some all important details about Microsoft's next console, currently known as Durango, setting a price and a release date for the highly anticipated machine.

"Durango is going to be expensive - $500, $300 with a subscription - that kind of thing," Thurrott told What The Tech's video podcast.

"Originally, they were going to announce this thing on April 24. Now they're going to announce it on May 21. We know there are events occurring this year where we're going to learn more about Durango. E3 is going to occur, Build is going to occur in San Francisco in June when they're going to talk about the developer story because it's a Windows 8 device. It's going to have the same, or basically the same, developer tools and developer APIs."

Those interested in the technical side of the console can check out GamesIndustry International's breakdown of its leaked specs here.

Thurrott also revealed that according to his notes, the console would require a constant internet connection, a topic that has fired up the gaming community recently, and that a cheaper, $99 Xbox 360 would also be released this year, and was codenamed Stingray.

Thurrott is well known for his reporting on Microsoft systems and runs Supersite For Windows, where he recently commented on the "always online" controversy.

"Folks, the next Xbox is going to require an always-on internet connection. I don't know the specifics of what that means," he wrote.

"This piece of information had been communicated to me, along with some other relevant tidbits, in January. It's true."

"Will Microsoft change this requirement in the wake of early outrage? Frankly I think we're too far along in the development process of the next Xbox, codenamed Durango, to make such a change. More to the point, I think that an always-on Xbox is directly in keeping with Microsoft's strategy for all next-generation platforms."

34 Comments

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

202 1,107 5.5
Popular Comment
I still can't understand why people consider $500 as an outrageous amount of money for a device that does a ton of things and will serve you well for the next five years (RROD aside), while they consider nearly twice as much for a mobile phone (or even more with a contract), that will seem like an obsolete piece of junk in 12 months, as an OK price.

Ok, I actually understand why... The "cool effect", hype, marketing and the omnipresence of the church of the holy Jobs, but still... $500 is a good price.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica

74 34 0.5
The problem i have with this is: You lose control over a device you pay 500$ / 300$, for the same reason i dont buy a Kindel. I want control over my device, not limitations that comparable devices dont have.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Caleb Hale Journalist

155 231 1.5
I don't know if the "always online" thing is being done specifically with video games in mind. Keep in mind, this is Microsoft and it seems games are only going to be a portion of what they want to offer through the next Xbox. My guess is they want to keep this thing online constantly because of the number of non-gaming content they're going to be pushing to the system, and they want it to just be there for the casual user when they boot up the console.

Don't assume Microsoft is thinking as game-centric as we all are. For as much as everyone razzes Nintendo for leaving the hardcore gamer, Microsoft has struck out seeking a wider audience outside of the gaming crowd too. They just kept you busy with Call of Duty while they were doing it.

Posted:A year ago

#3

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
Too expensive considering:

a) Always on - whatever that means but potentially no control of your paid-for content
b) Xbox Live subscription?
c) In THIS economy?!
d) Most of the selling points for online connections will only be available in very select few countries

Posted:A year ago

#4

Eric Pallavicini Game Master, Kabam

298 202 0.7
My guess is they want to keep this thing online constantly because of the number of non-gaming content they're going to be pushing to the system, and they want it to just be there for the casual user when they boot up the console.
So basically if you buy one of those (and it's really always online) you check the box "Yes I want to receive whatever advertizing Microsoft deems suitable to spam me with" and don't have anyway to unsubscribe except not turning it on ?

That is priceless!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 8th April 2013 3:23pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

412 981 2.4
Popular Comment
Its too high, its been shown over and over that this is over the price point people are willing to pay for a console system even in good times . Add to this, that this isnt exactly good financial times, with a world that teetering on or in a recession. 3do and other have tried this price point, it doesnt work very well but I guess we will see.

At this price point though, why wouldnt someone just pay a few dollars more and get a nice little laptop and get gaming, mobility, a full fledged pc, all the social stuff, and the ability to do real school and/or business work?

and isnt this the same public that we game developers are having trouble asking 3 bucks a game from?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 8th April 2013 5:17pm

Posted:A year ago

#6

Nick Parker Consultant

288 158 0.5
This is of course speculation at the moment but.....

PS3 was launched at a premium price point which lasted almost two years and arguably lost the last console wars in English speaking markets because of this. If there's only a wafer thin difference between console specs and services, then price plays a lead role in consumer choice. Microsoft has the Xbox Live community up its sleeve to generate demand for a next gen box but without it, a premium price for not a lot more spec or online services will harm sales.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 8th April 2013 5:04pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Ya know, everything Ive heard about the Next Xbox, has so far irked my interest in it. Wether they are rumors or true, What I am hearing so far has put off any interest I had in it. Microsoft better make official statements soon.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Anthony Chan Analyst, CPPIB

92 84 0.9
I don't the price is too high, given all the iterations of 360 and PS3 launched with those kind of prices. However, I do think in this economy, launching with that same price mentality might alienate/sideline some potential customers.

If the price rumours are true, I guess MS is looking to capitalize on early adopters willing to pay the premium as opposed to saturating the market and "winning the console war" right off the bat.

As for the always online, I am also interested if that relates to games... If it does, it could be rocky issue.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,182 971 0.8


That said, I've been expecting a price very competitive with whatever Sony are going for. They don't strike me as being willing to price themselves out of the market if you look at their two consoles so far. Despite the heavy losses on the original Xbox, at one point it was cheaper than the PS2!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 8th April 2013 5:42pm

Posted:A year ago

#10

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

453 723 1.6
Popular Comment
I think comparisons to the PS3 are somewhat unfair. the PS3 offered (at launch) some amazing technology. A custom CPU (more harm than good in the long run, but work with me), a stock HDD (a big deal; that cut the cost of upgrading one significantly), Linux (again, bear with me, I know it was taken away), and other things that were extremely pro-consumer.

On the other hand, the Durango doesn't really do much for the consumer... or at least, the gaming consumer. If you want a box that might end up replacing your cable box as you stream Netflix and the like, which has the ability to play a few AAA games (and little else, as we've heard from developers complaining about their rules), then yay you, but this doesn't do nearly as much as the PS3 did, relative to the era in which it was released. AND it comes with extra costs on top of that, including Gold, a likely proprietary HDD, etc. Not to mention the issues I have with Kinect.

I wonder if this is going to fracture the market. Basically, Microsoft can aim for the ridiculously mainstream crowd with their few AAA blockbusters (Halo, exclusivity on COD stuff, etc.), Sony can aim for other core gamers + the AA and indie crowd, and mobile/tablet will exist on its own plane and overlap with the other audiences.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,182 971 0.8
On the other hand, the Durango doesn't really do much for the consumer...
I don't quite understand (and apologies if I understood you wrong).

Surely Durango is going to be a technology that is superior in virtually every single way and it still going to be cheaper. But that's a given, technology moves on and prices come down. Some of PS3's price back then was for new and exciting tech, some of it was from crusades, but what matters is what we need now and what we're getting.



Unless I've missed something, regardless of a wider multi-media focus, these machines are still vastly superior gaming platforms as well as vastly superior multi-media platforms than what came before.

What PS3 'did' relative to the era isn't as good as what this era is capable at a lower price. Some of the innovations and ideas in PS3 aren't luxuries any more (i.e. Blu-ray, large hard drive) and yet, it still had many failures, such as being terrible from a development perspective thanks to choices in CPU and memory architecture...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 8th April 2013 6:11pm

Posted:A year ago

#12

Rogier Voet Editor / Content Manager

71 31 0.4
Always Online is a very bad idea considering that both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 have an installed base which is 50% is not connected. Even though i have an excellent internet connection (60 Mb broadband) I don't want an device which states that an internet connection is mandatory. I want to have control over the devices I own. We have already on dependancy (Power) I don't need more.

If what the article says is true Microsoft is falling in the trap Sony fell in with the PS3. Microsoft need to get off their high horse focus on games first, create an developer-friendly eco-system, give Xbox Live an major overhaul, treat European Customers like they live in the US (Take note MS, there are more countries in the EU than the UK).

And 500 euro, that is pretty steap. I understand the argument of mobile but unfortunately that is a crazy market.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

412 981 2.4
Lets remember when PS3 shipped , it was the best blue ray player around. Some stand alone Blue ray players were actually more expensive at the time.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Micaiah Stevens Owner & Freelance Game Designer, Haven Studios LLC

13 6 0.5
Minecraft 360 just posted an update that broke the server, you can't play it online. if you couldn't unplug the network and play Minecraft 360 offline you just can't play. Because some idiot developer pushed bad server code to you. They can't fix it until the next update, which as we WELL know isn't going to happen, or for cheap anytime soon. This just highlights how stupid ALWAYS online really means.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Paul Jace Merchandiser

937 1,417 1.5
I don't think that price point would fly, especially here in the US. But like Adam said, they will most likely price it very competively to the PS4. And the fact that they have the option of a subscription model gives them yet another advantage. As for alway-online, I don't really like it but heres my take:

In 2001 everyone thought Microsoft was crazy for launching a console with broadband-only internet connections(forbidding those with dial up to play) and that turned out to be a very smart move in the long run.

In 2005 everyone again thought Microsoft was crazy for not only attempting a world wide console launch(instead of launching in one territory the first year and other territories the following year as was the norm back then) but for also launching with two different priced skus. Again, this turned out to be not as bad as everyone initially thought it would be and turned into a trendsetting move that their competitors have since followed.

That brings us to 2013(or maybe 2014) and once again everyone thinks Microsoft is crazy(me included) for potentially launching an always-online console. The naysayers think this will "DOOM" Microsoft, just like they thought their previous moves at the beginning of each gen was going to be the end of them. Fool you once, shame on Microsoft. Fool you twice, shame on you. Fool you three times and well, you're an idiot:)

But to clarify, I am one of the people who does NOT want an always-online console. However, if thats what they choose to do it's not going to be their downfall. It will just force people to adapt. You know, like we all did when our cell phones got rid of buttons and forced us to dial using a touchpad. Some people will choose not to support this(understandably) but it isn't going to make Microsoft go bankrupt and most likely all systems the gen after the next gen will have the same requirement. I realize this is a more radical viewpoint but the world is always evolving and like it or not, this will be no different.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 8th April 2013 11:06pm

Posted:A year ago

#16

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
I'm writing this from the local library here, as I live with a shitty home connection. For fun, I asked around at the PC stations they set up here if anyone was a gamer (11 people out of the 23 using PCs or laptops were) and if they were at all interested in an always online console and guess what? No one there wants an new Xbox. Seven of the those people currently have a 360 in the home.

Anecdotal "evidence", yep... but I bet there's a lot more where that came from. Maybe I'll boogie on over to GameStop and put an ear to the ground at some point.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Paul: Unless Microsoft is going to subsidize broadband installation into areas with shitty service (and rake in a premium for fees for that afterward - Xbox Live Triple Platinum!), always online is a BAD idea, period. They may get that big base who's already connected on day one, but I'm betting that a lot of those folks aren't going to be happy the minute the first security hole exposes their accounts or there's some sort of "nuisance" attack that keeps them from using their systems.

You can't tell THOSE people to #dealwithit at all because they bought in hook, line and sinker and thought all the kinks would be worked out.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Paul Jace Merchandiser

937 1,417 1.5
@Greg--You do realize that I said I DON"T want that always-online console. But eventually they are all going to be like that. And you are correct about the people with shitty(or no) connections not being able to play. But back in 2001 those same people wouldn't have been able to play on XBL either. The difference of course is that back then they would have atleast been able to play the console offline but I don't think that matters to the bigwigs. It matters to people like you and me but because of Microsoft's insistance on going mainstream with the Xbox brand and making gaming only a piece of their whole puzzle they are going to continue to cater to the majority. And unfortunately that means that the people with shitty internet connections won't be able to come along for the ride. But of course all of this is speculation based on...well, more speculation.

Posted:A year ago

#19
Awesome. 500, kinect, windows8, always connected, no reselling of games.

Seems like the perfect storm of bad to me...if this is all true, I'm calling it now. Microsoft will be last this generation.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
I don't feel I need all 3 consoles this generation. I'm pretty sure I'll stick with a Wii U and PS4. Good luck on this one Microsoft.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
The problem is, Paul... the people not buying that new Xbox won't be buying the next one, there's NO way to tell how quickly the rest of the world Microsoft wants to own will be wired up (or wirelessed up) and anyone thinking this is the ONLY way to go from a corporate standpoint has their head up their butt and loves the aroma. Or something like that.

People like you and me MATTER as much as or more than the people who will buy in because without constructive criticism, the user becomes a sheep-shaped sponge for any bad idea that rolls down from the heavens above.

Posted:A year ago

#22
I hope the always online thing turns out to be some deliberately leaked mistake, so every is happier with the whole thing when its announced, if not, unless it features its own sim card and a chip, its going to seriously hurt its adoption, sure some area's have good internet, but even those of us blessed with fiberoptic here in england for instance, occasionally BT will mess up and it'll go down for a few hours, the idea your home console will be unusable whenever this happens is annoying enough to me, and it only happens once every few months, in more remote locations (plenty of places with ADSL only and not all of them very fast (only a couple of years my area (a city in cambridgeshire) was stuck on 512k)) or in less connected countries this may be more than enough to remove the console from the running.

Expecting customers to pay for something physical then turning round and saying no no, we still own this really, so you can only use it on our terms(which is what forcing you to be online is) is basically a slap in the face to customers, at a time when a poorly timed experiment in console life-cycles combined with emerging new technologies, rising prices (and not just in gaming) & the whole most people(ignoring top 10% and bottom 10-20%) have'nt had a pay rise in 20 years or so ,has seriously hurt consoles viability, undermined stock-market confidence and damaged the publishers, who in turn damage the studios by rejecting high risk projects, so stifled innovation, quite possibly the very thing customers might part more cash for.

The "expectation" of the next gen systems has therefor become huge to turn fortunes around, the price may even be cheap in a sense for whats its providing but the truth be told, unless your very poor(and this only applies btw in welfare countries like england) or very rich (applies everywhere) you have no more money to spend now then you did when last consoles came out, only your bills for everything are all higher, so in practical terms they have even less, higher price coupled with less control, forced online meaning well forced spam more then likely, along with no doubt even higher priced console games, may well kill of the console market or at least seriously damage whoever makes such a machine before the next console cycle comes around, if it indeed does.

No one likes less choice, if you have two options one that gives you choice and one that doesnt most people will choose the choice version, rising the price along with less choice is a stupid decision, the benefits simply arent worth the risk, when the risk is the future of Microsoft's console division itself, or at best giving a huge lead to sony, just when they finally make an effort to make their new console easier to develop for.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 9th April 2013 12:58am

Posted:A year ago

#23

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Todd, paying a few dollars more for a PC will get you as good or better gaming, but nowhere near the ease of use. I know this well since I recently made the switch from PS3 to PC as my gaming platform. (I'm very pleased to have switched, but I have far more technical expertise than the average person.)

Nick, why do you talk only about English-speaking markets? Did the initial high price point of the PS3 not affect speakers of other languages? Regardless, I can't agree that the PS3 "lost" the console wars in any way; it's always been a reasonably close competitor to the 360 in almost every market, and even far ahead in some (such as Japan).

I don't see a big issue with an initial high price. Yes, they're going to take a hit from that. But so long as you bring the price down eventually, you can take that hit and not only survive but thrive, as we've seen before with examples such as the PS3 and the 3DS.

If you don't start with a high price, you leave a lot of money on the table that you could have otherwise taken from early adopters, serious gamers and wealthier people. From a business point of view, slower initial sales (and grumbling on the web) is probably a reasonable price to pay for that.

As for the "always-online" thing, first, we don't know precisely what form this will take. It may not be as bad as "no connectivity, no play, right out of the box." Beyond that, I'm with Paul Jace; it sounds kinda crazy to me, and it will hurt them in the market to some degree, but I don't think it's a strategy automatically doomed to failure.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,182 971 0.8
I'm with Paul on the adaptation point.

Whilst, I haven't decided if I'll buy the next Xbox, I could live with the always online factor. I guess I adapted to this technological ideology about 5 or so years ago, where most of my gear is already always online and by choice, so it wouldn't be a problem for me.

I'd love to know the statistics to show if it would really be a problem for the majority of Xbox customers or not.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship

190 292 1.5
If 'always online' means, literally, 'always online' then they are insane, which is why I think it can't mean that (but we'll see).



If I'm put in the position of either having to ethernet-wire my house (or start the wifi-coverage dance) to ensure I can play games, or getting a PS4, I sure as shit know which option I'll go for.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Adam: Start by asking your own gamer friends and work your way around to people at your nearest game shop. I'm doing this and so far, the results are surprisingly (or not too surprisingly) NOT in favor of this enforced evolution. That said, most of the close to 100 people I've polled are waiting until after the official announcement, but most of them seem to not be very optimistic Microsoft is looking out for their primary interests as gamers first and foremost.

Posted:A year ago

#27

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

480 451 0.9
Curt - "I don't see a big issue with an initial high price. Yes, they're going to take a hit from that. But so long as you bring the price down eventually, you can take that hit and not only survive but thrive, as we've seen before with examples such as the PS3 and the 3DS."
I can see your point, but both of the consoles you used as examples were pretty much forced into expensive price cuts to jump start slow sales, very early on in the case of 3DS. PS3 in particular lost a lot of ground early on because of the comparatively high price and being released several months after Xbox 360, a head start which it never recovered from in the US. This time round it looks like both consoles might launch within a few weeks of each other, so if either of them is significantly more expensive than the competition it could have a big impact on sales momentum and customer and media sentiment.

Also, let's not forget that Microsoft themselves were forced into an embarrassing price cut within weeks of the original Xbox's launch in Europe, due to poor sales. The initial price wasn't that high by modern standards, but it suffered in comparison to the (older, less capable, but more widely supported) PS2. I wonder if the Wii U might provide a similar spoiler this time around, if Nintendo get their act together and come up with compelling big name software for the console before Christmas, especially if it showcases meaningful gameplay using the tablet that isn't really possible on the other consoles.

Posted:A year ago

#28

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,182 971 0.8
@Adam: Start by asking your own gamer friends and work your way around to people at your nearest game shop. I'm doing this and so far, the results are surprisingly (or not too surprisingly) NOT in favor of this enforced evolution. That said, most of the close to 100 people I've polled are waiting until after the official announcement, but most of them seem to not be very optimistic Microsoft is looking out for their primary interests as gamers first and foremost
Its a geneally unpopular 'policy' shall we call it. I'm not into extensive polling, but anyone I've asked so far (not 100 btw) with a 360 (or console) would be generally willing to adapt to it if need be.

Maybe its because I'm in the UK or maybe its because my friends are well connected. The number of tech users with solid broadband connetions if not fibre optic from various providers is high. Even my Grandma has Sky HD and one or two items connected to a fibre optic broadband line. You know, there are a variety of factors to play here but it would be a little unwise to dismiss people's ability to adapt to technological changes if they desire the product.

Just because people aren't in favour of something it doesn't mean they won't adapt. For some it does mean that for others it doesn't and this can't be ignored as Paul so clearly put.

On another note, Microsoft don't seem to be willing to confirm if this change is the case, even with the strong suggestions, so things could change yet I wouldn't count out the possibility of the direction still popping up.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 9th April 2013 12:13pm

Posted:A year ago

#29

Craig Page Programmer

384 220 0.6
I don't mind the price, my 360 was $400, and my replacement 360 was $250. But if they do force you to always be online, and the PS4 doesn't, then I'll have to go with the PS4.

Posted:A year ago

#30

Rogier Voet Editor / Content Manager

71 31 0.4
I'd love to know the statistics to show if it would really be a problem for the majority of Xbox customers or not.
I can't find the link to the latest report with internet usage of consoles and other devices. But I think it was around 50% of the installed base of both PS3 and Xbox 360 do not have the device hooked up to the internet. That is 70 million consoles. So let's say with the growth of broadband this percentage would go down to 33% that is still a huge figure.

What I don't get about this always online-rumour status; is the benefit for MS itself? Is it security? But it sure is not more sales?

Also what people forget is that there are a lot of homes with decent internet, but not in the room where the console is. WiFi-connections are only part of the solution because gaming and streaming media requires a pretty fast WiFi-connection.

I also did some polling I have a lot of friends with an Xbox 360 and broadband internet which is pretty reliable, but out of the 35 People I asked, only 7 say it's not a problem. And some of those People are really avid Xbox 360 fans.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rogier Voet on 9th April 2013 5:57pm

Posted:A year ago

#31

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,182 971 0.8
What I don't get about this always online-rumour status; is the benefit for MS itself? Is it security? But it sure is not more sales?
This is the big mystery.

Posted:A year ago

#32

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Is $500 too much? Not for me to judge. All I can say is that it's way too much for me. If they launch at $500 then it doesn't matter what platform exclusives they might have, they could launch with Kingdom Hearts 3 and Bioshock Infinite^2 and I'd still wait until it dropped below $300 with no strings attached.

Posted:A year ago

#33

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
What I don't get about this always online-rumour status; is the benefit for MS itself? Is it security? But it sure is not more sales?

This is the big mystery.
Yeah, but this is SUPPOSED to be a RELATIONSHIP between Microsoft and its consumer (ha ha, I know, I know). Keeping us in the dark is like someone not saying there's a baby on the way or who wants a separation until it's too late to do anything about it but nod and faint...

Posted:A year ago

#34

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