Microsoft to reveal next-gen Xbox 720 on May 21

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Microsoft has sent out official invitations for an event on May 21 in Redmond where the industry heavyweight is slated to debut its long-awaited Xbox 720 (Next).

"On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox.com, Xbox LIVE and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the US or Canada," Microsoft exec Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb wrote in an official blog post.

"On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games. We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on."

Although Microsoft has yet to officially confirm any specs, the Xbox 720 (Next) is reportedly powered by an AMD 8-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics platform and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.

As industry analyst Michael Pachter notes, the battle for supremacy between the Xbox 720 Next and Sony's Playstation 4 (PS4) will likely center on other aspects besides raw horsepower. Indeed, the analyst believes price will play a major role in determining the winner of the next-gen console wars.

"The reason I think Microsoft wins, I think that you're going to get a subsidy. So I think the price for the next Xbox is going to be subsidised either by a cable TV company or an internet service provider," Pachter said in a recent GameTrailer video clip.

"I think ISPs have a reason, if you add broadband to get the next Xbox, we'll give it to you for 100 bucks. If you subscribe to our cable TV and sign up for a couple of years, we'll give you the next Xbox for 100 bucks."

According to Pachter, the Xbox 720 will have a "gigantic advantage" until Sony picks up the slack and offers similar incentives.

"That's why I think TV is a killer app. I think you're going to see Xbox Live with tiered pricing, so if you get TV service you pay a little more because you get rid of your cable box. If you use Skype, they'll give you unlimited Skype calling to any place, even phones, for another few bucks," he added.