Early last week, there was another leak regarding Microsoft’s Next-Xbox/Xbox 720/Durango/Microwave Machine That Plays Games. The leak, courtesy of VGLeaks, contained not only a look at the software installer for the system’s Dev Kit, but also a complete overview of the system’s hardware, which could serve as a glimpse into what Microsoft has in store for us going into the next generation of consoles. Previous rumors about always online connectivity and the inability to play used games were slowly eating away at my enthusiasm for the Durango (which is shall be referred to as for the rest of this article), and now, in light of the most recent leak, I’m left with little to no optimism towards Microsoft’s next foray into game consoles.
I wouldn’t say I’m afraid, but I’m certainly concerned.
Now, there are a couple of things the leak revealed that I could get behind. Like the different power states and the system keeping my games and console software up to date, but the fact that it’s an always online console is a bit of a turn off. Despite it being the year 2013, my internet still has its stupid moments and every so often it’ll decide to simply not work, as if to go on strike.
“With this ‘Always On, Always Connected’ design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install updates,” says the hardware overview. I’d happily trade always online for waiting for installs. Just don’t have them take a ridiculous amount of time to download and do what they need to do. I’ve dealt with numerous software updates on the PlayStation 3, and as long as you don’t take as long as that, we’re good.
Making the new Kinect sensor a requirement for the console to even operate, though? Not good.
“Every Durango console will be sold with a new high-fidelity Kinect sensor, which will be required for the system to operate. The console will provide HD video, and will use new depth sensor technology to provide better screen resolution and less noisy depth data.”
Um…just going to drop that little tidbit about the required Kinect and keep on trucking, huh? I mean, I can understand why Microsoft would want to give everyone the joy that is the Kinect, but making it a necessary piece of hardware in order for the Durango to even function? Why?! When has forcing something onto a person ever resulted in a good outcome/response? I suppose that’s what this is all about, really; forcing people to conform to one specific path instead of offering options. This even extends to the games themselves, which require a mandatory installation to the Durango’s hard drive. Games won’t even play from the disc; their only function being to get the game on your Durango system and then become utterly useless.
None of this sounds appealing. None. Not even the stuff I said I kinda liked, because that’s been overtaken by the mandatory features and hardware requirements. Part of me wants to believe that this won’t be Microsoft’s plan with their Durango, another part wouldn’t be all that surprised if this ended up being true, and the other, third part of me that I rarely refer to is wondering if I should calm down and wait for Microsoft to do…whatever the hell they’re doing in April.
I usually try to ignore rumors/leaks and opt out in favor of more solid information, but an Edge source claims that they’re ‘entirely legitimate.’ And like I said above, I’d put this in the realm of things I’d expect Microsoft to be capable of; it’s just extremely unappealing, be it true or not.
When the time comes to invest my money in a new system, and this ends up being what the Durango has to offer, I can’t say I’ll think twice about migrating to the PC or the PlayStation 4 (another system that could use a little more clarification).
I’ll be happy (happier) when all the cards are on the table, regarding the next generation.
Kyree didn't have an N64 or Dreamcast as a kid (so sad) and he doesn't remember finishing any of his PlayStation games, but skip to the PS2/GC/Xbox era and everything changed. He hasn't been outside to play tag in forever, but he can recall playing way too much Smash Bros. and even more Kingdom Hearts; seriously, he can recite lines from it. I think he may have a problem.
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