While there were already rumours about the next-gen Xbox and its features, one of the biggest topics of discussion has been the console’s supposed always-online requirement. According to Polygon, Microsoft has started rethinking this requirement because of backlash against the leaks and rumours. Polygon’s sources have stated that the console’s always-online DRM will be optional, depending on the developer or publisher.
The console will have provisions for always-online, in case game developers want more control over their games. The always-online requirement can also extend to the Xbox’s other features, such as video streaming and other apps.
Some details about Xbox Live and the Achievement system have also been revealed. Developers will be able to add more achievements to their games without having to release DLC or expansion packs. This will allow them to tweak player behaviour. For example, developers could add achievements for an open-world game that gets them to check out some areas that they otherwise wouldn’t.
There will also be cross-title achievement which can award points, for example, for finishing the first chapters of two completely unrelated games that have been developed by the same company.
Looks like there's enough room for a share button (Next-gen Xbox concept)
The major part of Xbox Live – the friends list – is also being remade. Microsoft seems to be looking at the way social networking services such as Facebook or Twitter work. The company will be removing the cap on the number of friends one can have. Players will also have the ability to “follow” other players without sending friend requests, much like Twitter.
Like the PlayStation 4, Microsoft will also be giving players the ability to share their gameplay experiences through video. The console will capture gameplay and will let players go back and select parts of the video they want to share. This functionality is optional and can be turned off. Players can also set it up to record only some parts of the game, like when a player gets a headshot or some achievement. The videos can then be uploaded on to websites like YouTube for sharing.
The console is set to be unveiled at an event on May 21. It is rumoured that it will be hitting shelves in November. There are also predictions about the pricing of the game. Rumours state that the console will be priced at $499 (approximately Rs 27,000), and will have a subscription option where it costs $299 (approximately Rs 16,169) with a monthly $10 (approximately Rs 541) subscription. The subscription will give you access to Xbox LIVE for two years. If this does come to pass, it is unclear if Microsoft will have the subscription option in India.
Other speculations state that the next-gen console may run on a Windows 8 core. This could possibly mean that there may be some apps that are common between the console and PCs running on Windows 8.
It was earlier revealed that Microsoft will be integrating cable with the next-gen Xbox. According to the report, Microsoft might bake in a feature in its next-generation console that would take over a TV and set-top box to overlay a Microsoft-developed UI on top of the existing service provider’s interface.