As Microsoft’s plans for the replacement to the Xbox 360 become increasingly known, the company is gearing up for what might be the final holiday season that it will spend pushing its current console.
Today the company released information on the two bundles that it will be selling around Christmastime, one with a Kinect, and one without. Both include a 250 gigabyte Xbox 360, and three months of Xbox LIVE. Interestingly, the cheaper of the bundles, the one that lacks the Kinect, has much more serious gaming titles included: Fable III and Halo. The Kinect bundle contains Kinect Adventures and Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do.
You can quickly see the dichotomization of the Microsoft living room machine by how it sets up its two use cases: One for casual gamers and their families, and one for those who take their virtual worlds more seriously. This is the fence that every move that Microsoft makes straddles in regards to the Xbox. The cheaper bundle will retail for $299, and the more expensive for $399.
It is doubtless that this will move more Kinect devices, a gadget that has revitalized the larger Xbox ecosystem. On its back, the Xbox has recently been the top-selling console for 15 of the past 16 months.
But the future is already peeping from the back room, if still half-dressed. Whatever will replace the Xbox 360, let’s hope for an original name, has been under construction for some time. It is rumored to be set to debut at next year’s E3 event, and launch in time for Christmas 2012. Certain in-house game studios that Microsoft owns are said to be currently developing for it. So this is likely the last time that we are going to be contemplating the console war’s final chapter of the year with its current players.
Just what Microsoft will build to entice current gamers over to its next console is not known at this time. It is unlikely that a new edition of Halo will suffice.