According to sources exclusive to Jumping in Pools, Microsoft will pull off the gaming feat of this generation by releasing its next incarnation of the popular Xbox series. According to our source at Microsoft's facility in Palo Alto, California, the new system will be released on or around December of 2010, just before the Christmas buying season.
The new system, which does not have an official name yet, is preliminarily called the Xbox Edge. This new system was originally slated to be released at the end of 2011, but due to the economic slowdown, our source stated, Microsoft thought that it would be best to get a jump on the market.
"With people not going out due to the recession," said the source, "Microsoft execs felt that consumers are more likely to stay at home and try out some new technology, especially if it's really ground-breaking."
The new system's exact specifications have not been disclosed. However, some general specs have trickled through the source at Microsoft. "The Edge will have at least four CPUs operating at a minimum of 3.8 GHz. That's 3.8 each, not total processing power," the source continued. "This is well beyond anything seen in the market today."
The Edge will have four separate 1 GB RAM units, which places its capacity at about eight times the current 360. In addition, the new system will not feature any wired controllers, opting instead for only wireless controllers. According to the source, it is possible that the graphics capability of the system will not be able to be shown on standard definition televisions.
Backwards compatibility for the Edge will only be available through Xbox Live, according to the source. In addition, only 360 games will be backwards compatible, and original Xbox games may not be included, according to current plans. The Edge will also not feature memory cards.
Due to the acceleration of the release of the Edge, it appears that the games available at launch will be limited. However, it is likely that the next iterations of both Madden and NBA 2K will be available when the Edge is released. The source tentatively that a new Elder Scrolls game will be released in time for the launch.
In addition to the new Elder Scrolls game, the source added that plans are in the works for new games. These include a Max Payne game, currently called Max Payne 3: The Death of Max Payne and Call of Duty: Zero Hour.
At release, the Edge is believed to have two distinct versions. One basic version, called the Edge Essential will be the rough equivalent to the Arcade. The other version at launch will be the equivalent of the current Elite, dubbed the Edge Prodigy.
The Edge Essential will tentatively include: one wireless controller, a 120 GB hard drive, and one month free of Xbox live. The pricing of this unit will most likely be in the $450-$550 range.
The Edge Prodigy, according to the source, will be "astounding." The provisional plans for the Prodigy will include one wireless controller, a 240 GB hard drive, a three month subscription to Xbox Live, a DSL cable, a headset system, two different system skins, a demo disc for upcoming releases, and other, newer features. One of them is the inclusion of ten dollars for Microsoft Marketplace. The Prodigy is expected to sell between $600-$700.
"Something I'm really excited about is that one out of every fifty new Prodigy systems will include a new Madden 2011 game signed by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning or Avatar signed by James Cameron."
Worldwide advertising for the new system is expected to cost Microsoft up to one billion dollars. Deals have already been signed with some of the most visible figures in entertainment. One planned commercial has Tom Brady facing off against Peyton Manning playing Madden against each other. Both shout one of Microsoft's new slogans, "Now that's the Edge!"
Another potential commercial has Conan O'Brien unable to tell the difference between reality and the graphics of the Edge. At the end, O'Brien shouts, "No!" as a character in Max Payne 3 is killed. Stephen Colbert is also slated to advertise for the Edge, but as of now, the specifics are unknown.
Perhaps the most stunning possibility according to the source, is a remake of the classic Final Fantasy VII. The source stated that the remake is not in stone, but that prognosis is good.
"It would be out of this world," he stated. "I know that many fans of the series have been demanding this and programmers I work with, it's a real possibility."
The source also cryptically stated that this will be the last "traditional" console that Microsoft will release. He would not go into further detail. This also feeds into rumors that Microsoft will purchase the PlayStation franchise from Sony.
Check back for more updates as time goes on.
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