Stop me if you've heard this one before.A 56-page document was dumped on Scribd over the weekend (and then hastily removed by lawyers) announcing that the Xbox 720/Nextbox/MS' Box Of Tricks will have a Blu-ray drive, Kinect V2, and augmented reality glasses.
Oh, and apparently it will cost less than $300/£200.
The report suggests that the Xbox 360's successor will launch in 2013 at $299 (£191), packing a built-in Blu-ray drive, and an integrated and upgraded Kinect 2.0 camera that will support 4-player tracking, allow for more accurate and improved voice recognition, and feature a significantly tweaked HDRGB camera. According to the report, the machine will be followed up with augmented reality glasses technology, codenamed named Fortaleza, around a year after launch.
To be honest, we've heard most of this stuff before in the various corners of the internet, all except for that laughably low price point.
But there's more. Consisting of multiple CPUs and GPUs, the Nextbox will apparently offer an estimated 4-6x increase in graphical performance, and allow you to record TV whilst playing games. Furthermore, the report talks about "synchronised rich client experiences", which sounds an awful lot like SmartGlass to us.
The report outlines a console that puts great emphasis on the desire to be "the ONLY box you need for premium living room entertainment". Multiple simultaneous media activities, an always-on green system, transmedia opportunities, adaptive Kinect, and connected devices. Cloud processing is mentioned, but more in speculative future terms, for "layering" into the service following 2013. Indeed, there's an entire chapter of slides dedicated to cloud services, tentatively dated from 2015, and going big on synchronised services across devices that don't need upgrading.
Of course, this is entirely what we want to hear and therefore it's highly suspect indeed, and the fact that the international lawyers who took the original report down have Microsoft on their books really means nothing. Yes, it could infer authenticity, but it's just as likely that MS might not want a rogue document of any nature circulating in what is likely to be a busy next twelve months.
It's an incredibly detailed document to fake (although there are people with that amount of time on their hands out there), but equally it's a document that almost contains too much info to leak. If we take it to be authentic (and it should be noted that Microsoft themselves have never used the term "Xbox 720"), then there's already clear evidence of MS moving pieces into position, and SmartGlass at least makes slightly more sense than it did at E3, even if its gaming applications could still use some hyping.
Most curious, though, is the price. It looks far too low to be anything but laughable - the optimistic detail that might cause some to cry wolf. But looking at the fates of the Vita and the 3DS, it should not be surprising that a platform holder would look to risk losing money at the start of a console cycle in order to facilitate a wider install base. Microsoft lost money on both the Xbox and the 360 initially, but it gave them a huge headstart. Hopefully whatever they come up with this time won't overheat so horrifically easily, though. With cloud gaming on the horizon, too, there has to be a consideration that the masses really won't take towards a high cost console at all, when in half a generation's time hardware could count for very little indeed.
Is it authentic? Who knows. Is it interesting? Oh, very.
Check out the full document here.
Thanks to Alex for the tip, via NeoGAF.