With details of the new Xbox 720 (codenamed “Durango”) to be imminently revealed on May 21st, rumors about the console’s features and capabilities have been intensely circulating online. A couple of recently leaked internal memos from Microsoft seem to contradict each other over whether the new system will require an “always online” internet connection in order to play games or access apps. This has caused a massive uproar among fanboys and gamers. Which is the truth? And what will be better for consumers?
A frequently repeated theory is that the new Xbox will retail for an absurdly low price, yet require an Xbox-live subscription in order to subsidize the hardware, similar to the way a cell phone contract works. If this is the case, will that make the idea of an always-online console more palatable to consumers?
Many Xbox fans have expressed outrage at the idea their system must be continuously connected to the internet in order to function. It seems to mirror the outcry over the recent release of the latest SimCity game which also required an always-on internet connection in order to be playable.
Amid all of this uproar a representative for Sony recently commented that “PS4 games would be playable without an internet connection” in order to quell any fears that Playstation users would also have to keep their system always online.
If the new Xbox Durango or Xbox 720 requires an internet connection to work and the Playstation doesn’t, does that mean the Playstation will dominate the next-gen console wars? Microsoft almost lost the last round with the controversy surrounding their Red Ring of Death. It was only the extremely-high launch price of the Playstation 3 that kept the two consoles competitive.
Here is what we know to be likely features of the next Xbox:
- The system will attempt to be an all-inclusive entertainment hub, including a DVR
- There will be more of a focus around the Kinect 2 peripheral, which will come bundled with the system
- Kinect Glasses or Fortaleza will be a potentially game-changing peripheral, adding augmented and virtual reality-like controls via a pair of glasses that wirelessly connect to the console.
- There will be Blu-Ray. After the failure of the HD DVD format, Microsoft will finally embrace the higher-capacity Blu-Ray disc format.
For the upcoming Playstation 4, a bit more information has been confirmed as they’ve already had their announcement ceremony. Sony has yet to reveal what the actual console will look like, but we do know that it will be released later this year, will revolve around the new trend of more “social” gaming, and feature a touchscreen controller, shown below.
It seems that all of the major console manufacturers are placing an increased focus on social and online gaming. Whether this means that the consoles must be connected to the internet 100% of the time remains to be seen, but either way, there will definitely be a focus on the online, multiplayer experience.