Yesterday Microsoft unveiled a new curiosity in the world of online gaming and microtransactions, after it transpired that Karaoke, an Xbox Live Arcade title, would be paid for by the hour, rather than the more traditional platform of releasing it for free and then charging $2 for every poor-rendered cover song in the company’s library. But as it turns out, Karaoke is just the start of the company’s new focus on microtransactions, as information released about the “next Xbox” showed today.
In line with current paradigms of holistic design, the console will incorporate machine, screen and consoles into one unit, and while some in the media have been quick to accuse Microsoft of ripping off the Wii U, Microsoft’s head of design Steve Kaneko was quick to downplay any ideas of similarities between the consoles. “What Nintendo have done is created sort of a handheld console which is attached to a main unit, but we at Microsoft want to do away with this distinction” he said, “and that is why with the console, which we’re tentatively calling the “Xbox Arcade” after the Xbox Live Arcade, will feature all its parts in one, decently sized unit. You won’t even need a TV to play on it, and its controls will be right in front of you the whole time!”
The console, as it turns out, will also be heavily marketed as a “budget” alternative to Nintendo and Sony’s offerings. Rather than having to drop $300+ on a console, gamers will be able to visit their local “Arcade Store” in order to play on the console, where they will find games priced at very reasonable rates. “We’re thinking something like 50 cents per “go”, but we’ll be leaving the exact pricing up to the individual store owners or games developers” said Kaneko. “We really think that this is a new revolution in gameplay, something never seen before. Honestly, the only way that this market can go is up!”