With E3 approaching a lot more rapidly than anyone would care to admit, plenty of word is coming out about the next generation in gaming console. Perhaps one of the strangest words in the mix, meanwhile, is the increasingly large list of demands coming out in order to play in the Xbox's next sandbox.
We had heard, previously, that Microsoft was going to require an always-on Internet connection to play its games, which was going to put the kibosh on the used game market. This alone got some dander up across much of the blogosphere, but some of the newest rumors to hit make the new Xbox look less like a gaming platform and more like a hostage situation.
The newest demands from Microsoft's
upcoming system, according to the latest reports, are that users will now be required to have a Kinect
connection on at all times to play games, and that games will now be required to be registered in order to play. This information reportedly comes from a source who was trying to sell a Durango
development kit--the code name for the new Xbox--before being shut down by Microsoft.
Now, naturally, everything we hear right now is pretty much just speculation and whispers until it comes straight from the horse's mouth. The appropriate grain of salt is required for this particular endeavor, so take it as need be. But it's not exactly out of line to think that Microsoft, not to mention its third-party game suppliers, would love a platform in which games could never be sold as used product.
Other reports suggest that the new Xbox will kick off with a 500 gig hard drive--which it would pretty much have to to handle all those registrations and such--and a greatly enhanced Kinect besides that will be able to discern open hands and thumb positions.
Improvements aside, the issue of used gaming is likely going to weigh heavily on gamers' minds until Microsoft makes it clear just what its position actually is on the idea. It's going to be a tough sell for Microsoft, trying to tell gamers they're somehow better off by not being able to sell their old games for store credit or straight cash to buy new games, or that they're not able to rent games any more. Frankly, I can scarcely imagine the scope of the backlash that Microsoft will take on this one.
Meanwhile, lurking in the background is another Sony release. It's not hard to see gamers making the decision to go with the next PlayStation iteration just so they can keep status quo. But by like token, it's hard to imagine that Microsoft would make such a deliberately inflammatory move knowing that Sony wasn't planning to follow suit.
The next few months are going to be downright exciting as far as gaming goes, and with Sony set to make a big announcement in less than two weeks, the whole thing may kick off in earnest much sooner than expected. But Microsoft's plan to make demands of its users--Kinect required, registration required, forget about used games--may fall on unhappy ears, and wallets that may open in Sony's direction first.