Next-Gen Console Rumor Round-Up: Xbox 720, PlayStation 4, Steam Box and OUYA

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Next-gen buzz is at an all-time high as we inch closer to the hardware reveals – platforms on which you’ll be gaming for roughly the next decade – of companies like Microsoft and Sony. New rumors regarding Microsoft’s next project have surfaced while Sony fans look forward to a potential reveal of the next PlayStation this February 20th. Meanwhile Valve and and others gear up to make a stand with newcomers like the Steam Box and the OUYA.

To help you keep up to date with all the next-gen talk, we’ve rounded up the latest on all four consoles in an easy-to-read point form.

All details on Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-generation consoles below are gathered from various sources who state that the info originates from “unidentified,” or “inside” industry sources and, therefore, should not be considered fact until proven otherwise by official Microsoft or Sony channels.

Having gotten that out of the way, lets take a look at the latest on the next Xbox and PlayStation.

Microsoft “Xbox 720″/”Xbox”/”Durango”

  • The next Xbox will require an internet connection to use.
  • Xbox Live will be an integral part of the consoles functionality.
  • Improved Kinect hardware will come shipped with the console.
  • Games can be purchase in physical form, though the system is committed to online functionality.
  • Games will be manufactured on 50GB Blu-ray discs.
  • It is believed that new games will ship with activation codes. (Unsure if used games will require users to purchase a new code.)
  • Specs: AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
  • Hard drive capacity is said to be undecided, though MS suggests that it will be the largest unit it has put inside a console to date.
  • Studios working with the next-gen Xbox are being forced to work with only approved development libraries.
  • Operating system overhead of the new Xbox could be considered more oppressive than Sony’s equivalent.
  • MS is continuing to invest heavily in motion-control interfaces.

Source: Edge

  • Microsoft will greatly improve its speech recognition technology inside the next Xbox.
  • The next Xbox will support wake on voice, natural language controls, and speech-to-text.
  • Kinect sensor will detect individuals in a room and suggest appropriate multiplayer games after a user queries the Xbox using voice.
  • Xbox will also reply back to users with answers to queries, making it an improved search service too.
  • Users will also be able to automatically resume video content where it left off simply by asking the new Xbox to play a particular movie.
  • With speech-to-text built-in, it’s likely that Microsoft will utilize this support to type out messages using the new Xbox.
  • Skype will make its Xbox debut on the new console.
  • Microsoft will fully detail its new Xbox at E3 this year, with suggestions from sources that the company may hold a separate event to unveil its new hardware ahead of E3.
  • Expected to release later this year.

Source: The Verge

Sony “PlayStation 4″/”PlayStation”

  • Sony’s console is preferable over the next Xbox when it comes to leveraging power.
  • Sony is encouraging coders to get closer to the metal of its box.
  • PS4 will ship with a redesigned controller which is the same size as an existing DualShock but features a small touchpad in place of the existing Select, Start and PS buttons.
  • The tech is based on Vita’s rear touchpad, and is similarly responsive in use.
  • A new Share button on the controller will, when pressed, launch a new feature that will allow screenshots and video to be distributed online.
  • The PS4 hardware will continually record the most recent 15 minutes of onscreen action (with no processing penalty, claims our source), which users will then be able to edit and broadcast via the Internet.
  • PlayStation 4 will launch in Japan and the US by Christmas, with a Euro rollout following in early 2014, the delay attributed to the complexities involved in European distribution.
  • Alongside the console, Sony will also introduce a new, improved iteration of its PlayStation Eye peripheral, which remains compatible with the PlayStation Move controller.
  • Move will be available at launch, but it’s not clear yet whether it will be bundled with the hardware.

Source: Edge

  • The “PlayStation 4” will launch this year for over 40,000 yen (about $428 USD).
  • Sony isn’t pricing the PS4 too aggressively next to the likes of the Wii U, it may have learned its lesson from the shaky PlayStation 3 launch.
  • Were the PS4 to launch at 40,000 yen in Japan, we’d expect an American price point of around $400 or more.
  • The PS4 controller will feature a touch pad and be “roughly the same shape” as the current Dual Shock 3.
  • The Asahi Shimbun states in no uncertain terms that February 20th is the date when Sony will officially introduce the PlayStation 4 to the world.
  • The Nikkei business daily has published its own report on the PlayStation 4, becoming the latest source to state that it will be announced on February 20th.
  • The most notable part of the Nikkei‘s report is that the PS4 will apparently use cloud technology from Gaikai, the gaming service that Sony bought for $380 million last year.

Source: The Verge

Of course, we can’t forget about two new competitors on the market: The Steam Box and OUYA. The details below on the Steam Box and OUYA can be considered facts as they have been outlined by official representatives.

Steam Box

  • It would be a cheap addition to any TV, starting at $100 and eventually hitting $0.
  • “The price point that’s going to be hit is going to be much, much lower than things we’ve traditionally seen in living room devices. Better, it’s basically a PC in the console form factor and at the console price point. There’s nothing really magical about the hardware – this is the great thing about PC, is that it’s been evolving so quickly.”
  • “A user who has a great experience using in-home streaming is going to be much more likely to upgrade to a PC in a console form factor and then continue to invest.”
  • The Steam Box will hinge on in-home streaming rather than cloud gaming.
  • “One thing we believe is latency sensitivity is going to increase in the future.”
  • “The ability to do local, high-speed processing will become more important than it is right now.”

Source: Joystiq

  • Even though the core operating system will be Linux, its Steam Box will boot directly to Big Picture Mode. Users won’t see Linux at all, unless they want to.
  • Creators are not particularly impressed with motion control, and that Valve wants to take advantage of advances in technology that can allow games to respond to your body in deeper ways, like adjusting the flow of a game based on your emotions.
  • The technology that can make that happen is already out there.
  • Focus will be on mods, player-created content, stores and sharing.

Source: The Verge

OUYA

  • Once a Kickstarter project, the Ouya will now be sold at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and GameStop this June.
  • The team is already planning to introduce a new version of the Ouya — with as much mobile processing power as possible — each and every year.
  • While the Ouya’s Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset is no slouch, there’s already a Tegra 4 inbound, and developers are already questioning the Ouya’s hardware limitations.
  • “Our plan is to have a yearly refresh of Ouya where we leverage the best-performing chips and take advantage of falling component prices to create the best experience we can at the $99 price point”
  • “If we could do it for less than $99, we would.”
  • Ouya should be slightly more powerful than a comparable Tegra 3 tablet.
  • Since the Ouya plugs into the wall with no need to save battery, all four Tegra processor cores can run continuously at 1.6GHz.
  • Though some have complained that the console’s 8GB of internal flash storage might not hold many games, you’ll be able to hook up an external hard drive to the device’s USB port.
  • The company is “in conversations” with Google, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon about accessing their services, suggesting nothing’s been fully worked out yet.
  • While Ouya will conduct a “light review” to filter out copyright infringement, malware, and pornography, there’s no standard for quality.
  • You can be a triple-A publisher, or you can be an independent developer who hasn’t released his first game yet, or you can be a student who is just learning the tricks of the trade, and all of you can develop games for the television.
  • Founder wants to curate the Ouya app store based on engagement metrics rather than sales data.
  • “We don’t believe it’s the number of downloads, or the amount of money spent. It’s how many times you play a game in a given period of time, and how quickly you start playing a game. When you boot up Ouya, how many times is it the first game you play? How many friends do you tell about a particular game? These are indicators that you really love a game.”
  • “Our goal is to have television-exclusive games.” Games “may be available on other platforms, but the only place that you can find them on the television is through Ouya.”

Source: The Verge

That about wraps up the latest on the big four next-generation consoles that we can look forward to in the coming months. At the moment, which platform is currently holding your interest the tightest?

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