NeXtbox Rumours

The Latest Gossip on The New Xbox

Every day, and almost every hour of every day, seems to bring a new rumour about features and potential announcements for the next Xbox console. It’s unlikely that Microsoft isn’t working on the heir to the Xbox throne, but just how close things are to announcing a launch date, we can only guess at. Of course, there are plenty of people do the guessing and speculating for us. With hearsay and conjecture coming thick and fast, I’ve collected some of the best and the worst of the rumours for the next Xbox.

Next Xbox to launch in 2012

This is a bold rumour and one which doesn’t carry much weight. Just this week, Xbox 360 saw its best sales week ever. In the US, it shifted over 960,000 units, making it a very merry Thanksgiving for Microsoft. Added to this, Kinect sold over 750,000 in the same week, confirming the strength of its peripheral. With these figures in mind, it wouldn’t make sense for Microsoft to announce a new console now.

Microsoft has always made it clear that it will support Xbox 360 for as long as it’s selling and with things looking so healthy an imminent launch is unlikely. Plus, this would only give them 12 months from announcement to launch, which is a huge undertaking. However, Xbox 360 was announced in March 2005 and launched for the holiday season of the same year, so stranger things have happened.

Finally, Halo 4 has just been announced on 360 with a Q4 2012 launch date pencilled in. Vulcan logic tells us, that a game this big would be saved for the next Xbox, making it the perfect launch title.

My verdict: Unlikely

Cloud Gaming for the Next Xbox

Cloud technology is the big new thing, being led by Apple, by and large and word on the street is the next Xbox will hanging with the angels up on the cloud. This is less of a rumour and more a hint direct from Microsoft at GDC China.

In a report by Gamasutra, Brian Prince of Microsoft said, "You will be seeing things in the Xbox platform that’s cloud-specific."

He went on, "I’m already doing it, it’s really exciting, but I can’t tell you about it or else I’ll get fired."

So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth and who am I to argue. Whilst this does some confirm some commitment to cloud gaming, I think the next Xbox will offer a combination of both, allowing gamers to purchase and play the way they want to.

Verdict: Very likely

Next Xbox To Go Digital Only

Leading on from the cloud gaming argument, some of the latest rumours have gone even further, to suggest that Microsoft could offer a lower cost, entry-level machine with no disc drive.

We know that Microsoft has a history of offering two machines at varying prices and specs, so this theory doesn’t stray too far off the beaten track. DigitalFoundry has reported its predictions for an entry-level machine that focuses on digital content services such as Sky and Netflix, as well as games.

With rumours of Kinect 2 coming, it would make sense for this to launch with the new Xbox and would add more weight to the idea of a digital only, Xbox light, at a recession busting price. Meanwhile, the hardcore could go for the higher priced hard disk version with backwards capability (we hope).

Verdict: Entirely possible

Kinect 2 on its Way With Lip Reading

The rumour is that Microsoft are planning to release a Kinect 2 sooner, rather than later. The device is also supposed to feature lip reading technology, which will allow it to interpret facial expressions and determine which way they are facing.

It doesn’t seem too much of a leap for Kinect 2 to be able to lip read and perhaps even detect a smile versus a frown, but there could be serious questions over the accuracy of the technology.

According to Eurogamer, Kinect 2 will not use the existing USB connectivity, allowing it to stream more data and use a higher camera resolution.

Eurogamer reports that the Kinect 2 will be bundled with the next Xbox console. With only a year since the launch of Kinect, I’m inclined to agree with the games website. It would be silly to kill Kinect now, simply to rush out a sequel that could become a valuable selling tool for a brand new console.

Verdict: agree

NeXtbox Announcement at CES

Some on the rumour mill are predicting a Microsoft announcement at CES in January 2012, but this seems like a ludicrous theory. If Microsoft really are unveiling the next Xbox, they will want to make a huge splash and the sensible money is on E3 2012, backed up by a serious consumer announcement, similar to its MTV special for the 360.

Verdict: never

The only question we really want to know is; what will the launch line-up look like. What do you want to see at launch for Xbox 720?

Most played: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Most wanted: Mass Effect 3

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