Microsoft’s Xbox 720 may just be around the corner. Surprising news? It’s not as out-of-the-blue as you might think: the signs are all there, pointing to a next-generation console release that might come as early as this year. You just have to know where to look…
Xbox 720: Early rumours
The initial coining of the name ‘Xbox 720’ has been been kicking around since the Xbox 360 was announced. It’s obvious maths. We’ll only pay attention to rumour with a bit more credence.
So how about word straight from the horse’s jobs page? In early 2011, Microsoft stated it was looking for a Senior Architect and Performance Engineer for the Xbox Console Architecture Group, as well as Senior Hardware Design Engineer and a Graphics Hardware Architect.
The successful applicants would be “responsible for defining and delivering next-generation console architectures from conception through implementation.” If you ask us, that means that things are well under way at MS HQ.
Hollywood spills the beans?
Have you seen the mad robot fighting film Real Steel? Then you saw the Microsoft Xbox 720 ad banners plastered around the ring, right? No? You must not have freeze-frame vision. Check out the cheeky ad here. Is it just a gag, or a genuine hint?
Xbox 720 Graphics
John Carmack of id Software thinks he knows the score. In a recent interview, he claimed that “The next-generation will be here soon, a couple of years. It’ll be another ten times as powerful as this generation.” He went on to state a pretty conservative launch date, though: “I’d be surprised if [the current generation] doesn’t last over a decade before people wind up saying, well, we’ve really tapped out everything you could possibly do on there.”
We’re looking at a powerhouse of a machine, replete with a hexa-core CPU sporting 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The GPU is expected to be in development at AMD.
An E3 2012 unveiling?
If you don’t believe John’s word, you could subscribe to the fairly optimistic view that it’ll launch at E3 in June. That’s the word form a source apparently close to Microsoft, who seems to be readying the console to battle the PS4, which is also set to make an appearance.
“You have my personal word on this – the source is exemplary, 100% concrete, ultra high level,” says MCV Editor Ben Parfitt when explaining that both Sony and Microsoft will definitely be bringing new hardware to the table.
With OnLive gaining ground and online offerings on XBLA growing in popularity, there’s a popular theory spiraling round that the Xbox 720 will eschew discs altogether and simply feed content to you on the fly from a massive bank of Microsoft servers.
If that does turn out to be the case, we’d push the release date back a good few years. One of the major problems with streaming at the moment is that only a few people have fast enough internet connections to be able to deal with it.
It’d be unadvised to go solely online until everyone that currently has an Xbox 360 is in a position to make the switch.
We’re just a wee bit excited about the possibilities for a future version of Kinect. Beefed up specs, cameras and sensors could take the sterling work that’s already there and genuinely transform gaming.
While Microsoft may be focusing on taking the Kinect and making it play nice with your desktop PC, it’ll never truly lose its gaming roots. With that in mind, you can guarantee that when the Xbox 720 does land, it’ll be alongside a revamped Kinect sensor and some very clever software.