It looks like Microsoft is gearing up to announce the Xbox 360's successor, at least if the latest rumors pan out. Back in February, an XboxEvent.com domain was registered, which led to speculation of an April reveal. Now, it's believed the event will take place on May 21 to introduce the world to the new Xbox, with a retail launch in "early November." At least, that's according to Microsoft analyst Paul Thurrot.
The new console is going to be dubbed "Xbox," and it'll carry a rather hefty price tag. Thurrot believes it'll be priced at $500, though a subscription-based model is set for $300. What exactly the subscription is for wasn't mentioned, but it could be something like the Xbox 360 one where the console is cheap yet you pay $15 a month for two years to enjoy Xbox LIVE Gold.
If you're wondering about the Xbox's Internet connection, Thurrot didn't confirm or deny the always-on claim except to say the following:
Looking at some of the stuff I got a long time ago, it actually says 'must be internet-connected to use' in the notes. And that's all I have, but it does say that.
The Twitterverse recently exploded over the comments made by senior employee Adam Orth the other day, where he seemed to support the always-on claim. Microsoft issued an apology for his comments, but avoided saying something definitive on the claim. Either way, it isn't looking good that the upcoming Xbox can't be played offline, but we'll just have to see.
Thurrot also mentioned two other Xbox systems that are separate from the next-gen, though it appears at least one is canceled. That one was supposedly just for entertainment apps and not games, but Microsoft axed it to avoid confusion. The other one, however, codenamed "Stingray," is set to arrive later this year for $99. A reason for that console, at least according to Thurrot, is because the new Xbox won't play X360 games, but again that's just rumor.
As with any rumor, take everything here with a grain (or more) of salt until something official comes out. An expensive Xbox that may require an Internet connection at all times could be a dealbreaker for some people, but we'll just have to see what the Xbox Event brings in another month or so.