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Xbox 720 Developer Documentations Shows Blu-ray Drive, Hints At "Always-On" DRM

Posted by: , 18:10 AEDT, Mon March 25, 2013

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Leaked documents from the XDK mentions "Always On, Always Connected", leading some to conclude that the Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, will use "always-online" DRM
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Leaked screenshots from the Xbox 720 development kit shows that Microsoft's next console, codenamed Durango, will indeed feature a Blu-ray drive, but also uses the phrase "Always On, Always Connected", leading many to believe that "always-on" DRM may be deployed for the new console.

VGLeaks was first to show off captured screenshots from the Durango XDK, which features a hardware overview document that goes through some of the expected new features of the console.

A new "high-fidelity" Kinect sensor will be included, which features better depth sensing technology, and the use of active infrared illumination will allow gameplay in low light conditions. One of the biggest complaint about the current Kinect system is its room size requirement, but the new Kinect will use a wider field of view to reduce this requirement, and do away with the need for a tilt motor.

A Blu-ray drive will be included, but the document makes it clear that games will not run off Blu-ray discs, suggesting a mandatory hard-drive install for all games (with a suitably large HDD being included to hold a "large number of games"). The document does not make clear whether Blu-ray movies will be playable on the console.

And confirming previous leaks, the new Xbox will have what's called an "always-on" mode, in which the console is in a powered up state at all times (with minimal power draws in "standby" mode) to allow for an almost instant boot-up. This latest document also states that a constant network connection will be maintained, suggesting background software updates and downloads.

It's these last two points, the HDD-only loading of games and a constant Internet connection, that have led some to conclude that the Xbox 720 will use an "always-on" DRM for game authentication, and to further conclude that second hand games will not be allowed. Certainly, some kind of system will have to be in place to prevent people installing a game from a disc, and then selling the disc. 

But the document does not go into details regarding the "Always On, Always Connected" feature and how it relates to authentication, so any DRM speculation at the moment is just that, speculation.


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