Everything We Know About The Next Xbox... Count Down To May 21

May 21. That's the day that Microsoft will, finally, put an end to all the rumours and speculation and heresay and whispers about the successor to the Xbox 360 and actually show us something.

Or at least tell us something. Either way, make it official.

More so than the reveal of the PlayStation 4 earlier this year, it will be a relief for those who follow the video game business on a daily basis because, more than any other system in living memory, it feels like we know everything about the system already.

Actually, no, it feels like we know too much. Years of leaks and rumours have painted an enormous, ever-changing landscape of what we think this new console will be about and how powerful it will be. There have been so many reports that they've all blurred into one unwieldy mess, made more cumbersome by the fact Microsoft has, until now, refused to even acknowledge the presence of a new console, let alone comment on it.

Ahead of this reveal, then, we figured now was a good time to round up everything we know - and everything we think we know - about the next Xbox. To make things easier, I've divided the rumours into three categories: those Kotaku (or other major outlets) have reported having heard from sources close to the development of the console, or the development of games for the console, those a little further afield, and thus to be taken with a few more grains of salt, and stuff we know absolutely nothing about.

Note also that much of the information you'll read below comes from Microsoft's internal development documentation for the console, which we've read.

What We Almost Certainly Know About The Next Xbox

What We're Not Sure About The Next Xbox

  • That it requires an "always-online" internet connection. This one's strange. We've heard from some sources that the console will definitely need to be online to start playing games. Others have said this isn't the case. Some are even suggesting that it's the console's entertainment and TV capabilities that will need this, not your games. Because of this confusion, it goes in the maybe pile.
  • It might block you playing used games. It might not. While both Kotaku and Edge have heard from sources that the console could somehow block consumers from playing used games - presumably until they purchase some kind of "online pass" - we've yet to hear decisively on the matter. There's also the chance, like the "always-online" feature above, that Microsoft has tweaked - or even removed - the feature following negative feedback from customers.
  • Xbox chat is gone. One interesting report from CVG said that the console's chat services would all be brought under the Skype brand umbrella. What's especially neat is that this raises the possibility of "asynchronous voice and video messages in next-gen Xbox Live".
  • Games! Because the console is yet to be officially announced, no games have been officially announced. Several have danced around this, though, saying they're either coming for "next generation" consoles (without specifying) or that in addition to systems like the 360 and PS3, further platforms will be announced in the near future. Some of these games include the likes of Assassin's Creed IV, The Witcher 3, Watch Dogs and FIFA 14.

What We Have No Clue About

  • What it looks like. To dissuade leaks, and to help track them down if stuff does spill out, Microsoft has covered its development consoles (and controllers) in what's essentially dazzle camouflage, which doesn't just help disguise the lines of the devices, but also identifies who owns each one.
  • Xbox Live 2.0? Achievements? Dashboard? Most of what we know so far about the console has to do with its hardware and specifications. When it comes to things like Xbox Live, achievements and the next console's user interface, we're mostly in the dark.

That's it for the important stuff. Whether the information revealed by leaks, reports and sources over the past two years turns out to be true, mostly true or barely true, I guess we'll find out on May 21!


Comments

    It will be interesting to see if it connects to the currently up and running XBox Live or if they launch a new iteration of it, Xbox Live 3.0, given what we have NOW is Xbox Live 2.0, as we had Xbox Live with the original Xbox.

      New Xbox Live with new subscriptions. Had a few months left on 360? Tough luck.

        so in other words, money hungry

          The all new XBOX:US (Unwanted Solicitation).
          Now with so much in-menu advertising that finding the option to play the damn game is like finding Wally (Waldo if your American) in a 6'x6' poster where all the people are half an inch tall.

        I strongly doubt this would be the case - there'd be lots of outrage about it. If it helps any, I was able to use the same Xbox live account on both the original and 360 years ago.

          Frankly, I don't care. I won't be buying any future console that needs a paid subscription to play online.

        Why? It didn't happen the first time around. Why would it happen now?

    "possibility of asynchronous voice and video messages in next-gen Xbox Live".

    The Xbox 360 has been able to do that for years, hasn't it?

    More than 100 friends?

      More than 100 friends? Damn I don't know more than 100 PEOPLE!

        Given that PS4 will allow some sort roping-in of your facebook friends, and also given that there seems to be a pretty vocal mob who want the limit lifted, you'd think they will introduce it.

    Oh I'm so not looking forward to this, you just know they won't address the always online thing at all leading to weeks or months of escalating hysterics claiming that the lack of detail is proof they're doing it, proof they're NOT doing it or proof that they're considering it and haven't decided yet.

    I tweeted major nelson asking him to address the rumour once and for all at the reveal, maybe if everyone else does the same, it might... annoy him a bit and not change the outcome in the slightest.

    Start saving for a PS4 now 'cause the new XBox isn't looking great.

    What made the PS3 shitty to work on? Custom Hardware Blocks.
    What does MS thing is totally rad this time around? Custom Hardware Blocks.

      If the leaked block diagram is accurate, that customisation would seem to be limited to putting video and audio acceleration on the die, which is no different to the approach taken by Intel or AMD with respect to their integrated graphics designs.

    Given PS4 announcing 8 gigs of ram... are Microsoft likely to do the same?

      There's a big difference between DDR3 and GDDR5. And Microsoft is apparently setting aside 3 gigs for the OS, so in effect, it's 5 gigs of usable DDR3 RAM.

    Kinect required is a real downer for me. Unless the tech adds something REALLY significant to games or ease of use on the couch, I'm not planning to buy one. I can see it's integration coming down to: Swipe hand to view next screen and some creepy shit, 2001: A Space Odyssey 'Just what do you think you are you doing, Dave?".

    I can see it now. Always on Kinect sees you putting a disc in the PS4: "Step away from the enemy. If you proceed with turning on that console, I will have no choice but to self-destruct, killing us all."

    Last edited 25/04/13 6:42 pm

      It'll make taking your console over to a friend's house for a gaming night a greater hassle.

    What would happen to all the Achievements and Gamerscores one has achieved? Will that get carried across to the next Xbox?

    As a PC gamer, I'm hoping that the rumours/leaks are true and that the new Xbox, PS4 and PC will all share a common basic architecture. Easier porting of games between platforms should mean more games for everybody, and more games is awesome.

    The only thinkg that could dampen me on the new Xbox is online being a requirement for the box to function. That's it.

    Mandatory Kinect? Cool, my Kinect is always connected right now as it is and Dance Central is reason enough to own it.

    No used games? Meh, I never buy used games and rarely if ever borrow or lend games. In fact, no used games opens up opportunities like allowing installed games to run without a disc. Which then opens up the chance to have games being suspended.

    Always online (not REQUIRING)? No problem, I like that my console will be instant on, and my dash and games will be always up to date without me having to sit through the process.

    Weaker than PS4? Who cares. It will have games I want to play, and the power difference will most likely not be enough to provide a substantial difference in performance, especially on multiplats. I have a WiiU and love it, despite being underpowered.

    I still think this thing is going to be awesome.

      More power to you then. I would find any additional requirements to play a game a hassle, especially if your Kinect fails and you have to go buy a new one.

    ...unless it has a "share" button.

    ;)

    Always online console when Gold subscription is optional... it's kind of a flawed system. Because Gold is optional, it's not about improving the game experience - there's just no argument for this other than DRM.

    Always Kinected is an issue too, for folks who like to play games in their underwear, or who get surprise sexy time from bored spouses to distract from gaming (or who like to play DOA one-handed, I suppose). Anyway, there will be much humiliating hilarity, I'm sure. On the plus side, it will be hard for adults to masquerade as teenagers, and vice versa.

    I'm happy with current gen (especially because Dark Souls 2 is current gen), so I'm set for ages. Happy to see how this all shakes out before committing funds.

    Last edited 26/04/13 3:39 pm

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