One month after Sony announced the PlayStation 4—an announcement that didn’t actually include showing of the console itself—the next-generation of the video game industry is slowly springing to life. Big game studios and indie developers have been pushing high end game technology on PCs for a few years, but the mainstream commercial industry is revving its engines now with new games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Thief announced each week.
The much rumored new Xbox from Microsoft, however, remains a mystery. The Durango, Xbox 720, or just plain Xbox as it’s sometimes called has yet to receive any type of official confirmation beyond game developers saying their work is coming to PlayStation 4 and “other next-gen consoles.” As time passes, more and more rumors spring up around the device. A new rumor - based on details from what’s purported to be the console’s software development kit – suggest the next Xbox will require players to install full games from discs to their hard drives.
VGLeaks posted images and information from the Durango SDK on Tuesday, and the development tool provides a wealth of information about how the console will work. Of particular note is this line about support for optical discs, those increasingly old-fashioned objects pieces of physical media: “All games will be installed on the hard drive. Play from the optical disc will not be supported.” Sources speaking with outlets Digital Foundry and Polygon support this information.
Another persistent rumor about the next Xbox supported in the VGLeaks information is that the console will need to always be connected to the internet to use. Edge Magazine’s source confirmed this on Wednesday.
If true, this strategy could cause myriad problems. Word is that the new Xbox will in fact have a Blu-ray drive in it. Most games today range in size from 4GB to 15GB, but Blu-Ray discs support between 25GB and 50GB of information. Next-gen games, which are expected to take up even more data, will naturally require a markedly bigger hard drive than what’s currently offered in consoles for Microsoft’s strategy to work. Even with a multi-terabyte hard drive and possible external storage options, that space will be eaten up fairly quickly by large games.
We should be able to put at least some of these rumors to rest soon, as Microsoft is expected to announce the new console between April and June.