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New console is expected to feature an octacore CPU, support for 50 GB Blu-Ray disc

Gaming magazine Edge is the latest to leak details on the hardware and software plans for Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) upcoming home-gaming console, code-named "next generation Xbox" or "Xbox 720".  

I. Xbox 720 -- Death of the Used Game?

Perhaps most interesting, the Edge report claims that Microsoft is preparing to come down hard on the used game market (a market customers love, but developers/console-makers hate because they don't get a cut).  

Games will be sold (optionally) on physical media -- 50 GB Blu-Ray discs (surely Blu-Ray kingpin Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) is pleased with that).  But to play the game you will have to have your console connected to the internet.  And each game will be uniquely associated to your Xbox Live account.  While the hacker crowd may be able to come up with elaborate workarounds, for most users that spells essentially a death sentence to second-hand or used games.

Used Xbox 360 games
The Xbox 720 will no longer allowed used games, reportedly. [Image Source: Multiplayer]

The Edge report echoes previous rumors on the hardware front, suggesting the console will carry a 1.6 GHz octa-core x64 CPU.  

However, it puts a face on the chip, suggesting that the CPU will be manufactured by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and is code-named Liverpool.  The console is also expected to pack a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics solution and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.

II. Developers Say PS4 is Easier to Develop For

While Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7974) continues to be the market's quirky character with its hot-selling Wii U -- which launched last holiday season, featuring a more minimalist hardware spec and novel mini-tablet-based gaming -- Sony and Microsoft's next generation consoles are on the surface very similar.

Most reports indicate that both consoles will launch this holiday season, although a handful of reports have suggested an early launch sometime this spring/summer.  And both consoles carry a PC-like architecture.  This is a major shift for Sony, which reportedly admitted internally that it "messed up" with the PS3's more custom console architecture (versus a more PC-like hardware design).

Sony's PlayStation 4 is expected to carry 8 GB of DDR3, like Microsoft's Xbox 720.  Sony's "Durango" development kits.  AMD is expected to use the same Liverpool CPU, as well.  But where as Microsoft's GPU source has not been clarified, rumors indicate the PS4 will pack an AMD "R10XX" architecture GPU chip.

The upcoming PS4 is allegedly more powerful and easier to develop for than the Xbox 720.
[Image Source: Gamasutra]

According to Edge's industry sources, the PS4 is "slightly more powerful" and "very simple to work with."  The Xbox 720 is reportedly slightly harder to develop for with the current kits, a reversal of last generation's trends.

That could spell trouble for Microsoft.  However, Microsoft has some tricks up its sleeve, such as a next generation version of its Kinect motion controller and an improved version of its already thriving Xbox Live online gaming network.

Sources: Edge [1], [2]

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RE: No...
By Motoman on 2/6/2013 12:48:57 PM , Rating: 3
Well, and beyond Gamefly and video games, you have to consider the precedent this sets.

If MS can get away with a "one-consumer-then-trash" model for video games, then the same thing will happen to movies, music, maybe other stuff too. There will be no trading/reselling/gifting of DVDs or BDs, CDs, etc. Because if MS can do this with an XBox game, you can bet Sony/Paramount/Disney/et al will do it with all their other content too.

RE: No...
By bah12 on 2/6/2013 1:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
Amen to that. I'm sure someone at Sony was immediately meeting with the PS4 group to see if they could do the same thing. Its the holy grail for media giants.

This is frankly quite scary, one more step to not actually owning anything.

RE: No...
By Hairyfeet on 2/6/2013 11:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I don't see the courts going along with this, especially in the light of how much stuff now runs on computer chips and software. i mean where would it end? you can no longer sell your old laptop because the OS license is tied to you?

Not to mention this entire "license" argument ignores the fact that these companies are trying to have their cake and eat it to. So you say I have a LICENSE to play halo 3, not a physical product? Okay then its perfectly legal for me to download a replacement when something happens to the disc, right? After all I DO have a license to this title correct?

You see THIS is where its gonna end up biting these companies in the behind, as they are trying to have all the protections of BOTH the license model AND the physical product model while claiming they have the liabilities of neither. Courts tend not to like vagueness like that and I don't think they'll like the outcome if they make the courts decide which they fall under. Either all their products are physical, which means you can buy, sell, and trade them at will, or they are all licenses which means if you bought it once you have the right to it forever, no matter what happens to the media.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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