Up until now, we’ve heard all sorts of rumours surrounding Microsoft’s next-fen console codenamed “Durango”. But in a rather curious finding, if you head over to Major Nelson’s blog, you’d find a countdown timer ticking towards E3 2013 with the words “And it’s on…” written above it. Currently, it stands at 157 days and some odd hours from now.
For those of you who don’t know, Lawrence “Larry” Hryb, also known by his Xbox Live gamertag “Major Nelson”, is the Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live.
Microsoft wants the next Xbox on store shelves by the holiday season this year and it would make sense for the company to launch the console at E3. A few months ago, Bloomberg reported that the company’s roadmap is still confidential but the new console can be expected around Thanksgiving.
Also in June last year, a leaked Xbox presentation spanning 56 pages revealed some interesting details regarding the Xbox 720. The console might include Blu-Ray support, be capable of playing 1080p HD movies, 3D viewing and an ‘always on’ state mode for faster start up speeds.
According to NDTV Gadgets, processor wise, Microsoft is currently debating between two options – use six or eight ARM cores or x86 cores clocked at 2GHz each with 4GB RAM. These would be put alongside 3 PPC cores clocked at 3.2GHz each to enable backwards compatibility with current Xbox 360 titles. Earlier speculations have also hinted at a quad-core Intel processor.
The document also mentioned the next-generation Kinect, codenamed as Kinect V2, will have a variety of new features including better accuracy, stereo imaging, improved voice recognition, a better RGB camera and dedicated hardware processing. The key highlight among these seems to be support for four player tracking and Kinect props. Players will experience closer, wider and deeper 3D play space.
Furthermore, Microsoft might introduce Kinect Glasses codenamed Fortaleza, which will be Wi-Fi or 4G-enabled and will feature augmented reality technology similar to the Google Glass project. As per a roadmap, the Fortaleza glasses, which will also incorporate cell radio, are planned for a 2014 launch.
The question that has arisen now is that will Microsoft make two version of the Xbox? The document mentions that the Xbox 720 is being positioned as “All Your Entertainment. One Box.” This means it would provide TV recording functionality and a Windows 8 base suggests easy development of apps across the console, PC and Windows phone as well. The company predicts a 10-year life cycle for the console along with sales of over 100 million units.
Also in January, IGN, citing unidentified sources, said the console would be six times more powerful than the current 360, that production would begin at the end of 2012 and the unit would be on shelves by the 2013 holidays, claims made in this document.
The Verge earlier reported that according to “multiple sources familiar with Redmond’s plans” the company plans to bring an affordable alternative to the Xbox console that will provide access to core entertainment services. It will feature Windows 8 OS and support casual gaming titles and not full Xbox games as typically found on a dedicated console.
One thing is for sure, if this document does turn out to be (mostly) for real, the gaming business is going to get very interesting next year.