Features for the next Xbox, according to the document, will include native Blu-ray playback, full support for HD and 3-D, and beefed up hardware (graphics and processor) under the hood. Other bits and pieces from the doc include PVR functionality, a low power mode setting during media playback and what amounts to an always-on mode. Gates did say years ago that the Xbox would eventually become the nerve center for any living room. And based on recent events, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Microsoft is making a play to turn the Xbox into a stand-alone set-top box for all things video. After all, they do offer Hulu, Netflix and ESPN. Also, future Microsoft devices will have universal access to content whether you’re on the Xbox, your smartphone or tablet. Duh, right?
The most interesting part of the leaked 56-page document – which has since been taken down – is something called Fortaleza, Portuguese for “Fortress”. Given the environment of traditional cable providers, the next logical step for the Xbox and others is to create and dictate what content they provide for their respective platforms. At this point, that could be anything but the document details Fortaleza as a way of consuming content through VR. A set of wireless glasses that supposedly won’t arrive until 2014 will connect to the Xbox 720 over Wi-Fi and give the player/user access to all manner of content in a virtual world. Future versions will apparently connect over a cellular connection for persistent connectivity – most likely 4G.
Whether Microsoft announces the 720 at next year’s E3 is anyone’s guess.