After the announcement of the PlayStation 4 launch on 20th February 2013 it was expected to get a reaction from Xbox and it came swiftly. Microsoft had to respond to Sony’s bold decision to launch PS4 before the new Xbox model (1st time ever) and make sure that PlayStation doesn’t get all the attention.
As neither of the information had an official source we will just consider it as being rumors. We have to get one thing straight from the beginning: leaks and rumors are not accidental. Leaks and rumors are often started by the manufacturers themselves to measure the market’s response and client approach to an area of new features and ideas or just to create enough buzz around a product to create real interest (any publicity is good publicity).
That being said it’s time to break-down and analyze the rumors regarding the possible features of the next Xbox model that already have created a lot of controversy and debates (mission accomplished by Microsoft). The source of the info is the trusted website www.edge-online.com which makes it a semi-official layout.
First we notice that the Kinect sensor will be improved and shipped with the console. It’s still not clear if it will sell all-together with the console (maybe even integrated) or separately. The Kinect has been very appreciated by Xbox users and we’re expecting to see a better sensor-system with better camera capabilities and exact interpretation of our body movement. Even so, Microsoft has to sell the sensor separately because not everybody will want a Kinect and some who have the Xbox360 will just want the new Kinect.
Some other exciting news about the new “Xbox 720” are the technical capabilities that round up an eight-core AMD x64 1.6GHz CPU with a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics system and all-you-can-use 8GB DDR3 RAM memory. We have yet no info about the hard-drive, but they better consider stretching it to the maximum as we hear they have plans of installing a BluRay optical unit (finally) that will read the games off 50GB BluRay Discs.
Here is the part where it gets tricky and the controversy begins. Not only that Microsoft bails on DVDs and switches to BluRay, but they want to make the games usable for only one console and you have to be constantly connected to the internet in order to play them. The underground modding industry is already in shock as the new Xbox720 is meant to be piracy-proof. This would prove to be one ballsy move if they go through with it, but considering that about 60% of the Xbox games played in the world atm are pirated it might be worth it. Of course there are a lot of people right now that shout from the top of their lungs that forcing the user to constantly have an internet connection to play games is utterly idiotic, but is it?
It is getting clearer every day that the direction we’re heading is that of an era where all information will be transferred online, but the problem is if we’re ready for it. Microsoft surely has some statistics about what percentage of the Xbox buyers have access to the internet and bids on the fact that the gains of this move will be higher than loses. It’s even a chance for them to transform from a folk-brand to a premium-brand and create another distinct selling point against the competition. As long as they have a good string of exclusive good games to back-up the move they will pull it off.
There is one problem though: we need piracy! Don’t freak out and please, mr. cybernetic officer, put the cuffs back and listen me out. Piracy is, for as long as video games exist, an integrated part of the system. The success of games depends also on piracy possibilities as the real revenues are strictly related to a fix percentage of the gamers that play the game. The more pirate-players, the more real-players thus more games sold. Of course this will eventually have to change as the demand constantly grows and the offer grows as well, in a high competition market like this one, the prices will constantly go down and the buyers number will go up. Buying the games online will save the producer some money off discs, merchandise, distribution etc. and will be even cheaper. It’s a lot to take in at the moment, but I’m sure that if the guys at Microsoft will go through with this they have it all figured out and I trust they won’t fail.
The part with being unable to play a disc on any other console really sucks and it’s a bit farfetched. So I can’t swap with a friend anymore or take the action to his house in a weekend? That I find unacceptable.
The PlayStation – Xbox war will be more ferocious than ever and that can only be good for us gamers. Also don’t forget about the little Ouya that is announcing some great things and is making big efforts to catch up to the big guys.
I hope you will share with us your opinion about this matter.
Keep it core, geeks and freaks!