This is the nearest we’ve come to an official Microsoft reveal – a leaked design document that allegedly comes direct from Redmond. Would Microsoft really make their next-gen console a Blu-ray player-shaped box? It could point to a shifting of priorities away from a pure gaming device to more of a home entertainment hub. Or it could just be a placeholder image to help keep the design a secret.
The GLaDOS look
If the Portal designers were charged by Microsoft to create the next Xbox this would be the result. It’s a bit over-the-top, though. Imagine this under your TV – the geek equivalent of parking a Lamborghini in your driveway.
The mobile tray
This a sleek, all-inclusive portable design that we love. The slide out touch-keyboard and touch controls on either side of that large screen look great. But looks aren’t everything. Unless this came with a full-sized controller, and the option to output to a TV we wouldn’t be happy. If it did, this could roll your PC and console into one eye-watering package – that would double perfectly as a breakfast-in-bed tray.
The boxy Xbox Box
Despite its simplicity this design can’t be ignored – it’s the closest to the leaked image from the alleged Microsoft briefing document that we’ve seen so far. Box-like and basic though it might be this would fit comfortably into any self respecting futurist’s front room.
The Wii one
If Microsoft decided to take a few pointers from the Nintendo Wii U, this would be the result. While screens on controllers can be fun, it’s a bit of a fad that chews through battery life. And frankly, the current Xbox controller is perfect – it would be sacrilege to change it.
From the front cover of Xbox World Magazine, this is one of the most elegant examples we’ve seen. A side loading tray, metallic touches and the option to stand or sit all make for a simple but attractive case. It might be a bit too Wii-like for some, though – gamers like speed lines and air intakes, as proved by innumerable gaming PC rigs.
New rumors have provided additional details regarding alleged functionality inMicrosoft’s next Xbox. An in-depth report from veteran tech blogger Paul Thurrott onWindows IT Pro elaborates on several topics Thurrott covered earlier this monthincluding the next Xbox’s pricing, release date, operating system and more.
According to Thurrott, previous rumors that there will be two versions of the next Xbox are no longer accurate. He notes that Microsoft “originally planned to offer both a ‘full’ version of the next Xbox (with video game playing capabilities) and a lower-end entertainment-oriented version, code-named ‘Yuma,’ that didn’t provide gaming capabilities.” However, “plans for Yuma are on hold, and no pure entertainment version of the next Xbox will appear in 2013 (or possibly ever).”
Thurrott notes that the rumored “always online” functionality of the next Xbox is correct. He notes that “the next Xbox must be Internet-connected to use. This is the source of the ‘always on’/’always online’ rumors and isn’t as Draconian as many seem to believe.”
Following up on his report earlier this month, Thurrott reiterated that “Microsoft will initially offer two pricing models for the console: a standalone version for $499 and a $299 version that requires a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment at an expected price of $10 per month.” He also reports that the system “will launch in early November 2013.”
In terms of backwards compatibility, he once again noted that he believes Microsoft will “also deliver a third-generation Xbox 360 console this year that will be significantly less expensive than the current models.” The system is codenamed “Stingray” and Thurrott says “it’s not clear whether this device is required because the next Xbox isn’t backward-compatible or because Microsoft simply wants a low-cost entertainment box alternative.” As a third possibility, he also notes that since the Xbox 360 is still selling well, Microsoft may simply want a low-cost option since the system has become significantly cheaper to manufacture compared to its launch in 2005.
Building on rumors that Windows 8 could power the next Xbox, Thurrott writes that the system is “based on the ‘Core’ (base) version of Windows 8. This suggests a common apps platform or at least one that is similar to that used by Windows 8.” He also believes that Microsoft “could open up this platform to enthusiast developers” and reports that the company “will discuss the next Xbox developer platform at the Build conference in San Francisco in late June.” The Build conference is also where Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 8.1.
Thurrott also confirmed previous rumors that the next Xbox will include a Blu-Ray optical drive.
Thurrott added that the name of the console “is a big area of speculation” and that “while I’ve heard nothing official, I’d be surprised if Microsoft didn’t just called it Xbox.” The next Xbox is commonly referred to as Durango, though previous rumors also suggested it wascodenamed Loop or Kryptos and could be called Xbox 8. As for the console’s final name, we agree with Thurrott.