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Rare: the new Xbox "is always now"

"We're down the path" to the holodeck.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Rumours abound that Microsoft may be preparing to unveil the next Xbox at E3 2012, but according to Kinect Sports developer Rare, the next-gen is already here.

Speaking at the Develop conference in Brighton this evening, Rare chief Scott Henson dismissed next-gen questions, pointing towards Microsoft's ability to improve gaming experiences through software.

"One of my favourite things is, Scott, tell me when next-gen is. Tell me when that's going to happen. This has been the last ten years of my life. When's next-gen? When's next-gen? When's the new Xbox Live? When's the new Xbox?" he said.

"The power of software, the power of services, and the power of platforms is that it's always now. We continue to build on them, continue to innovate, continue to push, and we continue to build magic."

In a Eurogamer investigation into the new Xbox and the PlayStation 4, published this morning, Crysis 2 developer Crytek UK and Gears of War 3 maker Epic Games said current DirectX 11-fuelled visuals provide a good indication of what will be possible on the next round of home consoles.

Avatar-quality graphics are a realistic possibility, we were told.

Going one step beyond that, Henson said motion-sensing add-on Kinect puts gamers one step closer to simulating the Star Trek-style holodeck in their living rooms.

"I'm not going to give you the exact date you're going to have a holodeck in your room, but think about that for just a second," he said.

"Think about the movies we all grew up on and the things that inspired us in lots of different ways to create the kind of entertainment to do. We're down that path. We're absolutely down that path right now."

But before you set your phasers to stun and ask Scottie to beam you up, know this: Henson reckons it'll be a long while before the holodeck becomes a reality.

"You see advancements in televisions," he said. "When we stood up and we said it's the HD era in 2005 and HD is now – I remember because I wrote the speech and I was at GDC in 2005 and we gave away TVs, it was awesome. And here we are in 2011 and HD TVs are pretty pervasive, but they're still in only about half the homes around the world. It's not everywhere yet.

"When will the holodeck happen? It's going to be a journey. I don't think there's going to be a date."

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