Microsoft will upgrade its disc technology for its next Xbox from DVDs to Blu-Ray discs, catching up to rival Sony, games industry sources tell Kotaku.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 currently supports Blu-Ray, which can contain 25 or 50GB of data compared to DVD’s 9GB.
But that disc detail could be far less impactful to the next generation of game consoles than the assertion I’ve heard from one reliable industry source that Microsoft intends to incorporate some sort of anti-used game system as part of their so-called Xbox 720.
It’s not clear if that means that the system wouldn’t play used games or how such a set-up would work. Obvious approaches—I’m theorizing here—like linking a copy of a game to a specific Xbox Live account could seemingly be foiled by used-game owners who would keep their system offline. My source wasn’t sure how Microsoft intended to implement any anti-used game system in the new machine.
A push in any way by Microsoft against used games would likely be cheered from publishers sick of seeing retailers like GameStop crow about their revenues from the sale of used games. But it could potentially anger consumers who rely on buying cheaply-sold used games or even pass games to relatives or friends.One source familiar with Microsoft’s plans for the new Xbox said Microsoft plans to ship their new Xbox with a new version of its red-hot Kinect hands-free sensor system. The new Kinect would contain an on-board processor, a feature originally intended for the first Kinect. That processor would enable a new Kinect to more effectively detect users’ motions.
“Xbox 720” is being used as shorthand by reporters like me to refer to the next Xbox. It’s not necessarily the name of the next device. Tech sites Semi Accurate and Fudzilla have reported that the first chips for 720 development kits are going into production, leading to a possible late 2013 release despite my earlier reporting which had pointed to 2014 as the year of the next Xbox and PlayStation.
We know the new device is code-named Durango, but will the official release name be “Xbox 720?” Or, as others have noted, Microsoft recently snapped up domain names for Xbox8, with the 8 doubling as a symbol implying the name “Xbox Infinity.”
The new Xbox is rumored to be capable of 3D, if you have a 3D TV. And we’re almost certain it’ll be heavy on entertainment options, such as the ability to play Blu-ray discs and game play running simultaneous with entertainment apps. Also Microsoft filed a patent to include a built-in DVR in the device so you could record shows from live TV and watch off your Xbox. There’s also a strong possibility you’ll get added controls and accessibility to the Xbox if you have a Windows 8 Phone.
One big prediction is that all Xbox consoles will come standard with a Kinect motion sensor. It may add a bit to the price, but if this is true, you can extrapolate that Microsoft might also force voice calibration to get you to use the voice control features in Kinect. Also, they might need to bring the manufacturing price down on the Kinect if it is to come included with the console, and some think Microsoft will get that price reduction by taking out the hinged base mount that currently adjusts to the height it’s placed in relation to the field of play. Instead, analysts think Kinect will have a fixed field of view, but that it will be much wider going from the current 57.5? by 43.5? to a 70? by 60? area in which it can see you and you can play. This also ties into the rumor that a wider field of view will give the Kinect the ability to recognize six people instead of the current four player max.
The hardware in the Kinect motion sensor is also due for some serious upgrades. First, many predict a switch to USB 3.0 as its connector to the Xbox. That would give the Kinect a much wider pipe to pump data back to the console – meaning decreased latency, smoother and more sophisticated game play, increased recognition of finger movement, and possibly detailed facial recognition – including interpretation of your moods. Okay, maybe the mood recognition part of that prediction belongs in the Unlikely Features category, but it’s possible.
We Have Heard From Our Sources that there Will Be No Used Games ?
There are also persistent rumors that the new console won’t allow you to play used games. Games won’t play unless you can match a new game CD to a one-use-only game code. That would put an end to the highly lucrative Xbox game resale market and even limit sharing amongst friends. That would be a really bold move from Microsoft, and I can’t quite believe they’d risk angering that many fans, but business is business, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
While the E3 gaming conference in June is a natural time to make a big debut, the recent Sony Playstation 4 announcement puts pressure on Microsoft to unveil soon. Developer chatter has us expecting a late April announcement. One thing’s certain, the new Xbox will be available for purchase in time for the holidays.