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Report: Next Xbox will have Blu-ray, always online DRM

New console will also have two GPUs and built in Kinect

The next Xbox console from Microsoft will feature a Blu-ray drive and require a constant internet connection, allowing for more rigorous DRM systems.

A report from VG247 suggests that the machine will also pack two GPUs, "like two PCs taped together," and graphics cards equivalent to AMD's 7000 series.

The CPU will have "four or six" cores, with one earmarked for Kinect (which the report suggests will be built in to the machine) and another for the operating system.

The story adds to previous rumours that the new machine, codenamed Durango, will be on sale for next year's Christmas holiday.

Just last week rumours hinting at Sony's next console, the Orbis, made headlines, and suggested Sony could go head to head with Microsoft with a similar Christmas 2013 release date.

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Latest comments (19)

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 4 years ago
build in Kinect.....

Ah it's April fools isn't it. Either that or the machine will look remarkably like wall-e from that robot movie.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve4 years ago
Considering the relatively poor internet infrastructure of the core Xbox markets (mainly the USA), I'd consider the always on DRM a bit of a strange addition. I'm guessing that it might be a bit of an exaggeration, like one of the services like the online store requiring the connection constantly, but using the blu-ray disks is available offline.

@Peter, it's April 2nd so no April fools, although I suppose this could have been leaked on April 1st and then only spread today. It isn't confirmed by Microsoft anyway so I'm still not taking this as fact.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
Yeah, always on DRM is a stupid idea. I hope my internet doesn't go down as I'm booting up a game.
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Show all comments (19)
Stephen Richards Game Deisgner 4 years ago
I'm sceptical that microsoft will require a constant online connection as this would give sony a significant advantage if it doesn't require one.

Then again, who knows? Maybe the giants have united against piracy/used games and have secretly agreed both their consoles will require a connection.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London4 years ago
Sounds unlikely. Building Kinect into the console as the story suggests would make the base unit bulkier, and you'd have to place the console on its side in front of or just below the TV to be able to use it. That's kinda limiting. It seems far more likely they'd bundle a next gen Kinect with the console but keep it as a separate unit that plugs in via a dedicated port.

And ask Ubisoft how always on DRM has been working out for them on PC. Not to mention the risk that if your online authentication service goes down, nobody can play any of their software. Think what happened to PSN last year, or the periods of (sometimes extended) downtime Xbox Live has occasionally suffered over the years. With always on DRM that goes from an annoyance that stops you playing online to a fiasco that renders your entire device completely useless until the service recovers.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 4 years ago
On a serious note. I have no doubt that some mangement idiot did indeed think always online DRM is a good idea. I'm also fairly certain that being a management type, everyone else simply nodded and tried to work out how to do it.

Rarely do you see someone sensible turn around and say "Feck off you moron we're supposed to be nurchuring our customers not pissing them off".

If you want any real world proof of this just look at the Vita. Proprietary and overpriced memory cards, Overpriced online versions of the games, two versions that can and will eventually cause a major headache. In no way did either the unit's designers or the programmers of the games and systems suggest any of these things. They don't stop piracy or hackers and only cause problems for legitimate customers.

Then of course there is Ubi softs efforts on PC. Pirates had the system circumvented on day zero and the legitimate paying customers are the ones that have to suffer validation server issues. Install locking etc. etc.

When I see stuff like this it re-inforces the fact that the world needs less management or at the very least they should be treated like the children they are and told to be seen and not heard.
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports4 years ago
I don't think they meant Kinect will be physically built into the base unit; just expect it to be part of the offering out of the box instead of something you have to buy separately.
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Private Industry 4 years ago
"like two PCs taped together,"

Back in my day it was called SLI and crossfire. :)
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Fieaz Ismail4 years ago
The SLI/Crossfire GPU configuration seems unlikely, the console would need a very good cooling system for something like that and it would also increase the price (especially with the rumour being AMD's 7000 series, which is their latest line of cards).

I can see some form of Kinect being built in however.
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Private Industry 4 years ago
Well you don`t use cards in a console so you just have to put 2 GPU`s directly on the mainboard, shoudln`t be too different from SLI/Crossfire.

I can`t see a kinect directly implemented in a console so that must be a misunderstanding and more likely something like kinect 2 comes in the package. Kinect needs first of all space because it needs to be able to pan around and it needs to be either at the center below or above the TV and above does work better. Nobody wan`ts to put his console above the TV where it is likely do fall down and break. Also it would be unlikely that all the heat inside the console would be good for the sensor parts.
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Fieaz Ismail4 years ago
Yeah, I can see the 2 GPU directly on the mainboard but it would still create more heat. Although if the GPUs are based on a 28nm process then it may help, there is still the issue of cost though.

I've never actually used Kinect so wasn't sure how it fully worked, I now don't see it being implemented thanks to your explanation of it.
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Preet Basson Train 2 Game Developer 4 years ago
My Fear has come true.
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Private Industry 4 years ago
The heat should be managable, my original ps3 could toast stuff with the heat it generated and didnt break, just needs a good design for airflow and good fans. Obviously would be a bigger box.
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Seriously - persistent online connectivity (not everyone has the luxury of semi decent broadband - we're talking in the UK here, not some 3rd world country...)
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Private Industry 4 years ago
Lets hope its just a rumor or at best just an early concept possibility. You get hacked your servers put offline and nobody could do anything.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
It seems like insanity to me, but it wouldn't be the first time I've seen a business do something insane.

I'm not sure that "decent broadband" would be such an issue, as neither high bandwidth nor low latency is necessary for license validation. You could use a modem connection, if that was what it came down to.

The big issue is those who can't or don't want to plug it in at all. (Well, that and the huge increase in technical support load.) Unless they're going to do something like put 3G connectivity into the thing for licencing for those without Internet, I don't see how you can get around this.

I wonder what they're planning for region locking, if anything? I'm hoping they remove it (as it pretty much was for physical media for the PS3), since that's my biggest objection to the Xbox 360, and this new generation might be the perfect time to switch away from Sony. (Sony seems to be moving back towards more region protection with the Vita--it's worse than the PSP in that respect.)
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Dominic Jakube Student 4 years ago
Having 2 GPU's doesent make any sense, more silicone,more heat,more chance of breakdowns, more power needed,micro-stuttering, harder to code for and even the best games on pc still only have about 80% scaling.
These observations come from using sli setups on the pc for 6 years since the 7800 GTX through to 560 ti.
The only area where it does make sense is cost, today you can buy 2 nvidia 560 ti's for less than a 580/680 and the 560's will out perform the high end card in 90% of games.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dominic Jakube on 3rd April 2012 2:36am

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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
Always online DRM.

You do that MS and my reaction will be to buy a PS3.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
I believe this.
The first function of a console is to act as an anti piracy dongle. So they must do what it takes to achieve this.
For the business model secondhand sales are just the same as piracy, so now the dongle must work against this as well.

The console platform holders are in a difficult place just now as publishers at long last find alternative business models that don't need the anti piracy dongle. How will it be possible to justify the next generation both to those publishers and to consumers?
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