Alleged 'Xbox 720' document sparks internet speculation
With zero details emerging from this month's E3 regarding the next Xbox or PlayStation, game industry followers over the weekend proved just how hungry they are for any tidbits of information regarding next generation video game hardware.
An alleged Microsoft document, dated 2010, details what's supposed to be the next Xbox video game console, with mention of cloud game capabilities and heavily-updated Kinect motion control camera hardware, among other features.
While some outlets are reporting on the document as a concrete plan for the future of Xbox, the 56-page document -- if legitimate -- seems like more of a let-your-imagination-run-free Xbox 720 internal wishlist, as opposed to a concrete product description.
The document originally appeared on social publishing website Scribd, but has now been taken down from the website at the request of Microsoft's lawyers Covington & Burling LLP, a move that has only given the rumors more traction. Copies of the document have proliferated the web, even though it was taken down from the original source.
If it's all a hoax, it's an elaborate one -- a lot of effort has been put into graphs, artwork, business strategies, and proposed product roadmap through 2015.
So what were some of these alleged "Xbox 720" details? The document priced the console at $299 with a release date of holiday 2013, and a predicted 10-year lifecycle.
Those three basic details are believable: the Xbox 360 core system launched at $299; holiday 2013 would be a full year after the launch of the Nintendo Wii U, and at eight years after the launch of the Xbox 360, Microsoft will already be stretching the lifespan of current hardware; and a 10-year hardware lifecycle is one that both Sony and Microsoft have touted for their respective current generation home video game hardware.
The document also mentions support for Sony's Blu-ray disc format, native 3D output, concurrent apps and a 6x increase in performance compared to the Xbox 360, while being designed to be scalable when it comes to the number of CPU cores available.
It goes on to detail the "Kinect 2," an upgrade to the original Kinect motion-control hardware that features better accuracy, improved voice recognition and support for motion tracking for up to four players. Streaming cloud games and cloud storage were also mentioned in the document, which named cloud game company OnLive as a competitor.
Glasses for Kinect are also described, with the codename "Project Fortaleza" -- augmented-reality eyeglasses that, as the leaked document describes, would start off as living-room, wifi-based peripherals for more immersive entertainment experiences. In later years (2015, the document forecasts), those glasses would be radio/4G-based mobile devices in the vein of Google's Project Glass.
Also described is synchronization between users' mobile devices, PCs and Xbox hardware -- which might sound familiar if you're keeping up with Microsoft's SmartGlass
Even if the document did come from Microsoft, it's notable that the document states the information is from 2010, and any plan will have no doubt been put through numerous iterations since then (for example, the emphasis on 3D-stereoscopic games on home consoles has died down since 2010). Microsoft told Gamasutra that it does not comment on rumors and speculation.