Next-gen Xbox plans leaked?
Microsoft's Xbox 360 successor will be released for $299 in 2013, will feature an upgraded Kinect, be backwards compatible, and support cloud streaming of games by 2015, according to a leaked internal document from 2010.
Originally posted on Scribd, the 52-page presentation – which has not been confirmed as genuine, but has since been removed at the behest of a legal firm which counts Microsoft among its clients – reveals an ambitious plan for the future of Xbox, one which does much to put Microsoft's recent emphasis on media services in context.
The Xbox 720, as the document calls it, will be a true all-in-one home entertainment box, with a pay TV service called XTV, a suite of media apps like Netflix and LastFM, native 3D support, and a permanent internet connection. It will have either six or eight CPU cores and 4GB of DDR memory, with the document promising a sixfold increase in performance over Xbox 360. A further three cores will be dedicated to backwards compatibility.
Multiple apps will be able to run at once: examples showed XBLA game Braid with a player's guide overlaid, and a ticker updating football scores while Gears Of War was being played.
The second generation Kinect sensor, meanwhile, will feature improved accuracy and voice recognition, stereo imaging, and support for up to four simultaneous players. By 2014 Xbox 720 will support Fortaleza AR Glasses, billed as a "breakthrough heads-up and hands-free device."
By 2015, Microsoft will offer streaming of full games via the cloud, with OnLive singled out as a possible acquisition target. There's mention, too, of multi-screen technology similar to SmartGlass, which Microsoft announced at E3 earlier this month – with Xbox 720 able to serve up games to any device in the house.
There's no smoking gun, of course, no proof that it's genuine – but if it's a fake, it's one of the most elaborate ones we've seen, a 52-page roadmap for the future of Xbox which seems consistent with Microsoft's strategy over the past two years.
Last week, former Sony exec Phil Harrison, who joined Microsoft two months ago, told us it was a sneak peek at Microsoft's vision for the coming years that compelled him to join the company's IEB division, and if the above is true, it's not hard to see why. The next big technological battle will be over the living room, and a $299 box which serves every media need in the modern household and is built to last for a decade would be an aggressive first move.