Microsoft is going to reveal the next-gen XBOX on May 21. So we thought why not do a round-up of what we know till now. The XBOX 720 or just XBOX whatever it may be will be one of the biggest reveals of the year and if Microsoft gets the launch right there’s little else that can go wrong. We’ve heard of the always online thing to play games as well as that the new XBOX will have an x86 AMD processor running the show. So let’s get into it:
The console will run on an 8-core AMD APU (Jaguar) clocked at 1.6 GHz, with 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an internal HDD of unknown size for storage. This is the same chip used by Son’y PS4, so its not just the innards which will decide the fate of the console wars. The Sony PlayStation 3 was far ahead in terms of specs when compared to the Microsoft XBOX 360, but that did not stop the XBOX 360 from taking the console market by a storm.
The new XBOX will also feature support for Blu-Ray and will ditch the HD-DVD support the 360 has. There will be a new controller modeled on the current XBOX 360 controller but won’t be backward compatible and old controllers will not work on the new XBOX as well. The new XBOX is said to exclusively use wireless controllers.
The new Kinect sensor will not just be an input device to the XBOX, it will have its own processing power with improved speech recognition, body and eye tracking as well as stereo imaging which will create a 3D map of the player. The Kinect 2 is expected to support upto 4 players.
The next-gen XBOX will ship with the Kinect 2 as a standard accessory. There’s also word of immersive gaming tech that was shown by Microsoft Research and may make into the Kinect 2.
Software & Apps
So there will be a new dashboard, more apps including a Pizza ordering app from Pizza Hut as well as XBOX music which is the new re-branded Zune service. The new XBOX will use a modified Windows 8 core which might allow it to run apps written for the desktop platform. Therefore, it will be easy for developers to create new apps for the XBOX.
Microsoft also wants to make the new XBOX the center of your livingroom, so its going to take over your TV too. The new XBOX will take in the HDMI signal from your set-top box and overlay UI and features from the Xbox onto the existing TV channel making your TV Smart. Its similar to what Google TV or Apple TV does.
There have been more rumors regarding the new XBOX, especially that a XBOX branded tablet will be launched which will act as its controller for all entertainment functions as well as for screen sharing among multiple Windows devices. There will be other accessories on display as well including heart monitors, Microsoft’s own IllumiRoom which uses projectors to extend gameplay onto walls on your room for immersive gaming and many others. There is a lot resting on the next XBOX for Microsoft as well as game publishers.
There is one bitter piece of news that has been circulating that the new XBOX will require an always on internet connection for games to be played, Microsoft’s designer for the XBOX was also fired on his “Deal with it” tweet regarding the said requirement. AT present though Microsoft has neither denied nor accepted the requirement of an always on internet connection, but we’ll know for sure on May 21st. The cards are dealt and its time to see who will be the Ace of Hearts.