On May 21st Microsoft will hold a press conference in Redmond, Washington detailing the full specifications of their next generation Xbox console. Early leaks of Microsoft’s next platform contain information on DRM (digital rights management), achievements, social networking and video sharing.
Although Microsoft hasn’t announced anything yet, it appears to be official that their next console will support a form of DRM through an always online connection. Microsoft won’t require this option for all games but will instead let the game developers and publishers decide whether a game should have a onetime online check or be constantly connected. The always online connection isn’t just used as an anti piracy tool, it will also work in support of streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu. That said, the always online connection allows developers greater control over copyright protection and can prevent the sale of used games.
Microsoft’s next Xbox will also give developers greater control over achievements. Developers will be able to add more achievements to a game after launch or tweak others to create incentive for players to explore all areas of a game or work harder to move past difficult spots. Adding achievements can also be used for setting daily and weekly goals and promoting group activity. Developers will also be given the ability to create cross title achievements that will award points for playing a different game from the same publisher. Microsoft is also thinking about having cross platform achievements that might be unlocked with a companion app or by playing a related game or prequel.
With the way Facebook and Twitter work, Microsoft is looking to change the way Xbox Live functions so that it is more in line with what those social networks do. Microsoft will remove the cap on the number of friends a person can have on XBLA. Instead of players having to friend each other, individuals will be allowed to follow each other like on Twitter. The next Xbox will come with a whole host of features including the ability to capture video of gameplay and upload it to Facebook, YouTube and Ustream. Microsoft hopes to use the next Xbox as a DVR for capturing footage straight to the hard drive from gameplay. Then players can go back later and highlight sections to send to their friends. This function can be turned on and off or be set up to capture specific moments.
As promising as this all sounds, it’s all still rumor and speculation until Microsoft holds their press conference and makes everything official. Stay tuned to Gamer Horizon as we will bring you all the latest updates on the next Xbox.