Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Durango Rumors: Next Xbox to be “Always On, Always Connected”

by Greg Woolston

New details regarding Microsoft’s next home console “Durango” have been revealed according to new screen shots from the Durango XDK developer package. This information was posted to, and according to an article on IGN this seems to be accurate. The screen shots shown from show the setup wizard for the XDK as well as some details of what the next Xbox will offer.


The hardware overview details many things about the new Microsoft console including performance updates over the Xbox 360, and that development architecture will be very similar to what developers are currently used to working with. The most interesting points for me included the details of the system being “Always On, Always Connected”, the “new high-fidelity Kinect Sensor, which will be required for the system to operate”, and the mandatory game installs. The entirety of the notes can be read below in the screen shot from


The idea of an always on, always connected console is a little troubling. We are familiar with the always-on feature, which will also be similarly featured in the new Playstation 4. The ability for the console to quickly transition from sleep to game is a very exciting new console feature that I am looking forward to. However, I am not as excited about an always-connected console. The biggest problem with this setup is that if you don’t have an Internet connection than you’re out of luck if you want to play any games. Even though we live in a fairly advanced society where Internet is readily available in most areas there are some parts of the world where Internet access is still unavailable. Not to mention countries where there are home Internet data caps, which could lead to higher Internet bills for those affected. I hope that there will be a work around of some kind, because if the console is inoperable without an Internet connection than Microsoft will alienate a portion of their consumer base. This feature could also confirm that Microsoft is planning on eliminating the use of used games.

Used games could also become obsolete for this new system based on the fact that the system will always be connected, and that games will have to be installed onto the hard drive. While “disc media will be used for distribution” games will not be played from the optical drive. Games will, however, be able to be played while they are installing so that gamers don’t have to wait for the entire game to install. Mandatory game installs could spell an end for used games just like PC games have done for decades. Many gamers rely on buying used games to save their hard earned money. This is a topic that I don’t really want to explore at this time, but I feel that prohibiting the use of used games in the coming console generation could be a deadly strategy. Given the right amount of hard drive space I really like the idea of having all my games on the hard drive ready to play, and having a hard copy for my game collection.

The new Kinect sensor is going to be a mandatory accessory boxed with every console according to the notes. This is similar to what we expect from the PS4 with the Playstation Eye. I bet that the new Kinect will be heavily integrated into the console’s operating system, as well as most games that come out in some way or another. Like it or not motion gaming on the new Xbox is coming. The improvements to the sensor will hopefully make the experience with the new Kinect better, and be able to deliver for all of those that are pumped about the inevitable new Dance Central game.

I am eagerly anticipating the reveal of the next Xbox. Even though I have been a Playstation gamer since the days of the PSOne, competition in this industry is essential for driving it forward. A lot of features detailed in this leak are very exciting and if implemented correctly could be differentiating. But, some of them could spell disaster for one of the big three console manufacturers. We will have to wait and see.

Written by Greg Woolston
Junior Tech Editor


  1. It will be very interesting if Microsoft decides to do this even though Sony is not. It may be their ultimate doom.

    1. Lets not forget that Sony still hasn't shown us EVERYTHING yet. They might still hit us with always connected features. I'm just saying, we don't even officially know how much next gen games will cost.

      -Dexter Jaekel