Games industry legend Peter Molyneux has said that Microsoft's imminent debut of its next Xbox won't be "nearly as exciting" as when the publisher unveiled the Xbox 360 back in May 2005.
Speaking to the BBC, the former creative director of Microsoft Game Studios started by dubbing 2013 the year of the "console hardware refresh" and said that "although [the next Xbox is] exciting, it's not nearly as exciting as when the Xbox 360 exploded onto the gaming scene just over seven years ago."
"Back then, the 360 represented a huge leap forward in gaming, with a tangible increase in performance and fantastic multiplayer support. Gamers and game-makers were justifiably super-excited," added Molyneux. "Now it is that time again, but the world has changed."
Molyneux--who now heads up indie studio 22 Cans--points to the growing tablet and mobile markets and their frequent hardware updates as one of Microsoft's challenges with its next console, adding that "on the horizon looms Valve with its PC-based Steam Box."
"Thereby hangs the problem for Microsoft: how to justify its new console, how to get us all excited."
Its competition is no longer Sony and Nintendo, but rather Apple, Google, and Samsung.
While Molyneux says Microsoft "won the last console generation," he adds that the publisher has always seen the living room as "the big prize" for the Xbox. "When I used to work at Microsoft the key phrase that I used to hear bandied around was the next Xbox should be 'input one' on people's living room screen."
"Nowadays I'm an independent designer and I just want the next Xbox to be a great gaming machine."
Molyneux says Microsoft's next Xbox "should have great connectivity, so I can play spectacular games with my friends and be sold at a reasonable price, perhaps around $300 (£200)."
"That should be Microsoft's goal rather than persisting in trying to make it a box for everyone," he concluded.
Microsoft will unveil its new hardware today at 18:00 BST/10:00 PDT. GameSpot will be covering the next-gen Xbox unveiling live from the company's Redmond campus.