Rumour: next Xbox may require the Kinect to work

You’ve heard that this is the year we’ll likely see a new PlayStation, and as early as next week, in fact, but what you may not know is that we’ll also probably see a new Xbox from Microsoft this year, too, and it may have an interesting requirement.

Of all the rumours going around this week, it’s the one about the next Xbox that concerns us, with suggestions that Microsoft’s next gaming console will not only arrive with a new version of its motion gaming controller – the Kinect – but also require it.

While no other company has quite made motion gaming as wireless as what Microsoft did with its 3D depth sensor, microphone, and camera combined Kinect accessory, we’ve heard that Microsoft might be looking to make Kinect more than about games, with possible integration into the movie service, too.

Microsoft's patent checks how many people are watching, and if the media license doesn't cover that many viewers, can invalidate the license.

Last year, we heard about a new patent suggesting Microsoft was interested in watching how many people were in the room with you and controlling content appropriately.

Movie rentals could, as a result of this, be theoretically monitored based on how many people were watching, such as if you invited a few people around to watch a movie, the rental service could charge you based on how many were watching.

One possibility from this concept is that movies could move beyond their showings at the local cinema, allowing you to be charged for in-theatre movie screenings, streamed at home but charged for the same, and still protected with digital rights management.

If this is the case, we foresee a market for little audience silhouette cut-outs that could be placed in front of the camera, as a means of circumventing – or at least attempting to – this system.

For this to work, Microsoft will also have to overcome the Kinect’s issue with space limitations, a problem that currently affects owners of the Kinect with less than one metre of space to play in. At the moment, if your Xbox and Kinect are in a small gaming room, it’s very difficult to use motion gaming on the Xbox, even if you use one of the widening lens accessories, such as the Nyko Zoom.

At this point, this is all speculation, and we’re not sure if Microsoft would ever try to force customers to have a video camera running at all times for their gaming and media console.

Still, we’d suggest staying tuned, because Microsoft is announcing something this year, and with only 119 days until it happens, we suspect we’ll be hearing more leaks and rumours in the months and weeks leading up to the announcement.