At this point everyone knows that Microsoft is hard at work on the successor to the Xbox 360. Bill Gates and friends certainly won't admit that their next-gen console is coming quite yet, so that's left the door open to all kinds of wild rumors.
In the spirit of this recent tradition, another pair of rumors have hit the web, and they have the potential to raise concern with anyone who enjoys purchasing physical game discs from brick-and-mortar retailers.
According to a new report from MCV, the next generation Xbox system will be ditching the disc drive, in what will presumably be an attempt to push consoles into a digital format. Anyone who picked up the Xbox 360 at launch may be delighted to hear this rumor, considering that the console was all too famous for destroying discs after long periods of play.
Furthermore, the system, code named "Durango," will apparently be coming in 2013. If that is the case then chances are the Xbox 720 will be officially revealed at this year's E3. Of course, Microsoft may choose to make a massive surprise announcement during E3 2013 (i.e. just like the Xbox 360 Slim), but only time will tell.
The Market for Computer and Video Games states that this information came directly from a source who attended a recent conference for the new format. The source claimed that they had to sign "the strictest NDA" they've ever stumbled upon, but they didn't let that stop them from leaking this info — which, remember, may well turn out to be completely inaccurate.
If there really won't be a disc drive then many prematurely outraged fans would be right to point out that backwards compatibility (and support for Blu-ray) is instantly impossible. However, Microsoft has already realized this dilemma, and will allegedly be offering "compatibility with some sort of interchangeable solid-state card storage." So, while backwards compatibility will be present, it sounds like gamers will be forced to handout additional cash for an extra peripheral.
Microsoft has since released a statement regarding this rumor.
“Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle like introducing the world to controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention. Beyond that we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”
If Microsoft is really as keen on ditching game discs as MCV claims, then traditional retailers (especially the troubled GAME) are almost definitely on the way out. GameStop may be able to offer codes with pre-order exclusives and collectibles to stay afloat, but third parties may just want to stiff the middleman and focus on direct profits.
If the console is actually releasing as early as next year then more information should be revealed sooner rather than later. In the meantime, stay tuned to Game Rant for more juicy rumors on the next-gen Xbox.
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