Yet another Next Xbox rumor has made its way online, once again supporting prior reports that the console will require players to install their games, be online at all times, and keep their Kinect plugged in as the device watches their every move.
VGLeaks released the alleged Durango XDK, which includes the following hardware overview posted below. It's long, so we've highlighted in bold the most important parts.
The Durango console is designed to offer developers modern hardware that is more powerful than the Xbox 360. It uses a familiar x64 Architecture and tools, and compared with Xbox 360 development, will reduce development time and effort spent on performance optimization. Hardware accelerators, including “move engines” for common tasks, will be added to the console. Move engines can perform common game tasks like compression and decompression while moving data around the system. The console also has dedicated hardware support for common audio processing tasks that reduce the amount of CPU time that must be devoted to audio. The GPU provides considerable computing power, and supports Direct3D 11.
Durango will implement different power states so that it can always be powered on, but will draw minimal electricity when not in use. The console will be ready instantly when users want to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always current. With this “Always On, Always Connected” design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install updates.
Every Durango console will be sold with a new high-fidelity Kinect Sensor, which will be required for the system to operate. The console will provide HD video, and will use new depth sensor technology to provide better screen resolution and less noisy depth data. Active infrared illumination will provide high-quality monochrome images even in low ambient light conditions. A wider field of view allows play in smaller spaces, and removes the need for a tilt motor.
System software will offer a full set of system API for Natural User Interface (NUI), and the API set will be an improvement to the corresponding API used by Xbox 360. Skeleton tracking, identity and other NUI functions will be performed by the system, and for that reason, titles no longer need to allocate title resources to NUI.
The Durango controller will make the best-in-class Xbox 360 controller even better. it will have low-latency wireless connectivity to the console, and improved ergonomics. System interaction that use the controller will be simplified to make them easier for noncore gamers.
Every Durango console will have a hard drive, although its exact capacity has not been chosen. It will be large enough, however, to hold a large number of games. All games will be installed on the hard drive. Play from the optical disc will not be supported.
Durango consoles will have a Blu-ray Disc drive. Disc media will be used for distribution, but during gameplay, games will not use content from the optical disc. An installation system is being designed that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed on the hard drive rather than waiting until installation is complete.
Audio output from Durango will be all digital – 7.1 discrete PCM output through HDMI and [obscured]. Hardware accelerators will be included for decoding and decompressing common audio formats. There also will be a dedicated sound processor to perform common signal processing in hardware.
There are certainly some major benefits to this approach, but will mandatory game installs and a required internet connection be a turn-off to many? If this hardware overview proves to be true, do you think Microsoft has the right approach, or are they making a mistake? Let us know in the comments below.