This much we know: Despite their silence on the subject, Microsoft is working on the next incarnation of the Xbox. Of course, what that yet-to-be revealed machine will look and play like remains the source of much speculation, rumor and anticipation. And that speculation, rumor and anticipation went BOOM this weekend when a document supposedly outlining Microsoft's plan for its next game machine was leaked online revealing plans for a more powerful Xbox 720 that makes use of an improved Kinect device as well as augmented reality glasses.
This 56-page document purporting to be a road map for the next Xbox through the year 2015 made its way onto the document sharing site Scribd.com over the weekend (originally pointed to via NeoGAF here, though it has now been taken down). If this document is to be believed -- and there are good reasons why it both should and should not be believed -- then the next Xbox will launch during the holiday season in 2013 for $299.
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According to the document, this Xbox 720 will be six to eight times more powerful than the current Xbox, it will come with a Blu-ray disc drive for games and will be capable of acting like a DVR for recording videos and later streaming back to other devices.
The leaked document outlines how the next Xbox will come bundled with an improved Kinect 2 device -- one that can track up to four players at one time -- and, by the year, 2014, will make use of what's referred to as "Kinect Glasses" or "Fortaleza Glasses." These Wi-Fi/4G enabled glasses will "deliver ambient experiences" and will offer "seamless integration of the digital world with the physical world" and appear to be a way to take your gaming on the go.
Meanwhile, by the year 2015, Microsoft will delve deep into cloud gaming with the leaked documents showing how people will be able to access games from online servers via devices such as a tablet.
While many gaming pundits have pointed out that this document could easily be a (very elaborate) fake, the fact that Microsoft's own lawyers -- Covington & Burling LLP -- demanded that the document be taken down from Scribd have lent the whole thing more credence.
Certainly the presentation isn't exactly fresh. Based on some of the things mentioned within, it appears to be from 2010. So even if this document is for real, it's possible plans for the Xbox 720 have changed since then.
Still, it's worth noting that some items do ring true. Though Microsoft hasn't said spit about its new machine, many analysts and insiders believe they are prepping for a 2013 launch and rumors of an improved Kinect device are most certainly true. And it's not hard to believe Microsoft is working on augmented reality glasses -- especially since Google has already shown off AR glasses of their own. Heck, even the folks at Bethesda are working on gaming glasses (see Todd Kenreck's video above).
Meanwhile, Microsoft's recent SmartGlass revelation rings true with some of the concepts outlined in the leaked document. And it doesn't seem far-fetched that perhaps the gaming tablet Microsoft is rumored to be working on somehow figures into all of this.
One thing is for sure, if this document does turn out to be (mostly) for real, the gaming business is going to get very interesting next year.
- Via ArsTechnica
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.