Exclusive: Next Xbox to have Blu-ray, Support Augmented Reality Glasses
Some of the changes coming to Microsoft’s next console will be more surprising than others.
One of the more interesting peripherals hasn’t even been officially announced yet, but isn’t an unheard of concept. According to documents seen by Nukezilla, Microsoft’s Innovation Center in Foraleza, Brasil has been developing a set of augmented reality glasses for some time now. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, Google announced their version of AR glasses earlier this year.
The glasses won’t be included with the next Xbox console, or even available at the system’s launch, but there are already plans in place to make the two technologies work together. No concrete release date is given, but the documents suggest sometime in 2014 at earliest.
Information regarding the glasses is limited, understandable so being so far from release, but interaction with Xbox and Kinect is suggested. Much remains to be seen, but this combination of technologies could produce games and other experiences like a rough version of the holodeck from Star Trek.
The other tech changes in the next Xbox are a bit more commonplace, but still interesting. The documents make multiple references to Microsoft’s next console being an all in one box.
“All in one modern entertainment box with native 1080p 3D video capabilities, Blu-ray and multiple power states.”
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.”
This seems to suggest a possible split within the Xbox brand sometime during the upcoming console generation. While there would still be systems with a Blu-ray drive included, Microsoft might also sell a smaller, cheaper version just for streaming and downloaded content. This sounds like a better way of working toward a digital only console than just making a clean break from discs.
Microsoft is also hoping to utilize more cross device functions. In theory, tablets and smartphones would be able to either be used as a secondary screen and input device, or as a display for content to be streamed to while something else is running on your TV. Kind of like the Wii U, or even certain DVRs.
“Yukon will enable the next step in cross screen functionality. At its most basic Yukon will be little different than a PC, Windows Phone or Slate albeit with a unique I/O interface. Developers and Creators will be able to deliver application experiences across three screens easily and dependably via HTML5 authoring and the scotch platform. The platform will enable cross platform game development to allow companion gaming experiences.”
Here are some of the examples given:
- Select plays in Madden on a phone, then watch it play out on the TV.
- Learn more about an actor or (their example, not mine) where to buy the dress she’s wearing.
- Start watching something on one screen, switch to another at the same spot (lots of cable DVRs claim this functionality, but it’s hit and miss)
The Xbox Leak:
- Kinect 2: four players, two cameras
- Hardware back-compatibility dropped after 3 years, 10 year life-cycle
- Blue-ray drive built in, support for augmented reality glasses in the pipeline
- Announced Jan 2013, released holiday 2013 costing $200-$300
Disclaimer: The documents Nukezilla have seen come from a trusted source, and while we believe them to be accurate, and have done our best to verify them, we can not be absolutely certain. As such, consider this information more strong rumor than fact.