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Report: Next Xbox Will Be Always-On, Games Run off HDD

With videogame convention season underway with PAX East, it's rather unsurprising to see the rumors regarding Microsoft's next-gen console ramp up with renewed vigor.

VGLeaks, the same outlet that had leaked Durango's technical specifications, has published screenshots of the Xbox Development Kit (XDK). One of the screenshots is a Hardware Overview note to developers, which discusses Durango's different power states. "The console will be ready instantly when users want to play," it reads, "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 experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install games."

What's left unwritten is that this "Always On, Always Connected" design could mean the Durango would block pre-owned games, as has been previously rumored. The document further goes on to specify that while the Durango's hard drive capacity is still left undetermined—perhaps it'll be of variable size, as with the Xbox 360—it "will be large enough, however, to load a large number of games. All games will be installed on the hard drive. Play from the optical disc will not be supported." Essentially, though the Durango will have a blu-ray drive and physical games will still be available for purchase, the physical discs will immediately become useless once the game's been installed. It doesn't take a mental leap to imagine that each copy of the game would be tied to a product key that would need to be redeemed in order to install the game to the hard drive, making the disc worthless to resell.

Keep in mind though, none of this information has been verified. It could be possible that these screenshots are no longer accurate to the vision that Microsoft has for Project Durango. We can only know for sure when Microsoft finally decides to announce, hopefully, at this year's E3. 

The image of the Durango Hardware Overview is courtesy of VGLeaks.

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  • jcurry23
    Hope the harddrive is big enough to hold aall of the games you are going to install.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    Time to update the friends analogy (2nd page): http://www.dorkly.com/comic/42862/videogame-companies-are-your-friends
    Reply
  • nforce4max
    Not everyone wants a always on and always connected console.
    Reply
  • renz496
    yes!! always online is the future.....

    btw i can see it some people might not be able to play their games on the weekend because the server will be hammered hard during such peak times. if they handle it like EA does with Sim City 5 maybe we can get free triple A games every week :P
    Reply
  • jonyah
    There was a time I bought everything that was "Blizzard". Now I won't give them another dime. This company can peddle their junk to someone else now.
    Reply
  • samwelaye
    just one more reason to buy a ps4 instead
    Reply
  • falcompsx
    the Wii U is looking more and more attractive.
    Reply
  • falcompsx
    samwelayejust one more reason to buy a ps4 instead
    ps4 is always online as well. There are rumors that it will be a purely digital content delivery system with no optical drive at all. They certainly didnt say anything in the press conference that would sound contrary to those rumors either, and their ability to download game and then stream them as they complete installation sure points to a similar system as this rumor.
    Reply
  • kinggraves
    renz496yes!! always online is the future.....btw i can see it some people might not be able to play their games on the weekend because the server will be hammered hard during such peak times. if they handle it like EA does with Sim City 5 maybe we can get free triple A games every week
    Who cares if we can't play any of them.

    To say this leads to blocking used games is speculating on a rumor, nothing concrete at all. A more substantial conclusion is that since the hard drive is large enough to hold "a lot of games", it will be a magnetic based hard drive. Using an SSD of great size would push the console's price range far over typical console pricing. Honestly I prefer Wii U's approach of a small SSD. Having a few games loaded at a time is no problem for me. I don't play 20 different games at a time. I play a few at most, so I can eventually switch them out and get better load times. This is what I do with my PC games, why wouldn't I want it on a console?

    But anyway, yeah the new XBox and likely the new PS too will be highly controlled, checked during an internet connection, and may block used games. Even though Sony said they won't, their tapdancing around the question leaves many people skeptical of whether they're giving the whole truth. It isn't a console dev's issue, it's a publisher's issue. I have a feeling there's a lot going on behind the scenes to pressure consoles to give publishers the same DRM options they have with PC. The ones Activision and EA, two of the strongest arms in video game publishing, seem to enjoy. Gamers buy consoles based on the titles available, not due to hardware. Players will flock to the system that has strong 3rd party support. Nintendo didn't implement always on and blocking used games, and they've gotten an unexplained cold shoulder from publishers outside of their usual stables.

    "With this 'Always On, Always Connected' design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install games." This is, by the way, one of the most disgusting uses of publicity speak I've seen. Trying to twist this to be for the consumer? No, I'd still have to restart if I wanted to turn the console off and I could leave any console always on if I wanted to. I wouldn't have to wait to install games if I play them by disc, and I'll still have to wait if I download them to my hard drive. Microsoft, I don't WANT my system to go into idle mode when I turn it -off-, and I don't WANT things being automatically installed when I go online. I turn these "features" off on my PC. Trying to force people into things they don't want is why Windows 8 is tanking and dragging the entire industry down with it.
    Reply
  • STravis
    Always on you say? Awesome - the more devices are always on the more devices we can hack and add to our botnets.
    Reply