Leak Or Hoax, This 56-Page Manifesto Gets Some Things Right About The Next Xbox

An apparently two-year-old document, purporting to be an internal overview of Microsoft's plans for the Xbox 360's successor, surfaced overnight, and while many rightly cast doubt on its authenticity, the claims it makes are not too farfetched. Some have even been reported before.

The document, evidently a PowerPoint slide presentation, is at best an official but dated plan for Microsoft's console strategy from 2013 on, and at worst is some business student's presentation or a pie-in-the-sky wish list of everything a fanboy wants for $US299 -- starting with a console six times more powerful than the Xbox 360.

In either case, it definitely churns up discussion of what people want and expect when Microsoft brings out its next console, widely believed to be on the way sometime in the next two years.

The document came to light via NeoGAF early this morning and later was published to the document hosting site Scribd. It was then removed on demand of Covington & Burling, a law firm that has represented Microsoft. Kotaku has excerpts of its pages below.

While Kotaku can't confirm anything about the document or its origins, we have done our own reporting on Microsoft's next-generation plans before. In January, Stephen Totilo, speaking to several informed sources, reported that the Xbox 360's successor would feature a Blu-Ray drive and new version of the Kinect sensor. In February, Luke Plunkett, also speaking to multiple sources, identified the console's code name as "Durango". "Durango" isn't mentioned anywhere in this document, but Blu-Ray inclusion and a Kinect successor are.

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. Further, Nukezilla back in May reported rumours that the next Xbox console would use augmented reality glasses, featuring illustrations that appeared in this document.

To summarise it broadly, the slide presentation describes a system integrating AR glasses and other hardware sources—the console itself, a new Kinect sensor (which appears to be integrated into the console's casing) and app-enabled smart devices.

The section describing the new console's marketing position is what leads many to believe the document is from late 2010. While Kinect and Kinect titles announced at E3 in June of that year are mentioned, the Wii's successor is called the "Wii 2" and is "heavily rumoured/blogged". The OnLive Micro Console, which released in late 2010, is listed as "announced". Fable is routinely referenced as an example of "latest and greatest content".

Though this document, if real, would have been prepared before Kinect's launch in November 2010 (September 24 is given as a date on one page) it is already discussing a "Kinect V2" with "improved voice recognition", "better 3D play space recognition" and "four player concurrent tracking".

Further down Kinect gaming with props is featured, showing the illustration of a boy playing a baseball game, bat in hand. In a description of what "transmedia gaming" means, an example is given of golf: "Watch and play a match of Tiger [Woods] at St Andrews [course] and see his shots inserted in real time in your game experiences."

A SmartGlass-like experience, unveiled at E3 this year, also is described. An example is given of two friends on a couch, both looking at smart devices as a game of Madden NFL is on the screen. "Privately select your play on your personal screen and watch the result on the big screen," the slide says. Another example suggests someone watching a show could use it to learn more about actors or items featured in the telecast. These same examples were given at E3 this year.

The document positions an "Xbox 720" releasing in 2013 as an all-in-one entertainment station serving content to multiple devices—tablet, PC or smartphone. More sophisticated pitches to developers, operators and original equipment manufacturers also are detailed.

Most intriguing, however, is the slide entitled "The Road to Fortaleza", the name for glasses that will serve augmented-reality and traditional video content from the new Xbox. The glasses are described as arriving after the new console's launch, at first being introduced as devices to enhance standard television viewing, then paired with mobile technologies, and finally serving content delivered by the new Xbox itself.

Of course, all of this could be an extremely committed forger taking notes from reports he's seen elsewhere. While calling its authenticity into question is legitimate, there's no evidence for why this is or isn't fake; it's an argument leaning on cognitive dissonance either way. Would a hoaxer really spend this much time on something? Would the company that makes PowerPoint really produce a PowerPoint that looks this heinous? And so on...

It is, however, noteworthy that "Xbox 720" has never been used on-the-record by Microsoft in any discussion of its next console—Microsoft has never used any speculative name on the record, for that matter. "Xbox 720" is slang used by gamers, readers and the specialty press, though "Xbox 720" did appear as a futuristic advertisement in the film Real Steel. So its use here, throughout the document, invites a heaping spoonful of skepticism.

Reached for comment, a Microsoft representative said the company does not comment on rumor or speculation.

Kotaku has also spoken to sources who would be familiar with Microsoft's plans for the Xbox 360's successor and they say that while some features and information ring true, at best this document represents an outdated plan. None of our sources, however, was able to rule out the possibility that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax.

Rumour: Leaked Document Detailing MS Future Plans for the Xbox Line. 56 Pages Long. [NeoGAF]


    Fake. Even though it has been taken down.

    I dunno.

    This is the kind of incredibly dull internal marketing document that I'd expect to see at Microsoft.

      Yeah, the presentation is shoddy enough and full of enough marketing-speak to actually be convincing.

    eh, ps4 for me


      No faith in xbox anymore.

        lolwut? yet you have faith in a company that removed feature after feature from the PS3?

          Can I have a list of said features because the only one I can think of is Other OS.

          And the reason it was removed is because the hackers were abusing it. So when it was removed they decided to Abuse it again when Geohotz returned it.

            Backwards compatibility was a big one!

            None of that last sentence made sense.

              it does if you know what he's talking about. considering you believe sony pulled "feature after feature from the PS3" one would have to assume that you don't even know what you're talking about.

            Don't forget the ps2 backwards compatibility, my friends had a console with backwards compatibility for almost 4 years with no problems. From first hand experience I would say the only reason Sony offed that was to save money in production of consoles and to add incentive to by PS2 games on the PSN.

            Backwards compatibility, several USB slots and the induction interface.

              I hate them for discontinuing backwards compatibility, but I don't see the big deal about a couple of USB ports... how many do you really need? I wish they'd make the Dualshock available in a second size though. I know I'm not the only one who finds them too small.

                I've honestly never heard this before, but it doesn't surprise me. I remember how many people loved the old Xbox fat controllers (me included).

          the ps3 is all about the god damn games, cant say that for MS

    I'd call hoax merely due to the fact if they have planned the next xbox, why would they the "xbox 720" as pointed out as slang for gamers, rather than a proper codename for it for developers and publishers to refer to?
    Secondly, the fact that this has come out 2 weeks after e3 where the smart glass was announced, makes it seem like it's been written after it and made appear to talk in the future tense. If this was leaked before e3, it would make the whole document more plausible.
    This document just seems to be a project for business or marketing degrees, and is a consolidation of information already out there and rumours, i would be suprised to see if it were real, but it's very hard to see that it is.

      Agree, especially because of your point regarding it being referred to as the 720.

      Not only would they, at this point, refer it to by codename, I don't think any gamer has ever suggested that the device itself would actually be called the 720. There's no precedence.

      Now, it's completely possible that it is real, considering I do believe that the Gamecube was originally called the Nintendo 128; I just don't think it's likely that MS would do this.

      And that last paragraph is important. At best it's an outdated plan, but it's just a likely to be a hoax. It wouldn't be the first hoax, it would just be an elaborate one.

    Fake, M$ wont use BD it would hurt their pride too much... As far as the next gen... I'll get whatever has the best exclusives ;)

      What are you taking about bluray only started going on shelves the same year as the 360, Sony had another year to implement it into their design.

    I hope it's true but it sounds like a grain of salt. That this will actually be the future of Xbox.

    I agree about them not wanting to use blue ray, but on the other hand it's probably cheaper to use the existing blue-ray specs and pay a small licensing fee than to do Research an Dev on a new format when people have settled on blurry for disc content. They tried supporting HD DVD and it just didn't sell.
    So I don't see them having a big issue with blueray really, I think it's pretty likely to happen. If Soniq can make sub 100 Aussie dollar 3d blurry players ( I have one), then I'm gonna say the licensing fee must be very small.

    As for them calling it 720, this was at least 2 years ago and would have been very early thinking/ plans, so they probably didn't give it an internal nickname till they were reasonably sure they were going with it a year later or so.

    Seems credible, likely even, given they had the docs taken down, and mentioned smart glass tech and there's also those kinect in a console box rumours which I've heard from developers before.

    The ar glasses are the most interesting thing to me. That tech can be very cool if done well!

    I'm guessing most of this will prove to be spot on.

    I really hope the kinect 2 isn't built into the box. Such a dumb idea. Unless the kinect 2 can some how work no matter where it's placed in a room then it's the stupidest thing they could do. I mean, hands up, who has their xbox precisely under/over the middle of their TV? Anyone?

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