We haven’t heard much about the next Xbox console – really, all we’ve got so far is a series of job postings on LinkedIn. But slowly, more and more details are starting to surface.
The latest comes from designer Ben Peterson, who works with Microsoft and posted a rather interesting update to his portfolio on Sunday. It’s nothing more than a blocky, unidentifiable object and a very obscure note reading “collaboration with Microsoft’s IEB Design group investigating future user experiences and hardware for 2015.” It’s since been taken down from his site, but we have ZDNet to thank for the screenshot (at right).
So, 2015 it is? It would seem so; the date aligns with Xbox scheduling and projections. We’ve got years to speculate about what we’re going to see, but here are just a few of the features of interest making the rounds in this incredibly early (fetal, even) stage of the Xbox “720.”
Including Blu-ray capability in its next console would definitely be an interesting step, and one that there’s conflicting opinions about. On one hand, the advanced video format is definitely challenging DVD sales (although online streaming is inarguably the future of home entertainment). On the other hand, there are licensing fees. We’re thinking Microsoft isn’t terribly keen on shoving money at competitor Sony to use its technology. Given the fact that Microsoft’s busy trolling other developers over using its own technology and asking them to pay up, we’re not certain how the company feels being on the other end of patent use.
Call us shallow, but perhaps the most attention-getting aspect of a new device is its outer beauty, and we’re definitely interested to see what the Xbox 720 is going to look like. Of course, from the fact that some of the job postings are looking for hardware designers, we’re guessing Microsoft doesn’t entirely know yet. Epic Games VP Mark Rein told Develop in October that he could imagine an entirely new format for the console, packing the system into a tablet. “Imagine a future Xbox 360 that is actually a tablet you carry around. It will have more power than 360 does today, with technology like Kinect built right in.” Rein talks about how this would make gaming a portable, on-the-go, constant experience – not one shackled to your living room. Sounds almost crazy as you stare at your very grounded console, right? But – will it be as crazy in four years?
The Nintendo 3DS, too many 3D TVs to count, and a slew of smartphones featuring the technology might be enough to make us believe the Xbox 720 will be 3D capable. According to 3anime, one 720 staff developer wouldn’t give much information about the console, except this gem: “The only thing I’m going to say about everything I heard regarding the next Xbox is that it won’t launch until a certain type of television becomes more widespread, because in addition to built-in Natal tech, a key feature of the next Xbox would be full HD stereoscopic 3D visuals similar to 3D movie theatres.” The quote made the tech blog rounds, and has solidified itself as “hoped for” in the next console. Will 3D TVs become popular enough with consumers for Xbox to include it in the new system? The numbers continue to go up, and according to IDG News Service, 2015 will bring us glasses-free 3D LCD TVs.