Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next-Gen Xbox

Sorry Playstation lovers. I've got nothing against the PS4, but the Xbox is my platform of choice.  Also, the next Xbox (often called the Xbox 720 but codenamed "Durango" by Microsoft) honestly just has so much more leaked information out there right now. Though mostly rumor and speculation, the details are extremely enticing.  The most exciting bit?  The release date is heavily rumored to be set for HOLIDAY SEASON 2013! 

Also, there’s some good news for both your wallet and your room space.  Its speculated that the Xbox 720 will be both smaller and cheaper than the Xbox 360, though its questionable whether connect functionality will be built in or still come as a peripheral. It’s of course assumed that, since Sony won the next-gen DVD format war, the next Xbox will also sport a Blu-Ray player.  

Now for some crazier stuff.  In February 2012, Xbox World Magazine reported that the Xbox 720 controller will have an HD touchscreen on it surrounded by the traditional controls, much like the Wii U.  The magazine also reported that the controller itself might serve as a portable gaming device, possibly allowing players to start a game on the console and then continue that same game on the go.

What about Kinect?  Well, patents have been discovered for a device that will work with Kinect to project a 360 degree 3D environment that the user will be able to interact with.  According to the patent, the fact that players still see the room around them in their peripheral vision interferes with their immersion in the experience.  This projector will allow the game's space to extend into the player's room.  Intriguing stuff, but remember that this is just speculation based on some patents.
A Design Drawing From The Patent Application
Now here’s a downer.  Though this hasn't been confirmed some sources have claimed that the Xbox 720 will prevent the use of used games.  Personally, I think its complete BS if they choose to do this.  People sell products that they've used and grown tired of all the time, why should video games receive different treatment?  The used market has given me opportunities to play great games I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.  In addition, what will this do to Gamestop's business?

Microsoft is also continuing its commitment to transforming the Xbox into a multimedia device, apparently planning to include separate CPUs for gaming and other media.  This could allow the user to pause a game, switch over to an app running some TV program, and then switch back to the paused game instantly.
SmartGlass In Action

Certain leaked documents also mention streaming of videos, music, and photos between multiple devices.  This sounds like an extension of Microsoft's recently launched SmartGlass.  SmartGlass is an app that allows users to connect their smartphone or touchpad to their Xbox 360. 

Finally, a report has claimed that sources within Microsoft's own headquarters say that the next Xbox device, or should I say devices, will come in two versions.  One will be the typical hardcore, AAA title-playing Xbox with all the perks.  The second will be a smaller, cheaper device aimed at a more casual audience.  It won't be able to play those AAA titles, but it will be able to download casual titles from the Xbox Live Arcade and play all of the other media apps.  

So what do you think?  Excited for next-gen yet?  And of course, what are the implications for the topics we've been discussing in class?  Imagine what such a melding of TV and games could do for narrative!  How could this new 3D projector or the introduction of connected touchscreens alter the gameplay space and gameplay itself?  How might the end of used games affect gamer culture? What does the creation of a separate, more casual device say about current gamer culture?


  1. I dont know how realistic the 3-d projection system is going to be. I do believe that multiple device connectivity is going to be the future, especially if you can seamlessly play between devices. Everyone already carries a smartphone, laptop (and tablet) with them. The touch screen idea seems to be the future, especially because it can have total television/internet intergergration and you can have total control of your living room with one device. (yet another pioneering invention by nintendo if the controller is true). I totally agree with the bullshit of not being able to sell used games. That probably means this system will be based on downloads and not discs. this will probably lead the way to pirating system games, but the 720 may be always connected to the internet to fight against this. Either way, its BS. I know used game sales really hurt videogame sales because the producer doesn't make money on the re-sale, but if you buy it, you own it, and should be able to sell it. Now you are going to buy the rights to play it or some other bullshit term. It sucks

  2. The used games segment has always been an issue in gaming. The PS3 was supposed to prevent the use of used games. They online codes now for games to discourage the purchase of used games. Personally, I have not problem with that. When you look at how much money GameStop (a shady company really) makes off used sales and how NONE of that money go to publishers and developers, you can understand why they would want to prevent it. It is not the same with other objects so comparing them is unfair. Sure you can buy a used car from an individual. Doing so, however, has drawbacks (financially). Also, car companies themselves sell used vehicles. It would be interesting if publishers began to buy and sell used copies. Then again, we are moving toward a digital distribution model for software in games any way so this issue will be a thing of the past very soon.

  3. It is interesting to note that Xbox is always slightly behind Nintendo in developing things like a Wii U controller. Do you think the Microsoft developers are just slower at innovating than Nintendo? Or do you think they are purposely waiting and trying to see what Nintendo has next so they can copy it and potentially make it better? After all, they just need to see what's wrong with Nintendo's products and refine it in their own systems.

    It's also interesting to note the multimedia revolution with the cloud. I'm just curious how many people like the multimedia dimension?

  4. Graam - I'm a firm believer that Microsoft is, by nature, not very innovative. However, when they see something as profitable, they can perfect it quicker than anybody else. Kind of a thing that you both love and hate about them. Also, I like multimedia between computer and phone, with some things like Netflix on consoles, but beyond that I'm indifferent. I can't see much reason for my phone to interact with my 360.

    Also, in theory the 3D projection is awesome. Who doesn't want to have the holodeck in their living room. But yeah, I have a feeling it's not going too look too great.

    1. #14 I definitely agree with your opinion on Microsoft. But what they lack in innovation they make up in business strategy. Of course they are going to take a peek at their competition, look to improve upon it, but this technique can be found across all kinds of competing business markets. Microsoft has simply perfected it, and its hard to get mad when they keep producing quality products.

      I am excited for the release of this system. Expectations will most certainly be high, but they have had ample time to work on it so hopefully they are met. Now with Blu-ray capability, I think they are going to make it difficult for Play Station to keep up.