Having let Sony take the plunge and test the next-gen waters with its recent PS4 unveiling, latest reports have suggested Microsoft is now making final tweaks to the upcoming Xbox 720 to ensure that it can match up to its main rival.
With the Xbox 720 launch event widely expected to be held in the weeks leading up to E3 2013, the annual Los Angeles based gaming expo that takes place in June, publisher Ubisoft has suggested that by holding off to see what Sony did, Microsoft can now ensure its next-gen gamer hits the same heights.
Suggesting that the current console cycle has been much longer than originally anticipated, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat, whilst offering no concrete details on Microsoft’s upcoming console, stated that the Xbox 720 will be “aligned with what Sony announced.”
Hinting at what is already expected, he added: “It’s going to be connected. It’s going to be social. It’s going to be immersive. It’s going to be interactive.”
Despite the selection of new features and gaming options set to hit both Sony and Microsoft’s respective PS3 and Xbox 360 replacements, Mallat has suggested that improved graphics will remain the key selling point for many gamers.
"Let's state the obvious: the easy and immediate thing is going to be the graphics," he said. "There are some mind-blowing graphics right now on our next-gen technology, both on Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed. That will be the entry door for anyone, even for the mainstream. It's really going to be amazing. Trust me on this one.”
Keen not to overlook the implication of the new capabilities, however, the Ubisoft head added: "That being said, the connected aspects and the social components will be what will define the difference between a next-gen experience and a current-gen experience. And we're eager to be able to talk about that and show that when we're ready."
Although Sony and Microsoft have been working on their upcoming consoles for a number of years, Mallat revealed that Ubisoft was forced to take matters into its own hands when preparing for the change in console forms.
"First off, we need to understand it's been a very long cycle with the 360 and the PS3," Mallat said, "much longer than we were anticipating and hoping. We are more used to a five year-ish cycle. So we had no other choice but to rely on our own vision of what next-gen could be, from our point of view.
"We didn't wait for first parties to describe their systems or deliver test kits. We already invested some time and effort on high-end PC, and we relied on our creatives to dream the dream and envision what the next-gen could be."