Microsoft’s Xbox roadmap includes the 2013 launch a $299 Xbox 360 successor and Kinect 2, convincing-looking (but dubious) documents posted online claim.
Uncorroborated as genuine, presentation slides from a purported August 2010 meeting posted to Scribd suggest the format holder’s roadmap for its home console were once projected to include:
– A $299 hardware release in 2013
– A Kinect successor with better accuracy and four-player tracking
– Augmented reality and 3D glasses codenamed ‘Fortaleza’ for Kinect and motion gaming
– Talk of extra motion sensors in the home for gaming
– ‘Three screen’ experiences just like those shown at its E3 SmartGlass premiere earlier this month
– More options for hardware OEM manufacture, reducing platform costs for Microsoft
– An eventual transition to total cloud storage/streaming for Xbox content – but importantly with devices in the home needed to access that content
– More relationships with TV operators and content firms
Whether real or not, the 56-page document reads like a sensible wish-list for Xbox platform growth and development.
The document talks often about the ‘Xbox 720’ – a term for the 360 successor often used by the media and third-parties but never explicitly used by Microsoft on the record. 720 is said to have a target launch of 2013 and competitive $299 pricing. Further detail talks of Blu-ray functionality and True 3D, with a device ‘six times’ more powerful than the 360 with up to eight ARM or x86 cores at 2GHz each, 4GB of DDR4 memory. It’s also backwards compatible, with three Power PC cores, at 3.2GHz.
Kinect 2, meanwhile, is described as an ‘incremental upgrade’ with improved Voice Recognition, better 3D Play Space recognition (closer, wider, deeper), four player concurrent tracking, dedicated hardware processing, better HD RGB Camera. Illustrations in the document suggest Kinect 2 could come as multiple cameras to better track players.
Then there’s ‘Fortaleza Glasses’, which seems to be a concept for special augmented reality goggles that connect to Xbox at first over wi-fi and later on via 4G in SKU upgrades. If fake, at least the hoaxer at least followed some logic – Fotaleza is the state capital of Northern Brazil’s Ceara. Project Natal, the codename for Kinect, took its name from a Northern Brazil capital too, and was chosen by Kinect engineer-creator Alex Kipman.
With all of that combined, the document claims the next Xbox is "The ONLY box you need for premium living room entertainment." If you’ve been following Microsoft’s corporate line for Xbox that line, if nothing else, proves whoever wrote this document has done their homework.
To reiterate: it’s not been confirmed as to whether or not the document itself is originally a draft presentation, something Microsoft actually used, or an elaborate fake. Most in the press are sceptical about its contents, given the level of detail, and have written caveat-laden reports just like this one.
At the very least, it’s a thought-provoking look at what Xbox’s biggest, most attentive fan-cum-hoaxer would like to see.