It's all go in the games industry at the moment, with the potential reveal of the Playstation 4 due in just under a fortnight, and rumours of the next-generation of consoles abound, the internet's gone into meltdown. With Nintendo's "next generation" console, the Wii U, already in living rooms everywhere and Sony's cards being shown on the 20th, it was only right that the next Xbox rumour mill should be going into overdrive but this time, 'reliable sources' who spoke to Edge are claiming it'll come with some rather scary 'features'.
First off comes the news that the NextBox will apparently come with a system that effectively "blocks" all pre-owned games, with each disc you buy coming with a single-use activation code you'll have to enter before you'll be allowed to play, effectively locking that game to your console and/or profile. If true, the move would undoubtedly signal the end of the second hand market, not to mention the ability to swap games with friends and while it remains to be seen whether companies would bring RRPs down to reflect the games' more limited nature, we wouldn't exactly hold our breath. It's worth bearing in mind, however, that at the moment, this is only a rumour - any move to block pre-owned would be an incredibly risky decision to make, and one that risks a backlash from both consumers and retailers alike.
Continuing the eerie rumour trend, the article goes on to state that the next Xbox is expected to be "always on", and permanently require an internet connection in order to function presumably so it can constantly check the licensing status of your games. Again, any such decision would be an incredibly risky move, with many other games companies having tried always-on digital rights management systems, and not one of them actually managing to pull it off successfully. One of the most recent attempts by Ubisoft actually ended with the "technology" being patched out of the game at a later date to appease irritated customers. After all, as much as we like to think we're always connected, things still go wrong and your internet can go down - all it would take is a trip of your connection to take your games console, and perhaps even your current game progress, with it.
On a slightly more interesting note, we're also promised a 'new iteration' of Xbox Live, as well as the new and improved Kinect 2 sensor shipping with every single console. It's also suggested that the new console will likely come with a Blu-Ray drive built in, giving developers extra storage to play with, and potentially allowing you to watch high definition films on your new console.
But while Sony are expected to show their hand in a fortnight, we could have a bit more of a wait on our hands before Microsoft reveal theirs - we're not really expecting any conclusive announcements on the next Xbox front for a good few months at least, with a huge blow-out at this Summer's E3 highly likely. Either way, if the above rumours are all true, the next Xbox could get off to quite a rocky start with public opinion.