Tonight, Microsoft officially stops refusing to comment on rumour and speculation and starts talking cold, hard fact about Xbox 360 - the next-generation Xbox console, which will launch later this year (possibly November) according to Bill Gates.
The console will be unveiled in a 30-minute broadcast on MTV in North America, taking place at 21:30 EDT, which, just to clarify, is around 02:30 British Summer Time and 03:30 CEST for anybody reading this from mainland Europe who plans to stay up and engage in the Net-wide forum frenzy likely to erupt shortly afterward.
Microsoft has already said that it will demonstrate "the Xbox vision for the next generation," which "ensures that the user experience is always connected, always personalised and always in high definition".
Xbox VP Peter Moore recently demystified that somewhat by stating: "We'll talk name. We'll show the hardware - as much as you can do in a television show." He then added: "You'll get a little glimpse of the games, but we're saving most of that for [specialist press] at E3."
Realistically, the video footage of games is likely to prove the most significant to avid followers of the console, who have been treated in recent weeks to leaked details of the name and even photographs of the console and its accessories. Microsoft has never officially commented on any of the leaks, but hasn't rushed to damn them either.
Microsoft's also said it will show insider footage of the making of the system.
The show is being given a glitzy edge, with actor Elijah Wood taking the role of presenter, and chart-topping band The Killers interjecting now and then with performances. We're also told to expect backstage celebrity interviews.
After the show, MTV.com will take over and supply extended coverage of the system including behind-the-scenes video, photos, and "other special extras".
(A promo page is already online here featuring a countdown, which is actually a little misleading since it uses your PC's system clock as a basis.)
Viewers outside America, meanwhile, will have to wait until tomorrow evening to catch the MTV show on TV. A full list of regional timings can be found at the bottom of this item.
The full list of regional timings for the show follows:
- North America: Thursday, May 12, at 9:30 p.m. (21:30)
- Japan/Asia: Friday, May 13, at 11:30
- Europe: France: Friday, May 13, at 19:00
- Germany: Friday, May 13, at 19:00
- Italy: Friday, May 13, at 23:30
- Netherlands: Friday, May 13, at 19:30
- Poland: Friday, May 13, at 21:00
- Portugal: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
- Romania: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
- Scandinavia: Friday, May 13, at 22:00
- Spain: Friday, May 13, at 21:30
- U.K.: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
- Australia: Friday, May 13, at 19:00