vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

Microsoft document hints at the future of Xbox and it's Augmented

by Alistair Lowe on 18 June 2012, 11:24

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabiev

Add to My Vault: x

Though now removed at the request of law firm, Covington & Burling LLP, a 56-page document found its way onto Scribd, dated August 2010, detailing Microsoft Xbox plans ranging from the Xbox 720 in 2013 all the way to 2015 and project Fortaleza, an Augmented Reality glasses project.

Microsoft Xbox Timeline

Following up on information from those who caught the document before its removal, the Xbox 720 is expected to launch with a $299 price tag, coming bundled with a Kinect 2 which will feature improved camera and microphone quality, with support for stereo imaging and an extended range-of-motion for both improved near and far distance play.

Though, with the document dated towards the end of 2010, any details are likely to be preliminary, a spec sheet for the Xbox 720 was included, which suggested that Microsoft is looking to create a console based around either ARM or Intel x86 technology, featuring six to eight cores clocked at around 2GHz, 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a 64 ALU GPU. It goes on to suggest that Microsoft is considering an "Always On" mode which will keep only one or two cores active and utilise a reduced GPU ALU count.

Microsoft Xbox 720 specs

Other notable specs involve a chip for offloading Kinect processing, USB 3.0, Wireless-N, Blu-ray and of course HDMI. What's intriguing is that it appears, much like Sony's original PlayStation 3 models, that the 720 may feature a Xenon processor for backwards compatibility with the 360. There's also mention of various WiFi standards outside of the core spec, such as HSDPA, WiMAX and even Wireless-HDMI, suggesting that some rather interesting peripherals and usage scenarios could be in-store.

From a software perspective, depending on whether the firm goes x86 or ARM, the Xbox 720 will likely include a subset of Windows 8 or Windows RT, with a locked Metro dashboard with support for HTML 5. It's suggested a big expansion into living-room and lifestyle are key to the success of the next Xbox, with Microsoft expected to expand upon its TV content services, with concern over competition from Google and its licensees, along with an increasing focus on access from multiple devices AKA Smart Glass.

What's MOST intriguing perhaps, is the mention of project Fortaleza, an Augmented Reality glasses project, starting in 2014 as a wireless peripheral and, if Microsoft has its way, moving on to 4G and Cloud Streaming in 2015, meaning that the 720 could very well be the last Xbox.

We had been wondering for quite some time just how console makers would move into the cloud, with cloud gaming being a market theoretically possible for any firm with a large enough wallet; a unique interface, with a large amount of IP required to provide strong functionality may very well be the way forward. Certainly this is something for Google to look out for with its Project Glass.

Many readers may, at this point, be doubting the legitimacy of the leaked document, however, there's a fair bit of evidence backing its claims:

  • The document makes mention to Project Glass multi-screen and multi-device functionality
  • Microsoft is a well known client of Covington & Burling LLP
  • Nukezilla made reference to the article last month, prior to the announcement of Smart Glass
We'll leave readers to draw their own conclusions! For those interested, we suggest a quick Google search, as various sites have reported on different elements of the leaked document, each with an interesting insight, building up to the image that the Xbox 720 will be a console for everything, at least as far as the living-room is concerned.



HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Those glasses look like the chunky Nvidia 3D Vision glasses. I expect the final product will end up looking more like Google's project glass.
bundled with a Kinect 2 which will feature improved camera and microphone quality, with support for stereo imaging and an extended range-of-motion for both improved near and far distance play.

Makes a lot of sense if they can sort out software that can recognise the same object in two different pictures - stereoscopic vision is key to depth sensing and accurate placement in 3D space, and a stereoscopic Kinect could add … well … depth to the whole experience (no pun intended).
the Xbox 720 is expected to launch with a $299 price tag, coming bundled with a Kinect 2 which will feature improved camera and microphone quality, with support for stereo imaging and an extended range-of-motion for both improved near and far distance play
If that's the genuine price, then that's actually pretty good for a console+Kinect bundle. If I can find someone who's still doing trade-ins and that is the price (okay, £299) then put me down for a pre-order. ;)
a spec sheet for the Xbox 720 was included, which suggested that Microsoft is looking to create a console based around either ARM or Intel x86 technology, featuring six to eight cores clocked at around 2GHz, 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a 64 ALU GPU
Okay spec, although I've got to wonder what kind of longevity they're planning for - GPU especially looks a light “light” to me. When they're saying “ARM or Intel x86” I'm wondering if the latter could be some derivative of what Intel's currently doing for smartphones. However, given that they were quoted as saying that single-core is best for Android, I'm a bit dubious.
the 720 may feature a Xenon processor for backwards compatibility with the 360
Yes, please - software compatibility with all those nice ‘360 titles I’ve still got. :D
the Xbox 720 will likely include a subset of Windows 8 or Windows RT, with a locked Metro dashboard with support for HTML 5.
No escaping Metro is there! :( However, if “Kinect2” does actually allow proper “near distance” (2-3 feet) operation then I'll quietly suggest that Metro could be an asset.
Hopefully they will be able to bypass the legal portion conflicting the use of backwards compatibility. Would have bought a PS3 if they had kept the backwards compatibility. ‘Course I could buy an older model, but I’m a stickler for new and upgraded.
wtfitskeagan
Hopefully they will be able to bypass the legal portion conflicting the use of backwards compatibility.
What “legal position” would that be? The only one I can think of is that perhaps EA and Activision (pauses to spit) insisted on agreements that their “XBox” titles were only to “be utilised on the aforementioned console and no others” (or whatever weasel words were actually used) - therefore “preventing” use on some then-mythical next gen console.

That said, if Microsoft do provide that “XBox360 mode” on the ‘720 (and I’m praying they do!) then - as far as I'm concerned - EA and Activision can go and attempt self-insemination … if I've bought a title like CoD, and it's possible to run it on my shiny new next-gen console then I am going to do so. :p

Not having a go at you, but anything about EA/Activision and licensing usually gets me into rant mode…