One rumor that continues to persist for the unannounced “Xbox 720” is an always-online connection. Documents that were recently leaked from the Durango XDK suggest that the Xbox 720 will feature an “always on, always connected design”. This design philosophy for the new console is said to allow its users to “easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install updates.”
The document also outs a number of features for the new console. In this alleged leak of the Durango Hardware Overview many features are brought to light for the new hardware, while it is noted that the documentation is preliminary and subject to change.
“The Durango console is designed to offer game developers modern hardware that is more powerful than the Xbox 360. It uses a familiar x64 architecture and tools, and compared with Xbox 360 development, will reduce development time and effort spent on performance optimization. Harware accelerators, including “move engines ” for common tasks, will be added to the console. Movie engines can perform common game tasks like compression and decompression while moving data around the system. The console also has dedicated hardware support for common audio processing tasks that reduce the amount of CPU time that must be devoted to audio. The GPU provides considerable computing power, and supports Direct 3D 11.
Durango will implement different power states so that it can always be powered on, but will draw minimal electricity when not in use. 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 this “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.
The Xbox 720 will always maintain a network connection and games will not be played from the disc, according to the alleged leak
Every Durango console will be sold with a new high-fidelity Kinect Sensor, which will be required for the system to operate. The console will provide HD video, and will use new depth sensor technology to provide better screen resolution and less noisy depth data. Active infrared illumination will provide high-quality monochrome images even in low ambient light conditions. A wider field of view allows play in smaller spaces and removes the need for a tilt motor.
System software will offer a full set of system API for Natural User Interface and the API set will be an improvement to the corresponding API used by Xbox 360. Skeleton tracking, identity, and other NUI functions will be performed by the system, and for that reason, titles no longer need to allocate title resources to NUI.
The Durango controller will make the best-in-class Xbox 360 controller even better. It will have low-latency wireless connectivity to the console, and improved ergonomics. System interactions that use the controller will be simplified to make them easier for noncore gamers.
Every Durango console will have a hard drive, although its exact capacity has not been chose. It will be large enough, however, to hold a large number of games. All games will be installed on the hard drive. Play from the optical disc will not be supported.
Durango consoles will have a Blu-ray Disc drive. Disc media will be used for distribution, but during gameplay, games will not use content from the optical disc. An installation system is being designed that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed on the hard drive rather than waiting until installation is complete.
Audio output from Durango will be all digital — 7.1 discrete PCM output through HDMI and S/PDIF. Hardware accelerators will be included for decoding and decompressing common audio formats. There also will be a dedicated sound processor to perform common signal processing in hardware.”
Microsoft has still not confirmed exact timing on the announcement of their next console, but many expect for the official reveal to occur this spring.