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The Xbox 720 Files: Microsoft's master-plan for the next generation

CVG examines key details and breakthrough technologies found in the leaked 56-page document

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*Disclaimer: The information hereinbelow is taken from an Xbox 720 design document written in 2010. Some of the details will have been revised, perhaps extensively. For more information on the reliability of the data, go here

2. Microsoft's final bid to create the first definitive media hub

Since the first PlayStation, console manufacturers have sought to evolve their games systems into all-encompassing media centres. Xbox 720, the new data suggests, is Microsoft's attempt to offer an unprecedented consolidated entertainment device.

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All-in-one"XTV" is the 2010 working title of existing plans to encompass online services such as TV streams, music and video catalogues, and various entertainment downloads. Blu-ray playback will also be supported.

Yet Xbox 720 will go one step further by allowing customers to mix applications together. Users can overlay sports feeds onto movies, game guides onto games, along with various other transmedia initiatives.

A significant step for Microsoft will be the system's form-factor, which the document suggests will closely resemble a set-top box. The consumer psychology is to present adults and non-gamers with a device that appears familiar to the living-room set-up.

Background recording, multi-streaming
The standout feature is the recording and playback technologies. Xbox 720 will allow customers to record live TV in the background while a game is playing. The footage can then be watched on the console at a later date, or it can be streamed to other devices in the household such as a tablet or smartphone.

All such content will accessible across devices, and users will theoretically be able to stream a movie from Microsoft's cloud servers through Wi-Fi, continue to watch the footage on 3G- and 4G-enabled smartphones, and finish the programme by watching through a PC.

Xbox Live will be a unified service that underpins all activities across mobile, computer, tablet, TV and console.

(The document also briefly suggests that "XTV" will be a service embedded into other, non-Microsoft set-top boxes and Smart TVs - a further suggestion that Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business believes that Xbox Live has the clout to take on Google and Apple's next-gen television sets.)

NEXT: 3. Kinect version two: Four players, two sensors

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