Rumor: Next Xbox won't be 'always-on', will launch alongside 'Xbox TV'

We already know that the next Xbox is expected to be announced next month, will come with two new exclusive games to replace Halo and will receive a large boost in the specs department. There's been much speculation about just what Microsoft has in store for its next-generation console in recent weeks, and some new information has emerged that claims to reveal more details about the company's plans.

An anonymous software engineer has come forward with a lengthy Pastebin document, making various claims about the next Xbox. The software engineer doesn't state where he works, but says he is a "GAF member," but won't be outing himself for fear of losing his job. Unfortunately, his insistence on anonymity makes it impossible to verify his claims, so be sure to take all of what's said with a pinch of salt or two. 

The first rumour that the poster claims to overturn is the 'always-on' speculation. "You are not required to be connected to the internet in order to play Durango games and [Microsoft] were NEVER considering doing such a thing," says the post. If Microsoft did plump for the 'always-on' mode, then they may wish to pay heed to EA's SimCity disaster, but the writer seems pretty confident Microsoft isn't, which would certainly be a good thing if true. 

The insider states that the specs leak from VGLeaks is correct, which would mean that the next Xbox would feature a new 8-core CPU and a new custom-made GPU which can handle 1.2 trillion floating-point operations per second. According to the document, Microsoft kept one secret guarded from developers: "Durango" ships with an Xbox 360 SOC. This means that the Xbox 360 SOC can be used "in parallel with the original Durango hardware." 

The developer also claims that the next Xbox will run Windows 8. The document states that it will be the full version of Windows 8, "minus the desktop side of things." The anonymous developer says that Microsoft will talk more about this at Build 2013. This isn't entirely out of kilter with what we've previously heard; we understand that a heavily reworked version of Windows 8 will be used on the new Xbox, though it won't be identical to the version used on other Windows PCs. 

As for the Kinect and current controller, it's said that little will change. The Kinect will remain the same, but the software will change. According to the source, the possibilities of the Kinect are only hampered by the software. The combined processing power of the Xbox 720 and the Kinect will mean that games, such as "Ryse," will be 'next-level'. The Xbox controller will allegedly remain the same, except for minor alterations to the D-pad. Controller battery life will be improved, but only by a small amount. 

Microsoft has  reportedly been working on a system by which your Xbox will interact with your set-top box to control TV services. The developer makes reference to an 'Xbox TV' unit, a separate piece of hardware to the Xbox console. According to the document, Microsoft is looking to compete with the Apple TV, so don't expect anything too dramatic. It will reportedly be priced at around $100. We've previously reported on plans for a standalone Xbox TV unit, so this aspect of the developers claims is certainly credible. 

It's again important to underline the fact that these claims have been made anonymously, and without any means to verify the credibility of the person making them, so it could all turn out to be a load of nonsense. We'll let you decide that for now - but at least there's not too long to go until we find out what Microsoft really has in store for the new Xbox.

Source: Pastebin | Image via Digital Trends 

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Of course you won't need to be always connected to play games. You'd have to be an idiot to think there was any truth to that.

It's okay guys, this checks out: he calls it Durango instead of making an ass of himself by using "Xbox 720".

Assuming this is true, it leads to an important thing to note.

The PS4's Graphics chip is supposedly capable of about 1.8TFLOPS (rumour, admittedly)
The 720's is rated at 1.2TFLOPS, so a difference of ~600GFLOPS right there.
The GPU on the 360 is rated at 240Gflops. Even assuming there's no tradeoff of using two separate graphics chips, that still only gives it about 1.44TFLOPS versus the PS4's 1.8.

Kushan said,
Assuming this is true, it leads to an important thing to note.

The PS4's Graphics chip is supposedly capable of about 1.8TFLOPS (rumour, admittedly)
The 720's is rated at 1.2TFLOPS, so a difference of ~600GFLOPS right there.
The GPU on the 360 is rated at 240Gflops. Even assuming there's no tradeoff of using two separate graphics chips, that still only gives it about 1.44TFLOPS versus the PS4's 1.8.


And if true, it likely also wouldn't matter.

First, comparing specs alone is meaningless, as there are countless elements that go into how those specs are used or for that matter how easy they are to use. Sony historically has a problem in this department where Microsoft does not.

Second, in the current game development climate, where games are developed to ship on all platforms, many developers are less likely to even have an interest in exerting the effort to eke out more power / resources on one platform when this work cannot be carried through to all shipped versions of the game.

I really don't think there will be any noticeable difference in game quality or performance between the Next XBox and the PS4.

I don't care what it does, if it requires an always on connection, requires a connected and calibrated Kinect to work or blocks used games, I will not buy this console....too many scary rumors at this point, but we will see what happens when they officially announce the console.

Please, please, PLEASE, get the rumors straight! The "connection required" and "always-on, always-connected" rumors are separate rumors about separate features (or limitations, depending on your POV).

The "connection required" rumor states that you would be required to be connected to play a game. This rumor has been widely confused with the other rumor.

The "always-on, always-connected" rumor started with the Durango SDK leak that talked about always being on so that it can download updates and such in the background while it's "off" so that when you go to play all the updates are already applied.

The SDK leak never once implied that it was required to be always-connected, it only talked about it as a convenient feature to get rid of an annoying problem with the Xbox 360; having to wait for a download to install when all you really want to do is play a game.

I'm surprised about the SoC claim, they must have really shrank down the old CPU and got the heat under control if they're going to do that. Let me clarify this, i'd be f'n thrilled if it does have 360 SoC so my old games work.. (and my ton of marketplace purchases)

Microsoft is miles ahead in the living room device market so Apple and Google will need to catch up. Apple have the fanatics and Google have their standard set of geeks - who are in danger of losing to Ubuntu.

I don't think I've ever known an unannounced device to have so many contradictory rumours about it. I want to believe this, though, and it certainly seems credible.

What's interesting is the old Xbox 360 being in an SoC within the new console. So we can expect backwards compatibility. There was recently a rumour that a $100 Xbox 360 console would be sold at the same time as the next Xbox's release, but maybe that was confusion with this Xbox TV.

I knew the next xbox will run windows 8. with the rumors that even windows phone will have a unified API,this is starting to sound awesome. One app that runs on all. All devs have to do is detect which device it is, and scale the UI and process input, whether its a touchscreen or xbox controller. Nobody else has or can do this. This is the killer feature.

vcfan said,
I knew the next xbox will run windows 8. with the rumors that even windows phone will have a unified API,this is starting to sound awesome. One app that runs on all. All devs have to do is detect which device it is, and scale the UI and process input, whether its a touchscreen or xbox controller. Nobody else has or can do this. This is the killer feature.

I agree that its a killer feature but its not there yet and Microsoft needs to hurry.

Google has Chrome but its a side project, they could realize the same unity on Android devices. Apple can even choose to ignore Mac and focus on iOS and create the same thing with only true Apple fans (Mac users) suffering but theyll buy Apple anyway. Its true that many people have a Windows PC as well iOS/Android but as long as they are Windows 7 or older they wont see any benefit of this killer feature.

So Microsoft has to market the hell out of it and get more people to use Windows Phones and Windows tablets. Because otherwise these consumers who've had a Windows PC in their house for decades will get a unified experience acros their iOS/Androis tablets and phones and end up too heavily invested in those platforms even if they have an Xbox or Windows 8 PC.

Thing is that the Xbox, because it's a gaming console is like a Trojan horse and WILL already be in millions of houses by the time Google or Apple even attempt to get there.

Zedox said,
Thing is that the Xbox, because it's a gaming console is like a Trojan horse and WILL already be in millions of houses by the time Google or Apple even attempt to get there.

But one platform isnt enough to show of the capabilities of having one app across multiple devices. People either also need a Windows 8 based PC, laptop or phone. Windows is big but mostly due to XP and 7.

I also think the Xbox is the least imaginative platform to show off the shared app feature and capture the imagination of consumers. If Microsoft is smart Xbox will be heavily integrated and will help buy some consumers into the ecosystem. But most will use their Xbox for games and perhaps the occasional movie.

Ronnet said,

But one platform isnt enough to show of the capabilities of having one app across multiple devices. People either also need a Windows 8 based PC, laptop or phone. Windows is big but mostly due to XP and 7.

I also think the Xbox is the least imaginative platform to show off the shared app feature and capture the imagination of consumers. If Microsoft is smart Xbox will be heavily integrated and will help buy some consumers into the ecosystem. But most will use their Xbox for games and perhaps the occasional movie.

Xbox is the best platform to show off the shared app feature. When people buy an Xbox, they're not going to go out and buy a new phone and new PC/tablet at the same time. However, when they do go to buy a new one, I think the fact that a lot of the Xbox games they've bought will work on windows/WP (without them needing to be rebought or anything) will heavily influence their choice.

lambomann007 said,

Xbox is the best platform to show off the shared app feature. When people buy an Xbox, they're not going to go out and buy a new phone and new PC/tablet at the same time. However, when they do go to buy a new one, I think the fact that a lot of the Xbox games they've bought will work on windows/WP (without them needing to be rebought or anything) will heavily influence their choice.


Agreed. Not to mention the opportunity for related apps that extend the experience to these other devices... The XBox is definitely the best platform to do this.

Yeah, at this point, I'm just not even going to bother speculating anything, let alone reading this stuff. Will just wait to hear what Microsoft has to say.

I'm curious at what level the 'Xbox TV' will "interact with your set top box". There are just far too many proprietary standards for cable/tivo/satellite/iptv boxes for it to "interact" in a substantive way. I'd think they'd be angling to replace these boxes altogether or just be a digital player (Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, DVD/Bluray and personal files [avi, mpeg-x, mkv, etc]).

They already went down the replacement road, with Windows Media Center, and although it was a great and probably the best media player / DVR / cable box I've used. It was prohibitively expensive, since you need a PC ($500+) and a multi-stream multi-tuner compatible adapter card ($200+). So to replace a box one pays their television provider $12/mo to rent, they'd need to spend nearly $1000. Few people are willing to swallow that cost, since it would take >7 yrs of renting a DVR to make it worth it.

Maybe the initial cost of the Xbox will offset the marginal cost of the additional components, thereby making it cost effective enough to make replacement an effective option.

Snake89 said,
These system can be build for around $300 today.

$300 + time and effort. (configuration, ****ing around reading forums to figure out why it doesn't work).

$1000 for just works. I'll pay the premium.

Snake89 said,
The best thing for media center PC's is linus +xmbc, since you can use more then 2 tv capture cards, where Microsoft windows only allowed for a min of 2 capture cards.

These system can be build for around $300 today.

I'm not sure what you mean by "min of two capture cards". As a minimum, you could get by with a single card, or use the adapter I have. Which has 4 tuners and you can record 4 streams at once. http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv-4-pcie/

The problem with Linux + XBMC, or MythTV, can be summed up in 6 words.
Good luck getting CableCARD to work.

I went down that road, and basically it's possible but when things go wrong (and they will) and you need a new driver or an update to MythTV or XBMC and you're down for nearly a month -- you'll switch.

I'll take Media Center any day of the week over any of the Linux offerings because they're basically hobbyist crap that barely functions.

Edited by ahinson, Apr 18 2013, 1:15am :

The article states "next Xbox is expected to be released next month"

I believe that's misleading should be changed to "next Xbox is expected to be ANNOUNCED next month"

Thanks for pointing that out -- fixed it. Also, if you hover over the author's name you can click a link to report a problem with an article and we'll be notified and can fix it quicker.

Dev unit =/= always-on requirement of final end user product

With Adam Orth fired last week for alluding to always-on, I think we still got a fight ahead to convince MS the bridge is out and disaster awaits ahead if they proceed

techbeck said,
Good deal, if true. Still waiting on an official word from MS.

Always on is a rumour as well but you all kicked off as if its true. Lets put it this way, people love to believe in the negative statements best.

Riva said,

Always on is a rumour as well but you all kicked off as if its true. Lets put it this way, people love to believe in the negative statements best.

No, I did not. You know it is 100 percent ok to have a conversation even tho it is a rumor. Just because it is a rumor, doesnt mean no one can discuss it.

It will be always on in low power stanby and always online (as in Wake on LAN) for updates and push to content, so that the device always remains uptodate even when not in use. But definitely not for DRM (aparently it never was even considered, which I find very encouraging) purposes according to new rumors.