Xbox 720: Yay or nay?

What’s double the number 360?  That’s right, it’s 720.  If you couldn’t get that, you should probably review your multiplication tables.  Why is 720 so important here?  Because that’s the newest version of Xbox that the Internet is buzzing about since last week’s E3.

Many online reputable sources, including IGN and PC Magazine, have reported that Microsoft has plans to release their Xbox 720 sometime in 2013.  This discovery should not be surprising since Sony has announced a Playstation 4 and Nintendo Wii U; naturally, Microsoft would want to compete by releasing a new version of their beloved console.

Concept Design *NOT ACTUAL DESIGN

These Xbox 720 plans stemmed from a leaked document on Scribd that is no longer available, since one of the legal companies advising Microsoft recommended the company remove it.  If this document was indeed legitimate, we Xbox-ers can all rejoice and start toasting to this new platform and the slough of games that will entertain us for several more years.

Or should we?

Despite the obvious success of Xbox 360 since its release, I am cautious to immediately line up behind what I’m sure will be thousands of others to throw in a pre-order for the new console.  Why?  Here are the main reasons that are rolling around in my head:

  1. As is the case with technology, sometimes the first version contains faulty hardware or software.  We all remember the Red Ring of Death with many early (and sadly, I’m sure, even recent) models of the Xbox 360, and though I know Microsoft was very good about upholding their warranty, I for one would prefer to avoid having to send in my new 720 within the first year of owning it.  I rely on my console to be the one thing that distracts me from the daily demands of life, and I’d prefer that it do that as I’m playing it rather than as I’m packing it up and shipping it off.
  2. The price… ah, the price.  Rumors say that Microsoft wants to sell the Xbox 720 in a bundle with the second generation Kinect for a total of $299 (plus tax, ‘cause that’s the way life goes).  While that’s a very reasonable price considering my husband and I bought our Xbox 360 for $199 without a Kinect, that’s still a lot of money for someone like me who still has a crapload of student loans under her belt and is also working a part-time job.  Now, this isn’t a deal-breaker, but it does mean I will have to save up to purchase the 720, and should my car break down again, might mean I don’t get the new console right on release day.
  3. Will the 720 be backwards-compatible?  The 360 worked with many original Xbox games, but not all of them.  I can only hope the 720 will work with these original games as well, but there’s no guarantee.  The developers would be frankly idiotic if the 720 was not backwards-compatible with the 360 games, but any games older than that console may have to consider retiring for good.

You may be thinking that I have a very cynical attitude towards the 720 when it hasn’t even been released yet.  Don’t judge just yet; I am an Xbox addict through-and-through, so much so that I worked at GameStop in high school just so I could get free promotional items I’d otherwise have to purchase on eBay.  So here is everything I’m stoked for when I read the reports about the 720’s rumored hardware and software capabilities:

Again: Concept Design *NOT ACTUAL DESIGN
  1. Blu-ray:  I never quite understood the phenomenon of this digital format until I went to my friends’ house and watched Planet Earth on Blu-ray through their Playstation 3.  Then I went home and glared at my 360.  If the 720 is actually going to have a Blu-ray player, I will start buying Blu-ray discs for the first time in my life.  It will be like I have my own high-quality cinema in my home, except not really, because I don’t have surround sound or a screen bigger than 60 inches.  Those are on my list of items to purchase, after the 720, of course.
  2. Virtual-reality goggles:  There’s not a lot of information out about these right now, except that they are currently being labeled as the Fortaleza project and could possibly receive cell radio and 4G and could be mini-hubs integrated with the 720.  This is fascinating because I will FINALLY be able to look like a dork but not care at all because I’ll be wearing frakkin’ virtual reality glasses.
  3. Kinect improvement:  Despite loving the option of having voice and motion-activated games at my fingertips, I hesitated to buy the Kinect solely for the reason I mentioned in #1 above in “bad stuff the 720 could offer.”  What I saw my friends doing on the Kinect looked fun and promising, but there were still a few glitches here and there with its sensor range and ability to correctly communicate your commands to the Xbox.  With the release of the 720, Microsoft is looking to release a Kinect accessory called Kinect V2, which should improve voice recognition, add a four-player tracking system, a more in-depth 3D playing space, and more.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’d prefer to spend my money on.
More from the ‘leaked’ presentation

There are of course lots of other aspects to take into consideration regarding the Xbox 720, such as the rumors that claim the 720 will not be able to play used games (don’t even get me started on this one; I may need to save this topic for another post).  You also have your gamers who would for some reason prefer to purchase the upcoming Playstation 4 or Wii U, or even those really open-minded gamers who want to own all three.  At this point you’d have to bring in a comparison chart for which console might be best for what reasons.  For me, though, the thought of an Xbox 720 is enough to tide me over for quite a while.  Especially those virtual reality goggles.  ‘Cause that’s going to be awesome.

We’ll have more on the rumored PS4 for you later in the week!

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