We all knew that it was coming, but somehow Microsoft has managed to shock the industry by finally acknowledging its next generation console. The company sent out invites earlier this evening, confirming that it’s poised to uncover its impending system on 21st May. As you’d expect, the event will be livestreamed through a variety of sources, including long term partner Spike TV.

Writing on his official blog, company spokesperson Major Nelson promised that the Redmond-based manufacturer would pull back the curtain on a “new generation of games, TV, and entertainment”. Judging from that small snippet, we'd imagine that the rumours regarding the console serving as some kind of cable box were true, but we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out for sure.

The date itself is particularly interesting, as it’s just over a fortnight before E3. Microsoft promises that it will deliver a double-whammy of press conferences, which makes us wonder if Sony will respond. We speculated earlier in the year that a second PlayStation 4 event would probably make a lot of sense.

From the PlayStation perspective, it’s going to be fascinating to see what the Japanese manufacturer does next. Everyone knew that this day was coming, but it seems to have taken the Xbox maker a long, long time to react to February’s PlayStation Meeting. Now that the day has finally come, we're curious what Sony will do to stop the pendulum from swinging in Microsoft’s favour.

What do you think is next for the PS4? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

[via majornelson.com, purexbox.com]