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Xbox 720 to make game installs mandatory, leaked docs hint

The leaked information suggests Microsoft's new console will only use the disc drive to install games, and nothing more.

Be prepared for long stretches of boredom next Christmas morning, as leaked documentation suggests the next Xbox will feature mandatory game installation.

Leaked development screenshots for the upcoming console -- codenamed 'Durango' and known colloquially as the Xbox 720 -- were posted by vgleaks, along with some Windows documentation that supposedly details the new system's features.

"Every Durango console will have a hard drive, although its exact capacity has not been chosen," the documentation reads. "It will be large enough, however, to hold a large number of games. All games will be installed on the hard drive. Play from the optical disc will not be supported."

In other words, if this information proves genuine then it sounds like gamers will be using discs to install games, but after that the shiny plastic circles will only be good for hanging from trees to scare birds. Seems a little wasteful, non?

The documentation does say, "An installation system is being designed that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed," so there's hope that you won't have to wait too long for the game to finish saving itself to the console before you can play.

The hardware overview also points to a "high-fidelity Kinect Sensor, which will be required for the system to operate." That also sounds a little ominous, but until we know more it's hard to know what to make of this. "Improved ergonomics" on the controller meanwhile hint at a redesign for the iconic Xbox gamepad.

We'll likely see the next Xbox given an official airing in the next few months, possibly at the E3 gaming trade show that kicks off in June.

What do you think about mandatory game installs? Are they a good idea, or a potentially disastrous move? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.