Microsoft has been the Internet’s “easy target” ever since Sony officially announced the PS4 back in February. Their lack of reciprocation to rumors and constant onslaught of cyberspace ridicule makes it seem as though Sony has a leg-up for the first round of their next face-off. With a possible announcement expected for May, it’s likely these rumors will soon be either be laid to rest or confirmed.
But, even if everything we’ve heard is true, is it really that bad?
In an effort to centralize the rumor mill, we have put together this list of the Top Ten Xbox 720 Rumors. It is important to note that these should in no way be taken as confirmed facts.
It Can Replace Your Cable Box.
Are you tired of the ridiculous amount of cables tied to your television? Want seamless smartphone integration with cable browsing through SmartGlass? Well, the Xbox 720 might be just what you need. During last year’s E3, industry analyst Michael Pachter had this to say:
“Two years from this E3, Microsoft’s gonna talk about how you’re gonna use your SmartGlass to turn on your cable box, which is going to be called an Xbox 720. And it’ll have routers to all your TVs and it’ll be a Windows machine, with eight different TV shows and eight different windows going to all your TVs… And the model’s gonna be, your Xbox 720: a hundred bucks. 99 bucks, if you’re a Comcast subscriber. It’ll be just like buying an iPhone, for 99 bucks… It is so happening, and it had to have SmartGlass to work.”
Microsoft has been moving their hardware toward being a media center for years now, and since this doesn’t lay any kind of restrictions or requirements on the consumer, it would be a win for everyone.
Rumored Launch Titles
The launch title list for the new console is rumored to include Ryse, Crytek’s Kinect-required Roman hack-and-slash. It looks like a new Forza is on the way as well, which should be a great all-around racing title for the new platform.
Additionally, two other titles have been alluded to: A zombie game (who would have ever thought of that?) and a Pixar-style family game. While these hints are ambiguous at best, it is good to hear that we may have a decent library of games to play on our shiny new consoles.
All Games Must Be Installed
Would this really be a big deal? PC gamers have had to install their games for decades, after all. The benefits of installation include faster load times, less use of the optical drive, and the ability to use programs from inside the console’s user interface.
Other than having to wait for the install to complete prior to playing your latest gaming purchase, there aren’t really any other issues created by this possible advancement. And if true, it might even turn more PC fans on to console gaming, which would definitely be a good thing.
Tier-Based Content Licensing
If you purchase a movie or game, it’s possible that you’ll have a certain number of licenses for said merchandise (i.e. up to four viewers for a movie or two users for a game.) The console would track the amount of people in the room through the Kinect Sensor, and if the number of licenses is exceeded, you’d be prompted to purchase more.
This ridiculous approach to limiting the number of users in a particular household would be asinine, to say the least. It would be a preposterous solution to a very small problem.
New Kinect Required/Integrated
How the Kinect fits into the 720’s game plan is still a big unknown. However, its success will hinge on how it is marketed. If the Kinect sensor is sold separately from the system, but is required, it would be a serious mistake for the company. In fact, a riotous group of angry gamers might make national news that day for Microsoft HQ.
But if the sensor itself is built into the console hardware, or if all versions of the systems are packaged with it, why would it be an issue?
Console Subscription Required
This rumor probably stems from the “Always-On” rumors that have been setting the Internet ablaze recently (more on those later). If a console is always online, what would it be connected to? Xbox LIVE would be the likely culprit, and what some people tend to forget is that Xbox LIVE isn’t an entirely paid service. Xbox LIVE Silver is a subscription service as well, just with less features than its big brother Xbox LIVE Gold, and it is completely free. Sony follows the same model: Playstation Network is free, but the paid version of Playstation Plus is far superior.
So, while it seems probable a subscription may be a requirement, it is likely that choices will still be available.
New Controller/360 Controllers Not Compatible
Redesigned controllers for major consoles are hardly a new concept. And it seems likely that Microsoft will move on from its current controller, just as its competitors have. If confirmed, hopefully the purpose of the switch is based on the new features the console will offer, rather than just changing for the sake of change.
Although the Wii U retained the ability to use the remote from the last console, it is doubtful that the technology used for the 720 will be compatible with the 360. Still, Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such a device.
No Backward Compatibility
Backward compatibility is a well-established practice in the gaming industry. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all supported previous-generation games at the beginning of the last console cycle, but they all eventually abandoned it. The PS4 is already said to be incompatible with PS3 games, and it would seem that instead of a transitional period of crossover compatibility, we may be looking at a clean break this time around.
If Microsoft follows Sony’s lead here, it would be no surprise. But hey, at least we will still have our old consoles to play.
No Used Games
Limiting any console to disallow used games just doesn’t make sense. Sony debunked a similar rumor on their own console already, and with this being such a hot-button topic, we could see Microsoft doing the same.
Taking away used games from consumers would ultimately drive software sales down overall, with players taking their purchases more seriously due to the finality of their decision. While Microsoft would be able to capitalize on all software sales in this environment, they would also alienate their retail partners who sell pre-owned products, such as GameStop.
While possible, it remains unlikely that Microsoft would take this direction, especially since all of their competitors are headed the opposite way.
With all the buzz surrounding Adam Orth’s infamous “Deal with it” comments, and his subsequent “resignation,” this is the most talked about Xbox 720 rumor right now. But before you go setting yourself on fire and proclaiming the end of the world as we know it, ask yourself one question: Is this really all that different from the Xbox 360?
There are many gamers out there that don’t have Internet access and/or lack the desire or funds to pay for Xbox LIVE’s Gold service. While an always-online platform would definitely have an impact on those who fall into this category, for those who already carry the service, it would change almost nothing.
In the end, Microsoft will do what they want; they always do. But while some may find themselves at the short end of this deal, the large majority (especially LIVE subscribers) would only experience miniscule changes if this rumor becomes reality.