With Microsoft speculated to unveil the Xbox 720 Durango near the end of May, more rumors about the mysterious device have popped up just today. Multiple outlets are reporting conflicting rumors, while we have received a tip of our own.
Earlier today The Verge reported that its sources have revealed that the next Xbox will act as a set-top box similarly to Google TV. The device will require an always online connection in order to use its entertainment services similarly to a Comcast or Fios digital box.
Those that owns a Fios or Comcast box will know that the device won’t properly work an online connection. Similarly the next Xbox will also require an always online connection to work. The next Xbox will take an input from a cable box and passing it through to the Xbox via HDMI port. This will allow the Xbox to overlay a UI over the TV content.
Apparently the built in Kinect 2.0 will detect eye movement and pause content when viewers turn their head away. I am not sure how feasible this tech is as everyone watching the TV will have be glued to the screen in fear of annoying the other person.
A source close to a content provider has revealed to Gamer.Blorge that Microsoft is readying two models of the next Xbox console, one at a higher price point ($499?) which has the TV set-top box capability built in and a cheaper model ($399?) which is a standalone Xbox console dedicated to gaming.
The cheaper model apparently will not require an always online connection and is aimed at the global market. However, the set-top box will require an always online connection, comes with a bigger hard drive for DVR like functionality and can also be purchased for $299 with a subscription contract as stated by Paul Thurrott recently. As expected, the set-top box will be North America only, with plans for the UK possibly.
However, information from VG Leaks not only contradicts The Verge’s report but ours as well. According to VG Leaks, its sources have revealed that the set-top box is in fact a redesigned Xbox 360 mini, which will retail for around $150 and can be attached to the next Xbox in order to play legacy 360 games.
VG Leaks states that the redesigned Xbox 360 mini will not have an optical disc drive and must be connected to the Durango to make use of its disc drive to read legacy 360 games. According to VG Leaks, the Durango will not play legacy games standalone and will not require an always online Internet connection.
I am somewhat skeptical of the conflicting report from VG Leaks, as the concept of interconnecting consoles sounds like something out of an unfulfilled fanboy dream from the SEGA days where you could connect a Genesis up to a Sega CD to make it “next gen.” Also, the leaked document mentioning always online requirement was from a Durango devkit and not from an Xbox 360 devkit.
Until Microsoft officially announces the device, take all of the rumors you read and hear with a grain of salt.