Microsoft is doing a good job in generating exactly the kind of publicity that grabs as much attention as possible before the launch of its newest console – in the form of rumours. Until very recently, most news and media websites informed their readers about what could be the launch of the new Xbox 720.
As the Guardian reported very recently, this is not something new. The PR team behind the developers very professionally 'leaked' some secret information about the upcoming version of Microsoft's very successful console. Additionally, anonymous developers of the new Xbox gave interviews – and thereby made sure that the tension among the fan community remains on the rise. According to the Guardian, an internal document stating that the Xbox 720 will feature a Blu-ray-drive and that it will cost around 300 USD leaked online and made the online community only more enthusiastic. However, as to this day there has been no statement confirming the authenticity of the document.
Apparently, spreading rumours about a change of the working title is also part of the on-going PR game as many news sites report that Microsoft secured the name “Xbox 8”. Specifically, the company secured the website names Xbox8.us and Xbox8.org. By doing this, Microsoft made sure that the new sites continue speculating about something as name of their future product – without spending too much money on PR. The name would fit in nicely within the Microsoft franchise as they have already announced a Microsoft Phone 8 and Microsoft 8 operating system. Online, the first discussions about whether Xbox 8 or Xbox 720 is a better name already broke out – thus, all these secretive actions and accidental leaking of information is maybe the most effective type of market research that companies can draw on. Instantly, they can see how people react on new information in forums and comments sections while they do not risk anything – if people show negative reactions, Microsoft can simply claim that it is all rumours. Some are speculating that the next Xbox console could be a Next Gen console, a rumour that is exciting for any computer games enthusiast in times of stagnation!
All that is known for sure is that Microsoft is planning to release another console in the near future. Xbox games produced for the prior version will still be compatible with the newest version. However, what is interesting to read is that analysts predict that the future Xbox is very likely to include cloud technologies. According to a media report, Billy Pidgeon, a researcher of M2 Research, assumes that “Microsoft may be working on a proprietary cloud gaming system, but could buy OnLive or to acquire any patents or unique technology that would help Microsoft to match or outperform Sony's Gaikai Service.” The analyst predicts that the cloud may either become integrated into the next version of the Xbox or supporting the Windows 8 platform on, for instance, PC and smartphones. It remains to be seen how the online community reacts to these news – and if Microsoft will really integrate the cloud into its plans.