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Major Nelson’s E3 Countdown: Xbox v.Next … Or Something Else?

Microsoft teases a coming video game show, but does that mean it will announce a new Xbox?

When Microsoft’s Larry Hryb posted an E3 countdown clock on his blog, the Interwebs exploded with excitement. Clearly, Mr. Hryb is counting down to the announcement of the next Xbox. Clearly. Or not so clearly.

His post, which concisely reads only, “And it’s on…” certainly leaves a lot to the imagination.

But a PC Magazine post about Hryb’s post has me wondering. They quote a Microsoft representative as saying as recently as November that the current Xbox, the Xbox 360, “has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships … We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.”

Defying the lifecycle convention doesn’t say “prep new console” to me. And while I do expect a new Xbox in 2013—see my Next Generation Xbox Preview for details—I’m starting to wonder if this E3 isn’t going to be about more than that. Perhaps an Xbox Surface (as I alluded to in Five Surface Devices Microsoft Should Make in 2013.) Perhaps an Xbox Phone. Or, and this is badly needed, a v3 version of the Kinect (where v2 is the Windows version).

Certainly, given my horrific experiences documenting how Xbox Music works—or, more frequently, doesn’t—and Microsoft’s claims that more people now use the 360 for its non-gaming (i.e. entertainment-related) offerings, bolstering both Xbox Music and Xbox Video would make tons of sense.

Whatever it is, E3 is going to be big this year for Xbox fans. 158 days. Cripes.

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