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Report: Microsoft to unveil the next Xbox in May

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The wait to learn what Microsoft has in store for the next generation now has a countdown.

The Verge reports that the company will hold an event on May 21 to reveal the new console, with a more complete look to follow a few weeks later at E3 2013.

Industry watchers had initially expected Microsoft to unveil the successor to the Xbox 360 later this month, but sources tell The Verge that the event was pushed back. Windows blogger Paul Thurrot corroborated that during a recent episode of 'What the Tech', pointing out that indeed the date was pushed from April 24 to May 21. Yahoo! Games has independently confirmed the pushback of the event from April to May, but we’ve been unable to verify the exact date.

[Related: What to expect from the Next Xbox]

If the May 21 date is indeed correct, it will come almost two months to the day after Sony took the wraps off the PlayStation 4. It would also follow a precedent Microsoft set with the introduction of the Xbox 360, which was first unveiled during a televised event just a few weeks shy of E3 2005.

Like the PlayStation 4, the next Xbox (currently codenamed 'Durango') is expected to be on store shelves before the end of the year. People familiar with Microsoft's plans say the system's features are, in fact, remarkably similar to what Sony has already unveiled.

Microsoft has always had an advantage with the non-gaming components of its consoles, though, and recently hired the former president of CBS Television Studios to lead its efforts to form an Xbox studio. The company is also expected to unveil an integrated (and vastly updated) version of the Kinect motion sensor as a component of the new Xbox.

What many are wondering about most are rampant rumors that the system will require users to always be connected to the Internet, an fear that was boosted after last week's Twitter incident involving a creative director at the company.

We may not get the answer to that particular question at the May event. Like Sony, Microsoft is likely to leave several features unannounced, and considering the outcry over the concept of an ‘always on’ system, Microsoft could well avoid the topic altogether for now. May's introduction is likely meant to whet the appetite of gamers and keep them talking about it until a more complete unveiling takes place during the company’s annual press conference during E3 in June.

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