Has Xbox already lost the next-gen race?

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PS4 vs next XboxWhile the Wii U is out in the wild and Sony's PS4 is pretty well detailed, we still don't know much about Microsoft's next Xbox. Other than it'll be called just that. We've heard hints that it won't be able to play second hand games, we've heard that it might be always on – and even had an employee rant and rave about this not being a problem – that the Kinect camera will be mandatory and that really, it may not even be as powerful as the PS4.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have Sony, which appears to be doing everything right. Like the Xbox rumours, we know the PS4 will come packing PC grade hardware, which will please developers, there's going to be sharing features through the roof with control sharing, streaming and the ability to upload to Youtube and other platforms within the games themselves. We've also heard from Sony higher ups that second hand games will be supported, which is a major plus point in the mind of most gamers.

We also know that Sony is putting a lot of thought into its launch titles – apparently – with plans to have a wide genre of games on day one. It won't just be shooters and racers, there'll be puzzle games, indie offerings, AAA experiences and more. Of course Microsoft could do the same, but for now we just don't know.

Now I'm not here to just brown my nose in Sony's direction, neither am I here to smash Microsoft because I don't like it, what I'm here to do is to take stock of the situation and consider what Microsoft would need to do to turn around the current situation – because until we hear otherwise, Sony is clearly the console of choice for the discerning next-gen gamer.

Ironically, one of the big things Microsoft looks likely to do, is get its hardware in-front of the cameras before Sony. While we've seen and heard a lot about PS4 capabilities, we have yet to see the console itself. This doesn't really make much of a difference theoretically, but in practice, we're all monkeys that like real-life shiny things, so if Microsoft shows us a cool looking console before Sony does, it could start to turn heads a little bit.

We know Microsoft is holding an event on May 21st, where it's expected we'll get our first look at the Xbox. This is a couple of weeks before the E3 expo, so we know that Microsoft has an opportunity to get itself front and center before it goes head to head with Nintendo and Sony. Chances are whoever has the best console showing on the day will ride on a wave of publicity while the others languish. At the moment, Sony will step into the arena as the top dog, but Microsoft has a chance to seize the initiative.

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