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Xbox 720: Always-on DRM and mandatory Kinect

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- The Xbox 720 will launch in 2013 at $299. The system itself will be "six times" more powerful than the current Xbox 360
and include a Blu-ray drive, native 3D support, a built-in DVR, and hardware-based backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games.
- The system will also be bundled with a more advanced version of the Kinect sensor (Kinect V2).
-The console will also feature tablet-enhanced gaming, which echoes their E3 announcement of Xbox SmartGlass.
- "Fortaleza" augmented reality glasses will be available in 2014.
- And Cloud-based gaming on "any screen" will be available in 2015.

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In recent memory, rumors have surfaced that suggest the next Xbox, whether it be called the Xbox 720, Durango, or something else entirely, will be a console that is always connected to the internet. This unfortunate notion is commonly referred to as always-on DRM, usually requiring consumers to be online in order to access their software. A new leak is corroborating the always-on rumor, as well as suggesting that the Xbox 720 will require all games to be installed to the hard drive. We’ve written about the always-on Xbox rumor before, and if you’ve been paying attention to the recent SimCity controversy, you’d know that always-on DRM is rarely met with any kind of positivity from a user standpoint. Always-on DRM is thought to be Microsoft’s answer to curbing used game sales; if the console is always connected, it can verify whether a game is used or not. Ever the vigilant leak mill, VGleaks showed off some Xbox 720 development kit screenshots, and the hardware overview section stated that the console will feature a hard drive with enough storage capacity to hold a large number of games. On top of that, the overview stated that the console will not run games from the optical drive, which would make the optical drive basically an install-slave for games, and nothing more. If the games cannot be run from the optical drive, this is more support for the theory that the Xbox 720 won’t run used games. Being always-connected and having a mandatory HDD install point to a one-and-done kind of system. Games would be installed from the disc, then activated online. If this system ends up being confirmed, then that means optical discs would most likely just serve as a software backup for the person who installed and activated the game, just in case something happens to the data on the HDD. Though VGleaks has a decent track record regarding its reports, the hardware overview documentation from the development kit is dated from 2012, which means Microsoft could (or will) have enough time to decide whether or not it wants to stick to its locked-down ideals.

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Though always-on DRM and curbing used sales may not be enough to crush the console giant, they could certainly do enough harm to send Microsoft reeling back to third place. We’ve already gotten a good look at the PS4 — the actual PS4 casing aside — and measures as drastic as these rumored Xbox 720 ones were not mentioned. That doesn’t mean that the Xbox 720 will be the only console to employ such measures, it could just mean that Sony has been a more coy about them. However, for the majority of the PS3′s lifecycle, Sony allowed a purchased piece of downloadable content to be shared amongst multiple users who didn’t pay for it. Not too long ago, Sony significantly reduced the number of users that could partake in this software sharing, but still allowed it. Sure, you had to share PSN accounts that store sensitive information, but if you had trusted friends you could easily share legitimately purchased games. The emergence of always-on DRM — and now more rumors corroborating the Xbox 720′s attempt to curb used games sales — are making those days look far gone. We wouldn’t worry about these Xbox 720 rumors just yet. Considering how powerful internet backlash has become in recent years (somewhat changing Mass Effect 3′sending, SimCity getting an offline mode to name a few), we wouldn’t worry too muchtoo much about these rumors until the console actually launches with them. The loudest hubbub about the next generation of video game consoles isn’t about new games or even the quality of the graphics — it’s all about the controls. The PlayStation brand has stayed with essentially the same configuration for a decade and a half, and the Xbox 360 controller has become the de facto PC gamepad thanks to widespread support. Now rumors are starting to circulate that the next Xbox will drop 360 controller support, but require the next-gen Kinect. Kotaku has a source named SuperDaE, infamous for attempting to sell an early Xbox 720 dev kit on eBay, and he has some juicy information about the upcoming console from Microsoft. Despite the next controller being extremely similar to the 360 controller, the 720 won’t work with the older controllers. Supposedly, this is related to a move to different wireless tech, but it sounds like a good way to sell more controllers for $50 a pop. Don’t be surprised if this rumor turns out to be true. That potential accessory money is too difficult to give up. Unsurprisingly, this report has the next version of the Kinect shipping alongside every single Xbox 720 model. The unconfirmed specs include a 1920×1080 camera, a 512×424 IR depth sensor, and the ability to track 25 different joints on six people at a time. That sounds a lot better than the original Kinect’s lackluster specs, but let’s consider that rumors say that this new Kinect is required to be plugged in to operate the console. Tin foil hat privacy enthusiasts and apartment dwellers with limited space are all collectively wincing at this point. None of this is written in stone until we hear it directly from Redmond, but requiring the Kinect to be plugged in while demanding an always-on internet connection is arrogant and brave. The Xbox 360 was able to own the traditional console gaming space in the United States during this generation because Microsoft released the hardware early, and had an outstanding online platform — despite the fact that it imposed a yearly fee. An always-online console with baked in next-gen Kinect support might turn off some gamers, but will likely help distinguish the Xbox 720 from the PS4, PC, and Steam Box. It sounds like Microsoft is betting big, and we’ll see soon enough if the Xbox team is able to pull off something special, or if they’ll fly too close to the sun.
Microsoft , How to , IT/Tech


  1. inFormal's Avatar
    wtf is with that joystick bro ???

    that is all
  2. razvanultra55's Avatar
    thats just a concept, for now....