Rumour! Speculation! Sources! Next-gen Xbox requires always on internet…

Just another Xbox 720 concept.
Just another Xbox 720 concept.

Edge is reporting that next-gen Xbox games will require an internet connection in order to function and to block second-hand use.  The next-gen Xbox will also use Blu-ray and ship with “improved Kinect hardware”.

This is a move by Microsoft to make Xbox Live more of an “integral” feature of the next Xbox, which will also make retail games available for download, as well as making it tougher for the second-hand market to survive.

The fimiliar boxed titles will remain on retail shelves via 50GB Blu-ray discs, but “activation codes” will require verification online, the report adds.  Once verified, the discs will have “no function beyond the initial users – effectively eliminating the second-hand games market as it’s currently known.”

The information coming to Edge’s is said to come from “sources with first-hand experience of Microsoft’s next generation console.”

Our source has also confirmed that the next Xbox’s recently rumoured specs are entirely accurate. That means an AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. As of now, the console’s hard drive capacity is said to be undecided, but Microsoft’s extended commitment to online delivery suggests that it will be the largest unit it has put inside a console to date.

Though the architectures of the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation both resemble that of PCs, several development sources have told us that Sony’s solution is preferable when it comes to leveraging power. Studios working with the next-gen Xbox are currently being forced to work with only approved development libraries, while Sony is encouraging coders to get closer to the metal of its box. Furthermore, the operating system overhead of Microsoft’s next console is more oppressive than Sony’s equivalent, giving the PlayStation-badged unit another advantage.

Unlike Nintendo, Microsoft is continuing to invest heavily in motion-control interfaces, and a new, more reliably responsive Kinect will also ship alongside the next Xbox. Sony’s next-generation console camera system is said to have a similar set of features, and is expected to be discussed at the company’s PlayStation event on February 20.