Who needs a stage like E3 when you have the Internet? The annual event may have come and gone without a mention from Microsoft about the next Xbox, but that doesn't mean we won't find out what the company is up to. A massive document has leaked online, detailing the company's grand plans for its Xbox 720. Yes, that's apparently what Microsoft is calling its next console, and it's coming in 2013.
It must be noted that these reported plans are from August 2010, making them nearly two years old. but without further ado…
Further making its push for consumer living rooms, the Xbox 720 sounds like it'll be positioned as the only gadget you'll need, acting as an all-out media hub: Blu-ray support, video acceleration, native 3D output and glasses, concurrent apps and additional sensor and peripheral support (Smart Glass?); Microsoft wants to "break down the walls between TV, movies and gaming," the document says. "Watch and play a match of Tiger at St. Andrews and see his shots inserted in real time in your game experiences."
The 720 will also provide recording functionality for TV content, unified Windows 8 foundation, a 6x performance increase over what's offered today with access to the best "Core Titles" such as Halo, Fable and GOW, and "true" 1080p output, with a price tag of $299 with Kinect 2 hardware. There's also mention of a NextGen interface (NUI enabled) and NextGen Service Experiences, which will be exclusive to the Xbox 720.
There's a bit of uncertainty within the document of which processors the include in the upcoming console, The Verge said. Microsoft seems to be debating "six or eight ARM or x86 cores clocked at 2GHz each with 4GB of DDR4 memory alongside three PPC cores clocked at 3.2GHz each for backwards compatibility with existing Xbox 360 titles."
Apparently, Kinect 2 will be more of an incremental upgrade over what's on the market today, with plans to heighten the experience with accessories and also offer support four player tracking. Rather than flat-out replacing controllers, Microsoft reportedly wants to allow accessories to interact with Kinect's sensors. "Feeling is believing," the document says. "Feel the crack of the bat, the kick of the rifle or the shake of the wheels as you speed through the turn." Kinect v2 will also come with better 3D play space, improved voice recognition and improved HD.
According to WPCentral, former Microsoft employee Shane Nokes said the leaked slides were used as "an old discussions deck," which doesn't necessarily confirm any of what's shown is legit, but you could certainly argue that this is what the Redmond company has planned.
Other highlights of the document includes Xbox TV, which has a target launch of Holiday 2012 and will fully support the Xbox 720, Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows PCs. In addition, there's mention of Fortaleza (Kinect 3D glasses) pegged for 2014 with Wi-Fi for the living room and later in 2015 it'll come with 4G support. Fortaleza seems to be some sort of augmented reality glasses, but it's unclear what type of hardware Microsoft will incorporate or how exactly the glasses will be used away from the console.
There's a lot to peruse. If we (or you) find anything else of significance, we'll be sure to bring it to your attention. Microsoft has our attention, and it looks like there's a lot to be excited about in 2013.