Looks like Microsoft has sparked off a fresh round of Xbox 2 speculation with its ourcolony.net viral marketing malarkey. With only a month to go before the world finally sets its eyes on the next-gen console speculation is rampant about its features and what its late 2005 arrival will mean for the current Xbox.
Of greatest interest is the appearance of two blurry photographs of what purports to be an Xbox 2 joypad. Apparently originating on ourcolony.net, the images of slick white controller are extremely similar to the current Xbox S pad, albeit with a sleeker sheen, more elongated 'wings', and the noticeable lack of a wire. You can check them out here.
Wireless Xbox 2 controllers have been discussed for a while now but Microsoft has not confirmed whether they will come with the new console as standard. We're all for the wireless feature although we're unsure about the colour scheme (which could offer some clues about the design of the console unit itself). Virginal white pads won't stand up well to the rigours of sticky, dirty paws.
The next issue causing tsunami-sized waves of internet speculation is whether Xbox 2 will be backwards compatible with its little brother. Again, Microsoft are staying mum on the subject for now, but the future of the Xbox was addressed in last week's press release detailing the third-party publisher support secured for Xbox 2.
Reacting to allegations that the Xbox was being phased out this year, the release said, "In addition, Microsoft is fully committed to this generation, and gamers can expect an amazing pipeline of titles into 2007."
Since Xbox 2 is expected to launch around the world before the end of this year, that would mean that Microsoft plan anything up to two years worth of continued support for the current Xbox. Some are speculating this means Xbox 2 will be backwards compatible since Microsoft would want as many people as possible to buy the Xbox games.
Another whisper, which manages to cram about fifteen pieces of speculation into one super-powered rumour, speaks of an enhanced version of Halo 2 pre-installed on the Xbox 2's hard drive (if indeed it does come with one).
What's the official word from Microsoft on all these slippery rumours? Take a guess. "Microsoft does not comment on internet rumour and speculation."
So we asked if ourcolony.net was being used to reveal images of Xbox 2 hardware. "We have not confirmed whether ourcolony.net is officially endorsed or supported by Microsoft," said the spokesperson.
One thing's for certain: With the global unveiling of Xbox 2 set for May 12/May 13 on MTV, and the console's appearance at E3 the week after, we shouldn't need to deal with all this speculation for too much longer
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