I'am pretty sure that the next version of Xbox is only 2-3 years away, but how bold will Microsoft be?
Will it be without a DVD/Blu-ray drive? Download all content from Xbox Live?
Will it be with 3D support?
Will it have a SSD drive (no moving parts - besides cooling)
Will it have USB 3 so that Kinect can use all the bandwidth that it needs for better quality of the cameras?
Will Kinect be included in the launch setup?
Will Kinect be HD?
Will Kinect use a wide angle lens, so that you don't need a large free space to play (two people at a time)?
Will Xbox V.Next rock?
Speculation can begin now!
- Without a doubt it will have a Bluray drive. Xbox games now come on multiple discs and Sony likes to sneak in jabs at DVDs. That said, I believe downloadable games will become an option: they have higher profit margins and allow gamers to get their games straight away (assuming it takes less time to download a 20GB game than it does to ship it in the post). It worked for Steam, and I note that the PSP moved on to disc-less games, so it's the next logical step.
- Possibly, but I reckon Microsoft realises that 3D is largely a gimmick. It doesn't cost anything to add (NVidia's drivers support it natively) but it has performance implications (as the same scene has to be rendered twice).
- SSD is too expensive to make this a cost-effective proposition, especially if downloadable games will take off, as you'd need at least a few hundred gigabytes worth of space, maybe even 1TB. For high capacities SSD is still too expensive. SSD's advantages come from random-access reading and writing, whereas mechanical drives are still good (if not the best) for stream reading/writing, which is how drives would be used in consoles.
- That depends on whether or not the Kinect itself supports USB3, or if there'll be a second revision that does support it (in which case there'd be a two-tier experience which is bad for the consumer). It's more likely they would re-release a "Kinect 2" for the next Xbox that would feature USB3 and a higher resolution camera.
- That's a given
- Upping the camera in the Kinect to a "HD" sensor with at least 1280x960 resolution is probable, but anything above 640x480 is ruined by crappy plastic camera lenses. We're unlikely to see high-quality glass in the Kinect and it isn't used for movie-making, so this isn't a priority. There isn't much to gain really, 640x480 is good-enough when your subject is only a few metres from the camera.
- Hard to say. That sounds like a good improvement.
- Define "rock". Given there's a duopoly in the 'serious' console market between Microsot and Sony it's a given that anything they make will sell in the millions and assuming they don't screw up will please the critics, but don't expect any kind of Apple-like revolutionary product. Microsoft isn't one to take risks.
We saw that in 2004, it was called the NGage, and it sucked.
Microsoft already has its own portable gaming console product: the Zune and WP7 devices. The ideal 'gaming phone' would feature physical buttons and a D-Pad, but if you were to design a phone like that it simply wouldn't work, and when you play games on a phone it's usually for a few minutes at the most.