Eidos co-founder, and current Life President, Ian Livingstone has lent some credibility to the recent rumors claiming Microsoft will make their next Xbox (Xbox 720/Durango) an always-on console that blocks pre-owned games, by publicly speculating on that very possibility.
Livingstone’s comments came during an interview with MCV India, where he was explaining his belief that the next console generation could bring about the end of boxed retail games. The Eidos Life President’s exact statement reads:
“Boxed games aren’t being abandoned just yet. I think the next iteration of consoles – the PS4 and the next Xbox, have got optical disc drives even though they probably don’t want to have them. Broadband speed globally isn’t at a level that justifies digital-only.”
“So they’ve gone halfway… With the next Xbox, you supposedly have to have an internet connection, and the discs are watermarked, whereby once played on one console it won’t play on another. So I think the generation after that will be digital-only.”
Clearly, Livingstone is not confirming that the Xbox 720 will actually block used games, but it is interesting that he even references the recent rumor. As someone high up in the Square Enix food chain, Livingstone would be in a position to have some idea as to what Microsoft is planning for their next console, and it seems unlikely that he would simply blurt out statements that he knows not to be true.
Microsoft seems to be very intent on positioning the Xbox 720 (or whatever it will be called) as an all-purpose entertainment device. The Xbox 360 has already made great strides towards that goal, and if they continue down that path an always-on, highly-restrictive system seems like the next logical step.
For now consider this as nothing more than rumor and speculation. Microsoft is expected to debut the Xbox 720 sometime this April, so we should get a better idea as to what the company has in mind shortly. Here’s hoping that they are not stupid enough to actually go through with anything like this.