The lights are on
Part of the fun leading up to console unveiling is the speculation. Sources of varying credibility release tidbits of unconfirmed information, and gamers are left to guess which rumors will become fact. During Microsoft's reveal of the Xbox One, we finally got confirmation on many linger questions – along with a few surprises. Here's our rundown of the pre-release rumors surrounding the Xbox One and how they hold up to the reality Microsoft presented.
The name is…
Rumor: Xbox Infinity. Xbox Next. Xbox Fusion. Many possible names were swirling around Microsoft's new system. Depending on the week, some monikers seemed more likely than others. Some of them were even "confirmed."
Reality: Microsoft did a good job keeping this one under wraps. "Xbox One" came out of nowhere. However, even if it had leaked early, it might not have seemed credible; it's pretty far out of line with what anyone expected.
Rumor: The most odious rumor dogging the next Xbox was that it required an always-on internet connection. The mere mention of this draconian feature, especially in light of the problems experienced during the launch of always-online games like SimCity and Diablo III, whipped gamers up into an irate frenzy.
Reality: Maybe gamers were jumping to conclusions, or maybe Microsoft was scared off by the strong negative reaction. Either way, the Xbox One does not require a constant internet connection to perform its basic functions. Instead, developers are able to use cloud computing on connected consoles, but Microsoft isn't mandating it. Update: Or not. Microsoft is not being clear on its message for the system's connectivity.
Rumor: Not everyone buys every game at full price. Some people borrow them or buy them used to save some money, which is why many gamers were apprehensive about the possibility of Xbox One restricting the use of second-hand games. Even so, it was one of the most persistent rumors leading up to the reveal.
Reality: To some degree, gamers' fears came true. Xbox One will play used games, but Microsoft initially claimed that it would require a fee after the original owner. This would make borrowing and buying used much less cost-effective. Microsoft then backed off that assertion, saying that it has "a plan," and the team is "designing Xbox One to enable customers to trade in and resell games."
Rumor: The PlayStation 3 has an edge over the 360 in terms of disc storage space. That's due to the Blu-ray format, and most rumors pointed to Microsoft swallowing its pride after the whole HD-DVD debacle and adopting Blu-ray discs for the Xbox One.
Reality: According to the system specs, Blu-ray is in. If next-gen games get big enough to bleed onto multiple discs, at least they'll be that way on both consoles this time.
The New Kinect
Rumor: Kinect was a late addition to the Xbox 360's lifecycle. After all of the time and money Microsoft invested in the technology, and practically everyone predicted that a new version of Kinect would be a cornerstone of the company's next-gen effort.
Reality: We knew Kinect was important to Microsoft, but we didn't know it was this important. Not only does the Xbox One come packaged with the new Kinect, but it will reportedly not function without the device connected.
Rumor: Leaked documents indicated that the Xbox One would be able to completely install a game, not using any of the data from the disc itself. At the time, it wasn't completely clear if this was just a more convenient version of the current installation system on the 360 (which installs some, but not all, of the data), or something that would be mandatory for every title.
Reality: Installing your games on the Xbox One isn't optional. It's required. On the plus side, that means that once you install the game, you don't need to keep the disc handy when you want to play. Dual-layer Blu-ray discs can hold up to 50GB and even current games have clocked in above 10GB in data, though, so that 500GB hard drive could fill up faster than you think.
Cable Box Interaction
Rumor: Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that it wants to be consumers' go-to device for entertainment. This, along with the company's past partnerships with Hulu, ESPN, etc, pointed to the possibility of the Xbox One either being a cable box, or working closely with them to deliver programming to users.
Reality: Xbox One isn't a cable box, but Microsoft wants to work closely with content providers in order to make the console a one-stop-shop for a variety of media. That might just be splitting hairs, though; you can watch TV through the Xbox One, and that's really what the rumor was about from the beginning.
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