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More details surface on Microsoft's next generation Xbox, including hardware and Kinect info

Xbox

More details on the next generation Xbox has surfaced over on Kotaku. Microsoft's next product to succeed the popular Xbox 360 is set to be unveiled later this year. What the video game console will pack in terms of specifications and features is still unknown, but rumour and speculation (particularly on DRM) has taken place.

Rum: 6

According to a source believed to be accurate, the next gaming console from Microsoft will run multiple games at once, requiring local installations to take place. This wouldn't affect a large number of consumers who actively install games to the local drive to prevent the disk drive from being constantly powered. What's more is the belief that the console will only function when a Kinect sensor is plugged in.

This information comes from a source who reports that he has access to development hardware. The same source claims to have a pair of Durango (codename) development kits. If that wasn't enough, the same soul reports that he's played some games on the new console, describing a graphical leap identical to playing Halo 2 on the original Xbox to playing Crysis on a powerful PC. It's hard to imagine how graphics can get that much better.

The source, named SuperDaE is the same guy who tried to sell a Durango development kit on eBay (and reports the sale was blocked by Microsoft - no way!). As well as the Xbox, SuperDaE is also well informed about the next generation Playstation, and has provided information from Sony's development kit documentation.

Unfortunately, no matter what this source (or any other) provides, Microsoft will not share details that may impact current Xbox 360 sales with consumers holding out on the successor. Be sure to take this with a grain of salt. What may be true right now may change when the console eventually comes to light and is officially announced.

Let's dig into what's being reported on.

Kinect

What's interesting about the information published by Kotaku, the Kinect accessory would become mandatory. While it's said to be shipped with every console, it would seem slightly over the top to be required for video gaming to take place. But this could enable developers to include more functionality into games, such as profile detection and other visual features.

The camera technology is also upgraded with the capabilities of tracking thumbs, as well as reading facial expressions (or so it's claimed). The viewing angle is said to be so wide that the new version of Kinect doesn't need to "nod" to work out the best angle.

Storage

It's long been the case that Xbox 360 consoles can be purchased with bags of storage, or with a minimal amount of space available. This is said to be removed with Durango and will enable developers to take full advantage of hard drive installation. 500GB for each box will prove to be enough for game installs and media.

What's particularly special about the requirement to install games is that it's said this process can take place automatically, while the title is currently playing. In the background, the console would install the remaining sections of the game to the hard drive, eliminating the wait. Cool, huh?

Multitasking

As noted above, the Kotaku source claims videos games will be able to be run alongside another. Hate having to quit playing just to check Twitter on the current Xbox console? In Durango, the next generation Xbox, games are reportedly able to be suspended, enabling players to pause a game, switch to another app (or game) and return to the original game without losing the state.

Cat Xbox Controller
Even cats can use the Xbox controller - source

Controller and app

The controller for Durango will be a "natural evolution" of the pad now available for the Xbox 360. According to their source, Kotaku suggests the Xbox 360 control pads will not be compatible with the next generation console as Microsoft is said to be implementing new wireless technology. For mobile, the companion app is set to be improved greatly to take advantage of new features.

Specifications

This is the part that majority of consumers are interested in. What's going to power the next Xbox from Microsoft? We could be looking at an 64bit 8-core 1.6GHz CPU, 800MHz DirectX 11.x graphics processor, as well as various "custom hardware blocks" that would handle tasks to take strain off the CPU.

The sketches shared by the source show 8GB of DDR3 memory, along with a small amount of flash memory for system tasks. Finally there's a 50GB disk drive and 500GB hard drive (as mentioned above). The above more or less backs up what was rumoured previously, if we look back a few weeks.

3D gameplay is said to be supported and for those who have a capable TV will be able to enjoy a more immersive experience should developers support it. Let's also not forget Microsoft Research and its IllumiRoom concept. WiFi will be included as standard (as well as an ethernet port) - no more purchasing expensive dongles that simply don't work.

There you have it, folks. That's what was revealed by Kotaku's source. Take it how you will and remember that some things could change or be incorrect. We're still looking at rumours including a constant online requirement to help DRM enforcement. There's a lot to speculate on until Microsoft finally announces the next console. 

Remember to take this how you will.

Source: Kotaku

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Reader comments

More details surface on Microsoft's next generation Xbox, including hardware and Kinect info

123 Comments

If ps4 rumored to cost around 450$, new Xbox shouldn't be more then that, I doubt they want to lose even small percentage of gamers

Admit it, after you see how good new games look like, you'll buy it anyway, maybe after some time, but you will

No, I have a gaming PC so I know how good game can look. I still buy games that I play online, but other games I just get from gamefly. This would render gamefly useless. If the next Xbox doesn't play used games, I'll only be getting a PS4. If they both do this, I'll just stick to PC gaming.

This is a funny statement.  I know the drm rumors for both the PS4 and next Xbox aren't great, but how is you used game situation on the PC?

Wait, what? PC gaming is ~no longer~ much cheaper. You mean right? I used to game on the PC when they were $10-20 cheaper than console games. But not any more. At least since 2009-2010 PC games are now the same cost as console. Which is one of the reasons why I've switched to xbox (well that and because my plasma G20 kicks ass).

If thats a deal breaker seems like the next gen console for you is WiiU as ps3 is said to be going the DRM enforcement route aswell....im not happy about this either but i will still give them my money

You guys realize that games go down in price over time right?  You sound winey and entitled that you want the newest games with out paying the new game prices for them.  Wait a year and you can usually get the GOTY edition for $30 or less. 
::sits back and waits to get roasted for this comment::

You are right, but that's the case regardless...so why would anyone pay the same price for a game that can't be played on another xbox, is not portable, is not re-sellable, and doesn't cost the manufacturer to burn it to disc and ship it? 
Its basic economics, you just don't pay the same price for a product that has been reduced to this. 

IMO, some new games shouldn't cost $60 when, at times, they aren't even worth that. And then to top it all off, some of these companies release DLC that really isn't DLC but stuff already on the disc, but you have to pay additional to unlock.

It's funny how these comments are quite a reflection of our society in general. This is the time of 'I should get stuff for free', in here, and in the real world. And they're both wrong...

Uh not roasting you but people are not whining so much about buying a new game. People are pissed at the idea that if they buy a game and beat it, don't like it or get tired of it they can't resale it. So basically you spend $65 on a new title and you can't resale it and recover some of your money. A lot of people do this and then put some money with it and buy the next new title.
All this is irrelevant. 1. This would kill sales. There would be some that would buy it but not many.
2. It couldn't happen in America. That goes against capitalism. The American political system would squash it.
3. Microsoft / Sony wouldn't want all the Negative publicity a lawsuit would bring

I think most of this has to do with the gaming industry getting burned by reselling games.  Game devs don't see a penny when gamestop resells their games 50 times.  Game sales have gone down a lot for game manufactures so I think this is Sony and MS's way of trying to help out the devs. If companies start going under cause they can't maintain the cost of developing a game and see a few people buy them and resell them all day through outlets like gamestop, then eventually we don't have enough good games to play.  I personally don't mind this approach.  You buy a game at full price you run the risk of it not being that good.  Same as paying for a movie.  Otherwise rent the game and try it first, then buy it if you like it.  Or like many have said, wait for it to drop down in price later in the year.  

Do you know what you just said? Name one other thing you can buy and not have the legal right to resale it? The gaming industry is bloated and puts out to many junk games.
According to what you said when the auto industry was a the brink of collapsing it would've been ok to sale vehicles that couldn't be resold. What if Ford, chevy created a car that was only able to be driven by the original buyer?
You get over bad times by innovation and making something people want not by greed like this.

You just said that it's OK for systems not to play used/resold games... but then recommend that people rent a game first to try it out. You can't rent a game if the system wont play used games because a rented title IS a used title.
I'm sure Sony/Microsoft will figure out a DRM solution so that people can play used discs. The DRM will probably be localized to the disc, and not be associated with the system that runs it.

Microsoft might see this as a product worthy of subsidization however, because of the element of subscription needed to play game online (Gold). This could easily end up being the same price as the current 360, with Gold prices rising as the compromise.

Oddly, I'm not quite sure if that's a good or a bad thing, lol. Guess it all depends on how much per month (or year) it would be, but at the same time, requiring to pay for Gold has really helped Xbox Live move along a lot faster than PSN (I mean, XBL did have Netflix for a good long time before it went to other systems).

More than likely, Microsoft will take a hit again on consoles to get people to buy it.  They make their money back on software, music, movies, Xbox Live, etc.  As long as they don't run into another RRoD issue where they have to fix/replace a bunch of Xbox units, this is a great strategy.
 
That said, it'll obviously be more than the Wii U, which is already around $350.  I imagine Durango will cost at least $499.99 USD since current 360s with Kinect are still kinda pricey.

Ms will take a hit on consoles, as every console is sold at a loss the past couple generations. The money being made will be from live and games sold not the consoles. I cannot recall but I think it was 3 years before xbox and ps3 were not being sold at a loss?

Why do people say its expensive, i remember the original playstation was averaging £500+ with a single game when it first came out!

I think it's pretty obvious that the new Xbox is going to be subsidized. "Cheaper" up front cost the NA audience loves plus people are locked in to whatever the next version of XBL Gold is for a year or two.

Microsoft should of waited and used Intel 5th generation Broadwell (Microarchitecture) would be 3x more advanced than AMD APU hardware!

Yeah, they wait and give PS4 a HUGE lead advantage. No, what is rumored is plenty powerful for the average gamer. What I want to know is how do these specs compare to the rumored ps4 specs.

They have the same CPU, but different GPU specs and the next Xbox will have more ram, according to the rumor mill. 60% is just ludicrous. That's a fanboy rumor.

Wasn't the current PS3 supposed to be a lot stronger than the Xbox?  You might have your own hand picked examples, but from what I saw of games built for both platforms, there was almost no perceptible difference in graphics.  Theoretical limits don't always translate into real world values.

Well that's a very good sign then, you know since the PS3 was 2x more powerful than 360 according to specs, 2TFLOPS vs 1TFLOP LOL.  Gotta love the hype!!  I can't wait until E3, I want to see playable games on the floor from both, none of that pre-rendered nonesense.

Microsoft got burned by Intel and Nvidia with the first Xbox. It only makes sense to use and AMD APU since the GPU portion will be the most important for gaming.  Intel is still behind in the GPU department.

I am a HUGE Intel fan, but I think you misunderstand what Intel wants to do with haswell and broadwell. The focus will all be on the iGPU and power usage, extremely little focus on raw performance. AMD is probably the best choice as they provide more cores per $$ and unlike Intel HT tech, bulldozer is much easier to program for.
 
Still going to use Intel in all my builds, but AMD is the right choice for consoles

Are you crazy? First of all, Intel always has a new microarchitecture in the pipeline. If you always wait on the next one you will never release a product. Secondly, what does Intel charge for their processors? Well over half the cost of the console would be going toward the CPU alone. AMD is better on cost, and they are better on graphics anyways. Consumers won't spend $500+ on a console anymore and If you people think MS and Sony are going to heavily subsidize this new generation like they did for the last one, you are wrong. The sad truth is that the game industry is on the decline and MS and Sony are smart enough to know that. They may subsidize the consoles a little bit, but I think both will try hard to sell their consoles at actual cost. The game industry isn't growing like it used to and its too risky to try and recoup massive console subsidies down the road with royalties.

I really wish xbox can enhance digital,downloads get games downloaded on release days (with physical media still available).  Install parts of the game and then then activate with a code on release day. 
Of course most people dont want that so they can purchase used games. 

Sounds like there trying to push their kinnect. Why should I need a kinnect in order to play my games? Huh? And what's the purpose behind running two games at once? These graphics are getting crazy! I love it. I grew up on blocks and sharp edges. Mind-blowing at the time.

I doubt anyone is playing 2 games at once, its more about multitasking.  For instance you can pause game and take a skype video call on the nextbox.  Currently you cant do that on the xbox 360; you can stop the game and then use kinectchat (messenger) to do the video call - but it pulls you out of the game and current state - requiring you to end the kinectchat and then booting the game back up.

Well, I think Microsoft had/has a lot of ambitious plans for the Kinect but a lot of devs weren't jumping on board with the kind of usage they may have wanted. Making sure every gamer has a Kinect kind of maximizes the install base so devs may be less prone to thinking, "We don't get sales from people without a kinect, so why bother making our next AAA title using it?". Microsoft got some big devs on board to add in a few voice commands, probably by throwing some money around, but what ever happened to gestures for AAA big-budget titles and other such advanced things? I can't see Activision wanting to justify spending the time putting super extensive kinect functionality in something like Call of Duty if they can't guarantee the majority or alll of their users even have a kinect.

Making sure all users have minimum hardware and controllers is what separates consoles from PCs. Game makers don't have to wonder how many players can take advantage of some voice recognition feature because the answer will be 100%.

It also can be used so you can use IE while playing a game. For example you are playing tomb raider and get stuck, open IE and search for a guide. ;-)

Yup. I thought it weird for Microsoft to adopt the architechture when Apple dropped it for x86. Considering Microsoft already has compilers for ARM, X86, X86_64, MIPS, etc, I was surpirsed when they made the jump towards PowerPC.
More recently, Microsoft has been trying to unify their compilers under a universal one in Visual Studio 2012. Perhaps this is part of that move

*sigh* It saddens me to see the next XBOX is actually less powerful than my current computer. Give me a copy of the XBOX OS and my current build would fly circles around the actual next XBOX.
Also, we are talking about a source that claims to have two development systems in his possession and actually tried to sell one of them. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking he's a little on the untrustworthy side.  I'd have ranked this a '4' MAX.

Yeah I wouldnt believe in a guy like that, but the entire gaming media seem to trust this guy a lot.
 

It supposedly has specialized chips to offload intensive operations for the CPU... That's probably the secret sauce of the console.

It doesn't matter how powerful your computer is if game makers create games based on he most popular PC configuration. Besides I doubt you have even half of the video frame buffer Durango is rumored to have, most high end GPUs have about 2GB right now and most go wasted since PC aren't pushing beyond that, naturally since you need 100% or at least close to that support before any game maker in their right mind decides to go beyond that, they want to sell you know, and that's where consoles come in. Massive levels with no load times or streaming textures, exceeding 4GB of video? no problem since 100% are capable.

Whatever you do don't buy the first batch, as its always recommended not to.. But, I'm sure this will be a awesome machine. I'm just wondering if MS is going to dislodge its head from its ass and advertise the new Xbox along with WP8.xx...

Wrong!!! Buy it, then sell it on eBay for 2x as much, then wait for stock to return and buy another one for free... FREE XBOX

And then be hated by everyone who just wants the damn thing but can't find it and will never pay more than MSRP.

+10000. People who rush in to buy a highly anticipated product (usually multiples of said product) then turn around and sell it for tons more money really grind my gears (to put it lightly). That snipes the sale from someone who legitimately wanted it themselves and then they have to wait who knows how long.

The illumiroom stuff will be the next generation's Kinect.... In other words, it wont be a feature at launch, but will instead be released later and be used to refresh the 720 experience a few years into the cycle.

It's a deal breaker for me, if the new Xbox doesn't support old controllers. I spend to much moneys this year on Forza wheels, Rock Band instruments and Lips microphones to just throw them in the trash this October.
And if the architecture change makes the console incompatible with x360 games like Dance Central, they can shove it.

You should expect nothing except big games to be backwards compatible in a new console. Granted it would be awesome if it were true (I have only halo controllers starting from 3), a new console is a completely new system and should be treated as such. Past history is a pretty big indicator for Microsoft.

Nothing too surprising, the difference between Halo 2 for XBox and Crysis is the least we should expect after 7 years. Xbox 360 is really long in the tooth if you've seen more recent PC games. I'd hope it would be something that could run the new 3DMark at a playable framerate. Generally new consoles are about on par with contemporary gaming PCs.
The tech videos of the next gen Crysis and Unreal engines should give some idea of what we can expect games to look like around launch.

This. Even though they have really been able to push current-Gen consoles to the limit, these games are still years behind PC games, there's no comparison.

And it's about time we see a leap in power for consoles, it's been holding back the development of the PC gaming market as well.

I don't know how credible the guy providing all this but if it is true it would be somewhat counterproductive to where Microsoft is trying to go. But I would still buy since the only games I buy is must haves at launch. I usually catch others on amazon or eBay at deep discounts later

I really hope they allow us to play games without the disc in the drive. PC's have been doing it for years. Disc-swapping is so last generation.

If they did, they'll have come up with some other form of DRM. Requiring the disc in there, even if not spinning, helps them assure game devs that each instance of the game is an individually purchased instance - so one person couldn't buy a copy of Battlefield 3 and pass it around some sort of "Xbox LAN party" so everyone can play at the same time for free. That's how I always saw it, anyway.

The DRM will probably be similar to the way Steam does it. So as long as you are signed in under your account all your rights to play games will be available whether its a disc game or pure download.

That's also how they will deal with used games. Buy it second hand? You still have to pony up, let's say $10, for an unlock code so you can play. No more cutting the publishers/developers out of that used game money.

Well if that's the way they're gonna do it, say goodbye to swapping game discs with friends to try out what they got.

Never had a problem with my Wi-Fi "dongle" . Plugged it in 7 years ago and never looked back. Simple and works flawlessly.

If they stop charging for accessing streaming services, I will definitely get one - free online gaming will be great too

Not practical, how would they get their money back? Unless I'm mistaken, MS maintains the servers for the games and Sony doesn't. Plus, hate to say it but part of the reason why Sony got hacked so badly is because they didn't want to pay to upgrade their security, not like people were paying them for online to defray the cost. :) You get what you pay for. I'm with you on the streaming Netflix and the like though.

I read the sourced article and the Kinect requirement bothers me. The idea that there has to be the Kinect camera there isn't good. They can use this, to see who is watching what, for marketing. Perhaps they could also use it to charge people more if more than 2 people are watching a rental.
Bottom line is, I don't want a camera in my house that has even the remote possibility of watching/monitoring me. Sounds crazy but in a sense, that's one reason they would want it to be forced on us.

They're not doing this so they can watch you on your couch in your aluminum foil hat, they're doing it to increase adoption of the technology so more developers will use it in their games. This is Microsoft, not Google, no need to be so paranoid. (p.s. By reading this statement you have given Microsoft full legal access to your thoughts, thanks for playing. Sincerely, Your soon to be Overlord, Steve Ballmer)

What I'd like to know:
-Will it play current Xbox games, both full and arcade? What a shame to not be able to play a lot of the games we own now, until the new Xbox catalogue fills up.
-Will the new wireless technology still allow the Warhead 7.1 headphones to connect i.e. will it be the 5ghz tech? I've been wanting to buy a set of these, but if they won't work with the new Xbox, then I'll save my 400 bucks.
 

I hope the multitasking thing is real. I suggested something almost exactly like what is described in this article during an Xbox dashboard beta. I suggested that the multitasking show cards like WP multitasking works.

They're still going to announce it well before you can buy it. Just pretend that this is the announcement and you can buy it at the end of this year ;)

Not a fan of required installs whatsoever, but I am interested in this whole "install while playing" thing. Could it make the system a bit harder to develop for seeing as how the parts of the game that can be played before install will have to be specified? IIRC, PS3 required installs due to Blu-Ray's drastically slower read speed as opposed to DVD, but I imagine that new tech still isn't fast enough to warrant playing the entire game off the Blu-Ray disc. Or maybe Blu-Ray can never be as fast as DVD. Either way, if I have to embrace mandatory installs, at least I can play some of the game first.. *sigh*... they'll probably unlock multiplayer first until the whole thing is installed :(

the PS3 has a 2x Blu-ray drive, which is the problem. these leaked spec sets generally are listing the new Xbox as a 6x Blu-ray drive, which alleviates that problem a lot

Microsoft have been asking around the software companies to try and arrange a subscription game fee just like Netflix for movies. That might shut up the second hand game complainers.

I'm so excited.
Ps4 will be more powerful, like the ps3 is. But id be surprised if the ps4 is easier to code 4. Sony have not managed it before so I don't see why they start now.
I want to see what will happen to Indie games though....

Is there anyone on here like 40 and over that plays Xbox. Just curious, or am I breaking the mold. Its hard to imagine I'll ever stop. I can see me playing at 70. You know take the ol' false teeth out, put on my oxygen and get ready to save the world. . . Yeah that sounds about right, getting my ass kicked by a 5 year old. Lol

I must say that while I'm excited about the new console, some of these rumors bother me. I wish the new one would support the old controllers. On the other hand maybe they'll surprise me with their reasoning other than recouping some of the cost through new accessories. I also understand their logic for Kinect bundling, most devs don't code for something that isn't on every console, but there's no room for a Kinect where I play my 360. I don't like the DRM thing, but if done in a way that doesn't punish the official owner, I'd be ok with it.

Crazy idea but how about building a mobile into the control pad, that way you dont need to move to answer the phone hehe
 

Still waiting for news on the replacement app for Media Center. We need Live TV from the dashboard thant connects directly to the guide and recorded TV on an attached PC running a cablecard tuner. It's time to kill Media Center as all of it's functionality has been surpassed by the xBox dashboard. Let's go MS....

Current controllers not working is the deal breaker here.  I don't mind pushing out K and other goodies, but I have 4 controllers, 2 still sealed.  Oh well, it will be a while before I would upgrade to this mess anyways.  I only got my 360 2 years ago after my xbox moved on without me.

I gave up PC gaming a couple of years ago and went Xbox and I love it. But I have real problems if it needs needs the internet just to function. Besides the philosophical problems, my internet here can be crappy at times. When I'm COD'n and my connection is unstable I usually pop in Forza for some offline playing. Also the Kinect always on. I don't understand that needing to be active. I don't have one and will never have the need to get one. Is it constantly pulling information while sitting there? I'm sure some electronic tape over the sensor would solve it.

I guess for now these are all rumors.

Well if you were into PC gaming a couple of years ago then l'm assuming you are familiar with Steam. I'm sure that the next box will have an "offline" mode that pings the servers once to make sure all your stuff is legit and then disconnect.
I also suspect that the built in Kinect will be more utilized for headset-less voice recognition than anything. And if you watch the Skyrim with Kinect videos you can see how it's a MASSIVE improvement when you have more complex games.

I'm done with Xbox, all of those ads and this focus on entertainment rather than games has driven me away. I don't like the direction they're going. I'm getting a Ps4 next gen.

LOL I love your response to their over reaction. Won't he be pissed when he hooks up his PS4 and realized it too is focused on enterainment...
 
And while ads about random stuff like gym shoes and deodorant is annoying I welcome any ads alerting me to game items or stuff that's available to download from the marketplace because not everything is on my radar all the time. I usually ignore the non-game or movie stuff just like I selectively ignore ads when I'm on the internet or watching TV