Kotaku got an exclusive insider telling them more about the next Xbox, Xbox 720–codenamed Durango, that will require the new Kinect 2.0 to be plugged in and calibrated for the new console to function. This means that Microsoft will have a camera and microphone that will be active every second you have your new Xbox online. Call me a crazy but this sorta disturbs me as someone who values his privacy.

Kinect 2.0 will expand on how it tracks bodies and recognize heads, elbows, hands, knees, legs, and feet. Up to 4 users will be able to be tracked by the Kinect 2.0 that will come bundled with the new Xbox.

The new Xbox will also come equipped with at least a 500 GB Hard Drive and all games will be required to install to the internal HD. In addition, the Xbox will run multiple applications at the same time and allow for easy multitasking–something the Xbox 360 never did.

So rumors now have the Xbox with a built in spying Microphone and Webcam plus the ability to block all used games and loaned games. And who is going to want to buy this should these rumors prove to be true?

Need some good news after hearing about the upcoming Spybox? Firemonkey has revealed that their next Real Racing game–Real Racing 3–will be Free to Play! This replaces the normal $4.99 to $9.99 cost the game normally has associated with it at launch.

Real Racing 3 will feature over 900 events and deliver upwards of 600 hours of gameplay. No word on how much in-game purchases will be or what items will have a cost associated with them. Real Racing 3 launches on iOS, Google Play, and Amazon App Store on February 28, 2013.

Steam quietly announced, on their News Page, that they will begin to offer “Week Long Deals.” These deals join the Daily, Mid-Week, and Weekend deals that they normally offer. Steam also features a variety of sales throughout the year.

The first weekly sales include:
Steel Storm Burning Retribution
Alpha Prime

In our disappointed/optimistic news of the day, Chris Taylor canceled the crowdfunding for Wildman on Kickstarter. He said this in the update:

“We have some news today. We are canceling the Wildman Kickstarter.

At this point, it makes sense for us to focus our attention on other ways to keep Gas Powered Games running. Unfortunately, we are unable to share any specifics in public. When we have news to share, we will be posting it on our site. If you want status updates, or if you want to continue discussing Wildman and/or this Kickstarter, please consider migrating over to forums.gaspowered.com.

We are profoundly grateful to those of you who backed this project and Gas Powered Games. Your passion and hard work put us in a position to write this exciting new chapter in the history of GPG.”

There are some hints that there are some other ways for them to secure the funding they need, save the company, Gas Powered Games, and still deliver on projects like Wildman and others. Lets hope the future brings good news.

Moving on to Gearbox, Randy Pitchford said this about their Brothers in Arms series:
“We love Brothers in Arms. The other pledge is that there will be an authentic Brothers in Arms game. Again, we haven’t announced that yet, but I’m really excited about where that’s going too. We’ll announce these things in due course. There’s a lot of neat things we have going on.

When you’re in pre-production and you’re in these iterations, it’s kind of reckless. I don’t want to get in a spot. I want to avoid a situation where, five years from now it’s ‘wow, this game’s been in development for five years.’ That’s why I don’t announce things until we know what they are. It’s not fair to hold us accountable for a process that’s designed to get to a quality end that’s good for the customer. We love Brothers in Arms and we’re committed to more time in that space. As we get to places where it makes sense to announce things in that regard, we’ll do that, too.”

On Brothers in Arms: Furious 4, first revealed at E3 2011, Pitchford adds:
“It was winning on its own merits, but it was not Brothers in Arms. I said ‘look, unhinge it from Brothers in Arms. Continue to drive and iterate even further. Focus on what is making that work and what ideals are leading you there.’ It’s the same kind philosophy that allowed things like Borderlands to exist. Forget about Brothers in Arms. Ignore it. Don’t worry about it. That doesn’t exist to you guys anymore. Just iterate into your own world with the gameplay loops that are working, and then we will reattach story and style in a way that’s meaningful and makes sense for the game design that’s winning.”

Pitchford also has admitted that Gearbox will be raising the level cap in Borderlands 2 despite previous reports that it would break the game. He said on his Twitter page that there is a 100% chance the level cap will increase this year. Never say never I guess!

Coming tomorrow on PlayStation Plus is Closure–the puzzle platformer from Eyebrow Interactive that made a splash on PSN when it was released last year. This will make the newest “Your Instant Game Collection” to come to PS Plus users for February 2013.

Plus users will also be able to grab Critter Crunch for $1.40 (normally $6.99), Alien Breed for $7.99 (normally $9.99), Derrick the Deathfin for $4.00 (normally $7.99), and NHL 13 for $38.38 (normally $47.99).

At DICE 2013, Jenova Chen, head of thatgamecompany, shed some light as to why they are moving their company to multiplatform. Speaking about financial woes and delays to Journey, Chen said:
“We did get the money, we got to finish the extra year, but a lot of people in our studio were not paid in the last half of the year, and we actually paid our savings to extend the game for another couple months. So by the end, when we shipped Journey, we also went bankrupt as thatgamecompany.”

thatgamecompany will release their next title–pushing the boundaries of art and game on multiplatform. All previous titles have been exclusive to Sony. If I were Sony, I would write out a check to make sure these guys stay exclusive to me for the foreseeable future.
Finally, for all your Real Time Strategy buffs out there, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Public Beta will end on March 1, 2013. You will then have to stay content until the game releases on March 12, 2013 to play more of the new expansion for StarCraft 2.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 02/12/13

Screenshots for N3: Nightly News Narration – Spybox 720, thatgamecomapny is Broke, Wildman Canceled?, & More