New Xbox 360 peripherals just remind us there's no next-gen Xbox

Nintendo's putting out the new Wii U console next year and Sony is busy preparing its PS Vita. Microsoft? Well, there's a lot of peripherals on the way, if you're into that.

Looking back, it's hard not to feel that these new peripherals aren't some kind of nefarious plot to distract us from the lack of a next-gen Xbox. Last summer, Microsoft refreshed its Xbox 360 with the "slim" model, putting an end to the dreaded "Red Ring of Death" issues that plagued the older model. 2010 also saw the release of Kinect, the controller-free sensor that spawned creative hacks from our wildest imaginations.

At E3, the Wireless Speed Wheel was unveiled. It's a motion-controlled steering wheel that's meant to replace the clunkier racing wheel controllers that come with pedals.

Then, last week, Microsoft wowed fans everywhere with its new R2-D2-themed Xbox 360 console bundled with a matching gold C-3PO controller and white Kinect sensor.

Today, a sleeker wireless Bluetooth headset and a sexier Media Remote control were announced.

Releasing new peripherals isn't new. Sony and Nintendo do it, too, but all these new toys add up and when you're this late into the console game, gamers are less willing to part with more gear for console that's going to be outdated in a few years. At best, it just gives late adopters something new and shiny to play with.

So, is Microsoft starting to feel the heat?

Despite profits and sales from the Xbox 360, the PS3 is closing in on it. Analysts believe that the 360's lead is a now a mere five million units and VGChartz says the actual lead is even less, with the 360 up by only 3.2 million units sold.

I'm not putting down the 360 by any stretch, and I think Microsoft's efforts to keep the six-year-old system relevant in today's is valiant, but how many more years does it have? It's one thing to add completely new value with Kinect and premium Xbox Live content services, but it's another to just drop a basket full of boring peripheral refreshes.

That R2-D2 Xbox 360 might boost sales, but the rest of this stuff looks like a diversion to keep the next-gen Xbox a few years away.

Via VG247

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