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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: Good
By bah12 on 2/6/2013 12:32:59 PM , Rating: 5
Piracy is a very minor part of this, what they are really looking to kill is GameFly. They hate the idea of a person getting to play the game first only to find out it is garbage, without shelling out the ridiculous $60.

RE: Good
By NellyFromMA on 2/6/13, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By bah12 on 2/6/2013 1:13:21 PM , Rating: 5
Piracy is the oh so sweet marketing sauce being used to make this palatable to the idiotic masses, but make no mistake the primary goal here is to create a "per user" model and strip you of actually "owning" anything.

If they can pull it off here, it won't be long before the media giants do the same for music/movies.

RE: Good
By augiem on 2/6/2013 3:18:52 PM , Rating: 1
If they can pull it off here, it won't be long before the media giants do the same for music/movies.

Ever heard of iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN... It's already here. Has been for a while.

RE: Good
By zerocks on 2/6/2013 3:44:31 PM , Rating: 4
Ever heard of iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN... It's already here. Has been for a while.

Yes because I can't still buy a DVD/Bluray and bring it around to a friends house to watch it without signing in to my account..

RE: Good
By augiem on 2/6/2013 6:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
True. I guess the point was, the day is coming when you won't be able to buy digital media and ferry it around. And it's not just starting with MS. It's already well underway and has been for a while. We're half way there.

RE: Good
By tng on 2/6/2013 6:52:40 PM , Rating: 3
That is what the "Cloud" is for... so that they can keep track of what you have and you think it is convenient.

Yes I am paranoid.

RE: Good
By augiem on 2/7/2013 4:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
Paranoid and correct.

RE: Good
By RufusM on 2/6/2013 4:26:31 PM , Rating: 3
If Microsoft wants to charge me $X/month to play any game in their library via DRM digital download (comparable to Neflix streaming) I'll buy that if it has enough value for the cost. I'll even buy a digital game that is DRM'd if the cost is low enough and it provides enough value.

I won't, however, buy a digital game for $60 (or digital movie from Amazon) that is DRM'd and can be taken away from me at their whim. When I buy a game I want to be able to play it when I want on the hardware it was designed for AND sell later like any other physical object I purchase (TV, computer, whatever). If they take that away, I simply won't participate in buying.

RE: Good
By NellyFromMA on 2/7/2013 12:35:02 PM , Rating: 3
How dare I think for myself. Hence be branded idiot.

RE: Good
By nafhan on 2/6/2013 1:25:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's impossible to know how big of a piece of the pie piracy is, actually. So, you really can't say that. Making it slightly more difficult (which is all they'll be doing here) is probably a bonus nonetheless.

Anyway, what you (and MS) do know is that there's a certain chain of stores in nearly every town in the country kept alive in no small part by profits off used video game sales. The people buying the used games ARE very clearly willing to pay real money for games. They might be willing to wait until the prices come down a bit, but, regardless, unlike pirates, they are verified paying customers.

RE: Good
By ruronirican on 2/6/13, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By StanO360 on 2/6/2013 4:28:22 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, great point. All the mid-tier games will be screwed by this. People will stop taking chances with games. They also will wait until the price drops.

Consumers are relentless and vicious, they will punish companies that don't give them good value for their money.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2013 4:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
Paying customers to whatever chain they are purchasing the game from... the developers and publishers of said game don't see a dime from that transaction.

Boo hoo?

Next we'll have to stop the 'evil' practice of used book stores!

Publishers are only entitled to profits from the original point of sale. To put forth this argument that they are owed any more than that, is absurd.

In all events with games now being made costing much more than in the past... every used game sold in a retail venue means that the one that actually could help the company stay afloat is sitting on the shelf

No. Wrong. That is entirely the wrong way of looking at this. Laughably so.

RE: Good
By RufusM on 2/6/2013 5:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention anything else used if this is the new model going forward:

-Cars...nope those are locked to your retina scan. If anyone else tries to drive the car it won't work.

-Clothes...nope those are now locked to your DNA. If anyone else wears it...poof it disintegrates.

...and on and on.

RE: Good
By NellyFromMA on 2/7/13, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By HostileEffect on 2/7/2013 7:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm over the age of 21 and have held a physically demanding job for enough years to know that the few dollars I make will never be worth the blood, sweat, and tears I put into it, much less an over priced disc.

I have been burned too many times by media to keep feeding them money for over priced garbage and I simply stopped buying it. If Media and game companies produced something other than garbage and offered it for a sane price without DRM restrictions, $5.99 DVD, $10.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 DVD game, I may be more inclined to risk money on it again.

I still remember when good original PC games cost $29.99-39.99 with the rare exception of a $50 game that was the must have AAA title. Now it seems $49.99 is the standard not including sales tax or gas to get the product.

Example of being burned: I bought a few AAA titles but with online activations, I couldn't play until nearly a week after purchase when I had the time to take my laptop to a public internet site. Anything over STEAM was not a pleasant experience either.

RE: Good
By NellyFromMA on 2/11/2013 4:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
That makes 1 person so far. So what's an industry to do when the model in existance for 15-20 years doesn't address its needs? I just wonder what an alternative could even be vs 9/10 posters on here who just think they are entitled to everything because its digital and therefor their own (hint, its not).

RE: Good
By Ammohunt on 2/6/2013 1:28:57 PM , Rating: 5
Good point this may actually affect game sales by killing off word of mouth. I personally read multiple reviews and more importantly user feedback before i even consider putting money down.

RE: Good
By TakinYourPoints on 2/7/2013 4:12:24 AM , Rating: 2
Piracy is the least of their concerns.

Look at the billions in revenue that Gamestop makes. A lot of that is on the back of used game sales, money that publishers and developers only saw the first time it was sold as new, not the 2nd/3rd/4th time.

Its all about the used market. Console piracy is so small in comparison its almost a rounding error.

RE: Good
By enlil242 on 2/7/2013 11:11:44 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft and Game Publishers have to realize that I will not pay $60 to play a game I may find "meh". Right now, if I find that kind of game at GameStop for $20, I'll buy it as that is my price point for these kind of "B" titles. There are not enough "blockbuster titles" that will compel me to pay that kind of money for let alone invest in the console and XBOX Live subscription.

RE: Good
By TakinYourPoints on 2/7/2013 5:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. Rapid price reduction like what is done on Steam is a happy medium IMHO.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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