In a shock announcement, Microsoft officials have revealed that the first public unveiling of the next generation Xbox console will not be at the company’s pre-E3 conference, but in a half-hour special, called "MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed", to be aired on MTV in North America on May 12th, and in the rest of the world on May 13th.
According to Microsoft corporate VP Peter Moore: “It doesn't make sense to unveil the product behind a closed door, at a trade-only event. We wanted to talk directly to the consumer first."
The show will be hosted by The Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood and will apparently feature a bevy of athletes, celebrities and a live performance from rock band The Killers. The official press release further details that the show "will feature never-before-seen, action-packed gameplay of future Xbox games, a peek into the future of the Xbox Live(TM) online gaming service, backstage celebrity interviews and exclusive insider footage on the making of the next-generation console."
The date of May 12th corresponds to the date being counted down to on Microsoft’s viral marketing website site ourcolony.net, and will be four days before Sony are expected to reveal the first real details of the next generation PlayStation on May 16th.
There is still a chance, however, that Sony will debut the new PlayStation before May 16th, as they have long promised to unveil the machine before E3 – only recently canceling a press event
Unless Sony are planning something even more unexpected, though, it seems that Microsoft have won the first publicity-related blood in the next generation console war and that their new machine will be seen ahead of Sony's.
Further details of the new format will no doubt be revealed at the Microsoft’s pre-E3 conference – also on May 16th – with multiple playable versions of the new consoles expected to be available on the E3 show floor, beginning May 18th.