We take a look at some possible release dates for Microsoft's Xbox 720
E3 2012 has been and gone without Microsoft letting slip any information about the Xbox 720 release date. Not even confirming if it will be called the Xbox 720, if it will play Blu-rays, or how much the Xbox 720 will cost? So let's wade through some weird and wacky online rumours. There's been no official word from Microsoft relating to these questions, so take some of these rumours with a pinch of salt. Updated on 08/02/13.
Update:The latest rumours on the Xbox 720 include that it will require a constant internet connection to function. It is also claimed that physical games will come with an activation code rendering them useless as second hand. Lastly, the new version of the Kinect sensor will have improved, Siri-like, voice recognition, for wake on voice, natural language controls, speech-to-text and more.
Xbox 720 release date and pricing
Admittedly, it's always hard to confirm the reliability of a 'leaked document'. They can come from anywhere, which often includes somebody's Photoshop canvas. Perhaps the most noteworthy leak arrived in the form of a 56 page business plan titled: “Xbox 720-9-24 Checkpoint Draft 1”. See also Fifa 13 release date, features and screenshots
The PDF was originally featured by file sharing site Scribd and spread to other online news sites including Reddit and Nukezilla. Although the text dates back to August 2010, it was leaked only last month. Soon after, The file was removed by a law firm associated with Microsoft due to copyright infringement. The 'confidential' text pointed to a holiday 2013 launch date for what it referred to as the “Xbox 720” and the accompanying “Kinect V2”. Now for the obvious question: Surely if this was a fake document Microsoft wouldn't have bothered to pull it from the net? Visit PS4 release date, specs and rumour round-up.
Threats from entertainment giants such as Apple and Google mean that Microsoft will need to do its best to compete. A section of the file acknowledges that Nintendo and Sony might be dishing out a system around 2013 too, so it would make sense to join the console battle around the holiday season. See also GTA 5 release date, features, maps and rumours.
From what we've seen online, it's looking like the Xbox 720 may not be as expensive as you think. The file removed by Microsoft’s legal team quoted a launch price of $299 with the new Kinect. This is surprisingly cheap for a launch console, considering that back in 2005 the Xbox 360 came out at £279. Such a small price tag on a console yet to be announced is one of the more questionable rumours we've stumbled upon.
Xbox 720 Features
We've discussed pricing and release dates, but what about some of the rumoured features? Let's take a look.
Xbox 720: You can play it wearing fancy glasses if you want to
The 56-page leak was bursting with juicy hardware and software rumours, including news that Microsoft could be introducing augmented reality glasses for use as a peripheral. It's a concept that sounds reminiscent of Google's Project Glass, which was announced back in April. Don't get too excited just yet, though. The Xbox 720 timeline within the document claims that augmented glasses would come much later than the consoles initial launch.
Xbox 720: You can play it in 3D
'Full 3D', to be precise. This means you'd be able to play games and watch films that literally jump out at you. 3D technology would spark a new lease of life into games that have become synonymous with the Xbox. Maybe we'll be seeing a 3D Halo title in the future.
Xbox 720: You'll be ducking and weaving in front of an improved Kinect
We could eventually be getting our hands on a new version of Microsoft’s motion sensor in the form of the “Kinect V2”, which will supposedly include a host of features, such as: better 3D play space, improved voice recognition, 4-person movement tracking, dedicated processing and an upgrade to the camera included with the current Kinect. You won't need to rearrange your living room before playing, as the improved camera can see your playing environment 'better than ever'.
If these rumours hold any truth, you'll also be able to play a game via the new Kinect V2 with up to 4 players simultaneously. The document says the evolution of the sensor is 'an incremental improvement'.
Xbox 720: Blu-ray support will be included
The Xbox 720 could ship with the ability to play Blu-ray DVD's, along with built-in DVR features. The new system will be the “only box you'll need for premium living room entertainment”, says the leaked document.
Xbox 720: The console will run faster with a new interface
4x – 6x faster, potentially. Playing exclusive next-gen AAA titles at six times the speed you're used to would be a treat. A nippy new Xbox would undoubtedly do wonders for the proposed dashboard changes, too. The leaked PDF refers to a “NextGen interface”, so we could be seeing a shiny new UI to compliment returning applications such as NetFlix.
Xbox 720: Cloud gaming will be a key focus
Microsoft would be wise to explore the cloud gaming market as its proved very popular elsewhere. Cloud-based gaming service OnLive boasts millions of online users and is a major competitor. Sony also has an eye on working with similar technology, following its recent acquisition of Gaikai for $380m.
Rumours from a number of sources claim that you'll be able to access your Xbox content on devices other than your Xbox, and the leaked PDF supports this theory. One of the images in the leak shows a man playing football on the TV, using a tablet as a second screen to display team information from the game. A unified system that would allow users to switch from one device to another would be very handy indeed. Potentially, your content could be shared across your console, PC, and Windows phone.
What are your thoughts on the latest Xbox rumours? Let us know in the comments section below.