Microsoft Xbox

Tomorrow is the announcement for Microsoft’s next-generation console, the successor of the company’s world famous Xbox 360. The boys up in Redmond have been secretive about their new entertainment beast (most likely using the Cone of Silence in meetings), but a few rumors have slipped through allowing us to take a shot at what we might expect tomorrow on stage.

VGLeaks let loose a collection of documents showing the hardware specifications of the next Xbox; these leaks were shortly after confirmed by Kotaku and it is believed that they are the final production specs. The console is said to be packed with an 8 core CPU running at 1.6 Ghz, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a “large” internal hard drive for storage.

Kotaku also received reports that the next Xbox will integrate a Blu-ray disc drive for your high definition viewing enjoyment. For those of our readers still holding onto their HD DVDs – it is REALLY time to let go now.

On the accessories front, not much is expected to change for the Xbox 360 controller; Microsoft has a solid design and it is one of the best we have seen on a game console to date.

Due to the major “Xbox 720” leak during the summer of 2012, we do know quite a bit about the upcoming Kinect 2 that Microsoft has planned. The unit has the standard upgrades we would expect: higher accuracy, better imaging, improved microphone, and an improved camera. In addition, the unit is expected to include dedicated hardware processing, hand recognition support, and the ability to track up to four players at once (time to buy a bigger living room).

Xbox Kinect

On the interface front, we expect to see an updated dashboard with Live Tiles, to match the Windows 8 experience, and tighter cable TV integration.

One of the worst rumors going around that we can hope to put to death tomorrow is “always-on DRM”; this would require the console to always be connected to an active internet connection while playing games. Obviously, this idea has sparked an outrage and I can only hope for Microsoft’s life that this rumor is debunked onstage.

Besides an upgrade in hardware and improvements with Kinect, we aren’t expecting any revolutionary new experiences. Microsoft has been teasing a project known as IllumiRoom, which uses a Pico projector and Kinect to turn your room into a Star Trek style holodeck; as of now, not only does the project seem too expensive to implement, but it will most likely remain on the shelves of Microsoft’s Research division for a while longer.

We will have all of our questions revealed tomorrow at 10AM PST. Follow a live stream of the event on your Xbox 360’s dashboard or tune in on your Windows Phone 8 device by following these instructions!

What do you hope to see from tomorrow’s announcement?

Most importantly… WHO IS EXCITED?!

Sources: VGLeaks, Kotaku [1,2], The Verge [1,2,3], Edge