Nextbox rumors..

That's the sort of thing where I'd tend to think that having the system designed with it integrated from the beginning could really help its usefulness.

MannishBoy wrote:
My pet peeve about voice is that it takes so long for Kinect to be online that I've often long since navigated to where I need to be.

Lord, yes. So, I can wait twenty seconds for the stupid thing to warm up, or just press down to Quickplay, and then select my game from there? The startup time on the thing is really annoying.

I haven't used it much lately, but I had enough fun with the kids when I first got it that it was totally worth it. Also, the voice commands alone for Mass Effect 3 make the thing worthwhile. If they can do that with every big title, it'll be a must-have; it just made ME3 so much easier to play.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:
I haven't used it much lately, but I had enough fun with the kids when I first got it that it was totally worth it. Also, the voice commands alone for Mass Effect 3 make the thing worthwhile. If they can do that with every big title, it'll be a must-have; it just made ME3 so much easier to play.

You know, I can see the potential for voice commands in a game like that-- don't have a Kinect so I haven't tried it out on ME3 myself-- but I've really got to wonder: is there any reason they couldn't have done the exact same thing with a bog-standard el cheapo headset mic, other than the need to make it a selling point for a $150 piece of hardware?

I mean, I get that not having to strap on a silly-looking headset to play the game that way is a neat feature if you've already got a Kinect anyway. But if the voice commands really made the game that much better, why not enable them for everyone who's got a $15 mic in addition to everyone who's got a $150 webcam thingy?

hbi2k wrote:
is there any reason they couldn't have done the exact same thing with a bog-standard el cheapo headset mic, other than the need to make it a selling point for a $150 piece of hardware?

UT2003 or 2004 had voice recognition to command the bots. That's almost a decade ago (Oct 2002 for UT2003)

I had a lot of fun with the voice recognition in the Rainbow Six games on the original Xbox. That just used the basic live headset.

Scratched wrote:
UT2003 or 2004 had voice recognition to command the bots. That's almost a decade ago (Oct 2002 for UT2003)

They even went so far as to bundle a cheap Logitech headset in some copies of UT2004.

Thin_J wrote:
I had a lot of fun with the voice recognition in the Rainbow Six games on the original Xbox. That just used the basic live headset.

Yeah that's the thing. The most reliable feature of Kinect doesn't need Kinect.

Mr.Green wrote:
The most reliable feature of Kinect doesn't need Kinect.

Shhhh. You don't ever reveal how a magician's trick works.

Well, you certainly don't need a camera, but a good room mic helps. I would never use voice command if I had to use a headset.

We used the video chat last night (first time since I had it since the Kinect launch). One cool thing is that when you start it, it just finds you and zooms in. Whichever couch I was on, or which end I was on, it would zoom and find me. The problem was when we had two people. It would zoom out enough so that I could moe to other couch while Jordan showed off puppy tricks, but the camera would then pan and zoom in on me, cutting her out.

On my brother's side, my folks were up, so he had six people and a dog in the view. Mostly, that worked great, getting to see my nieces and his new dog, but every now and then it would zoom in on just my dad or his wife. You would see whoever was next to them, but it would unnecessarily cut out most of the room.

For chatting, I was impressed how well it handled multiple people on both sides so clearly without headsets. It was easy to follow conversations, even as it was being interrupted. And the connection was generally flawless, and the picture clear as day on both ends.

How much do people really need, or even be interested in this feature? It's nice that it is in an easy to set up box and situated in the living room. I knew my folks were up in Seattle, so I called my brother earlier in the day and suggested we try it out. From the moment we were both ready to seeing each other and chatting, it was less than 2 minutes. It was the ultimate in, it just works.

But I'm pretty sure most people have not used it even once.

Jayhawker wrote:
Well, you certainly don't need a camera, but a good room mic helps. I would never use voice command if I had to use a headset.

Good point.

Jayhawker wrote:
How much do people really need, or even be interested in this feature?

I suspect stuff like this will be more relevant when it's tied to Skype more than just Xbox and MS Messenger. But time will tell. Even Comcast is trying to get a Skype on TV thing going now.

Based on the E3 presser, I wouldn't be surprised if they have an XBox model in the works that you lease from your cable company instead of buying it from Gamestop. All they're lacking at this point is DVR functionality, and a Tivo App or outright buyout would give them that. Oh, and a co-ax hookup but that's trivial.

The Verge has some interesting information from a supposedly leaked (planted?) document.

The biggest fail on my prediction is it appears to support Blu-Ray.

Microsoft outlines a competitive differentiation for its next-generation Xbox, including support for Blu-ray, native 3D output and glasses, concurrent apps, and additional sensor and peripheral support. Alongside a promised 6x performance increase, there's also mention of true 1080p output with full 3D support and an "always on" state for the console. A slide on core hardware indicates that the next Xbox will be designed to be scalable in the number of CPU cores and their frequencies. Microsoft appears to have been debating whether to use six or eight ARM or x86 cores clocked at 2GHz each with 4GB of DDR4 memory alongside three PPC cores clocked at 3.2GHz each for backwards compatibility with existing Xbox 360 titles.

Microsoft rounds off the document with a promised price point of $299 with its Kinect 2 hardware and a prediction of a 10 year lifecycle with more than 100 million units sold.

One particular aspect of the leaked slides is a focus on four player gaming and Kinect props. "In Kinect v2 we can continue to go beyond controllers and offer peripherals and accessories that heighten game immersion," reads a note section of one of the slides. The Kinect accessories idea appears to be one that is not designed to replace controllers, but will allow devices to interact with the sensor.

Microsoft lays out a roadmap for its "Fortaleza" Kinect Glasses — which appears to be a research project the company is working on. There's little mention of the hardware involved, but the glasses appear to be Wi-Fi- or 4G-enabled and incorporate augmented reality in a way that's similar to Google's Project Glass augmented reality glasses.

Also note that this is supposedly from 2010. A lot has changed since then, even if this is true. In fact, if you look at the slides, this is from 9/24/10, prior to the original Kinect's launch.

I also have a hard time believe that MS would do slides that actually say "Xbox 720".

On the other hand, this was originally leaked onto the web prior to the Smart Glass announcements.

From the Nukezilla site that apparently broke this.

Much like backward compatibility though, Microsoft are considering producing a version of the next Xbox somewhere down the line without an Optical Disc Drive.

“At launch we believe Yukon ships with a multi-format ODD with Blu-ray support. This fulfills two key launch requirements: 1) position Yukon as the only box you need and 2) support backwards compatibility. It is not a requirement that game discs ship on Blu-ray (whether we support that or not can be a late binding decision). Blu-ray, much like backwards compatibility, is a user perception issue more than anything else. Having it removes one more barrier to purchase and leaves our competition with one fewer talking point. Of course this does not preclude a SKU being offered without and ODD at a reduced price point. This should be planned for as our audience moves more and more to digital distribution.”

MannishBoy wrote:
Also note that this is supposedly from 2010. A lot has changed since then, even if this is true. In fact, if you look at the slides, this is from 9/24/10, prior to the original Kinect's launch.

I also have a hard time believe that MS would do slides that actually say "Xbox 720".

On the other hand, this was originally leaked onto the web prior to the Smart Glass announcements.

I think it is likely MS planted the leak as a way to test the waters on what consumers might think. But maybe it is completely false. It does look like they were using to code names, Yukon and Xbox 720. So that is odd.

The fact that it's from 2010 puts the 2013 release date into more question. Not that they couldn't, but how sales have evolved since then gives them the flexibility to push it back to 2014. What they said behind closed doors can't be taken as a commitment.

I thought the $299 price point was really agressive. If this is true, it should care the bejeezus out of both Nintendo and Sony. It would also be a sign that Microsoft gets how important price point really is. People really don't want to work harder just to own a new console.

Microsoft demonstrated a failure to understand the definition of the word "differentiation" for its next-generation Xbox, including support for standard-ass features that don't differentiate it from anyone.

Microsoft rounds off the document with a promised price point of $299 with its Kinect 2 hardware and a prediction of a 10 year lifecycle with more than 100 million units sold. Microsoft also predicted that the console will include state-of-the-art "solid light" hologram technology and a realistic blowjob-simulation feature because, hell, this is all speculative bullsh*t anyway, so why not?

FTFY.

"10 year lifespan" and "100m sold" seem like something way out of their control to be able to make meaningful speculation on. For the former it seems like echoing what Sony said about PS2/PS3, and it's not as though they want to sell their expensive R&D short or give the impression you'll be throwing it out soon, although I'm sure they would be glad to sell you the next model every time they've got one ready. For the latter, I'd think they would just pull some big number out of the air, because if you believe it makes it true presumably.

I'm not surprised to see the unit include Blu-ray support. Developers are going to need more storage space and it's cheaper to pay the Blu-ray group a royalty than to develop their own proprietary solution. Nintendo keeps doing that to try to prevent piracy and it doesn't succeed. There's still not enough affordable, reasonably capped broadband penetration worldwide to go discless yet. There's going to have to be a lot of big telco lobbyists ignored before that happens. Though offering a discless model for those markets that do have good access, that's a cool idea.

What really surprised me is that the COGS on this unit was something in the $250 range, meaning they're actually making money on every box sold from the get go (only taking into account hardware and not infrastructure and marketing of course). That's some pretty impressive supply chain management, especially if this is from 2010, meaning that the cost is even lower if they intend to use the same components now. I think their prediction of a 10 year life cycle is optimistic to put it best. At the rate tablet hardware is evolving, it won't be many years before even these proposed specs are matched or even exceeded by them. I suppose if they eventually intend to make the new system primarily a streaming player, it won't matter anymore so maybe that's where they get the 10 year figure from. And not having to keep developing newer, more expensive boxes and ensuring that customers never actually own the games they pay for, that's both the platform holder and publisher's dream.

As for the Kinect glasses, yeah, no thanks.

Scratched wrote:
"10 year lifespan" and "100m sold" seem like something way out of their control to be able to make meaningful speculation on. For the former it seems like echoing what Sony said about PS2/PS3, and it's not as though they want to sell their expensive R&D short or give the impression you'll be throwing it out soon, although I'm sure they would be glad to sell you the next model every time they've got one ready. For the latter, I'd think they would just pull some big number out of the air, because if you believe it makes it true presumably.

Yeah, 100M sold is a bit crazy. There aren't even 100M Wiis or iPads in the market and only 65M 360s. I suppose if they're planning to focus heavily on media and attempting to sell this to people who may never play games on it, it could be possible. But everyone is predicting TV docks for all tablets in the near future that could serve the same function so I don't know. If this came out in 2010, that's also before the introduction of many of the cheap set-top media boxes that are available now.

Blu-ray rumors have been out there a long time. They don't bother me; I agree with the "leak" that having it removes one of Sony's talking points.

hbi2k wrote:
Microsoft demonstrated a failure to understand the definition of the word "differentiation" for its next-generation Xbox, including support for standard-ass features that don't differentiate it from anyone.

I don't think you get what they were saying. It wasn't about differentiating themselves, it was about eliminating the ability of Sony to do so.

from the leak wrote:
Blu-ray, much like backwards compatibility, is a user perception issue more than anything else. Having it removes one more barrier to purchase and leaves our competition with one fewer talking point.

Jayhawker wrote:
hbi2k wrote:
Microsoft demonstrated a failure to understand the definition of the word "differentiation" for its next-generation Xbox, including support for standard-ass features that don't differentiate it from anyone.

I don't think you get what they were saying. It wasn't about differentiating themselves, it was about eliminating the ability of Sony to do so.

That may have been what they meant, but it's not what the words "Microsoft outlines a competitive differentiation for its next-generation Xbox" mean. There's no differentiation there. None. They're doing what the competition is doing. (Always assuming that anything in the alleged leak is accurate in the first place.) Nothing wrong with that. Nothing right with it, either.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
I'm not surprised to see the unit include Blu-ray support. Developers are going to need more storage space and it's cheaper to pay the Blu-ray group a royalty than to develop their own proprietary solution.

I don't see why they'd have to develop a new format: just take HD-DVD, change it up just enough that the three people who bought HD-DVD burners and haven't trashed them yet can't easily copy it, call it something stupid like "XD-ROM" so that people don't associate it with the failed movie format, and go. Easy-peasy, and cheap.

Not that I'd be surprised to see them go with Blu-Ray just to take a bullet point away from Sony either.

hbi2k wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
hbi2k wrote:
Microsoft demonstrated a failure to understand the definition of the word "differentiation" for its next-generation Xbox, including support for standard-ass features that don't differentiate it from anyone.

I don't think you get what they were saying. It wasn't about differentiating themselves, it was about eliminating the ability of Sony to do so.

That may have been what they meant, but it's not what the words "Microsoft outlines a competitive differentiation for its next-generation Xbox" mean. There's no differentiation there. None. They're doing what the competition is doing. (Always assuming that anything in the alleged leak is accurate in the first place.) Nothing wrong with that. Nothing right with it, either.

I think you are also confusing this with a press release. This is just some department heads addressing the the board of directors. The know what they mean and what their goals are. That's why the projected sales and lifespan are not actually important. The guys with the money know the actual likelihood of either of those possibilities, in addition to the different events that might affect it.

Looking at his for anything other than possible features and direction is kind of missing the point.

Jayhawker wrote:
I think you are also confusing this with a press release. This is just some department heads addressing the the board of directors. The know what they mean and what their goals are.

I'm not mocking their message, just their poor communication skills. Who the intended audience is doesn't change the profound stupidity of the sentence. (-:

hbi2k wrote:
I don't see why they'd have to develop a new format: just take HD-DVD, change it up just enough that the three people who bought HD-DVD burners and haven't trashed them yet can't easily copy it, call it something stupid like "XD-ROM" so that people don't associate it with the failed movie format, and go. Easy-peasy, and cheap.

Not that I'd be surprised to see them go with Blu-Ray just to take a bullet point away from Sony either.

Yeah, it might be cheap but Toshiba still owns HD-DVD I think so a royalty would have to go to someone unless they want to spend a bunch to buy the format off them. But if they use Blu-ray, not only does that make physical manufacturing cheaper (which publishers want) but like you said, it also allows them to go "the Xbox 720 is a Blu-ray movie player" which takes away one major advantage the PS3 had this generation.

IIRC, one of the big advantages to HD-DVDs was that you could convert over existing DVD production plants with little effort / expense. So production-wise, I really have no idea which would be cheaper at this point (presumably the cost to produce Blu-Rays must've come down quite a bit since I heard that).

If they want the next xbox to be thought of as a media device as well as a gaming device, it has to have Blu-Ray. It would be incredibly stupid for them to continue to hammer that angle and not let you play Blu-Rays on it.

I thought HD-DVD is all but dead? I can't imagine any advantage to selling it as an HD-DVD player if the media to play on it is hardly there, if at all.

hbi2k wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
I think you are also confusing this with a press release. This is just some department heads addressing the the board of directors. The know what they mean and what their goals are.

I'm not mocking their message, just their poor communication skills. Who the intended audience is doesn't change the profound stupidity of the sentence. (-:

Or the communication skills of the fakers. Which is probably likely in this case.

WipEout wrote:
I thought HD-DVD is all but dead? I can't imagine any advantage to selling it as an HD-DVD player if the media to play on it is hardly there, if at all.

The point isn't for media playback, which MS might see as irrelevant for next gen with all the streaming options. The point is for large data storage on optical without licensing costs to the Blu-ray association. See MS's not including DVD playback stuff in Win 8 due to licensing for an example of this line of thought.