Xbox 720 Release Rumors: Microsoft May Block Used Games

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By Lisa Eadicicco | February 7, 2013 8:58 AM EST

Now that Sony may be close to revealing its next-generation gaming console, the rumor mill is continuing to churn out speculation about Microsoft’s alleged Xbox 720. To date, we’ve seen a handful of intriguing augmented reality patents from the company, but the latest rumor insinuates that Microsoft may implement a function to block used games.

Sources said to have had “first-hand experience” with Microsoft’s new console have allegedly confirmed that games will be sold on disc rather than digitally, Edge reports. These next-gen Xbox games, which are said to be manufactured on 50GB-capacity Blu-ray discs, will reportedly ship with activation codes that will only be valid for the initial buyer. Additionally, sources told Edge that Xbox “720” consoles would have to be connected to the Internet at all times to enable gameplay or perform other tasks.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of such a concept. Nearly one year ago in March, rumors indicated that Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 4 would also require a constant Internet connection, but that remains unconfirmed. We’ll be learning more about the alleged PS4 at the end of the month when Sony holds its event on Feb. 20.

As for the next Xbox, however, Edge’s report didn’t elaborate on how this activation code system would work, but did delve into some other specifics. The alleged source revealed that the specs we’ve heard about over the past few months are in fact accurate, meaning we could be seeing an AMD eight-core x64 CPU clocking in at 1.6GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a D3d11.x 800MHz graphics card.

The hard drive’s capacity is still undecided, but the publication speculates it could be the most storage space Microsoft has ever packed into a console. A revamped version of Xbox Live will also play a huge role in the Xbox “720,” and Microsoft also plans to roll out a next-gen Kinect, according to the report.

While none of this information has been publicly confirmed, some of it does echo ideas we’ve seen in previous Microsoft patents and documents. One of the most memorable leaks came this past summer when a 56-page document believed to be from Microsoft found its way online.

In this paperwork, Microsoft allegedly made references to an overhauled Kinect that would come with two cameras and microphones, as opposed to the single set used in the current Kinect. Additionally, the upgraded motion gameplay device would allow four players to participate in the game at the same time, whether sitting or standing.

The same files hinted at new entertainment features such as Blu-ray playback and a brand new self-branded video and music streaming service known as XTV. It’s important to keep in mind that this document dates back to 2010 and there’s no way to tell if they’re accurate. However, if it proves to be true, this could be part of the revamped Xbox Live that Edge mentioned in its report.

We’ll have to wait until Microsoft unveils its new Xbox to know for sure, but with Sony preparing to take the wraps off its PS4 in February, we may not have to wait too long. Rumors suggest that the Redmond, Wash.-based company could debut its next gaming system at this year’s E3 conference, but we’ll have to wait until June to find out.

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