VGLeaks is reporting the first set of potentially not horrible Durango (Xbox 720) leaks to churn out of the video game rumor mill in quite some time. Citing anonymous sources, the report claims that Microsoft will launch a smaller redesigned Xbox 360 that will connect to the next-gen Xbox to solve backwards compatibility with 360 software. Additionally, if all the new rumors are correct, it sounds as if the Durango will have some offline local content capabilities and include a user interface overlay for TV cable boxes.
The anonymous source claims that the next Xbox (codenamed Durango) will not include any backwards compatibility for current-gen software at launch, however, Microsoft will release another “repackaged and reoriented Xbox 360 unit” at a later date. This smaller Xbox 360 will not contain a disc drive, and will connect to the Durango through a network connection. The source also mentions that the two boxes may be designed to be “stackable” — which makes the Durango this generation’s Sega Genesis/32X/Sega CD — and the smaller Xbox is being targeted for a “$149 or lower” price tag. Once the two machines are hooked up together, users will be able to play Xbox 360 games via the Durango’s disc drive.
An internet connection will be required “to provide any real functionality” to the redesigned 360 (this is the part of the machine that apparently spawned the “always online” rumors), however, the Durango will allow users to play “local content and it will not prevent playing used games”. This seems to (thankfully) dismiss earlier rumors that suggested otherwise.
A separate report from The Verge claims that “multiple sources familiar with the company’s Xbox plans” have revealed that Microsoft is setting the Durango up as a device to “take over a TV and set-top box”, with functions similar to Google TV. According that report, the next Xbox will allow users to pass a cable box signal though the console via HDMI, which will then overlay an user interface “on top of an existing TV channel”. It was not reported how users would benefit from this setup, however, it is easy to see how the Xbox UI and always-on internet connection would provide for limitless advertising potential for Microsoft.
Speaking of exciting new advertising possibilities, the Verge report also claims that the next generation Kinect will be integrated into Microsoft’s TV plans by using the sensor to “detect eye movement to pause content” when a viewer turns their attention away from a TV. Here’s hoping that this will be a feature users can turn off.
Right now all of this is unconfirmed and should be considered a rumor until Microsoft officially reveals the Durango. The latest leaks suggest the next-gen Xbox announcement will take place on May 21st, so we should have answers to some of these questions at that event. In the meantime, feel free to let us know your thoughts on these latest Xbox 720 rumors in the comments below.