The talk about the upcoming Xbox/Xbox 720/Durango has been deafening in a way, as the talk has all centered upon the concept of the “always on” internet connection which would be used for DRM and anti-piracy. Most of the internet gaming community seems vehemently opposed to such measures — for good reason — but it looks like some of that talk might all end up being a moot point as the decision to have always on anti-piracy DRM might be in the hands of the publishers.
Some new details about the upcoming Xbox have appeared on Polygon, with some really cool stuff like new features for Xbox Live. Stuff like an unlimited friends list, the ability to “follow” users, much like Twitter and Facebook, as opposed to having them on your friends list proper. Much like the PS4, there will be video sharing options, apparently the next Xbox will function like a DVR, allowing you to review your videos, chop them up and upload them to sites like YouTube. Achievements can also be updated on-the-fly, meaning that if a developer wants to add new ones, they can simply add them without pushing through a title update or a patch.
As for the DRM, it looks like there will be “always on” internet for the next Xbox, but when it comes to DRM and anti-piracy, Microsoft is leaving that in the hands of the publishers. So in theory, a publisher could force the game to always be authenticated, much like a PC game, but Microsoft leaves that up to the publisher. That is sort of good news, although we can already predict who will be using it.
Microsoft, of course, isn’t confirming any of this, so consider it a rumor until May 21st.