The dust on the rumour mill has barely settled since the release of the new iPad, but it’s time to fire it up again as news in the gaming world starts to surface.
Though only a working title for Microsoft’s next Xbox spawned from jokes online, the ‘720’ is getting a dose of hype thanks an unconfirmed leak. Following a development meeting held by the Xbox division of Microsoft, despite a strict non-disclosure agreement, an anonymous source has leaked that the next Xbox will hit the shelves in 2013 and will completely do-away with a physical disc drive. This would mean a move into solely using removable solid state cards for games, with a greater focus on downloadable games and online content. Bad news for the already troubled GAME high-street chain who will have to either move into a download-centric format or face failure.
The drive towards digital-only, downloadable content is great news for PC gaming giant Steam, who act as a third-party online shop front for thousands of games. The big news for Steam is the rumoured development of a Steam-compatible Valve gaming console. Valve have been a game studio of legendary repute for decades, however, there is a lot to consider here. Firstly, the rumoured hardware for this “Steam Box” (8GB of RAM, Core i7 CPU and a high-end NVIDI GPU) means that this is just another gaming PC. Secondly, the cost of forcing a new games console into the already crowded market would bankrupt the backers, especially when we consider the financial capacity of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo who won’t tolerate a new competitor. Lastly, given the saturation of the market, the potential buyers of this new hardware would be minimal. If you’re utilising Steam chances are you’ve already invested in an expensive gaming PC, so with little to tempt consumers in aside from the Valve branding it’s an unlikely rumour to come to fruition. A range of Steam and Valve branded media centre’s similar to the new Alienware X51 could well be a viable option, but a brand new console? Just ask Sega about the Dreamcast.