It’s time for a fresh batch of rumors about Microsoft’s successor to the Xbox 360. While the Redmond software giant is still mum about what to expect in its next gaming endeavor, the leaks continue to flow.
This time around, rumor has it that an anonymous individual with access to an Xbox 720 developer kit has said that the new console will only function if users have a Kinect (or the Xbox 720 equivalent) plugged into the system.
According to the rumor, the Kinect (or would that be Kinect 2?) will come packaged in with every console, so making it a requirement will be the same as requiring users to have a controller or a video cable.
Today, with the Xbox 360, the Kinect functions as an important part of the system, allowing users to navigate through menus and access content with the wave of a hand or an unencumbered voice command. However, it’s an optional accessory, which means the the Kinect is not mandatory nor is Xbox 360 experience is not unified.
Such has been an issue with the console practically since day one. To this day, some players have an Xbox 360 without an HDMI port, without built-in WiFi, or without a hard drive. Microsoft clearly realizes that it needs to unify the experience, which is presumably why Kinect will be mandatory on the Xbox 720.
A somewhat less surprising requirement will be that all units will have a hard drive, making it possible for game developers to require game data installations, which will increase the power of individual game titles and decrease load times.
More interestingly, the new console will be able to multitask, meaning players could have multiple games or apps open at the same time, allowing players to seamlessly switch between each application.
And finally, Microsoft will make its second-screen experience more integral to the gameplay experience. As for the controller, Kotaku’s insider says that it will be markedly different from the Xbox 360 pad,and will use an unspecified “new wireless technology.”
Previous rumors to surface include that the system will require an Internet connection and that the GPU specs will be leaps and bounds above that of the Xbox 360.
The continuous pile of rumors — along with the increasingly fragmented Xbox 360 audience — leads to an almost certain conclusion that the new console will be revealed soon, perhaps before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June.
Meanwhile, it is expected that Sony will unveil the Playstation 4, which has been kept much more tightly under wraps, at an event in New York City later this month.