The recent “outlandish” rumors about the Xbox 720 have me falling asleep at the keyboard.
The first rumor is the next Xbox console will be Blu-ray capable. If true, Microsoft’s announcement still puts the Xbox 720 a generation behind the PlayStation 3, which has been able to read Blu-Ray discs since it launched in 2006. If adding Blu-Ray to an Xbox is Microsoft pulling out the stops, Sony can break out the champagne now. I can’t help but expect much more from the next generation of Xbox. I do not own a Blu-Ray player, I do not care about watching Blue-Ray movies. By now, if I was going to watch Blu-ray discs I would already have a Blu-ray player. I know that there are people who really geek out over watching movies with Blu-Ray quality, that’s awesome. Typically, those people already have Blu-ray players. Adding Blu-Ray to an Xbox is like adding an expensive blender to a bicycle. Some people might use it because it’s there, but chances are they already have one in their kitchen.
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The second rumor is more interesting because it raises a lot more questions and leads to more rumors to spread around. The Xbox 720 will not play used games. At first glance, this might sound like a bad rumor I think it may be a delicious insight to what kind of console the 720 is going to be. Perhaps the console won’t be using discs at all and therefore cannot play used games on the disc format currently being used with the 360. How’s that for an internet rumor? I’m starting a hash-tag right now #Xbox720WhyYouNoPlayUsedGames. I would love to see Twitter light up with a slew of crazy Xbox 760 rumors. I just want to be a part of that madness. Who doesn’t love even more gaming gossip?
If the 720 actually did become fully cloud-base, it would then be competing with the so-far successful start-up OnLive. The disc will die just like the cassette tape and VHS before it. Going full cloud streaming is inevitable and expected. For me, a next-gen console without a cloud gaming feature just can’t compete with a my Steam account and a $30 HDMI cord. My demands don’t end there, on a cloud-based console I would expect a full library of original Xbox and 360 games. Anything less would be unacceptable and would not push my Xbox 360 off its designated shelf. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself while it’s not sitting all shiny and new at the local game store. But who knows when that will be?
Would a cloud-based console kill the used game market as we know it? Maybe after some time but hasn’t the physical used games market and the use of discs for data storage always been on a countdown? Technology has to evolve and every industry is affected by the changes. How a company within any industry adapts to changes in technology is what determines how successful their product is. For the budget-conscience gamer, even though used games will not be around forever the cost of downloaded or streamed games will probably be less than disc-based games.
I mentioned earlier that I’m doing just fine now with a Steam account and an HDMI cord. In my personal circumstances, I don’t think I will even need an Xbox 720 if the current rumors are all that the next console will offer. I concede that there is still plenty of time before the Xbox 720 is released but at the rate competitors like Steam and OnLive are growing the Xbox 720 will have to offer something really innovative.
I’m not hearing anything close to innovative with these recent rumors. For now, I’m impatiently awaiting even more juicy rumors. I know Microsoft can do it, I was drooling over the Kinect for years before it was even released. Tantalize me!