Rumors surrounding the release of Microsoft’s next console are in plentiful supply, and have only increased since Sony unveiled their PlayStation 4 to the world. Even though it’s no secret that the Xbox 720/Durango is currently in the hands of numerous developers, the latest reports on the hardware and peripheral itself are stranger than gamers have come to expect.
Whether the outlandish paint scheme currently adorning Xbox 720 dev kits and their controllers are a bold new direction for the company, or simply preventing leaks, we can’t say we’re totally against the idea of the ‘Xbox Zebra.’
First, a little context (courtesy of Kotaku): the reports claim that at present, the consoles out in the wild – only with trusted developers and industry insiders – are not continuing the trend of white or black seen with this generation of Xbox 360. Instead, they are described as bearing “criss-crossing, radiating black and white stripes” across the console and controller.
It’s highly unlikely that will be the paint scheme given the competition and Microsoft’s previous systems, but radiating circles of green have been used in Xbox marketing in the past. Without specific images to go on, only quotes from sources, whether the mixture of black and white is actually aesthetically pleasing or clearly a work in-progress can’t be known.
The most likely explanation, as noted by Kotaku, is some clever planning on Microsoft’s part following the leaks of the PlayStation 4 controller prior to the official unveiling. The presumption being: each console and controller bear a unique color scheme, meaning outlets can’t leak photos on the internet without also revealing their own identity.
Some might call that strategy a bit aggressive or harsh, the concept isn’t unwarranted given the other rumors surrounding Microsoft’s next console. Always-on internet connections and required disc installations have turned some optimism to concern over how Microsoft may curb used games or piracy, and where you fall on the prospect of mandatory Kinect functionality depends on personal experience. If some of those reports prove accurate, the color of the system may be the least of fans’ worries.
With the claims of the black and white cross-hatching also comes a description of the new controllers. In essence, Microsoft is keeping what worked with the previous incarnation, from analog stick layout to the positioning of bumpers and face buttons (albeit on a slightly smaller controller). No photos have surfaced yet, but even an image wouldn’t tell the entire story, since the most persistent complaints about the Xbox 360’s peripherals stemmed largely from analog stick response and their painfully-mushy D-Pad.
An actual look at the system or controller will be the first step towards Microsoft actually preparing to show the world what comes next, and with an event rumored to be held later this month, the clock is ticking. Failing that, there’s always E3 2013 to look forward to. And as anyone following the industry now knows, an announcement of the Xbox 720 – or Durango – will make conversations about the next generation of games even more exciting.
What are you most looking forward to from Microsoft? A look at the controller and console, official details on the technical specs and horsepower, or the games it will be playing?
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.