3 years, 68 rumors. How many were accurate?
Since as far back as 2010 we've seen rumors surrounding the next-generation Xbox console from Microsoft, which earlier this week was finally unveiled at an event at Microsoft's Redmond campus as the Xbox One. While not everything was revealed about the upcoming game/entertainment console, we have a good idea about most aspects, from the hardware and name to the software and accessories.
We took a look back at every rumor Neowin has covered about the next Xbox, checking what reports were actually accurate and what were completely false. After trawling through a whopping 68 rumor articles on the next Xbox, here's a full round-up of how accurate everything we covered turned out to be.
This is the easiest aspect of the next Xbox rumors to verify: the console turned out to be called the Xbox One, and (surprise, surprise) no-one managed to get the name right. We heard a number of rumors surrounding the name, including 'Xbox Fusion' and 'Xbox Infinity', which both turned out to be not true, as well as 'Xbox 8', 'Xbox 720' and just plain old 'Xbox'.
Microsoft ended up throwing a curve-ball and named the console the Xbox One. Nothing more to see here.
Overall Accuracy - 0%
Software & Services
Will the Xbox One be 'always-online'? Microsoft has yet to confirm the specifics
This is where things start to get interesting, so let's begin our rumor dive by taking a look at one of the most contentious issues surrounding the next Xbox: is there a requirement for the console to be always connected to the internet? Microsoft has been remarkably vague about the situation since the console has launched, saying the Xbox One requires an internet connection, but no-one is quite sure in what circumstances or for how long.
Still, the first reports of the console being 'always-online' came from Edge at the start of this year, with a following report from Kotaku stating that "if there isn't a connection, no games or apps can be started". On the other side of the stick, Ars Technica reported that an internal Microsoft email said the console would work offline in a number of scenarios, while an earlier statement posted on Pastebin claimed a similar story. Polygon reported that game developers can choose whether their games are always connected to the internet or not.
Until Microsoft clarifies the situation, we don't know whether any of these rumors are true. A similar situation goes for rumors surrounding used games; Microsoft has only provided vague comments on how the console will work with game reselling.
Now on to the more juicy rumors that can be confirmed or refuted, starting with Skype on the Xbox One. Microsoft was hiring for staff to work on Skype for Xbox, and Computer and Video Games reported earlier that Skype would be a part of the next-generation Xbox console - as it turns out Skype is integrated into the Xbox One's software.
Microsoft emphasized that the console is designed "to play an entirely new generation of games"
The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was working on a game streaming service, primarily to offer Xbox 360 games to the console that isn't backwards compatible. While Microsoft could still be working on a streaming service to show off at E3 2013, all hints point towards the next Xbox not having such a service, as Microsoft emphasized that the console is designed "to play an entirely new generation of games" while also stating backwards compatibility is "really backwards".
An EA executive stated that the next Xbox would "unlikely" be able to play Xbox 360 games, and he was correct: the Xbox One is not backwards compatible.
Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's Xbox business, reveals the new Kinect, Xbox One and its controller.
A number of rumors were floating around surrounding the next Xbox's TV and entertainment capabilities, most of which turned out to be true. The Verge accurately reported in April that the next Xbox would work with set-top boxes, however previously The Verge reported that an "Xbox TV" would only be able to play "casual games" alongside TV content. It turns out the 'Xbox TV' is just one part of the entire Xbox One system that also features a full-powered gaming console.
A post from a software engineer with supposedly close links to next Xbox development stated a separate 'Xbox TV' was in development with a cost around $100, which turned out to be not true. On the other hand an old 'Xbox 720' roadmap accurately predicted Xbox TV features would be bundled into the next-gen console, that the console would be "always-on" and that a "Kinect V2" was in the works.
Once again The Verge pops-up here in the rumor round-up, after accurately reporting that the next Xbox would feature improved voice controls, including the ability to wake the console via a simple voice command. All of this is possible thanks to the revamped Kinect sensor that is going to be bundled with every Xbox One console.
The leaked 'Durango' XDK revealed a number of software features
VGLeaks leaked an XDK in March 2013 that contained a number of accurate statements, including that game installations to the HDD are mandatory, and that the next-gen Kinect must always be connected to the console. The XDK stated the console will be "Always On, Always Connected", although this is yet to be confirmed by Microsoft.
Finally, back in 2012 an alleged Xbox 'Durango' development kit sold on eBay, with the seller posting images of the SDK as part of the option. Rafael Rivera looked at the code and discovered some familiar Windows references and alluded to the fact that the next Xbox might be running Windows 8. While this isn't quite true - the next Xbox doesn't run Windows 8 per se - it does run a version of the Windows kernel purposed for the console, as well as an 'Xbox OS'. Rivera was remarkably close to the fact in his assumption.
Rumor Accuracy - 78% excl. 'always-online' rumors
This is the motherboard of the Xbox One, which features a single APU
By far the most rumors we reported on were concerned with the hardware inside the next-generation Xbox, and not always were they accurate. Starting with the CPU and GPU of the machine, MS_Nerd claimed that the next Xbox will be powered by ARM-based processors, but this turned out to be false as the Xbox One is x86 based. A number of other rumors speculated the next Xbox would be PowerPC-based; again we now know these rumors were false.
VGleaks was three times right about the hardware of the next Xbox
In actual fact, the CPU and GPU of the Xbox One are fused together as an APU, and turns out to be a custom made Jaguar-based 3rd-generation Fusion APU manufactured by AMD. VGleaks was three times right about the hardware of the next Xbox: he reported the CPU features two modules with four x86 cores each, he also accurately reported the GPU features 768 ops/clock and that the APU has 32 MB of SRAM, and finally that the whole system comes together with a Blu-ray drive and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM.
VGLeaks posted many diagrams of the next Xbox's hardware, including of the GPU (above)
Back in 2012, Venture Beat reported that the next Xbox would have a 16-core processor based on IBM's PowerPC design with an AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU, all of which were not true. Xbox World also believed the CPU would have 16 "logical cores", however they accurately predicted 8 GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive, second-gen Kinect and TV inputs and outputs.
IGN reported in early 2012 that the next Xbox would have a Radeon 6000 series GPU from AMD (false), although two earlier rumors were surprisingly more accurate. One from Tweaktown in 2010 stated that the next-gen Xbox would use a 28nm APU from AMD (true), while another in mid-2011 from HardOCP stated a similar story. A later article from Eurogamer in 2013 correctly stated the next Xbox's processor is a Jaguar-based APU from AMD with 8-cores.
A number of reports that attempted to match the Xbox One's power to that of the PS4 got the facts surrounding the Xbox One correct: Eurogamer and VG247 said the Xbox One would have 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, while the latter accurately stated the console would be less powerful than the PS4.
In early 2012, MCV claimed the next Xbox would ditch a disc drive altogether; an incorrect rumor as the Xbox One features a Blu-ray drive. On the other hand, we heard correctly from SuperDAE in early 2013 that the next Xbox would have a 500 GB hard drive and require Kinect 2.0.
The Xbox One controller is very similar to the Xbox 360 controller
A report from Computer and Video Games in 2012 incorrectly claimed the next Xbox's controller would feature a touch-screen; although when the subject was brought up again in 2013 by Kotaku it was accurately reported that the controller wasn't hugely different from the Xbox 360 controller. In actual fact the controller is basically a polished version of the Xbox 360 controller with an improved D-pad and less prominent battery.
Lastly, a number of reports relating to the next-generation Kinect turned out to be true. The old Xbox roadmap from 2010 accurately predicted a new Kinect with better 3D play space, better voice recognition, dedicated processing hardware and HD RGB cameras, while the XDK leak from 2013 and a further leak from VGLeaks backed all these facts up.
Rumor Accuracy - 66%
We don't yet know if we'll see Project Gotham Racing 5 on the Xbox One
Surprisingly, all the rumors we heard surrounding games for the next Xbox have turned out to be either true, or at this stage unconfirmed pending more information at Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference. Computer and Video Games reported in February that EA would partner with Microsoft at the Xbox One launch event, which occurred, while rumors for Destiny, Ryse (from all the way back in 2011), a new Forza, Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed IV coming to the next Xbox all turned out to be accurate.
Meanwhile, a number of rumors are currently left in the balance as Microsoft didn't reveal much about their launch titles at the May event. We don't know if an Obisian project has been cancelled, or if the Call of Duty creators' next game will be an Xbox One exclusive, or if we'll see Project Gotham Racing 5. Also, we can't refute an analyst's prediction that next Xbox games will cost $70, as games haven't gone on sale yet.
Rumor Accuracy - 100% so far...
Launch Date & Price
The first time we heard of a tentative launch date for the next Xbox was when GamesIndustry reported that two versions of a next-generation Xbox would launch in 2013. While the former part of the rumor turned out to be inaccurate - it seems Microsoft will only be launching one Xbox One model - the event last week confirmed that the console will launch in 2013.
The confirmed launch date of "later this year" means that a number of other rumors were accurate: Bloomberg in 2012 said it would be launched in 2013, as did Computer and Video Games in early 2012. Other tidbits from these reports, such as the rumor that the Xbox One will launch before the PS4, and ahead of the holiday shopping season, have yet to be confirmed.
On the other hand, a rumor from MondoXbox stating that Blu-ray license issues have delayed the next Xbox One into 2014 seems to be false, unless something radical changes in Microsoft's launch of the Xbox One.
When it comes to price, we simply don't know what the Xbox One will cost at this stage. We've heard varying rumors, from $299, $350-$400, $499 or $299 with a subscription, and just that it will be "expensive", but as Microsoft hasn't shared the price at this stage, none of these rumors can be confirmed or refuted.
Overall Accuracy - 75% excl. price rumors
Overall Accuracy percentage calculated by total number of correct rumored fact instances divided by the total number of rumored facts. Some reports may have contained more than one rumored fact instance.