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Xbox 720: Blu-ray inside, always-on netcon required

Monday, 2nd April 2012 11:28 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Xbox 720 has been fully detailed to some third-parties, VG247 has learned, and has been slotted in for a Christmas 2013 release. And yes: of course it’ll have a Blu-ray drive.

VG247 has learned that Microsoft has now detailed Xbox 720 to certain partners and has internally confirmed the machine for a Christmas 2013 release.

The next generation Xbox will have a Blu-ray drive, contrary to a recent report.

Multiple sources have confirmed this morning that the machine will have two GPUs. One said: “It’s like two PCs taped together.”

We’re waiting for final confirmation of specs, but the graphics cards are thought to be equivalent to AMD’s 7000 series GPUs, but “not CrossFire or SLI”. The GPUs aren’t structured as they are in a normal dual PC set-up, in which the two chips take it in turns to draw lines of the same object: Xbox 720′s graphics units will be able to work independently, drawing separate items simultaneously.

It was reported last week that PlayStation 4, internally codenamed Orbis, will also be powered by AMD hardware.

There will be “four or six” cores to the Xbox 720 CPU, one of which will be reserved for Kinect and one for the OS.

Xbox 720 will require an always-on internet connection as an anti-piracy measure.

We’ve also been told that the next generation of Kinect will be built into the device as standard.

The details have emerged in the wake of a hastily removed tweet from Sean Tracy, a technical designer for Crytek, that said he was attending the “Durango summit” in London at the end of February. Durango is though to be the codename for the console.

Microsoft is not expected to announce anything pertaining to its next machine until next year.

Many developers have been posting job openings for “next-gen” and “future-gen” systems for months.

Lionhead and Bethesda are just two of the latest.

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88 Comments

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  1. absolutezero

    Yes because mandatory online connections have worked so well for Ubisoft.

    Built in Kinect, oh dear.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. drewbles82

    Always on, so all those who still have yet to get the internet or don’t have a reliable connection will miss out. What if you got young kids, they have zero reason to ever go online.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. unacomn

    April 1st was yesterday, wasn’t it?
    In that case, I’m curious how much almost as or more expensive than the PS3 at launch this thing will be.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    All this is straight up. Rumour until announced, obviously, but this is what pubs and devs have been told.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Colin Gallacher

    Things are starting to get quite interesting.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    Next year’s going to be insane.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. fightclubdoll

    Please, post photos so that I may lick my screen. As I so often do with VG247 articles, of course. Thanks =-)

    I heard rumors that the price point will be relatively low, can you confirm that at this time?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Psychotext

    I love this point just before a new generation. No-one knows what the hell is going on, but it’s EXCITING! :D

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    Not buying the always on internet piracy measure.

    That would be commercial suicide, and every half decent business knows it. Microsoft are not that stupid.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. harmundo

    @absolutezero: Ubisoft’s “always on DRM” worked… Diablo III “always on DRM” will be working. All MMO’s needs internet connection and all MMO’s working. VG247 needs internet connection and VG247 also working.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Vroom

    “…slotted in for a Christmas 2013 released”

    Bonus Monday morning ‘d’ in there. !:)

    Big ass story!

    #11 2 years ago
  12. OlderGamer

    I have a hard time believing that any system would require an always netcon. Just doesn’t searve any purpose that I can think of nor does it encompany the whole market. Plus some folks have isp caps, how much of that cap would something like that eat up?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Razor

    God, I love this two year period of rumours and leaks before home console launches.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Blerk

    Not buying the ‘always on internet’ thing at all. Half the US still has very expensive/very rubbish broadband availability. Piss on their best market? I very much doubt it.

    If one core’s for Kinect and another’s for the OS then we’d better hope it’s six cores and not four, incidentally. :-)

    #14 2 years ago
  15. BillyBatts

    There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright, Durango

    #15 2 years ago
  16. absolutezero

    @#10 Ubisoft’s “always on DRM” worked

    All of the Ubi games that contained the mandatory online DRM have been hacked to work offline. Thats not working. Thats giving the pirates a better experience than those that choose to purchase.

    Massively Multiplayer Online games require an internet connection? News to me! D:

    #16 2 years ago
  17. minxamo

    Constant DRM and built in kinect?

    Well that’s Xbox out of the window… Sony, your move.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Patrick Garratt

    I was told the always-on thing was “like Steam”. So maybe there’ll be an offline mode, or something. I was told it was a requirement, though.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. LOLshock94

    This is one rumour i hope is true but im worried about the controller, as it is surely going to be a stupid ass controller.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Colin Gallacher

    Any word on the amount of RAM, Pat?

    #20 2 years ago
  21. absolutezero

    Steam’s offline mode barely works even now though! ;_;

    #21 2 years ago
  22. El_MUERkO

    What Blerk said! If they have two cores reserved for the OS and Kinect you’d really want the chip to be an 8/12 core chip. In saying that they could be pushing a more GPGPU type setup with the CPU doing minimal work.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Blerk

    The main difference between this and Steam would be that Steam don’t make you buy discs as well.

    Unless they’re planning on selling everything digitally too, and the ‘like Steam’ thing only applies to digital sales rather than disc-based sales. Which would make much more sense.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Moonwalker1982

    Holy cow this is big news, this ain’t even a rumour anymore then? What i find so surprising is how this kind of news can leak, but we didn’t know anything about 360 before its release.

    April 1st was yesterday, i had expected an article like this, but it’s april 2nd now, so i guess we can believe this :)

    #24 2 years ago
  25. The_Red

    Wow, the always on thing could single handedly ruing console gaming for me. Seriously, I’ve always hated the PC games that do that and now it’s coming to consoles…
    The sad part is that pirates are gonna break whatever anti-piracy measure they have and soon, people that pirate X720 games can enjoy them free of always online restriction and other similar crap.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Telepathic.Geometry

    I wonder how much American internet will improve over the next 20 months?

    I’m pumped up now, it seems like the new console rumour floodgates are open and flowing.

    Can someone who knows shit about PC GPUs tell us about the ones mentioned above? It doesn’t need to be true, hyperbole and rampant speculation welcome! :D

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Telepathic.Geometry

    The always on internet thing would probably be a pain, but I’m always on anyway, so it’s no skin off my nose…

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Psychotext

    “The sad part is that pirates are gonna break whatever anti-piracy measure they have”

    Doubtful. They’ll likely just use a further refined version of the PS3 system which has held up remarkably well, even after it was (arguably) blown wide open resulting in its keys being exposed. The consoles next gen will be ridiculously difficult to hack.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. absolutezero

    The GPUs rumoured to be in both the next Playstation and in this are nothing really to shout about. They’ll do the job good enough at 1080p, which is what Im guessing both companies are aiming for.

    Its just funny that the industry keeps on keeping on with the punishing consumers instead of trying to make the consoles more attractive to pirates.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. The_Red

    @28
    The reason PS3 did better after refined measures were put in place is because most big hackers didn’t bother to crack it. As long as there is one hacked / piratable system on the market, they’ll rest.

    That’s always how they work. Also, maybe the legit game recognition system will be upgraded but the always online system have ALWAYS been broken by hackers within days of their release. Even if hackers break that part, the pirate gamers will get the better experience with one less restriction. That has ALWAYS been the case.

    Right now people are playing pirated Xbox LIVE games on their systems. There are pirate WOW servers. Do you really think this time hackers are gonna lose?

    #30 2 years ago
  31. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    This is the first technical specification estimate/report/leak that sounds realistic to me. Up until now, they’ve all been far too meagre. Two 7000 series working independantly (which PC architecture cannot do, I’m told), sounds about right. It would make the console 10-20 times more powerful than Xbox 360.

    PC gamers will say ‘two 7000′s isn’t that powerful – blah, blah’ but in a closed console environment, in real applications, in games made specifically for the hardware, that’s significantly more graphical fidelity than current high-end PCs are capable of producing.

    That’s going to be one impressive machine.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Psychotext

    “Do you really think this time hackers are gonna lose?”

    Yup. There’s a huge difference between hacking software on a PC and doing it on a console. There may be people playing pirated games on XBL but there are a grand total of none of them doing it with a system running another other than the latest dashboard (Since 2.0.8495.0). Same goes for when the PS3 was hacked and then updated.

    Don’t mistake the DVD drive flashing workaround (which was idiocy on Microsoft’s part) with a fully rooted (JTAG) system having access to LIVE (or PSN for that matter).

    #32 2 years ago
  33. silkvg247

    One said: “It’s like two PCs taped together.”

    .. Can we add this to the “imbecilic comment of the year” nominations?

    Because yes.. a GPU.. is a PC.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. absolutezero

    “that’s significantly more graphical fidelity than current high-end PCs are capable of producing.”

    No its not. Lets not get bogged down in willy waving.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @34

    Yes, it is. Or perhaps you could name for me all those games that take full advantage of your average enthusiasts quad-crossfire setup? It takes them two years just to bring the drivers up to speed and years after that for any software to appear that takes anywhere near full advantage. In real terms, in a closed system, this will produce far better-looking games than anything being made for PC – for a time.

    It’s not that it’s more powerful, it’s that the hardware will be fully used. On PC it just never is. Benchmarking huge numbers is all those high-end systems are good for.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Chufty

    @35 Don’t forget how vague “7000 series” is. A 7750 is not much better than the existing Xbox 360 GPU, if at all. Two 7970s, however, is an altogether different kettle of fish.

    What’s more exciting in a geeky kind of way, is that the GPUs will work independently of one another. That’s how PCs should be architected.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. G1GAHURTZ

    I don’t believe you, Pat.

    Your sources are dodgy.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. ManuOtaku

    I believe this, is the most reasonable news about the upcoming next gen xbox console, they are in line with an affordable console, price wise but with a good graphics punch, i like it, and also believe the blue ray and iam glad with this desicion instead of the without optical drive rumor, therefore i like this news overall.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. Chockster

    I can picture Pat sitting on this all day yesterday thinking FUCK APRIL FOOLS DAY.

    Which is a sentiment I can wholeheartedly support. April Fools day should be ‘international everyone get the cock off the Internet and do something useful day.’

    In other news, me=pumped.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Aimless

    @33 I imagine it was just a play on the Wii being “two GameCubes stuck together with duct-tape” rather than a serious assessment of the machine’s make up.

    Presumably the dual GPUs would be to approximate a final chip which isn’t ready yet. I’m pretty sure both 360 and PS3 dev kits had similar intermediary hardware, whereas actually shipping a unit with two GPUs seems like a rather odd decision on the face of it.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. back_up

    failed name for failed console
    100% RROD
    720 will have graphics similar to 360
    PS4 graphics will beat PC in every aspect

    #41 2 years ago
  42. OrbitMonkey

    Hope this is true. A new console might finally force Activision to update the CoD engine…. Maybe -_-

    #42 2 years ago
  43. NiceFellow

    If it really does have always on the I have to believe MS will just have handed a huge chunk of the market outside US to their competitors.

    Or maybe it’s just the time of year for such rumours.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. ManuOtaku

    #42 if the PS3 and 360 didnt force them, why makes you think the new gen will do it? 8D

    #44 2 years ago
  45. Colin Gallacher

    @36 Are you forgetting that the 360 has the equivalent of the ATi Radeon X1800 series? A 7750 completely destroys it.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. bo_7md

    “Xbox 720 will require an always-on internet connection as an anti-piracy measure”

    If this is true then I’m out. There are alot of people out there just like me who wouldn’t buy an always-on. It isn’t practical and doesn’t work, and that is a game not a full-on system.

    If we compare the problems that one game suffers and multiply this by the number of game you buy over the lifetime of a system then we have a problem with servers, applications, how new games are integrated within the older systems and service/downtime.

    Didn’t buy AC, not buying diablo3 and adding the xbox if the rumors are true, but I guess we’ll wait and see how things go.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @45

    Exactly. X1800 ran 273 GFLOPS, 7750 (if it is going to be 7750) runs 900 GFLOPS in its basic form (expect an improved version if this is the chip MS goes with); X2=1800 GFLOPS (since they’re working independently). That is a very conservative estimate.

    And GFLOPS do not tell the whole story; there are significant architectural improvements between such disparate generations. 1×7750 is eight times the power in real terms than X1800 (in original Xbox 360). Times two, that’s 16 times the power.

    That’s significant. That’s HUGE.

    #36 has no idea what he’s talking about.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. back_up

    273 graphics flops for 360 what a loser 360 console is hahahaha

    #48 2 years ago
  49. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @48

    Be-be boo, boo, boo. Goo goo booooo. Wibba wabba googoo boo-boo.

    #49 2 years ago
  50. back_up

    @49
    ba ba ba ba ba ba banana
    rr rr rr rr rr rr rrod
    10 10 10 10 10 10 100%

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Telepathic.Geometry

    How much better than the 360′s GPU would the new one need to be to give 1080p, 60 FPS as standard, with all the MSAA and whatever other fancy pants bullshit that makes games look pretty?

    What I really wanna know is, is there any special tech that will do something new for gaming? Like the Wii U’s already got something new there, as they have always done with every console launch. What are MS gonna do. Even something subtle like eliminating load times or providing more memory for AI (however that would work) or, I dunno, something NEW! Not just 360 plus sauce.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. Psychotext

    Not a lot better. Certainly nothing near the top level PC GPUs that exist today.

    #52 2 years ago
  53. Erthazus

    2 GPU’s on one console? That’s interesting. You can make graphically stunning stuff with two GPU’s even if they have different tasks.

    I wonder what Microsoft want’s with TWO GPU’s. It’s really expensive to do, to be honest.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. Maximum Payne

    @4 At least 4 times better but something like Ati 6950 would be great but realistically it will be 6850.
    What they will do “NEW” is build in Kinect.
    More memory for AI will only means not stupid bugs or glitchis like Crysis 2 on console had.
    And for Loading time I think its already here with Uncharted 3,GoW3 and maybe with some other games and that is mostly on PS3 because all data is on one hard drive/disk while on xbox you need to swap discs.

    #54 2 years ago
  55. Ireland Michael

    @54 “More memory for AI will only means not stupid bugs or glitchis like Crysis 2 on console had.”

    You don’t have the slightest inkling how any of this works, do you?

    #55 2 years ago
  56. heyvc

    So.. when my internet service is down for any reason.. I won’t be able to play my videogame?! hum.. maybe it’s a way to stimulate me to read a book cause.. without internet my pc AND my SUPPOSED TO BE offline gaming console will become useless…

    cool… pretty cool ‘–

    #56 2 years ago
  57. Erthazus

    I’m not sure that it will require a constant internet connection btw because you won’t sell this to everyone. I mean, it’s very dangerous.

    I have no issues with internet connection but look, i can’t buy a console if console manufacturer is spying on me. Gaming console is already the most closed device there is, but with this DRM shit it becomes THE most closed device ever and i don’t like that.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. daytripper

    Will the disc drive be noisy Pat?

    #58 2 years ago
  59. GwynbleiddiuM

    at this point I honestly have no desires to invest a butt-load of money into a sinking ship that is gaming consoles. I bought PS3 and it’s gathering dust, I bought 360 and it got flatlined, a PSP which run almost nothing other that the Peace Walker and a DSi, which I only played Super Mario and Flipnote studio (huge fun with drawing lol). I fail to see why would I need anything other than my PC to play games with. So PS4, Xbox 720, Vita, 3DS, etc better be exceptionally different in order to get me on-board.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. Ireland Michael

    Will it cook waffles, Pat?

    #60 2 years ago
  61. Erthazus

    @59, for me, different is not enough. I really don’t care because the best experiences are on the PC right now and games for it for the past three years were fantastic.

    the only thing that can sell me a console = Exclusive G A M E S that i want.

    In the age of multiplatform titles, my PS3 (even the new PS Vita) basically gathering dust.

    So far, i’m excited about games that are going to be on the PC this year and will have the best frame rate and controls + Guild Wars 2 that will be only on the PC.

    #61 2 years ago
  62. Gheritt White

    @ Pat: WILL IT BLEND?!?

    #62 2 years ago
  63. Maximum Payne

    @55 I meant glitches and bugs for AI.
    Well more ram or/and cpu power was needed obviously

    #63 2 years ago
  64. DSB

    It’s a lousy idea to build Kinect into it. I’m pretty sure most people would rather have a cheaper console.

    #64 2 years ago
  65. daytripper

    @dsb agreed

    #65 2 years ago
  66. Sadismek

    @64 It’s almost like they’re trying to stuff it into people’s neck. Also, everytime I used it, it failed. Either it wouldn’t want to scan me properly, or it would lag like hell. That’s when slight excitment over this new toy turned into rage and fury.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. Ireland Michael

    @63 More processing power and RAM is not going to “get rid of glitches and bugs”. The only things that get rid of glitches and bugs are good coding and testing till the cows come home.

    #67 2 years ago
  68. OrbitMonkey

    @DSB, but kinnect is teh future of Xbox gaming!!

    #68 2 years ago
  69. deathgaze

    Begun this console war has.

    #69 2 years ago
  70. Erthazus

    @DSB, relax. Kinect is cheap. It’s just Microsoft sells it for a fuckton of money.

    #70 2 years ago
  71. daytripper

    @68 just wait and see what Orbis is all about, some of the reactions are going to be amusing

    #71 2 years ago
  72. TheWulf

    Always on is something that’s going to result in a lot of console owner rage. Consoles aren’t really always online experiences, and there are plenty of people who play on them and only rarely connect them to the Internet (when necessary for updates/multiplayer).

    I can’t understand why they thought that was a good idea, really. Sony could gain real ground on them there by promising the opposite, and get a lot of early adopters in the process. Of course, with PC hardware getting cheaper all the time, if both consoles do this then console owners may start looking into mini-PC solutions which you can hook up to televisions. (Nowhere near as expensive as you might think, and with lots of functionality on offer.)

    Really interesting, anyway.

    Another really interesting thing is that Microsoft are embracing micro-stutter through multiple GPUs. That’s not a good idea. This is one reason why real graphics enthusiasts ignore that approach, because it invariably results in that. Go have a read up on it if you like. (And I don’t really buy that their approach will solve this problem. It’ll manifest either as we know it or differently, there are hardware drawbacks to this ‘solution.’)

    Once you’ve seen that, you can never ignore it.

    All in all, some weird choices, and not necessarily good ones.

    #72 2 years ago
  73. Erthazus

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdh4TqWFfX4

    Playstation Orbis Trailer :D
    and just for 9999 Us dollars and giant enemy crabs!

    #73 2 years ago
  74. DSB

    @70 But it’s not free. Whether it’s 10 dollars or 100 dollars, I’d rather not spend them on a system I really don’t like.

    When it comes to a new console, I think it’s worth it to cut the price as much as possible.

    #74 2 years ago
  75. manamana

    @deathgaze applause, applause, applause!

    I’ll add:
    Begun this fanboy war has.

    #75 2 years ago
  76. G1GAHURTZ

    Don’t forget that Kinect is also a glorified webcam with voice recognition, and that MS now own Skype.

    It’s not just a gaming thing.

    #76 2 years ago
  77. Lounds

    Pat can it make me a sandwich?

    #77 2 years ago
  78. gatormatt

    Will it give BJ’s Pat??

    #78 2 years ago
  79. DSB

    Will it pat Pat, Pat?

    #79 2 years ago
  80. Gheritt White

    Seriously though, will it BJs?

    Could you at least check, Pat?

    #80 2 years ago
  81. Virginityrocks

    Who cares? I have a PC. The next generation is now.

    #81 2 years ago
  82. jonahfalcon

    Reading this article lowered my IQ 10 points.

    When was Microsoft so worried about piracy? The 360 is a DRM box unto itself, and if you even try to enter Xbox Live with a modded box, you’re banned.

    MS doesn’t care about piracy. Software publishers do. Microsoft only cares about Xbox Live intrusion. It would be like Windows 7 or 8 requiring a constant online connection.

    Please, stop pulling this stuff out of your backside.

    #82 2 years ago
  83. LOLshock94

    i remember this one time i sucked on a horse and it cummed all over my face and i was like “lulwut”

    #83 2 years ago
  84. DarkWarcraftLord

    i hope kinect is build in so i can chat up horny hairy indians on video chat and maybe have cross game video chat orgies ooohh yesss :D

    #84 2 years ago
  85. hitnrun

    Always On Internet = no sale. Heck, it would be no sale even if Sony does the same thing. For all the shortsighted claims about the modern availability of internet, the internet is still a harsh mistress that’s unavailable or limited a whole hell of a lot. Most people just tend not to notice because it doesn’t actually interrupt what they’re doing in realtime. Most people don’t spend their time patronizing companies that treat them like criminals. Only gamers do that.

    I was an 360-only person this generation (well, console-wise, anyway), but I almost can’t wait for this generation to end so I can get Microsoft’s grubby mitts out of my jock, take a bath, and move on. I’m tired of paying so much for Live, I’m tired of Microsoft’s “no sales” policy on 6 year old games and DLC, I’m tired of them progressively turning my console’s OPERATING SYSTEM into an interactive NASCAR chassis (first with NXE and then turning my Xbox into a cell phone in 2011) with no option to tone it down or at least restore the menus to something a human might use, I’m tired of being an unwilling thrall to their Wii envy. Heck, against all that, the Kinect itself barely rates mention, but I’m tired of that as well.

    If they throw in a DRM fairy to combat the nonexistent problem of Xbox piracy (the only people who pirate console games are hardcore pirates who do physical mods; these people won’t be deterred by another meaningless layer of protection), it will make the decision easy. Sign me up for 599 US dollars, Sony. Unless Sony goes the same route; then I guess the decision is even easier.

    #85 2 years ago
  86. ket

    “always-on netcon required” is bad news.While online service is stopped,I can play no Game? If sevice is downed my play is Forced to stop before save? I wish this is mear rumor.

    #86 2 years ago
  87. OlderGamer

    Well sad hitnrun. I too have a hella console fatigue hangover. World of Warcraft is having extended maintenance today, so I turned on my xb360 for the first time weeks. Having a hard time finding anything that catches my eye to play. As I have said in other posts, this coming gen, I am going upgraded PC, Nintendo, and posibly Sony(I wanna wait to see what their system/strategy/and games look like first). MS is out.

    This gen I was mostly a MS gamer, esp early on. Now I play a lot of PS3/Wii. And PC of course.

    #87 2 years ago
  88. La Zahorria

    Cool a Uncle Sam, NSA, TSA, ICE ready Xbox 720 ready to watch and track you don’t be fool. One core to watch with video (kincet spy your voice and contour Israeli created), another one to keep in touch with Uncle Sam (always connected) no choice wow , never trust MS they sell your soul for nothing and for free. At least should be backward compatible

    #88 2 years ago