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Cheaper, dev-friendly next gen Xbox will release in November - analyst

Baird Equity Group posits $400 price point for new Xbox

The next generation Xbox console will set you back $350-400 in the US, according to Baird Equity Research, and will launch in November. That's a maximum of £247.83 in the UK, then, using current exchange rates and assuming Microsoft doesn't decide to price things up for overseas markets. Which it probably will.

"Given the fragile state of the console game market, we expect the E3 trade show in June will take on added significance, most likely providing the industry with the first public opportunity to examine next-generation hardware," the firm's Colin Sebastian wrote in a note to investors.

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"Xbox 3" kits are rumoured to have shipped out to studios. Baird Equity has a few thoughts on the specs. "Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from 'off the shelf' high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities."

A fairly standard next gen prediction list there, but it may interest you to know that Baird Equity reckons next generation machines will be easier and cheaper to develop for. Reassuring, given pronouncements by Epic among other middleware companies about the cost of implementing "next gen" game engines like Unreal 4, CryEngine 3 and the like.

"A PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon," Sebastian detailed. "For one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology. Second, the cost of production and retail price points should be lower than prior console launches.

"Third, it will be easier to build online services around PC chip architecture, including flexible business models (free-to-play, subscriptions) and multi-media (over the top) content offerings. For Microsoft, this design will also allow for more integration with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile devices."

All we need now is a little insight on the visual design. Hopefully the new Xbox won't look like one of these fan mock-ups. Thanks for the heads up, GamesIndustry.

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