Today, Microsoft is set to unveil the latest generation of its Xbox console in Richmond, Washington eight years after the last version Xbox 360.
Potential names for the new console have been varied, with each backed by credible-but-inconclusive proofs. ‘Xbox Fusion’ has been suggested after a slew of domain registrations; the codename ‘Project Durango’ was supported by an early leak last year, ‘Xbox Now!’ (exclamation mark mandatory), Xbox 720 and even Xbox Infinity.
Most analysts agree that the new console will sport an eight-core CPU from AMD running at 1.6ghz. This will be supported by 8GB of DDR3 RAM, supplemented by 32MB of ‘ESRAM’ – specialised RAM connected directly to the graphics unit. A Blu-ray drive also seems a given, as well as USB 3.0 connections and a 500GB hard drive as standard. Oddly enough, the interesting point about these specs is how unremarkable they are.
According to rumors, the company could introduce single-code activations for games that would effectively lock games to this new console.
This means gamers will no longer be able to lend second-hand games to friends, trade them in, or sell them on.
A long-held rumour that the new Xbox would be ‘always-on’ has been quashed by the leak of an internal email, but no-one doubts that internet-based services will stand front-and-center tomorrow and Redmond.
Users can already get Netflix through the Xbox, and Microsoft recently started its own studio to produce exclusive content, meaning the new device is a gateway to much more than games.
“I think they’re going to try to have their cake and eat it too – they will try to get casual people for entertainment while keeping the hardcore gamers interested,” said McCaffrey at IGN.com. “They want their console on all the time, whether it’s a mom watching Amazon video, the son playing a game and the dad watching (Major League Baseball) TV on another app – that’s their goal.”