Xbox 720 rumor: Blu-ray, persistent Internet mandatory

Posted by Mike Luttrell

If you want to play on Microsoft's next console, well, you'd better have a stable Internet connection.

In quite a contrast to the launch of the Xbox 360, which didn't include any sort of wireless connectivity feature, it's being reported that the console's successor will make an always-on Internet connection a requirement for all users.

While this will allow for a strong online community and the ability to create social networks within the system, it seems Microsoft's main purpose for the persistent connection was driven by something else: piracy.

As reported by VG247, the system will reportedly be able to check every game, every app, everything that users try to load on the console and if it doesn't pass muster, Microsoft will block it. If true, this is the strongest anti-piracy measure and game console will have ever taken.

In addition, rumors point to Microsoft finally breaking down and incorporating Blu-ray technology - headed up by arch rival Sony - into the next Xbox. The Xbox 360 has made great improvements in expanding disc-reading capacity but games still need to be burned on DVDs. Games that are released as four or five disc sets on the Xbox 360 can be released as a single Blu-ray Disc on the PS3.

Because of the capacity factor, it seems the next Xbox will bite the bullet and give Sony all the licensing fees and associated costs that incorporating Blu-ray will require.

Among the previously reported rumors are that the Xbox 720 will not have a spinning disc drive. Instead, the console will focus highly on digitally downloaded content. That doesn't mean games won't have a retail presence. There will still be a slot for retail games, but it will reportedly be powered by some sort of solid state media.

It was also originally suggested that the console would be revealed at this year's E3 event in June, but that has been denied by Microsoft. It is still, however, being speculated that it will launch in the end of 2013.