By the time 2013 comes to an end, Microsoft’s next Xbox creation will be in living rooms across the globe. But what will it look like? How will it run? Will it really be here in time for the holidays? More importantly, are people actually calling it the “Kryptos”? We may not have many answers from the Big M itself, but we’ve been able to uncover a few details despite the console being well hidden behind the curtain.
Interested in what Microsoft has up its sleeve? Fall in line and join us as we take a tour of everything we know, including the latest rumors and predictions circling the (cringe) Xbox 720…
Updated on 4/24 with new announcement date.
The following details are the ones we are 99.99% sure are absolutely going to happen…We think.
It's being unveiled on May 21
Though rumors originally placed the next Xbox’s reveal in April, that no longer appears to be the case. Invites are out for an event on May 21 at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington office, and it’s clear that it has something to share. We have a feeling that something is the next Xbox.
It makes sense that Microsoft would want to jump out with their console reveal before summer–especially after Sony’s showing of the PS4 at the NYC conference. Revealing their next-gen console off the E3 stage with a dedicated event will provide all the attention the console maker wants for their next-gen system.
It won't be called Durango
In the beginning it was the “720”. Then it was “Loop”. For a time it was called the “Durango”, and now…? We’re really not sure anymore. Microsoft has bought up several domains for its next-gen console, including those that suggest names like “Xbox Infinity” and “Xbox 8,” but names like the rumored “Kryptos” are still a possibility…maybe.
Code crackers and puzzle fans will recognize Kryptos as the Greek word for “hidden,” and the origin word for cryptography, the study of securing and breaking communication codes. Meanwhile, Durango can also mean an SUV brand or the Mexican state. All these names are likely codenames and nowhere near what the console will actually be called. So…we’ll just have to wait and see.
The following is all of the speculation going around the internet, but these ones may actually have some merit to them.
It might cost sub-$400 and come holiday 2013
It was estimated early on that Microsoft was targeting a $299 price range for its next console. However, a report in January (via gamesindustry.biz) to investors on behalf of Baird Equity Research, showed analyst Colin Sebastian stating otherwise, saying the tag for both Microsoft and Sony’s new machines would be more in the range of $350 – $400.
Colin, who spent time at CES with “a number of companies involved in video game development and distribution” also predicted Microsoft’s Xbox 360 successor will launch in November 2013. Since Sony’s PS4 is slated to release this holiday, a Microsoft console release in November probably isn’t too far fetched.
It might be slightly less powerful than PS4
The latest Xbox 720 tech rumors come from VGLeaks and VG247 which seem to be in line with that of the PS4 specs announced at Sony’s reveal. As highlighted in the image above, the former reported the next Xbox will be powered by 8 CPU cores, running at 1.6 Ghz; a x64 Architecture, 8GB DDR3 RAM, and 50GB 6x Blu-Ray Disc drive. Over at VG247, it was reported that developers at CES claimed console would be able to run at 1.23 teraflops, less than that of the PS4′s run-capacity of 1.84 teraflops.
Looking back, a January 2012 report from SemiAccurate stated (with 99.9% certainty, no less) that Xbox 720′s processor chips were a product of IBM and Global Foundaries, and that they were already in production under the codename “Oban.” Eventually, sources at IGN claimed the GPU will be patterned off of AMD’s 6000 series, and will resemble the Radeon HD 6670, which supports DirectX11, 1080p HD output, and multi-display capabilities. That’s nothing to scoff at.
It might feature Kinect 2.0
Rumors are circulating that the Xbox 720 will include the next generation of gesture-based controls. According to VGleaks, the Kinect 2.0 device will feature an upgraded 1080p camera, have a larger field of view, improve low-light object detection, and use USB 3.0, which will reduce latency.
Apparently, every new console will come with one of the new Kinect devices, suggesting that Microsoft will continue its focus on creating the ultimate media hub for the household. Will even more advanced voice recognition, gesture-based interfaces, and next-gen motion-control gameplay be a major selling point for the 720?
It might have it's own touchscreen controller
Watch your back, Nintendo. Word on the street is Microsoft has its own touchscreen controller waiting in the wings for the Xbox 720, and it will be a lot more touchier and control-ier than the Wii U tablet. As detailed by CVG sources, the Xbox 720′s input device will resemble a “matte-black media hub with a mission to bring games to life in your living room with augmented reality, directional sound, and a four-player, finger-tracking Kinect.” The same insiders compared the controller’s shape to Sony’s PS Vita, adding it will double as a remote control for watching TV or browsing the internet through the console.
More recent reports have said that Xbox 360′s controllers will not be compatible with the new system, because Microsoft is using a new wireless technology that will not function with the old controller. Look forward to ponying up some extra cash if you want to play with friends.
It might integrate Microsoft's Illumiroom
During CES 2013, Microsoft revealed Illumiroom. The new technology expands the viewing space into your entire room, supposedly creating a more immersive, interactive experience. Microsoft described the Illumiroom technology to be using a Kinect sensor in conjunction with a projector to blend the virtual and physical environments together. Now if that doesn’t sound next-gen, we’re not sure what will.
If Microsoft were to add the Illumiroom feature to the Xbox 720, it would definitely differentiate the next-gen system from the competitors. Since it seems to be using peripherals that are rumored to already be included with the console, paying for a projector to make use of the immersive feature doesn’t sound like it would be too much of a stretch. And if it performs the way it promises, being surrounded in a digital world could totally be worth the cost.
It might double as a DVR
The story goes that Microsoft filed a patent back in 2007 describing plans for an “integrated gaming and media experience…including recording of content of a gaming console.” That technology never made it into the Xbox 360–but last October’s dashboard updates (detailed in Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 to be your new TV) laid the groundwork for a DVR-esque system down the road. If all of this is true, it would fall in with the Microsoft mentality of their system being the ultimate media hub.
The patent (exhumed by Kotaku) envisions DVR application working alongside a television client to record media content onto the systems hard drive, regardless of whether it is turned off or being used to play games. That sound you just heard was cable executives collectively dabbing their sweat.
It might require always-on internet and/or block used games
We’ve paired the two most concerning Xbox 720 rumors into one handy slide because a) they’re somewhat connected, and b) concentrated anger and recrimination is the lifeblood of the internet. As we first relayed in Xbox 720 will be a powerhouse, require always-on internet, insiders predict Microsoft will use the next generation to put an end to piracy and the used games market. The game company could do this by insisting users maintain a constant connection to internet, allowing Microsoft’s algorithms to verify the game’s authenticity.
So far, it’s unclear how Microsoft will police used games, but the popular theory is that the console will tether each new copy of a game to the account belonging to the original Xbox Live owner, making it impossible to “unlock” on other systems. Pirated games will be smoked out in the same fashion, using always-on internet checks to identify illegitimate copies.
It might cost $500, or $300 with a subscription
The price point of Microsoft’s next system has been a question mark for a while, but a recent rumor suggests the 720 will come with two price points: $500 and $300. But you’ll only get the next Xbox for $300 by signing up for a subscription of some kind, perhaps similar to what many phone companies do when bundling cell phones with plans.
There weren’t many more details than that–the source also apparently corroborated the always-online system requirement–but this move would make sense for Microsoft. At several Microsoft stores across the US, the company offered a $99 Xbox 360 that demanded a $14.99 a month payment plan lasting 24 months. Many believed the move was a test for similar pricing with MS’s next system, though it remains to be seen how much this theoretical 720 subscription would cost you in the long run.
It might already have wide developer support
Rumors of the new console began with a now-deleted tweet (captured at NeoGaf) by Crytek’s technical designer, Sean Tracy, who posted: “Enjoying the Durango developers summit in London…So far, great swag and interesting talks.”
Adding one and one together, the internet concluded Crytek is one of the developers on board with Microsoft’s next machine. So who else is game? Companies like EA have started adding “next-gen” labels to their future releases, and studios like Ubisoft, LucasArts, and Lionhead have all been casting the ‘net for employees willing to work on the next generation of games. Consider that, plus the fact that we now know that Bungie’s Destiny will be coming to PS3, PS4, and Xbox 360, so the Xbox 720 surely won’t be left behind.
It might let you use multiple programs at once
Considering that Kotaku’s source for a whole swath of Xbox 720 information was subsequently raided by the FBI, we’re inclined to give some weight to the info he leaked. One such tidbit involved the console’s ability to handle multiple programs–be they games or apps–at the same time.
According to the source, who also accurately leaked a host of PS4 details prior to its announcement, the feature will allow players to place a game in a “suspended” or “constrained” state. From there, the player can switch to another game or app, interact with it, and then return to the original program as they see fit. Think of it a bit like the PC’s Alt+Tab function.
It might have a 500GB hard drive, and require game installs
Thus far, the Xbox 360 has gone through eight different configurations for the size of its HDD (nine, if you count the Core launch model that didn’t include any at all). Rumor is, Microsoft won’t be wrecking that much confusion with the Xbox 720. According to the same Kotaku source mentioned previously, Microsoft plans to have a single HDD size–500GB.
Seems big, but take this into consideration. The leaker also indicated that games must be installed onto the HDD the first time they’re loaded up, and much like the PS4, software can be loaded up and used before this install completes. Don’t want to install the game? Well, don’t expect to play it, as the report indicates the Xbox 720 can’t access data from a disc.
What games have been announced?
How many games have already been announced and rumored for the next-gen system? See our collection of Xbox 720 games (we know of so far).
Which games can you buy day one?
What games are going to be on sale the first day for the next Xbox? See our list of Xbox 720 launch titles.
We've only just begun…
It won’t be long before Microsoft spills the beans on its next machine, and then we can start trading Microsoft rumors for fact. From what we’ve already gathered over the last year, there’s good reason to get excited about Microsoft’s next-gen console (and a few good reasons to be a little nervous).
We’ll let you know if we hear anything else before the big reveal in April and/or at E3 2013. In the meantime, if you happen to hear something juicy about Microsoft’s new game machine, or want to debunk one of the rumors we’ve posted, shoot us a message in the comments below.
And if you’re looking for more, check out our list of every Xbox 720 games (we know of so far) and our predictions for Xbox 720 launch titles.