New Xbox 720 leaks: ‘Always on, Always connected,’ Kinect required, and mandatory installs

A new batch of Xbox 720 details have been leaked, revealing some potentially startling hardware specifications and requirements. Most notably, the next Xbox will "always maintain a network connection." Because that worked so well for SimCity and Diablo 3.

A report from VGLeaks, which provides hardware overview for the Xbox Durango (as Microsoft is calling its next-gen Xbox), claims this "Always On, Always Connected" design will allow users to "quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install updates." The goal, it seems, is for the Xbox to be "ready instantly when users want to play."

The overview also confirms that each Durango console will be sold with a new Kinect Sensor, a rumor we've heard before. Those afraid of Big Brother watching, may not like this next part. The Kinect will be required for the system to operate. Some alleged improvements to the Kinect include a wider field of view for smaller spaces and removal of the tilt motor, as well as active infrared illumination to provide high-quality images.

Each Xbox 720 will have a hard drive capable of holding "a large number of games. All games will have to be installed; however, the documentation does state that you will be able to play games while they are installing rather than having to wait until the installation is complete. Once installed, gameplay will not use content from the optical disc.

It's hard to look at these specifications and requirements and immediately not jump to the conclusion that Microsoft is taking the necessary steps to block pre-owned games from being played. If each game includes some sort of product key, the always-online, always-connected nature of the next Xbox could very easily verify the legitimacy of each game — effectively beefing up anti-piracy protection while preventing pre-owned games from being played.

If these leaks are true — it should be noted that the information is dated from 2012 — then I imagine the next Xbox will work similar to that of a computer; you install the game, register the key, and the disc basically becomes redundant.

Xbox Durango overview

[VG Leaks]