Microsoft has plans on making waves at this year's E3, introducing a number of new upgrades and items to their gaming division, specifically the hardware. According to some new reports we could be seeing a new default controller and an upgraded console unit.
IGN picked up the rumors from Thurrot, where Brad Sams explained that a few of his insiders at Microsoft have revealed that the new default controller for the Xbox One could be white instead of black.
The white controller will supposedly be accompanied by a major new hardware announcement for the console, which Thurrot, IGN and Digital Foundry are all assuming will be a lighter, smaller, slimmer Xbox One unit. It's being dubbed as an Elite Xbox One or Xbox One Elite, similar to the Xbox 360 Elite that came out during its mid-gen refresh. The mid-gen refresh for Microsoft is being speculated to help give the console a new first impression to potential consumers.
Some are assuming that the Xbox One's new hardware upgrade will be made to compete with the PS4K, which is also being called the PlayStation Neo. Of course, whether or not there are actual upgrades for performance purposes or just upgrades for smaller chips being used to make the hardware smaller overall, has not been confirmed.
Digital Foundry had previously speculated that the 20nm chips would mean that the next iteration of the Xbox One would make it smaller and potentially cheaper. If Microsoft can manage to get the console down to $249.99 then that could most certainly help move some additional units, and potentially even have Microsoft competing with PS4 in terms of how many SKUs they move each month.
Sames takes things a step further, though, noting that Microsoft's potential hardware announcement at E3 won't just be for something new and flashy. Supposedly the company will introduce some new software integration with the hardware as well. They don't go into detail about it in the post, but the article states that there's supposed to be some “unique experiences” between the Xbox One and the Windows 10 platform to help differentiate it from the PS4. I have no idea what that really means.
For the most part the UWP has not been beneficial to gamers. There have been a number of complaints regarding common things like forced window mode, v-synch issues that results in stuttering, as well as some frame-rate caps based on the monitor's refresh rate, which had some PC gamers nearly flipping out. So far the two major Windows 10 releases, Quantum Break and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition have not won over the PC gaming crowd.
At E3 Microsoft will most definitely need to do a lot to make the Windows 10 initiative justifiable as a worthwhile investment from gamers if they don't want to lose the market for good.
Also, some commenters asked about the cloud. Microsoft used it as a high selling point for the Xbox One originally, but we haven't heard much about it. Well, with the multiplayer alpha for Crackdown 3 supposedly getting underway sometime this summer, we'll likely find out more about cloud integration at E3 along with the new hardware announcements.
If Microsoft plays their cards right, a slimmed down Xbox One that's either $50 or $100 cheaper than the current iteration could work wonders in turning around the market perception of the device.