Monday, February 25, 2013

The Next Xbox Will Be Announced April 26th: Here's What We Know

Next generation gaming is here and with the Playstation 4 already taking the first step into the world, gamers are beginning to see what the future looks like. Not only are graphics improving, but the way we play is evolving. Sony unleashed the PS4 and we are thrilled with what they have been doing, now we are excited to see what Microsoft has been working on.

*Note- Microsoft has not confirmed or commented on any of these rumours and speculations. Information is subject to change.

The Announcement
US Techs, the company that produced Microsoft's E3 2012 presentation, have claimed a domain registering an event that will mark the unveiling of the next Xbox console. We now know that Microsoft will hold the event on April 26, 2013.
We will update this article if dates and times change.

The Rumours
Next-gen consoles have been a magnet for rumours and speculation because of the high-levels of excitement and the importance of how they will mold the next decade of video games. Lets narrow down the rumours.

Kinect will be a mandatory feature for the console and you'll need to configure it before you can even begin to play it out of the box. This design strategy will allow developers to implement the use of the camera for all games because it will be apart of the core console. Kinect will be able to track six individuals and will also be able to automatically identify certain players. It's claimed that the Kinect 2.0 will track thumbs, know if your hands are open or closed, and read your facial expressions.

Rumoured Xbox "720" Dev-Kit
VGLeaks has released the latest of SPECs on the next Xbox console:
8Gb of RAM of DDR3
8 CPU cores running @ 1.6GHz based on an x86 architecture
AMD Custom DirectX 11.1 class 800-MHz graphics processor
500Gb HDD (I predict 1TB)
50Gb 6x Bluray drive
12 800MHz Compute Units (PS4 equipped with 18 800MHz Compute Units)
Able to compute 1.23 Teraflops (PS4 can do 1.84 Teraflops)
USB 3.0
Gigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi & Wi-Fi Direct

The notable part to pay attention to is the fact that this report claims that Microsoft is using DDR3 RAM. Sony has placed GDDR5 RAM into the Playstation 4. 1GB of GDDR5 RAM is equal to almost 2 GB of DDR3 RAM. We will just have to see if Microsoft used DDR3 for the DevKit and is saving the newer and more prevalent GDDR5.

With the inclusion of USB 3.0 games could now be purchased on flashdrives, installed on the console, and played like any other.


We are in a digital age of gaming and the more memory you have to dedicate to games, media, and miscellaneous files the better. The retail version of the next Xbox console is reported to have a non-removable 500GB harddrive (HDD), this would be greatly needed if games are going to be installed and downloaded. Next Xbox titles will require an installation for games immediately and will be formatted in sections so that you can begin playing as soon as the game starts installing and will continue as you play. Games run much smoother on the Xbox 360 after installing them because it allows the console to process more data from the HDD than reading it off the disc, so expect titles to run faster on the next Xbox console.
I predict that a 1TB HDD will be announced either on April 26th, E3 2013, or later in the next Xbox's lifespan. 
The new Xbox is also reportedly going to feature the ability to multi-task. Unlike current consoles, you will be able to pause one game, hop over to the dashboard, an app, or another game, and then be able to flip back to the first game without any progress being lost. This is nothing new for PC gamers or handheld gamers, but it is an advancement for consoles. [Kotaku]

Xbox Live on the next Xbox console should have more connections with social networks, free-to-play titles and indie games, as all are major evolving influences in the gaming industry. Look for more integration with the OS, the internet browsers, and of course Xbox Live which should get a massive overhaul when the new system releases. I expect Xbox Live "Silver" members to gain more abilities and advantages than they have now. If Microsoft was paying attention to Sony's Playstation Meeting event they should use Cloud gaming as a medium to instantly play demos, watch videos, and stream games right off of servers. If the next Xbox console will have 500GB-1TB of memory that should be a sign that downloading will be a huge avenue for media entertainment.

The controllers for the next Xbox console will be a slight evolution of the Xbox 360's; being as not much is changing. Buttons will have quicker respond time and analog sticks will have a smoother surface. According to Kotaku, the Xbox 360 controller Will Not work with the next Xbox console as they use what Microsoft is calling a "new wireless technology." 

Initially the next Xbox console was labeled as "720" by consumers because of its similarity to "360," although Microsoft chose to label the Xbox 360 to describe it as immersing the player in a world where they can see 360 degrees around them. "Xbox 720" has never been officially used by Microsoft so assuming the console will be called that is unlikely. The next Xbox console was code-named "Durango" behind closed doors and was used as the name for the Dev-Kit sent out to developers.
The new rumour is that the next Xbox console will be called "X8" or "Xbox Infinity." According to the official Xbox website a tutorial page teaches users how to use the "X8" interface. Could this be a leak? The "Infinity" part could be the "8" turned on its side. This also follows the same scheme that Microsoft will incorporate Windows 8 OS into the console. NBC News reports that "Xbox 8" domains have popped up as well.

Live-Wall/ Illumniroom-

Microsoft has been working on IllumiRoom for years and once the patent they filed was official they started toying with the ideas and ways to use it more and more. The technology that will enable the next Xbox console to project 3D game environments onto the walls of a room. The tech is linked to the forthcoming Kinect 3D glasses - rumoured to be called Fortaleza - which will presumably allow players to see the environments in 3D. 

The tech has been described in Microsoft's patent reads:
“Interactive media experiences, such as video games, are commonly delivered by a high quality, high resolution display. Such displays are typically the only source of visual content, so that the media experience is bounded by the bezel of the display.”
“Even when focused on the display, the user may perceive architectural and decorative features of the room the display is in via the user’s peripheral vision. Such features are typically out of context with respect to the displayed image, muting the entertainment potential of the media experience.”
“Further, because some entertainment experiences engage the user’s situational awareness (e.g., in experiences like the video game scenario described above), the ability to perceive motion and identify objects in the peripheral environment (i.e., in a region outside of the high resolution display) may intensify the entertainment experience.”

IllumiRoom will most likely be a peripheral device that is able to attach the the console to project the images on the walls and greatly improve your field of vision within the games you play. There is no confirmed price but I predict the device called IllumiRoom/ Live-Wall will be $199-299 by it-self.

The company has promised it will present a paper on IllumniRoom at a April 27 conference in Paris.

Constant Internet Connection-
There was a huge rumour in January that detailed both the PS4 and the next Xbox console would require constant internet connection in order to perform, but Eurogamer proved that rumour wrong for the PS4. Microsoft has not commented on this but if they force the console to always be online in order to work that could drastically hinder entertainment for all types of gamers and could easily discourage users that imagine situations like black-outs and extreme weather.

Release Date-
TBA obviously. Reports claim November as the launch window other cite "Holiday 2013." Other believe that it will release in Q1 2014 but I find this highly unlikely seeing as Sony has unleashed the beast that is the PS4.

This is a touchy subject. Sony never mentioned a word about price on February 20th and Microsoft has been unnervingly mum about their new console so speculating about price is well...speculating. 

The image above is from a 56 page PowerPoint document uploaded to Scribd by an unknown source according to GIbiz. This document details a Microsoft road map for the Xbox console through 2015 have been revealed in a 56 page PowerPoint document uploaded to Scribd by an unknown source on June 16, 2012.

This old but detailed document states that the next xbox will release at the price of $299 and has a 10 year lifecycle. The plan, as it seems, is a mission for "True 1080p and Full 3D", implying an ability to run 60 fps games at 1080p resolution. This report also claims that the next Xbox is designed to stay on constantly to allow for multimedia operation, to be "the only box you need for premium living room entertainment." It will run in a low-power state when not in use. Listed by the PowerPoint the next Xbox console included Blu-Ray, along with USB 3.0, HDMI, 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet, PCI-E, DisplayPort and SATA connectivity. Storage includes the Blu-ray drive, a hard disk drive, and flash storage as well. Video RAM is pegged at 4 GB of 128 bit DDR4 RAM.

Possible Next Xbox Games-

Watch Dogs from Ubisoft
Assassins Creed "4" from Ubisoft
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from CDProjektRed
Destiny from Bungie
Black Isle Studios RPG
Fallout 4 from Bethesda 
Fallout New Vegas 2 from Obsidian Entertainment
Dragon Age 3 from Bioware
Batman Untitled Arkham Sequel by Rocksteady Studios
Just Cause 3 from Avalanche
According to Dual Pixels:
  • Known first party Xbox Next games: Halo Trilogy Remake, Chief Samurai by Rare, Project Gotham Racing, Kinectimals 2, Rise, Carnival Park, Fable 4
According to GamingEverything on Friday, Jonathan Browne, who is a senior product manager within Microsoft’s first-party development group, confirmed, via a LinkedIn profile, his position within Microsoft and also said he has been working on the development side of four upcoming new Intellectual Properties (IPs).
"I am currently a strategic Senior Product Manager/Product Planner within the Microsoft 1st Party Publishing group.
"I have been the primary product manager on four unannounced new IP and have been a key contributor to bringing these IP from the very early concept phase through green light to production."
According to Digital Trends:
  • Rare is working on Kinect 3 and/or Perfect Dark 3
  • Unnamed Black Tusk title
The following are from IGN:

  • Next-Gen Call of Duty developed by Infinity Ward; A job listing on its site calling for a senior animator "with experience in game development and an interest in working with next-generation technologies."
  • Bethesda; A job listing on Bethesda's site calls for "experienced programmers to work on cutting-edge technology for an unannounced game on future-generation consoles."
  • Ready at Dawn Next-Gen Game; The developers of the God of War PSP games are developing "an exciting new AAA IP for a Next-Generation home console game system."
  • Next-Gen Sonic Game; Sega notes that Sonic "won't become photo-real" in next-gen games and that he "will always remain stylized and will have that bright, colorful world. What the high hardware spec will allow us to do is make that more convincing."
  • Square-Enix "Luminous" Games; Square-Enix is showing off its "Luminous" tech engine, capable of highly realistic next-gen graphics. Luminous will make games 30% cheaper and shorten development cycles.
  • Crytek Next-Gen Game; Perhaps Homefront 2 or TimeSplitters 4. Crytek was the company that originally outed the Xbox 720's Durango codename.
  • Lionhead Studios Next-Gen Game; The studio has been on the lookout for programmers with experience using the Unreal Engine, and "significant experience leading teams designing and implementing modern rendering engine." Example given is DirectX11, which is rumored to be compatible with the Xbox 360's successor. This could be Fable 4.
  • Remedy 'Future-Gen' Game; Alan Wake developer Remedy posted on its community forums that it is hiring more than 20 people for work on a game for "future generation consoles."


  1. If this IllumiRoom really becomes a thing, PS4 is screwed. Unless Sony has a lot more up their sleeve. Lacking a feature like Illumiroom could be a deal breaker for me with the PS4

    - Dexter Jaekel

    1. That was interesting. Not sure I agree about Illumiroom. How would it work if your walls are a dark colour? You can't project on to black. What if your room is tiny or an odd shape? I'm curious about the difference between DDR3 & DDR5 where did you get the technical specifications that say 1 equates to 2 of the other.
      Not a bad read though.
      Do you want me to knock up another Bingo Card?

    2. Fixed with link and pictures included
      And Yes another bingo card would be nice.

    3. Thanks. Still don't understand it but I'll do some more reading about it.
      That 1st graph is a nonsense and I'd remove it. It's not a proper graph. It's there for marketing effect. Thanks for answering my question.
      I'll get cracking on a new bingo card won't be until Sunday though.

  2. I sure hope that Rare returns to its former glory and brings us an amazing game again.

  3. Good read of the possibilities for the next Xbox. Is Microsoft pushing more towards centralised home entertainment rather than console gaming? I know we'll find out more in April but there's a worrying lack of 1st party support and originality in the studios/titles on board with MS, most sites seem to be listing sequels that are multiplatform. Not that Sony won't do the same, but I feel more confident with them giving the gamer something original.

    Not sure on the IllumiRoom concept like Connor says, and along the lines that Samsung's TV with the mood backlight didn't do well because it was distracting rather than immersive. Will need to see it in action though before judging.

    1. They'd be foolish to stick in the core console gaming genre rather than evolving to an All-In-One Home Entertainment system. We discussed sony's take on this on Ep73. CEO of Sony America Jack Tretton, his interview on CNBC he had stated a line or two about it as well.

      The idea is add possibilities, rather than to limit the devs and in turn limiting the consumer. We are an evolving society and these companies need to adapt or inevitably they will perish.

      Interesting point about the illumiroom. I am confused about it too. I am not sure if there will be complications or you will need a college degree to figure out how to set up and use the function. A lot of people have their TV setting at an angle in the corner of the room. Still a square room to you and I but, may be interesting as you said about oddly shaped rooms. I imagine the ability of the Illumiroom to detect walls that are of dark complextion, will be hindered significantly. Maybe the user will need to keep all lights on in the room. How would it react or change to 50 people in a tiny room? Maybe a RockBand party or something (for arguments sake).

      Lord, this could be interesting. Sniff..Sniff...Do I smell the NextBox Bowing to the PS4? =)

    2. It was Philips not Samsung but you're right about distracting. The main model was white and horrific. I think the advert featured the Hulk on BluRay. Your light in your living room is based on the same tech.
      I'm shocked the lack of information about 1st party support. There's very little differences I can see in the hardware specs.

    3. You're right, was Philips, getting confused with the mood light app on the Samsung TV portal.

      Rich, I have the same thoughts on room configuration and how it would work. Are we also talking about needing equipment with several built in projectors to get the effect? I wonder if this will be something like D-Box, aimed at high-end market rather than all users. Still concerned they will move away from core gaming to some degree, I get the impression some current Xbox Live users think this is happening already.

  4. Now that's what I call an article. Well done. Referencing is far better, credit is given to original writers, images have copyright marks on them. You've even included some of your own opinions. I would hate to see what you had written, before I so savagely attacked the article that shall not be named.

    I'm sure you're not in a place to thank me for the assistance I've given but I can tell you really went back to the drawing board and started from scratch. You should be very proud. I know I am. Please try to keep up this standard of writing,  you are so much better than a puppet for PR companies. Don't do their job for them. Quick hits are faster losses. You don't need to prove you can repeat someone else verbatim, most readers simply don't care.

    I would like to know how much of what you have written you actually understand? This is not a direct cricism. I'm more concerned about if you get questioned about it can you explain certain parts in layman's terms.

    You're prediction of Xbox Infinity and your deductive reasonings are sound. I haven't had chance to run the document through TURN IT IN to check for plagarism. So I certainly wont make any further accusations.

    There appears to be a couple of predictions you've missed. Just looking at the hardware flow chart.

    1.S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Inteface) looks like it will an optical out generally via TOSHLINK connector, would allow up to 6.1 DolbyDigital EX / DTS ES or 2.0 LPCM.
    2. There's also something interesting about the use of HDMI1.4.

    Firstly resolution allowed by HDMI1.4 allows Quad HD (4K resolution). Could the NextBox also output this resolution?
    HDMI standard allows HEC (ethernet connection) also ARC (Audio Return Channel). Allowing sound to be output as 11.1 if it was decoded by the machine it self or allow LPCM to an external decoder / amplifier.
    You also can see it's showing a HDMI1.4 IN. This would allow control of the NextBox via TV/AV remote, may also allow DRM free content to be recorded to HDD. It's also a standard for transmission of 3-D encoded data. Something the 360 was simple not capable due to it being HDMI1.2. If memory serves me correctly but I'm open to being corrected.

    I'm also currious about the idea of USB3.0 flash drive idea. I'm not sure how this would work. Currently a Scan Disk 64gb would cost over $100 each and can transfer data at about 100MP/S. I'll let you do the math on how long 50gb of data would take to transfer.

    A few questions:

    1. Would MicroSoft brand their own like Sony's PSVita game SD game cards?

    2. Would you go to a GameStop et al and be charged $60 to have the game installed on that card? Maybe they would swap it for one that already has the game on it.

    3. Would you then "own" the game via Xbox Market Place? This could eliminate the used game market straight away. Personally I'm not comfortable with the idea but it does look like what they maybe aiming for.

    I'd really interested if you have any opinions on this.