Part 1: Xbox 720p1080iOVER9000INFINITY?!?!
This year is set to be a big year for the gaming industry. In the way of consoles, there is a lot of stuff that’ll be arriving in stores later this year with even more exciting projects in development.
The new Xbox is one of the big ones. Since 2005 the Microsoft has had great success with their 360 console, selling more than 70 million of them, but the time has come for their next generation console, and damn is it something to be excited about!
The new Xbox has been nicknamed the 720 by the public for about 3 years now. The reasons for its name are obvious, whether Microsoft will play to that song is less clear.
Although the public have called it a 720 for so long, that has not stopped people naming it all sorts of things over the years. Screen types and resolutions seem to play a large role, as when 1080p gaming became a ‘thing’, its nickname became the Xbox 1080, and when 3D took off, it was the Xbox 3D. This one stuck for a while as it will be the 3rd Xbox in the series, but Nintendo’s handheld put an end to that name quickly enough.
Then came the ‘leaks’, and the names got wackier and more unbelievable. These days, we are down to two finalists in my opinion, Xbox 720 or Infinity/Xbox Infinity. These two have substantial backing behind them as far as sources go, such as fan magazines.
The release of any new gadget that holds some prestige in the world really can bring out the best (and the worst) of some of the creative minds on the internet. If you’ve ever typed in ‘iPhone x (x=previous model +1) into google you’ll know what I’m talking about. Futuristic gadgets made of glass or crystal, with holographic projectors instead of screens and laser keyboards. It’s all great stuff, and people clearly put a lot of work into these creative works, but it all gets a bit silly sometimes.
As far as the Xbox goes, there have been some amazing images ‘leaked’ onto the internet over the past 2 or more years showing ‘The New Xbox’. Some of them are pretty cool, while others are just plain ridiculous…
I honestly don’t know what the deal is with these two. I can gauge no kind of scale from them at all, they both look like alien-utility-belt buckles, and are pretty much guaranteed to not be the new Xbox.
This image came with some interesting stories. Some statements were made by Microsoft after it appeared online that had theorists worldwide getting excited, plus this picture was in fact taken from an ebay listing that sold for more than $20,000. I can only pray the theorists are incorrect on this one.
These orb concept images seem interesting and certainly sparked up a lot of controversy. It’s a cool looking bit of kit I guess, but the question is, where would you put it? Can’t see it going on a shelf below most TVs. So maybe sit on the floor? Looks too much like a football for that to be safe….
Personally, I think Microsoft have still got their secret design locked up, because none of these three, nor any of the others listed really have what it takes to visually to be a high end, next gen console (and still be taken seriously cough football cough)
The controller for the new Xbox is something that has been a big point of discussion for the last few years. People of the tech world don’t know for sure what to expect. A standard controller seems quite viable as, if the rumours are true, most of the controls for your Xbox will be voice and motion based with Kinect 2.0. There are a lot of other things kicking around, but here are a few wacky ones and some more likely options.
I wanted to add this one first just to show the how truly insane some of the shit online can get. It makes no sense. At all. Why?
This next one was posted by an Xbox 720 theorist a while back, and in doing so opened a proverbial box of controllers. The inspiration that exploded from peoples’ minds was incredible, all revolving around the same, basic, staring-us-in-the-face-all-along idea: A screen on the controller. This blogger saw it as a way to add the same functionality that the Xbox home button does now, showing gamer score, friends list and new messages. What developed from there was remarkable.
All of these controllers look pretty good in my opinion. The first and third are far superior design wise and are more likely to be legitimate (or close to it), whereas the second is a bit arcade-y and probably won’t fly with the multimedia ideas shooting around, and the fourth just a bit of a gimmick of the 360 controller.
And then of course came this. I didn’t want to put this in the console design section because it is hand (or lap) held and more of a controller, but I think it’s safe to say the console is inside that beast, and not by your television. Although it steers away from Microsoft’s Kinect revolution, it offers a nice glimpse at a possible future for laptops or tablets that have the power in them to run high end games, multimedia and basic net browsing. Nice idea, but let’s face it, not going to happen.
The features of the new Xbox in this section are all speculation, as Microsoft has a strict policy on commenting about speculation and rumour. That said, I’m pretty sure there are a few things on the list that I can promise you are guaranteed.
“Kinect could quite easily end the “Get home from work, collapse on arse and game” routine.”
This is a certain feature. It has been officially spoken of. It’s just Kinect plus one. Its true features on the other hand have been kept very hush hush. 3D/Kinect glasses, voice recognition that can hear many people speaking at once, and most importantly I think, the ability to detect finger motions. That brings a hell of a lot more precision to gamers and even more options to game producers out there.
Microsoft seem to have put a lot of work into Kinect 2.0, and into its predecessor, which is great for social, family orientated games in the living room, but for the majority of gamers, they just want better graphics, better sound, and better games with more blood, drama and, if they can, sex.
I can only hope Microsoft will have some Kinect features up their sleeve that will benefit the casual/hardcore traditional gamers, without forcing them to play a way they don’t want to.
“Augmented Reality is the next step to getting into the Grid in TRON”
Augmented reality actually is a big deal, like, a seriously big deal. It involves viewing the world through some form of computer generated sensory input. Cameras, Speakers and Motion Sensors are all expected to be part of the augmented reality experience from the new Xbox. Judging by what we have heard about Illumiroom and Kinect 2.0, I think this could be a real game changer for Microsoft.
Whether this augmented reality will work with 3D televisions only, or possibly only in a selection of games (much like Kinect technology only works with Kinect games) remains to be seen, but all the same, it could be the next stage of gaming as we know it. After all, the step after Augmented Reality is Mediated/Diminished Reality: Total immersion in a computer generated world. Exciting to think I might actually get to ride a Light Cycle in my life time…. #dreamer
They’ve said this won’t necessarily be available on release, but is in the pipeline for sure.
This an interesting feature to say the least. It will be part of the augmented reality experience Microsoft wants to implement and will likely link in closely to both the Illumiroom features and the augmented reality system.
Whether it will run through any sound system such as your television or surround sound, or possibly through the console itself.
Illumiroom is a Project from Microsoft released earlier this month at the Consumers Electronics Show. Before I go into detail on this, watch this promotional video from Microsoft. Trust me, you want to see this!
You like? I know I do. I’m not going to lie to you, this gets me excited in a big way. It’s a use for Kinect that works with my game play style. I use my controller, but the game comes out at me. Of course, such a feature would require a projector and honestly is not likely going to be ready at launch. All the same, it looks like a bright future.
This product would also explain a lot of the rumours going around about the dual graphics chips inside the new Xbox. These chips are reportedly not going to run concurrently during ‘certain game play modes’. Before CES we all thought they meant 3D gaming, but maybe this is what they were getting at?
A Blu-ray player inside the Xbox is almost guaranteed. It will allow for bigger games and of course, blu-ray viewing. A customisable controller has been rumoured too, but it is safe to say Microsoft won’t offer as much customisation as the hardcore/competitive gaming community wants. The console is almost guaranteed to run on Directx11.
The Tech-y Bit
The rumoured insides of this beast have been pretty much unveiled already in Xbox World magazine, but there is still a lot of speculation flying around about the set up in the new console.
The CPU within the new Xbox is rumoured to be a 16 core processor. I can’t find official statements backing this, but Xbox World sources have published that the CPU will ‘house 4 hardware cores, each one divided into 4 logical cores’. This is most likely where this idea has come from. The speed for this processor is said to be 3.6ghz.
The standard belief out there at the moment seems to be that the new Xbox will have 8GBs of RAM. Many people have been questioning the need for so much memory, but as the specs on graphics and CPU aren’t nearly as concrete as they could be, we don’t know what their reason for having so much will be.
GPU wise, the information seemed pretty solid for a while in 2012, up until just before Christmas when it was leaked that the new Xbox will not contain an AMD 7700 series GPU chip, but an NVIDIA chip. These rumours were offset once again this year, when sources spoke of a 8800 series GPU being used. This seems far more likely than a 7700 series GPU as such chips are already available for PCs at a good price, and by the time the Xbox releases in late 2013, the chips would be overshadowed by the new 8800s due to be announced in Quarter 1 of this year.
Of course, all of this is rumour. Rumours up rumours inside rumours topped with rumours. That word has no meaning to me now….
The price of this console is quite difficult to gauge at this point. Rumours have it anywhere as low as £200, but the likelihood is that will be the cheaper model, if one is released. It will have a smaller hard drive maybe, one controller and no head set. All indications are so strong right now that Kinect will be a constant part of the Xbox experience , all models are likely to come with Kinect 2.0, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a basic and elite Kinect system available with bundles, to differ the prices and make it more affordable for everyone.
I would say the most likely price will be somewhere between £250 and £300.
The unveiling of the new Xbox is likely to happen in either March, at an ‘Apple style’ conference, or in June, at E3. These things are almost certain. There is a remote possibility they may unveil in February, but my money is on E3, just to be safe.
The release is most likely to be in November, just in time for the Christmas rush. This is also the expected time for the PS4 to go on sale. Both will want to compete, which could lead to earlier release dates and lower prices for all. I like the idea of the new Xbox releasing on the 22nd, which was the date of the 360 release.
However much of this article is speculation, one thing certainly is not: 2013 is going to be a big year for console release and development, and when the new Xbox drops, it’s going to impress.Tags: next generation consoles, xbox 720, xbox 720 console, xbox 720 controller