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.
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The next Xbox, despite what public statements made by Microsoft over the last couple of years might lead the uninformed to believe, is coming. We don’t know exactly when, but common sense places its release at some point during the fall of this year. We don’t know exactly when it will be announced, but rumors are pointing to an April event. We don’t know exactly what the machine will be capable of, but an Australian hacker claims to know what’s inside the box.
The Wii U is out. Sony has shown its hand with its PlayStation 4 event last month. Valve spent January telling the world about what the press and public have not-so-cleverly dubbed the Steam Box, which may or may not be competition for the Xbox brand.
Still, Microsoft has issued nothing but denials or no comments each time it has been questioned about a next-generation rumor. But Microsoft is discussing the Xbox — not necessarily the next one — right this very moment.
As this article was being written, the company was busy holding an internal meeting with select partners at its Redmond, Washington headquarters. The invite-only session is titled “Xbox Platform Deep Dive” and is part of a series of meetings that make up the 2014 fiscal year version of a conference Microsoft holds annually.
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