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Microsoft Xbox One: Five important things we still don't know

Ian Paul | May 23, 2013
For all the things we do know about Microsoft's Xbox One, there’s a lot of things we still don’t. For instance, how much will the console cost and when it will be released?

For all the things we do know about Microsoft's Xbox One, there's a lot of things we still don't. For instance, how much will the console cost and when it will be released?

Microsoft did have a lot to say in the Xbox One's introduction on Tuesday. We know the new Xbox console comes bundled with an updated Kinect motion sensor. We know that its guts include an eight-core processor, 8GB RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. We even know what the box will look like, which is a step up from Sony's PlayStation 4 reveal in February.

But Microsoft left a lot of unanswered questions about the Xbox One and, in some cases, way more confusion than there needs to be. For instance, how will the used games market work? How critical is it to keep the Xbox One connected to the Internet? And where do Xbox Live subscriptions fit in?

Questions, questions, and more questions. Let's examine.

Pricing and availability

Microsoft had nothing to say about pricing or availability on Tuesday, which is typical of Microsoft's initial major product reveals. All we know is that the console will come out some time this year. Both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 were released in November, so the penultimate month of the year is a good bet. Regardless, Microsoft will want the Xbox One on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season.

As far as pricing goes, the big outstanding question is whether Microsoft is planning a subsidy program as it has done with the Xbox 360.

In late 2012, Microsoft started offering the 4GB Xbox 360 for $99 if you signed up for a two-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold. If you want a large number of people to integrate your console with their living rooms then a subsidy program makes sense.

Based on the latest rumors, however, a subsidized console may not happen.

For example, Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott said on Monday via Twitter that the company has scrapped plans for a subsidized Xbox model. If Thurrott, who has numerous contacts at Microsoft, is right, then that leaves a full upfront price for the console. Most critics are currently betting on a price tag in the neighborhood of $500.

Trade-ins and borrowed games

Games on the new Xbox One will work similar to PC games and apps. Let's say you want to play EA's Battlefield 4. You insert the game in the machine, install it, and then you never need to use the Battlefield 4 disc again on that machine. The problem is that disc is now tied to your Xbox Live profile, which calls into question whether you will be able to resell used games for the Xbox One.

 

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