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XBOX 720 Rumors

/ May 11th, 2012 1 Comment

Rumors have been flying ever since Microsoft leaked hints that they might be working on a true sequel to their second console: the Xbox 360. While there was a release less than a few years ago of a slimmer, just off a diet Xbox, fans of the system did not get the true upgrade they were hoping for. Now with E3 less than a month away, the gaming masses grip the edge of their computer chairs, looking for something, anything, about what might be announced.

Most, if not all, of the conjecture about the “Xbox 720” has gone unconfirmed and seemingly risen out of nowhere, as tends to happen on the internet. Everyone has hopes that Microsoft’s next big release will include their choice feature that was previously left off the menu. In leaks from Microsoft, the project has been called both Loop and Durango, not to be confused with the SUV of the same name, although we wouldn’t mind if the Xbox 720 had the equivalent in power (but not in size).

Rumor has it that there will be a sizable power upgrade though, necessary considering the 360 lagged behind the PS3 in sheer power, though many would argue Sony’s bad boy went largely underutilized. Some have compared the future console’s power as being the equivalent of strapping two CPU’s together, but in our experience tape has been fairly inefficient at improving overall capability.

With the amount of force that Microsoft has put behind its Kinect add-on, many think there will be much more inclusion in the future. Currently, Kinect can be bought separately or bundled, albeit with a bump in price tag of about $100. When it comes to purchasing a new console shortly after release, the cost can hurt many gamers, but historically they have suffered through. Forced inclusion of Kinect with the next console and future titles may be a very real risk, one that we don’t necessarily want to see.

While the Kinect has added versatility to a variety of games with voice commands in Mass Effect 3 among other similar features, it has otherwise felt like a novelty. Case in point, the game it comes bundled with, Kinect Adventures, is simple and fairly childish, playing directly into what might be perceived as its intended audience: non-serious gamers.

Lest Microsoft make the same mistake as Nintendo, any move towards Kinect inclusion needs to keep their loyal audience in mind: shooter/rpg junkies who like the feel of a controller in hand and their couch at their back. There is little doubt that the future of a successful Xbox will include a gamepad, but it goes without saying that some people may need reminding. Sometimes change isn’t all that great.

XBOX 720

There's no judgment here.

Another key worry for fears of the console surfaces from rumors that there may not be a disc drive on the newest installment. In an age where everything is moving towards digital, gamers wonder who will be the first to take the leap. Even with consoles moving towards more reliance on their virtual marketplaces, it scares a great deal of gamers to consider the loss of the traditional “case.” Yes, we all have that token stack of neon green game cases sitting in the corner.

The idea of not being able to “show off the old collection” in the future is a very different concept to a group that spent their childhood collecting game cartridges.

Others disagree, unable to fathom a console without its staple: games. Rather, they cite a turn of Microsoft towards Blu-ray, following in the steps of Sony.

With either choice there is fear that somehow Microsoft intends to target the used games market, which it’s widely known has not benefited them. Movement towards online pass codes that restrict game sharing have raised a red flag. Should the disc drive go the way of the dinosaur and not be included, perhaps some middle ground could be found. Those paying attention early in the Xbox 360’s lifespan remember the attempts at pushing HD external disc drives (which failed miserably). Perhaps, dare I say it, an external disc drive for those attached to used games? At least if an included drive simply must go.

Whether or not the various rumors are true, Microsoft has a hard road ahead. Pleasing everyone is impossible and demands are already being lined up. At the minimum a quieter, lighter system is highly desirable, possible with better social network integration for a fast shrinking world. And while they’re at it, perhaps better quality headsets could be bundled too. Maybe? Please!

Miranda L Visser

Miranda L Visser

Gaming since she dug an NES out of a dumpster down the street from her home as a child, Miranda L Visser contributes to Gaming Illustrated while working on her M.A. in Norway. She dearly misses steak and being able to walk down the street to buy cheap games.
Miranda L Visser
Miranda L Visser

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One response to “XBOX 720 Rumors”

  1. Clara says:

    Might not have an internal disc drive?! I’m attached to my games and their shiny cases – all lined up next to my system. It worries me that they might go completely digital. Sometimes it’s nice to have something you can actually hold in your hand, ya’know? And what about the joy of midnight releases – lining up with your buddies and proudly walking away with your new game – knowing you should go to bed but playing it anyway when you get home. I feel like all digital would take away this rite of passage.

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