Xbox 720 News: Delayed Until Spring 2014; Always-on & Backwards Compatibility Rumors Back On

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By Gilda Galang | April 24, 2013 2:52 PM EST

In the battle of next-gen consoles, particularly between Xbox 720 and PS4, rumors and speculations have been circulating ever since the PS4 kept the hardware during its February event and when Microsoft stopped commenting on every bit of rumor that arose online.

But now, the rumors surrounding the Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, is slowly putting it at a disadvantage against the PS4. Considering the speculations about the PS4, it seems that the only thing that would stop the Xbox 720 from competing on a level playing field are three things: release date, support for used games, and the undying always-on debate.

What's well-known about the PS4 (and technically unchanging, so there must be something there), is that it will have a pre-Christmas 2013 release, it will support used games, and according to Kotaku.

But now, it seems that the Xbox 720 will receive a triple whammy, if the latest rumors will be believed.

"We hear different things from the two big players," said David Connoly, managing director for Xing Interactive to NowGamer. "Sony [is] actively asking for more retailers 'past, present, and new' to help them support their next PS launch. I have spoken to sources close to Microsoft, on the other hand, who insist that the next Xbox will not be compatible with second hand."

While even these sources cannot be concretely backed up, the rumors on the lack of support for used games for the next-gen Xbox has been in effect since the Sony's reveal of its console. Even Sony has faltered here, with a confirmation then a sudden hush-hush regarding the matter. But at the very least, the fact that Sony had once confirmed can mean that a middle ground might be achieved.

Spring 2014 release: Should it really take that long?

As for the release dates of the next-gen consoles, the biggest news that opened this week is that both are vying for a pre-Christmas release, with speculations of Sony even pushing it a month earlier for October.

For the Xbox 720, the latest reports according to iDigital Times is that they next year might be a better date.

This rumor also goes back to industry analyst Michael Pachter and his interview with X360 Magazine, where he said that the Xbox 720 may be more fit for a spring 2014 release.

"If I were a betting man (and I am), I would say a spring 2014 launch makes more sense, since hard core Xbots could get a console without having to compete with moms buying gifts at holiday," he said to X360 Magazine. "And it is likely that they won't manufacture more than a few million units for launch."

Pachter's statement is also supported by a GameStop employee, who also said to iDigital Times that a 2014 release is a more sensible one for the Durango console.

That's almost four months later than the expected date of release, and, if the October rumor for Sony is true, almost half a year later than the PS4. If this is the case, coupled with the unsavory rumors that continue to abound, the Xbox 720 may lose to the PS4 not only in possible sales (if anything, only hardcore Xbox patrons can wait for half a year), but also in standing, as the PS4 will get the lead in the next-gen market.

BBC and Xbox 720: Cross-merchandising

If there's any progress with the Xbox 720, it would have to be in the area of cross-merchandising.

Considering the next-gen Xbox's thrust to also include entertainment with the introduction of the Xbox TV and the rumored Xbox Mini, the likes of BBC are now voicing out ways on how they can join the bandwagon of the Xbox.

According to Game Informer, it seems that BBC is trying to make it possible for a gamer to switch from gaming to TV viewing seamlessly. BBC vice president Rober Nashak has given nothing but praise for Microsoft's changing landscape, and already suggests ways by which cross-merchandising opportunities can be further pushed.

Speaking with Spong.com, Nashak said, "We've been trying to do as much as possible cross-merchandising, so that people get a sense of all the different ways a brand can get into their life. Creating new strategic gateways into these brands is important and if Xbox does its job right, I think Microsoft is going to develop a great cross-merchandising place for us."

It seems like a lot is happening for the Xbox 720-it's just time for gamers to be made aware of the where exactly the next-gen console is headed.

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