Rumors suggest the next Xbox, which we recently learned would be unveiled this May 21, will indeed support online-always DRM, but not specifically for video games. It is said to also include DVR-like capabilities, new ways to interact with friends, and new ways to earn achievements.
According to unnamed sources speaking with Polygon, the decision of requiring an internet connection to play video games on the next Xbox will be left up to the publisher. They will also choose whether or not a one-time authentication will be required to play their games. As for the console itself, sources say it will still require an always-online connection to support certain non-gaming applications as well as to support anti-piracy measures.
Allegedly, the next Xbox will act as if it were a DVR, giving users the ability to select highlights from a previously recorded catalogue of footage to share via social media. According to sources, it can be turned on or off, or can be set up to automatically record certain in-game events like earning achievements or getting a head shot in an FPS. This auto-capture feature will only be available on next-gen games and the footage captured can be shared on websites like YouTube.
This seems likely and could almost be expected considering the importance placed on the ability to share video footage online amongst fellow gamers. Look at the direction games like Call of Duty and Halo have been headed in with their built-in theater modes, for example. The new “share” button was also major highlight of Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal back in February.
The next Xbox is also said to allow greater flexibility when it comes to Achievements. Developers will be given the ability to add Achievements to a title post-launch without having to be included within downloadable content. This means, through data collection and player feedback, developers can tailer player behavior by enticing gamers to visit undiscovered areas in-game or use neglected items/weapons, for example.
It may also be an attempt to entice players to play multiple games or use different devices, as some achievements may become cross-title or cross-platform. One Achievement, for example, may have you play Halo 4 on the Xbox 360, update your profile on a companion website or app, and then play Halo 5 on the next Xbox. Achievements could even extend to large, in-game events like, say, a Double XP weekend.
Lastly, it appears Microsoft will change the way you interact with friends. Instead of allowing only a certain number of friends on your friends list, you’ll be able to “follow” friends much like you do on Twitter. This would essentially remove the 100 friend capacity that currently exists on the Xbox 360 and allow users to decide who they interact with.
In a response to Polygon with regards to these features, a Microsoft spokesperson stated, “we’re excited to share more about the new generation of games, TV and entertainment on May 21, but have nothing further to share at this time.”
What do you guys think about these rumored features so far? Are you happy to hear always-online DRM may be left up to the publisher, instead of being a requirement 100% of the time to play games? Where do you sit on the idea of cross-title or cross-platform Achievements? Let’s hear it in the comments below!
Remember to stay tuned on May 21 when Microsoft will officially unveil the next Xbox.