Rumors Archive

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Next-generation Xbox rumor roundup

Microsoft Xbox

Official word on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox — believed to be codenamed Durango — is expected to come out during the May 21 Xbox event with more details to follow at the company’s pre-E3 press conference in June. Last month, Pete Isensee, principle program manager at Microsoft Xbox, told UBM Tech that, “In many ways, the next generation is already here in the form of natural user interfaces powered by Kinect.” Naturally, Microsoft wants to keep the focus on the Xbox 360, the Kinect sensor and titles shipping on the system; however, plenty of rumors have been popping up as the reveal grows ever closer.

One of the most controversial rumors is the Durango’s supposed “always on” requirement. Meaning an internet connection is required to boot any application or game. Allegedly trustworthy sources tell Kotaku the “always on” requirement was still planned as recently as March. They also said a network troubleshooter will display if the system loses connection for more than three minutes during a session.

The good news is nothing is official. It could be that “always on” doesn’t affect games at all. With the poor consumer reaction and Sony officially stating the PS4 needs no internet connection in order to be used, it’ll be interesting to see what Microsoft does.

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Microsoft rumored to announce next Xbox at May 21 event

Microsoft Xbox

Microsoft’s next-generation console, codenamed Durango, was originally rumored by anonymous sources supposedly close to the situation to be getting a reveal at the end of April. However, multiple sources are now pointing to a May 21 Xbox event revealing the new console. Windows expert Paul Thurrott sites an “early November” release for the Windows 8-based console.

The Verge reports that the event will be held at a small venue where initial details of the next system along with a 2013 roadmap for the Xbox brand will be discussed. One of the most controversial details consumers are looking to have addressed is the system’s “always online” rumor. It’s a rumor that Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth further fueled when he told critics to “#dealwithit” on Twitter. Microsoft later issued an apology for Orth’s statements.

Supposedly launching as just “Xbox,” the new system is said to have a tiered pricing structure — a premium-priced $500 version and a $300 machine subsidized through some form of subscription service. While price is not likely to be discussed at the initial announcement, Microsoft’s previous experiment with subsidized Xbox 360s lends credibility to the idea. Thurrott’s sources also stated a new $99 version of the Xbox 360 codenamed Stingray will be announced, which points to a possible lack of backwards compatibility in the next-generation console.

After the May 21 event, more information is expected during Microsoft’s pre-E3 press conference in June and its BUILD Conference later that month. With Sony already ahead of the game after its PlayStation 4 announcement, it’ll be nice to finally get solid information about the next Xbox.

Sources: The Verge, Eurogamer

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Could Capcom’s Strider series be making a return on XBLA?

Strider_Hiryu_(character)

The crafty members of NeoGAF‘s forums have discovered yet another possible unannounced XBLA game, Strider. Box art (found after the jump) was found on xbox.com some time in January, but was promptly removed from the site. The discovery went largely unnoticed until Polygon reported just days ago that a Steam achievement was also found for the game.

According to Eurogamer, a reboot of the series was in development at Bionic Commando Rearmed developer GRIN before the company went belly up in 2009. Capcom is expected to announce new games at PAX East this weekend. Could Strider be getting the remake treatment? Is it a new installment? Is it a re-release as part of the Capcom Arcade Cabinet? Possibly. The original release was in 1989, and thus far we’ve only received the 1985 and 1986 game packs. Either way, more of Strider Hiryu could never be a bad thing.

Sources: NeoGAF, Polygon, Eurogamer

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Ratings suggest Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse headed to XBLA

Castle of Illusion 2

The side-scrolling Sega Genesis classic Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse may be coming to XBLA if recent classification ratings are any indication.  Not to be confused with the recent 3DS release of Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,  Joystiq reports that Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse has received digital ratings from the Australian Classification Board and its Brazilian equivalent.

While Sega has not made an official announcement yet, the trend of re-releasing classic games for digital download makes this rumor one to keep an eye on if you’re already a fan of the Illusion series or Disney Epic Mickey.

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Rumor: XBLA getting Far Cry 3 spin-off

Far cry 3 blood dragon

Ubisoft’s open-world FPS Far Cry 3 was one of last year’s biggest hits and left a lot of players craving more. It seems Ubisoft may not be done with the title, as a logo and box art for what is presumably a spin-off game called Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was spotted on the NeoGAF forums. Although the box art displays the arcade banner, there is currently no listing for it on the Xbox Marketplace. The game has also been spotted on the Brazilian classification website, where it has an 18+ rating and Xbox 360 is listed as a platform.

A quote from Far Cry 3 Lead Writer Jeffrey Yohalem has also lead to speculation, as he told Joystiq that he is “working on something now that will be surprising, I think, when it’s announced.”

IGN reached out to Ubisoft for comment, but a spokesperson told them “we have no official comment at this time.”

Sources: Joystiq, IGN

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Domain registration hints at next-generation Xbox event

code

Just days after Sony announced the PlayStation 4 at a special event in New York, a new domain registration is pointing to the possibility of a similar reveal from Microsoft for its next-generation Xbox console.

On February 22, the domain XboxEvent.com was registered by Seattle company Eventcore, a provider of technology solutions for live events and conferences. Among Eventcore’s biggest clients is Microsoft, which has used the company’s services for many events in the past year, including an E3 2012 press event registration site. Currently, XboxEvent.com doesn’t lead anywhere, but it it is configured to use Amazon’s Route 53 DNS system, which is designed for massive scaling of web traffic.

This registration suggests that Microsoft could soon hold a special Xbox-focused event similar to the PlayStation 4 announcement. We don’t have any other strong evidence for this event, and it’s possible that Eventcore registered XboxEvent.com simply as a precaution against domain squatters. However, the registration does line up with increased chatter that Microsoft is planning to reveal the next Xbox in April.

As usual, Microsoft isn’t talking. In a statement to IGN, the company said, “Microsoft often acquires various domain names as part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment.”

Source: IGN

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Rumor: Next Xbox to ship with Kinect, new controller and 500GB HDD

Xbox Kinect

Microsoft’s still-unannounced next-generation Xbox console will ship with a new control pad, a 500GB HDD, a “much-improved” Kinect motion sensor and the ability to run multiple games/apps simultaneously, according to a Kotaku source who claims to be in possession of a development kit for the machine said to be codenamed Durango. According to Kotaku’s article, all Durango SKUs will not only ship with a Kinect sensor, but they will also only function when one is connected.

This latest next-gen scuttlebutt follows in the still-crashing wake churned up by another round of rumors that XBLAFans reported on just last week. The sources behind those rumors also asserted that the so-called Xbox 720 would bring with it a new and improved version of Microsoft’s motion-sensing technology.

Regular next-gen rumor followers will be familiar with Kotaku’s latest rumor source, who goes by the handle “SuperDaE.” He, as Kotaku identifies him, caught gamers’ attention last summer when he attempted to sell what he said was an Xbox Durango dev kit on eBay. Interestingly, SuperDaE said the sale was intercepted by Microsoft and prevented from going through on account of copyright issues. Microsoft has not acknowledged as much and is unlikely to considering that it has so far done everything short of wave its collective hand in front of a Kinect sensor like some sort of Jedi Knight and confidently state that there is no next-gen Xbox whenever the subject has been broached.

SuperDaE’s information, which was supposedly gleaned from a score of Microsoft whitepapers, points to the next-gen Kinect sensor being capable of tracking up to six gamers simultaneously (up from two in the current version) and 25 of each player’s skeletal joints (up from 20). Color and depth resolution and depth range are said to be getting dramatic increases, and “Active IR resolution” is reportedly being added to Kinect’s specs. The whitepapers say Kinect will always be watching users and that it will automatically detect players and associate them with their Xbox Live accounts.

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Next Xbox: Better with Kinect…Blu-ray, persistent online and game activation codes?

Microsoft Xbox 360

Late last week Microsoft’s most direct competitor in the home console space, Sony, announced a February 20 event that will presumably be the coming-out party for its next-gen PlayStation 4 console, the existence of which has still not been officially confirmed by Sony. Microsoft has joined its cross-Pacific rival these last few years in being equally tight-lipped when it comes to the next Xbox being something instead of nothing, the latter of which essentially being what Redmond would have gamers believe.

It’s total malarkey, of course, as Microsoft has undoubtedly been working on the successor to the Xbox 360 for years and has reportedly been kicking around the idea of holding its own special event to show and/or tell the world what’s in the (next) box.

Unfortunately for curious Xbox fans, proving a shred of any of that continues to be a hurdle that is cleared with all the ease and grace of releasing DLC for a two-and-a-half-year-old licensed XBLA game from a major publisher.

Instead we’re left with rumors, more of which popped up today on Edge. “Sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console” reportedly leaned in close to the Great Ear of the Internet and whispered some things that Microsoft’s PR department may or may not have wanted them to whisper. Trench coats with suspiciously popped novelty-sized collars were presumably donned by all parties involved.

Today’s gossip pertains to several rumors, all of which have been floated out at least once before by other media outlets, but Edge’s source speaking about them again only serves to lend further credence to them being grounded in reality. Word is that the next Xbox console will utilize 50GB Blu-ray game discs, require users to always be online, and, unsurprisingly, have new and improved versions of Kinect and Xbox Live. Perhaps most interesting is the assertion by said source that the Xbox Durango, as the machine has been rumored to be internally codenamed, will employ a system designed to eliminate the possibility of retail next-gen Xbox games being resold by consumers. As mentioned, Durango would require a constant internet connection “in order to function.”

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Rumor: Steam listing hints at February release for Bit.Trip Runner 2

Bittriprunner1

Our sister site, Steam Game Fans, recently spotting a release date of February 26 for the PC version of Gaijin Games’ upcoming rhythm-based platformer, Bit.Trip Runner 2. Whilst no official announcements have been made there’s a good chance we may see an XBLA release the following day on Wednesday, February 27. The game is currently available for pre-order on Steam with 10 percent off a recommended price of $14.99, so expect a 1200 MSP price tag when it hits the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Source: Steam Game Fans

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Latest next-gen Xbox rumor has the console launching holiday 2013

If “people familiar with the company’s plans” are to be believed, then Microsoft has a holiday 2013 release in mind for the Xbox 360’s successor. Bloomberg was informed by anonymous sources that the console that’s said to be codenamed Xbox Durango will make its way to retailers in time for next year’s Thanksgiving.

Bloomberg’s tipsters were, unsurprisingly given the sensitive nature of such information, light on details. The only other tangible morsel of information discussed was what Microsoft has yet to decide: where and when to finally show the console to the world. Microsoft is said to be wavering between pulling back the curtain at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June of 2013 and doing so at special event held specifically to debut the next-generation platform.

E3 seems the obvious choice, as the annual Los Angeles convention is usually the site of more major industry announcements than every other event held in any given year. It was not, however, Microsoft’s choice for the initial Xbox 360 announcement. The current Microsoft console’s coming out party was a May 2005 event all its own that was broadcast on MTV.

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