The Xbox 720 remains unannounced, but today, some more details have emerged about the next-gen console, and they don’t paint an entirely pretty picture for gamers. A new leak suggests that games won’t run off discs themselves, and will have to be installed first – which could be part of a rumoured plan to block used games on the machine.
Website Vgleaks has published screenshots of the Xbox Development Kit, the software which guides developers through making games for Microsoft’s next console, and several sites including The Verge have also confirmed that these are legitimate. The details in the screenshots confirm that you won’t be able to play games straight from a Blu-ray disc on the Xbox 720: they’ll have to be installed onto the hard drive first (“Play from the optical disc will not be supported,” says the XDK).
Now there are pros and cons to this set-up. Games will boot quickly, and the XDK says that it will be possible to begin playing part of the game while it installs – something we’ve heard about before. But it also makes it much easier to block used games: Microsoft could use this and always-on internet verification to make sure that games can not be played on more than one system, something Sony says it will not do with the PS4.
Used games are a major source of contention in the industry – gamers love being able to sell on their completed titles so that they can buy more, but some publishers view second hand game sales as lost revenue. If Microsoft uses this technology in the Xbox 720 – and it’s worth noting that the XDK shots are dated from last year, so things could have changed – it could find itself very unpopular with fans.