Xbox 720 rumour round up

Xbox rumours

We look in-depth at what the next-generation Xbox will really be like.

Following the arrival of the Nintendo Wii U, there won’t be a new console from Microsoft or Sony this year, but 2013 will see the then near decade-old Xbox 360 get a cutting-edge replacement.

We’ve read all the rumours, talked to all the ‘in-the-knows’, and this is what we may be able to expect from the Xbox 720…

Codename “Durango”

One thing is clear Microsoft will be making its own life somewhat easier with the Xbox 720 by sticking with an IBM PowerPC processor and AMD-made ATI Radeon graphics GPU.

This means backwards comparability is almost automatic, so you can play most of your old Xbox 360 games. It also makes life for developers far easier as they don’t have to relearn an entire new architecture to develop new titles.

16-core processor

A previously leaked document, supposedly from Microsoft, talked about a 16-core processor. This seems highly unlikely. IBM do supply a 16-core system for its supercomputer-style systems but it’s an enormous unit made up of two processors.

What’s likely meant is a quad-core processor with each core capable of running four independent threads and would be a significant step-up from the existing three-core with two threads PowerPC processor.

More hardware

You can expect a likely 8GB of memory inside, that’s 16 times what the Xbox 360 currently has to use. There is talk of a Blu-ray player, the new Xbox will need much more storage space than DVD can supply and it can’t rely on broadband access. So an increased storage medium like Blu-ray or the hybrid system that the Wii U has is a definite.

Finally, all the talk is of an AMD Radeon HD 6000 series GPU – likely the Turks chipset. This offers 768GFlops of GPU power contrasted with the old Xbox 360 R520 chipset of 240GFlops, which it’s going to need for all the shiny DirectX 11 shader effects. Ultimately it’ll provide six times the graphics power of the old Xbox.

Kinect 2

To make the most of its Kinect technology Microsoft has to bundle it with the console. While Microsoft has sold a pile of the Kinect devices, it’s always true that games that require accessories simply don’t sell as well. Bundling Kinect 2.0 will enable every game and all Xbox systems to take advantage of its four-player HD motion tracking.

New Xbox

While we’re calling it the Xbox 720, there’s strong reasons that Microsoft will call this new Xbox just Xbox. This will be part of a long-term marketing strategy where we’ll be using Xbox services over not just the console, but many devices and moving into the future there might not be any new consoles at all – as the way we use and play games changes.

Crazy ideas

There are also a few rumours rolling around, which while they might come into existence won’t come with the Xbox 720. The first is Augmented Reality glasses, nothing like this currently exists and the reason the rumour does is from a sketchy leaked document from very early Xbox 720 development. We doubt these will see the light of day however.

The other is more recent talk of a tablet-like controller with HD screen. This type of thing just adds heavily to the cost of a console and also seems unlikely, and we imagine it’s a misinterpretation of Microsoft SmartGlass that is already out and the possibility of a new Xbox gaming tablet.

Expect a new Xbox 720 to hit stores in late 2013 with a stellar line-up of launch games.

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