There have been a flood of rumours regarding the next-gen Xbox this week, the two biggest being the resurfacing of speculation about DRM, and also the fact that better voice recognition is coming to the console.
Let’s start with the one which has certainly caused the biggest stir – the DRM issue.
This was a rumour which popped up last year, and was quickly derided and generally forgotten about, with folks assuring themselves and each other that even Microsoft wouldn’t be daft enough to try and tie the Xbox 720 up in DRM red tape.
According to the Edge, though, the Xbox 720 will need an always-on Internet connection to work, and all games will come with an activation code. That will be a one-time only code which will tie the copy of the game to a specific Xbox Live account.
In other words, that will be the end of the pre-owned games market. And indeed you won’t even be able to borrow discs from a friend to try a game.
That should prove pretty unpopular to say the least, particularly given the price of new console games, especially when they first come out. Trading in and buying cheaper second-hand games is a big money saver for console owners.
Such a move would quite likely see a lot of folks abandoning the Xbox, and buying the PS4 purely as a protest move, irrespective of hardware, exclusive game franchises and so forth.
And for that reason, it still seems unlikely that Microsoft would try and force such unpopular medicine on its gaming public. Still, you never know…
Incidentally, the Edge’s sources also said that Xbox 720 games will come on 50GB Blu-ray discs (with the console having a Blu-ray drive, of course, which has long been rumoured). Another previous rumour – that the Xbox 720 will ship with an improved Kinect – was also aired.
That ties in with the second major speculative fact that has emerged this week regarding the Xbox, namely that it will feature Siri-like voice controls – in other words, it will be far more advanced than the current Kinect voice commands.
The current state of play with Kinect voice is that its functionality is pretty limited – only working on certain areas of the interface, with a relatively small number of commands.
The new system would be more like Siri, as seen on the iPhone, in that you could speak naturally to it, and have it process and recognise natural dialogue.
Indeed, according to the Verge, the next Xbox will support elements such as speech-to-text for dictating messages, and it’ll have “wake on voice” (it’ll turn on when you shout at it).
There’s no reason why the Xbox 720 shouldn’t incorporate better voice recognition, as it’s a road Microsoft has travelled down with Kinect already – and the console will need to do things to stand out from the PS4.
Here’s hoping the Xbox 720 has an improved Kinect motion control system, along with better voice recognition – and no DRM demands.