In the second installment of this trilogy, let´s turn to the Xbox360. I will add my predictions about the Nintendo Revolution in the coming days.
Launch date/price: Microsoft will reduce the console´s price by at least $50 (the core version perhaps even by $100), come christmas.
Pre-E3 press conference: At the pre-E3 press conference, there will be no significant news regarding the hardware or its price. The main focus will be on titles like ´Halo 3´, ´Gears of War´ and ´Too Human´. There will also be a strong emphasis on the online community. Most likely, there will be a number of new features added to Xbox Live, like hosted tournaments.
E3 showfloor: There will be around forty titles playable on the showfloor. None will show a significant improvement over the launch titles (the second generation games will not show before 2007). There will not be a playable version of ´Halo 3´.
Sales and reactions: The Xbox360 will continue to sell a decent amount in the US, next to none in Japan and there will be lacklustre sales in Europe. Altogether, the Xbox360 will sell around three million units, beating the PS3 by a margin of a million or so (mainly due to a reduced price near the end of the year).
Successes and setbacks: Microsoft´s biggest success with their new console will be their ability to reduce the price by christmas.
Their biggest setback will be the continued lack of games that utilize the multi-core chip architecture.
Conclusion: By the end of the year, Microsoft will be in a position to reduce their console´s price, which will enable them to top the PS3 sales by a decent margin. However, they will not be able to fully convince the majority gamers that the Xbox360 is a next-gen platform (by graphical standards, which is pretty much all the console has to offer).