Trusted sources of Polygon have advised the site of some interesting features that may be in store for Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox console. According to these sources, the console will feature some form of anti-piracy protection, media-sharing capabilities, and a new approach to the Xbox 360’s social aspects.
Polygon’s sources claim that the next Xbox will indeed include some form of an always-on requirement. While many of the key features of the next Xbox are understood to require internet connectivity for use, it’s believed that piracy protection is almost certainly driving the requirement. However, it’s not necessarily mandatory; the sources claim that, under Microsoft’s existing guidelines, the decision to implement this Digital Rights Management (DRM) is ultimately down to the individual publisher.
As with Sony’s PlayStation 4, it’s believed that the ability to share captured gameplay videos and screenshots is an important feature of the next-generation Xbox. While Sony has implemented a “Share” button on its revised DualShock controller that enables footage capture once it’s pressed, Microsoft has reportedly opted for a different approach. According to Polygon’s sources, the new Xbox will capture footage automatically during play in a similar fashion to a television DVR, allowing players to revisit the footage at their leisure. The sources also claim that users can upload clips to social-media sites like YouTube.
Polygon’s sources also contend that publishers have more control over achievements with the next-generation Xbox, including the ability to add new achievements without needing to update the title with DLC. It’s believed that this rumored design element is intended to tweak player behavior over the course of a game’s lifetime, such as encouraging the visitation of new areas or unpopular maps. Other rumored changes to the achievement system include seasonal achievements for, say, a weekend event, or contributing to a communal goal such as a combined total of kills over a weekend. It’s also understood that there may be achievements tied to paired accomplishments in unrelated games from the same publisher. Polygon understands that some of these new types of achievements may even be required in all next-gen Xbox games.
Finally, it’s believed that Microsoft has looked to other social networks like Twitter and Facebook in re-approaching Xbox Live’s social functions. Polygon’s sources advise that the next-gen Xbox Live won’t place a limit on the number of friends a user can have, and that a fundamental change is in store regarding the way a user adds friends: it’s now rumored to be a two-way relationship (similar to Twitter) in which users can follow one another, but where there’s no obligation to follow back.
Microsoft has announced it will officially unveil the next Xbox to the world at an event at the company’s Redmond campus on May 21. Keep an eye on XBLAFans for further details as soon as they’re available.