The internet is aflame with countless rumors about the next generation of consoles. Imminent or not, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say we will probably be hearing more from it in the next year or so; especially with the release of the Wii U later this year.

Along with all of this speculation, Microsoft is also the target of a lot of index fingers where unique IP’s are concerned. Besides Kinect-based games, they haven’t really thrown 360 owners a bone in terms of fresh, exclusive gaming experiences. While I’m itching to see some new 360 exclusives just as much as the next guy, I’ve formulated a (hopefully correct) reason behind all of the sequels we’ve been seeing from them.

The current generation had three consoles release with pretty poor lineups. The PS3 was nearly DoA; the Wii had Zelda and little else; and the 360 had a solid lineup, but they were mostly sequels of some sort. The best way to boost the sales of your shiny new console at launch is to give people a reason to buy it (obviously). But, the best reason for anyone to buy any new gaming console is a simple one: the games.

Microsoft is probably looking back at the launch of the 360 and cringing a little bit. There was both the RRoD and the mediocre launch lineup. This time around, they are likely trying to avoid all the negative press that they can. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if they were holding back to make sure the console shipped with as few hardware issues as possible, but it may come as a surprise if they are holding out on us so they can bombard us with some shiny new IP’s when they drop a new console on us.

Rare felt a little rushed with Perfect Dark Zero, and it showed. The game had plenty of great features, but the actual gameplay was by no means highly refined. Speculating with no evidence to back up these claims, it would make sense for MS to give their devs a few years to whip up something new, polish the hell out of it, and then announce it alongside Microsoft’s new console. That way they would avoid rushing the game to make launch and they could make the idea of buying the new console on day one that much more enticing.

Though Microsoft has come down with a little sequalitis, I think they are just waiting for the right time to give us something new. I’m writing this knowing full well that Microsoft could announce a new console at E3 2012 and blow all my speculation out of the water – but it doesn’t seem likely that they will. Until they do announce something new, it looks like Xbox users will be seeing more sequels; but if I’m right, hopefully Microsoft will take this approach and knock our socks off with their inevitable new console.

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DanielHill