After months of speculation, it seems that Microsoft is finally ready to break the silence in regards to their next-generation gaming console. The company has confirmed that it will be holding an official reveal on May 21, in which we’ll finally get some answers to the many rumors that have flooded the internet.

In our recent Xbox rumor round-up, we discussed a few of the major bits of information that everyone is talking about, including the rumor of an always-online system. There have been several reports for well-respected sources that state that an internet connection will be required for the system to be in use, with some going as far to say that if the internet connection drops, the console will shut-off after a few minutes. Since these reports, Microsoft has allegedly claimed that there will be an offline mode for gaming as well, but neither rumor has been verified.

The real question is why Microsoft has waited so long to reveal their new console. After Sony’s impressive display during their press event two months ago, it could be that Microsoft is struggling to make the same advancements as their competitor, a feeling that is shared by many. Tomasz Gop, a former producer of The Witcher who is currently at work on a next-gen RPG, was recently quoted as saying:

I can’t talk too much about the next-gen Xbox… but I don’t think a lot of people are going to be surprised. I don’t think it’s going to be huge news what’s inside, no – seriously.

Gop mentioned that the next Xbox will probably not be a huge leap forward, and that developing for PS4 was turning out to be a “pleasant surprise.” This leads to the question of what Microsoft needs to do to survive against Sony’s next-gen console.

One of the most unique and well-received features of Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4 is the idea of instant gaming and instant sharing. The console is being developed strictly for gamers rather than as a home media device, and with the ever-growing focus on social gameplay, Sony is making it easier than ever for players to create and share gaming content. If Microsoft wants to keep up with PlayStation 4, the next Xbox will need to offer similar features and allow players to share content with each other in a simple, intuitive manner. The PS4 will also feature the ability to preload unreleased games, something that PC gamers have had available to them for years, but will also allow users to instantly play their content even while downloading. If Microsoft doesn’t embrace the idea of instant content, it’s easy to see many long-time Xbox fans flocking to Sony’s side.

We only have a month left before we finally hear about Microsoft’s answer to the PlayStation 4. Xbox users can watch the event live on their console on May 21, while several sites will be hosting a live stream online.