Xbox World Rounds Up 14 "Game-Changing" Features for the Next Xbox

Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:30 AM PST by
Xbox World Durango Mock-Up

The magazine's final issue tries to lay bare the Durango's major attributes.

Citing multiple projects that are already working with early devkits, Xbox World precedes its fourteen bullet points with some marketing speculation. "Don't expect the next Xbox to be called Xbox 3 or Xbox 720. Apple has changed the rules on branding, so when the next generation arrives it'll almost certainly just be 'Xbox'."

1. Massive Power: "Durango promises four hardware cores, each divided into four logical cores - a spec greater than anything even the most hardcore PC gamer has on his desktop."

2. Putting the Power To Work: Simon Mack, chief tech man at Naturalmotion, the developer of Euphorioa, "Right now, game environments are generally restricted to straightforward simulated objects. Having a greater level of physical simulation means you can have more detailed interaction with it. At its most basic, how about destruction? Destruction of objects, of cloth, and soon... That means your character can affect the world in a more detailed and interesting way, as well as have the world affect the character."

3. Kinect 2.0: "Coupled with a miniature projector and Benko's tech, the next Xbox could project a board game right onto your coffee table or give you a virtual keyboard at any time. But even that's thinking small compared to what Microsoft has in mind..."

4. Augmented Reality: "Microsoft's leaked planning document detailed plans to turn the next Xbox into a full augmented reality system with a new peripheral planned for 2014. The new AR specs would work alongside Kinect or Omnitouch to turn your living room into a virtual reality environment in which game characters could appear, and even interact with objects in the real world."

5. 3D Sound: "Microsoft Research has already demonstrated its own directional sound prototype (for 3D sound) - a rack of 16 speakers all working together to 'project' sound into a small area. Coupled with Kinect head-tracking, the speakers could project audio only you can hear, making headphones a thing of the past."

6. Blu-ray And Beyond: "The next Xbox should ship with a Blu-ray drive as standard, allowing for games up to 50Gb on a single disc without PS3's current problems with the tech - namely slow seek times and increased loading times in game... One rumour is that the first 'slim' version of the next Xbox will drop the optical drive altogether in favour of a download-only platform scheduled for 2015."

7. DirectX 11: Nvidia's Matt Ployhar, "It's a safe bet that the next Xbox is going to be DirectX 11 capable... That means higher resolutions, sharper textures, more anti-aliasing, tessellation etc. It's hard to describe, but check out Epic's Samaritan demo and this year's Unreal 4 demo. A good part of these game engine technologies will trickle down into the next console generation."

8. A New Microsoft: "Live's big problems come from Microsoft's side, and the next-generation Xbox will require a friendlier Microsoft if it's to become home to games like Valve's ever-evolving shooter Team Fortress 2 or multiplayer battle arena League of Legends... Cheaper and easier patching will open games up to better downloadable content and more creative ideas from developers."

9. Next Generation Controls: Min-Liang Tan, Razer's CEO, "In 2005 the 360 controller was a big improvement from the original Xbox controller in terms of ergonomics and durability, and Microsoft made huge improvements with their morphing D-pad. I think the next development will be adding buttons gamers can map freely for individual customisation... There are a lot of things you can imagine doing with a secondary screen... Controller technology has advanced so far, Microsoft could take it anywhere."

10. Cloud Gaming: "(Microsoft) hosted a mixer for Onlive's staff on August 27, with the aim of 'adding key players who want to make a real impact in creating groundbreaking new products and services'... Microsoft usually prefers to build from scratch whenever it can, so expect Microsoft's home-grown effort to appear on the next-gen Xbox and every other device you own."

11. Live 3.0 New User Features: "The next Xbox should introduce a new version of Live, with better support for social networking and free-to-play or subscripton-based games." Also mentioned is the restrictions caused by the current Friends List limit, and the neeed for a hard drive across the model range.

12. Total Multimedia: "With the latest version of the 360's Dashboard, Microsoft has already taken steps to turn the Xbox into a complete hub for their own music and TV services... Microsoft's leaked doc hints at an 'always on' console. Taken to its logical extreme, imagine your next Xbox taking the place of your Sky+ box, with a TV input and output"

13. The User Interface: "Metro is here to stay and will be the way you interact with Windows 8, Windows Phone and the next-generation Xbox... A more precise Kinect means smaller tiles and more content available on each 'page' of the dash, but Windows 8's Metro interface is already proving unpopular, so Microsoft will have to take a year of feedback into account when the latest version of Metro hits the next Xbox."

14. Always-On Gaming: "Microsoft wants the kind of speed you get from a mobile device but on the big screen - breaking down the barriers between players and the games, switching between Kinect Sports 3 and Halo 5 as easily as you'd change channels on your TV... by keeping certain games pre-loaded you can have your favourite titles ready to go at a moment's notice. That takes a lot of power and a lot of RAM - 8Gb of it."

Source: CVG

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