Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If these rumors are true, y'all should get one by years end

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation." -- Microsoft rep.

What we heard: Either Meristation.com is darn creative, or Microsoft has a serious leak problem. The Madrid-based game site claims to have received a laundry list of revelations from a chatty employee of the software behemoth's Xbox 360 division.

If true, the list augurs a host of major Xbox 360 developments in the coming months. Foremost among these is a price drop in October, shortly before the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution go on sale. According to Meristation.com's source, the price of the premium Xbox 360 bundle will go from $399 to $299, while the core bundle will drop $80 from $299 to $219.

The Microsoft mole also reportedly had revelations regarding some Xbox 360 peripherals. S/he said that the console's HD-DVD peripheral will be $100 and arrive in September, the same month that its EyeToy-like camera will ship. The camera will cost $50-$70 and come bundled with a game, will allow for Webcam videoconferencing, and be called "My Eye on You." (Insert snide Orwellian Bill-Gates-as-Big-Brother aside here.) The source also says that Microsoft is readying a 100GB hard drive for the 360, but did not have a release date or price.

On the game tip, the Meristation.com mole said that Halo 3 will be at E3 in two weeks in trailer form. The game will reportedly ship in March 2007, several months before the Halo movie is slated to hit theaters.

Another highly anticipated Xbox 360 game, Gears of War, will arrive the last week of October 2006 on the crest of a massive marketing push, according to the mole. Microsoft is also reportedly in negotiations to get exclusive rights for a high-profile "urban game"--which the site speculates could be the next Grand Theft Auto.

Though the above rumors are more than enough craziness for an asylum's worth of insane gamers, the Meristation story has more. It says that Sega has struck a deal much like its one with Nintendo to make most Genesis games playable on the Xbox 360 via a "virtual console." The site says said functionality will be available as of October, along with another wave of all new Xbox Live Arcade games.

Meristation's rumorpalooza wraps up with the mention that two new Xbox 360 dashboards are in the works, with one designed specifically for kids. It also says that Microsoft has signed deals with Epic Records for Xbox-360-exclusive music content, and with NBC to televise Xbox Live tournaments. Speaking of Xbox Live, the story also says that the bandwidth devoted to the online service will soon quintuple.

There's no question that the Meristation speculation will cause palpitations in just about any Xbox fanboy or girl. But once the enthusiasm generated by the story dies down, skepticism sets in. The simple fact is, with Microsoft maintaining its traditional wall of silence, there is no way to confirm or deny any aspect of the story. However, if even half of the details are true, Sony and Nintendo will be playing a serious game of catch-up when their consoles launch later in the year.

Bogus or not bogus?: There's no way of saying for sure, but take heart: Microsoft's pre-E3 press briefing is just over two weeks away.

1 comment:

Mike T said...

As stated in a previous post: "Whah, I gotta buy a ring first, Whah!" Hey Z, you gots tons of cash. How about 360's for everyone.