Move aside Playstation, because you’ve got some competition on the way. While everyone is waiting to see what Sony will be announcing on February 20 (PLAYSTATION MOVE 2!), there’s also Microsoft and their Xbox division, with codename Durango on the horizon. So what can we expect from that piece of next-gen tech? Mandatory installs, Kinect integration and multi-tasking, for starters.
Kotaku’s source on the inside, SuperDaE dropped some new details about the rumoured project. SuperDaE first arrived on the scene when he attempted to sell a development kit for the Xbox 360 successor, before Microsoft halted those plans. SuperDAe was also the person who revealed the original 90 page document for the Playstation 4. Moving on, here are some of the more interesting tidbits surrounding the console.
First off, each Durango console is going to ship with a new and improved Kinect sensor bar. But don’t think of it as an optional accessory, as the installation of the device will be mandatory. It’ll need to be plugged in and switched on at all times, as the camera will indeed be watching and tracking you. Said to be able to track the motions of up to six “skeletons” at any time, the Kinect camera can now also spot thumbs and facial expressions.
Hopefully it can do this without needing to be set up in an airplane hangar of empty space, because this feature could hamstring quite a few gamers in the process.
Moving on, the next Xbox will also be sporting a beefy hard drive according to SuperDae. When the Xbox 360 first launched, consumers had a choice between a core model that shipped without a storage device, and a 20 gig Pro model. It created a market for gamers who were a little tighter on cash, with subsequent Xbox 360 models amping up the hard drive storage space to 250 gigs.
All Durango consoles however, will come equipped with a 500 gig hard drive, as all next-gen games will need a mandatory install. Games will no longer be played off of discs, but full installations won’t be required either, as the console can install games in “sections”, with the rest of these chapters being installed while you play. As for storage media, all future Xbox games will also be released on Blu-Ray discs.
Another area where the Durango will improve on the Xbox 360, will be the issue of multi-tasking. Playing a game and shifting between a Twitter app or a Youtube video usually requires said game to be saved and exited, but that will no longer be the case. Gamers will be able to switch between games and apps on the fly, while also being able to pause a title, stick in a second game and then return to that original gaming session without the need to restart. It’s an idea that’s been implemented on computers and smart-phones for years now, with Nintendo and Sony utilizing it on their handheld consoles, but it’ll be a solid first for a dedicated home console device.
The Xbox controller is also getting a redesign according to SuperDaE, which will be a “natural evolution” of the existing design. So most likely, something that isn’t too different from the current model, but with a hopeful improvement on the D-Pad. Xbox 360 controllers won’t work with the Durango though, as the console will use a “new wireless technology”.
As for technical specifications, the Durango console will ship with some meaty hardware according to the Kotaku source. Seeing as how I am a complete dunce when it comes to this stuff though, feast your eyes on the spec sheet instead:
Custom hardware includes an 8-core, 64-bit CPU running at 1.6ghz, an 800mhz DirectX 11.x graphics processor units and various “custom hardware blocks” that can take the strain off of the main CPU by handling individual tasks. 3D visual content will also be supported, built in Wi-Fi will be available, an ethernet port is also included and audio support is available for up to 7.1 channels.
From the sounds of it, the Durango console has some solid ideas in place, as it doesn’t deviate too far from the formula set by Microsoft with the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. While the idea of a mandatory Kinect device monitoring you like a green-eyed HAL may get the goat of some gamers, it still sounds like an exciting console overall. What are your thoughts on these new specs then?