VGLeaks is reporting to have seen a copy of the Xbox 720 (or Durango) Xbox Development Kit (XDK) that Microsoft sends to developers. The screenshots posted of the unconfirmed XDK include a “Durango Hardware Overview” document, which provides studios with a brief rundown of the console’s main features. While the documentation doesn’t specifically state that the next Xbox will be online-only, it does describe a system that is “Always on, Always Connected”.
“Durango will implement different power states so that it can always be powered on,” the overview reads. “The console will be ready instantly when users want to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always current. With the “Always on, Always Connected” design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install updates.”
Additionally, the overview clearly states that every Xbox 720 will include a “large” capacity hard drive that can ” hold a large number of games.” Despite having a Blu-ray Disc drive, “all games will be installed on the hard drive” and the console will not support “play from the optical disc [drive]”.
The apparent benefit from this setup is that users will no longer have to wait to update games, and can play them while they are installing on the hard drive. The downside is that the Xbox 720, as described, seems like it could be easily expanded into the mandatory always-on, pre-owned blocking console that Edge claimed it will be earlier this year.
Another interesting part of the unconfirmed document talks about the new “high-fidelity Kinect Sensor”. The silver lining is that Microsoft has apparently improved the camera so that it provide better resolution, work in “low ambient light conditions”, and provide a “wider field of view” that “allows play in smaller spaces” without the “need for a tilt motor”. The storm cloud that comes with the good news is that Kinect 2 “will be required for the system to operate”, which brings to mind all kinds of fun “always-on” personalized marketing possibilities.
None of this has been confirmed by Microsoft, so it should be considered a rumor until the Xbox 720 is officially announced and detailed by the company — which could happen as early as next month.
A full transcript of the Xbox 720 XDK “Hardware Overview” is included on the next page, along with the original screenshot of the document. Make sure to let us know your thoughts on the unconfirmed information in the comment section below.