Microsoft caused a small panic a while back when it patented a method that would allow it to determine how many people were in a room at any given time. It would presumably use the Kinect camera to block movies from playing if more people were present than what the film license allowed. It’s super creepy, and it may just show up in the next Xbox.
Kotaku scrounged up some more details on the next Xbox from the guy who tried to sell a Durango development kit last year. He reveals more fascinating details on the console, including the above patent being put to use in the latest Kinect hardware.
The latest round of rumors confirm once again that Microsoft will be shipping Kinect as a standard peripheral with the next Xbox. The hardware has also been greatly improved to feature better tracking, and can now detect up to six people at once. Better hardware is always good, but Microsoft may be taking Kinect into dangerous territory with its next iteration.
The rumors claim that the next Xbox won’t even operate unless the Kinect hardware is plugged in and calibrated. The camera will also always be watching you as it’s on to perhaps implement the aforementioned patent, or provide some new gameplay innovation that we can’t even fathom yet. The new Kinect will also reportedly be able to track individual finger movements and detect facial expressions which makes it even creepier.
Getting away from Kinect, the rumors also reveal that the next Xbox will require every game to be installed on the console’s 500GB HDD. It’s a nice step up from the 20GB HDD the original Xbox 360 launched with, but it has the potential to quickly fill due to next-gen Xbox games shipping on dual-layer Blu-ray discs.
The most interesting part about this particular rumor, however, is how the games will install. Unlike the current Xbox 360, you won’t have to wait for the game to install before you start playing. The console can immediately start playing the game while installing it in the background. That’s an incredibly useful feature and will hopefully be present across both the next Xbox and the PS4.
The rumors also address the new controller and how the next Xbox will handle multi-tasking. First, the controller will be a “natural evolution” of the Xbox 360’s celebrated gamepad, but you won’t be able to use the Xbox 360’s gamepad on the new console as Microsoft is using a new proprietary wireless technology.
As for multitasking, the console can pause a game and let a user access social media or other content while the game remains paused. Users can also suspend games, save their progress in local memory, and jump into a second game without having to actually save within the title. Such functionality has been sorely lacking in current generation consoles, and will hopefully be standard across Microsoft’s and Sony’s machines.
Finally, the specs released by this newest source match up with the specs released by VGLeaks a few weeks ago. The next Xbox will feature an eight core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz, 8GB of RAM, a D3D11 capable GPU clocked at 800MHz, and built in Wi-Fi.
It’s important to note that most, if not all of this, is purely rumor for now. The source seems legitimate, but it could all turn out to be bunk. If this is true, however, I fear for Microsoft’s next-generation console. The requirement of Kinect always being on combined with an anti-used game online DRM solution would make the next Xbox a very anti-consumer device that would deservedly be trounced at retail.
For all our sake, let’s hope the next Xbox keeps the upgraded specs, but ditches the anti-consumer Orwellian tech.