Microsoft will unveil new Xbox over two events, not one
Microsoft is planning to reveal the new Xbox console in two stages, executives at the company said in a recent podcast.
On the eve of Microsoft's planned Xbox reveal, the company has finally ended its long silent streak to say that the new console will actually be unveiled in two stages.
Speaking on the latest Major Nelson podcast, Microsoft's interactive entertainment chief of staff Aaron Greenberg said that his company will roll out its next-generation video game hardware in two steps — first at a special event held tomorrow at the Redmond, Wash., Microsoft campus, and then at a more game-centric event during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June.
"We have so much goodness that there's no way we could have packed it all into one event," Greenberg said.
"The best way I can describe it is: We're really going to tell one story across two events," he added. "So we're going to start on the 21st [of May]; and really that's about revealing the next Xbox platform and our vision for the future of games, the future of entertainment."
Greenberg said that the company "definitely" has "a lot of surprises planned" for tomorrow's event, promising that "people are going to get a great inside look at the making of the new platform and the team that brought it to life."
That being said, the first Xbox reveal is just about "laying the foundation," Greenberg said. (Hopefully that includes showing off all the hardware, something Sony neglected to do at its February PlayStation 4 announcement.)
"Then just a couple weeks later we go to E3," which is "all about games," he added, saying that there will be "tons of exclusives" and "world premieres" of new software.
Given how early Microsoft was in releasing its current-generation Xbox 360 console — it came out in November 2005, a full year before Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 hit the shelves — the company raised some red flags in the gaming press for taking so long to even confirm that it was working on a next-generation console.
But planning a hardware reveal so close to E3 might actually work in Microsoft's favor. Sony left a long gap between its February press conference and the summer game expo, made worse by the fact that Sony didn't even show the new console itself. By unveiling its new platform right next to the most game-focused convention, Microsoft may get Xbox fans excited about content, instead of letting them worry about a potential dearth of games come launch time.
Greenberg also said "we have a lot to share" between tomorrow's event and the 2013 holiday season, suggesting that the console will be released in time to compete with the PlayStation 4's holiday launch schedule.
Last week, game industry analyst Michael Pachter told NBC News that he expects the two consoles to come out the same week. Whatever the specific day may be, it sounds like now is as good a time as any to start emotionally preparing for the onslaught that will be this year's Black Friday chaos.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.