June 17, 2012, 2:29 PM
Leaked document points to $299 "Xbox 720" for 2013
A sketch shows how the 'Xbox 720's Kinect Glasses will purportedly allow for more immersive gaming and
Some fans and observers have expressed disappointment that Microsoft didn't even bother to mention the follow up to the Xbox 360 at this year's E3. Those people should be much less disappointed by a newly leaked planning document, which details an "Xbox 720" that will include an improved Kinect, a head-mounted "glasses" display, and a major investment in cloud gaming.Kinect V2, "Fortaleza" glasses and cloud gaming
The 56-page document, which started circulating widely this morning, purportedly represents a road map for the future of the Xbox platform through 2015. The document seems to date back to a mid-2010 internal planning meeting, and is focused on how Microsoft will sell the next Xbox's new features to consumers, developers and other relevant parties. Microsoft is supposedly targeting a 2013 holiday season launch for the system in a $299 bundle with new Kinect hardware (more on that below), and plans to sell 100 million units during the console's ten year lifecycle.
(It's important to note that we haven't been able to prove the authenticity of this document, or source it directly to anyone inside Microsoft. We discuss whether the information in this document can be trusted further below.)
The "Xbox 720" described in the planning document will be six to eight times more powerful than the Xbox 360 (depending on where you look in the document). A vague "snapshot" of the Yukon architecture for the system shows a core application architecture featuring six to eight 2Ghz ARM/x86 cores, with two additional ARM/x86 cores powering the system OS and three PowerPC cores handling backward-compatibility functions. The document strongly suggests that this base hardware will be available in multiple configurations with different feature sets, using an the architecture is "designed to be scalable in frequency/number of cores," and a "modular design to facilitate SKU updates later in lifecycle."
The improved hardware will allow for "true 1080p and full 3D" output, along with flexible resizing and compositing, according to the document. The new hardware will also allow for low-powered "always on" mode, which will enable features such as a "whole home DVR" that can record shows in the background and then stream them to other devices. For game storage, the "Xbox 720" will reportedly include a Blu-ray disc drive as well as both internal Flash storage and a hard disk drive, the document says. For internet connectivity, both WiMax and HSDPA (3G) coverage are included.
The document describes Microsoft rolling out the full feature set of the new Xbox 720 slowly, starting with the 2013 launch of the system and Kinect version 2. The new Kinect is referred to as an "incremental" improvement over the current hardware, and will reportedly be able to process gameplay from up to four players concurrently using dedicated hardware processing for more detailed skeletal tracking. Other improvements to the hardware include a higher quality RGB camera, improved voice recognition, and recognition of a 3D playspace that is "closer, wider, deeper" than the existing Kinect. Gamers will be able to play seated or standing without rearranging their living rooms, according to the marketing pitch.
By 2014, the planning document sees Microsoft following Google into the hands-free, head-mounted display space with a product that's referred to as both "Kinect Glasses" and "Fortaleza Glasses" at different points. The "breakthrough heads-up, hands-free" devices will "deliver ambient experiences" and provide "seamless integration of the digital world with the physical world." Through Xbox Live, the glasses will be able to provide "real time information on people, places and objects." A sketch of the concept shows a holographic cowboy hovering in front of the TV screen as glasses-equipped players view it from all angles.
A sketch from the document showing four players using the improved, second-generation Kinect hardware.
Can it be real?
By 2015, the Xbox 720 experience will evolve yet again, according to the roadmap, with Microsoft embracing cloud gaming in a big way. Using a cloud rendering platform and microconsole, the document stresses that consumers will "never need to upgrade hardware again" to always have access to the "latest and greatest" gaming and Xbox Live entertainment experiences "any time, any where, any screen." A sketch shows a woman bringing up content from a rack of cloud servers on her tablet with a snap of her fingers.The document also features some early speculation on Microsoft's hardware competition, predicting that Sony will release its PlayStation 4 in the 2013 holiday season for around $399, while the "Wii2" (which had yet to be officially named in mid-2010) will release in holiday 2012 at a $249 price point.
As with any anonymously leaked document on the Internet, there are major questions about whether this planning document can be trusted as genuine. Yes, it does seem rather elaborate for someone to go to the trouble of faking, but other systems have seen hoaxes at least as elaborate; remember the infamous Nintendo ON video that preceded the official unveiling of the Wii?
There's some circumstantial evidence suggesting this is more than a hoax, however. First off, the document does seem to predict some Xbox 360 features that Microsoft has already announced including "SmartGlass" integration with phones and tablets, downloadable Xbox TV apps, and a Metro-inspired dashboard.
Cloud features will supposedly stream "Xbox 720" content to multiple devices by 2015.
Of course, these predictions are only prescient if the document actually comes from an internal discussion that dates back to mid-2010, as it suggests. There is some evidence that the information dates back at least a month or so: Scribd lists an upload date of May 8 for the document, before Microsoft's E3 SmartGlass announcement. Gaming news site Nukezilla posted three stories containing excerpts and descriptions from the same document earlier in May, crediting the information to a "trusted source" but still treating it as a rumor.
That said, there's a lot to suggest that the system being described in this document is a little too good to be true. The feature list reads like the fevered hopes of every Microsoft fanboy, taking a kitchen-sink approach that includes every feature you could want in a home console and some you probably wouldn't (What is HSDPA doing in a console that lives in your living room?). Then there's the price: a $299 bundle with new Kinect hardware sounds crazy, even if Microsoft is willing to take a substantial loss on the hardware (which seems a bit unlikely, given that the document says the system should be profitable "every year of the lifecycle"). The technical wizards at Digital Foundry also point out that there are some questions about the feasibility of some of the low-power hardware being discussed.
And even if this document is the real deal, though, there's some question about how useful it is for predicting the future. There's a good chance Microsoft used this document as a sort of "wishlist" for the ideal "Xbox 720," with features hitting the cutting room floor as practicalities rear their ugly head during development. A lot can change in the nearly two years that have passed since mid-2010, as well, so some features discussed here may already be a thing of the past. Regardless, it's an incredible vision of what could be, and a great jumping off point for discussion of where the next generation of gaming hardware can and should go.
An xbox powered by ARM chips usually found in cell phones could be interesting...
Last edited by Richard B Riddick; June 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM.
June 17, 2012, 10:06 PM
Most of my body is screaming fake at this document...but then a part of me believes this could actually be true to an extent. In terms of rumours released up to now....that documents detail on the power....the disc format and Kinect 2.0 have all been mentioned several times through many rumours and the idea of making it more than just a gaming machine and using it to record say tv or whatever and stream to a mobile device seems to be the newly announced Xbox smart glass. But then this would be a massive leak which I wouldn't think possible of Microsoft.
If this is true the next gen will be quite....how do I put this......interesting?? from an entertainment point of view....E3 will now be abandoned cause both Sony and MS will go...."It's not all about the games....it's about the services"
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June 18, 2012, 12:08 AM
Microsoft wants to go entertainment while thats a good thing, but because of tht they tend to forget its a gaming console. I dont support freaking cloud gaming. Everything not tangible I can never really own.
Streaming will lead to fees/premium accounts?
Backing up on harddrive is free but online probably not.
Pay for online movies etc. Where Netherlands is left in the dust.
Pay for additional bullshit what a gaming console dont really needs imo.
I like it oldskool tyvm, pop a disc in.
Online realm is too fragile.. Everything can be hacked. My ps3 crashed so I lost all my data. I hate backing up.... My own fault but still..
Nice specs, if this happens to be true im impressed, but if some fanboy put this up he should shoot himself in the head.. Damn amazing specs like some fantards wishes.
Those glasses? Have screens in them? Pretty sure Sony has the patent already. Lol.
Bitch don't kill my vibe
" If I dont like you on the internet, you must really suck ass IRL"
Courtesy of Raul aka @Hayabusa
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June 18, 2012, 1:13 PM
I think if its legit, it contains a typo.
"48 ALU" should be "480 ALU".
AKA -- the 'Turks' GPU used by Radeon 6570 and 6670.
Contains: 480 ALUs, 24 texture units, and eight ROPs.
48 ALU's is stone age...
June 18, 2012, 3:10 PM
i don't think people would go through the hassle of typing and drawing concept art and diagrams for a fake doc for fun xD defo it it over 50 pages long, i think this is true, and if it is it looking a great concept, consoles are not just about games, it about being the ultimate enternaiment system with games being a part of the concept
Thanks to Kira for the Beautiful Set
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