Microsoft has officially confirmed May 21 as the reveal date for its next-generation Xbox console. Invitations for a press event at 10:00 AM Pacific Time on Microsoft's Xbox Campus in Redmond, Washington went out today to select members of the press, while everyone else will be able to access a live feed of the presentation on Xbox.com, Xbox LIVE, and Spike TV if you are in the US or Canada.
The company isn't sharing any details at this stage besides explicitly teasing the Xbox reveal. Microsoft’s Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) said the event will mark “the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment”, promising to give us a real taste of their vision for Xbox at the event followed by a showcase of their full lineup of blockbuster games 19 days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.
The wording suggests Microsoft will be following a similar approach to Sony’s PlayStation 4 unveil, emphasizing content and features while reserving everything else for E3. Hopefully, they’ll also take the opportunity to address concerns about the rumored ‘always-online’ requirement and clear things up once and for all.
Besides gaming, Microsoft’s “vision for Xbox” likely involves the console’s continued transformation into a home entertainment device, something they’ve been pushing hard with this generation and is believed to have played a big part in making the Xbox 360 the top-selling home console in the U.S. for 27 straight months.
According to the latest rumors, Microsoft is going with a two-SKU strategy this time around, releasing a separate console with a more limited feature as the “Xbox Mini”. In a nutshell, this is supposedly a repackaged and reoriented $99 Xbox 360 unit to access the platform’s entertainment apps (think Apple TV competitor) and play games from Xbox Live. It’s unclear if Microsoft will discuss this at the event but we wouldn’t count on it.
Update: Tom Warren points to this tweet from Larry Hryb on February 20 following Sony's PlayStation 4 presentation. So... will we actually see the next Xbox on May 21?
Announce a console without actually showing a console? That's one approach— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) February 21, 2013