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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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The Xbox 720 and PS4 will have....
By Apone on 2/6/2013 12:50:11 PM , Rating: 0
8GB DDR3 RAM? That's so 2011....

RE: The Xbox 720 and PS4 will have....
By nikon133 on 2/6/2013 3:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
Considering that all PC games that I am aware of still run on 4GB and consoles' OS is expected to have smaller footprint, I don't think that 8GB will be limitation any time soon, very likely not before that generation of consoles expires anyway.

Honestly, that is 32x more RAM than PS3 has right now, and look at how great some PS3 games are. Having to deal with only one hardware configuration surely gives developers opportunity to finely optimize resource use through textures streaming and other methods.

I'm more worried about what graphics are going to run in PS4/X720. While developers did show capability to get more from PS3 graphics than anything I have seen on PC back in Nvidia 7800 days, for the expected lifetime of console, GPU is surely going to age fastest.

By Hairyfeet on 2/6/2013 11:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
The limitation is gonna be on the CPU, and this is coming from a die hard AMD guy who is typing this on a Thuban X6.

But if you look at the reviews the jaguar "octo" core (which like the bulldozer is based on a lot of internal sharing so I'd say its more like hardware hyperthreaded quad than an octo) its designed not to be in the liano or Piledriver lines but the successor to the BOBCAT APU which for those that don't know was AMD's answer to the ATOM chip by Intel.

As someone who has a Bobcat netbook which I love I can tell you while they are great on battery life and multimedia playing they are NOT good at heavy lifting so its gonna be interesting to see how they do the heavy CPU slamming physics with a chip designed for netbooks and tablets. maybe a physics dedicated chip?

But I don't think the graphics are gonna be something to worry about, rumors have it that the PS4 is gonna have a Jaguar with a mid tier 7xxx chip, this is actually a nice chip and with a low footprint console OS should have plenty of muscle, as always with APUs the tricky part is gonna be shared memory.

RE: The Xbox 720 and PS4 will have....
By Makaveli on 2/6/2013 5:16:54 PM , Rating: 2
This is a gaming console it doesn't have to run a Windows OS.

Its going to be far more streamlined and optimized.

Stop thinking bigger is cooler and look at the rest of the facts like a real adult.

RE: The Xbox 720 and PS4 will have....
By Hairyfeet on 2/6/2013 11:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
While this is true all the "steamlining" in the world can't make a Pinto into a Porsche. With the Jaguar we are talking about an update to the BOBCAT core, this is the low end APU used for low power netbooks and tablets NOT a full fledged APU like Trinity.

It will be interesting to see how the CPU instensive tasks like physics will be handled by a netbook chip, but you can't pretend this is equal to even a mid tier AMD APU because it isn't, the Bobcat arch was designed for competing with Atom and NOT for heavy lifting.

By Vertigo2000 on 2/7/2013 1:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
It also doesn't have to really worry about any resolution beyond 1920x1080. Pretty standard res for the next 5 yrs (or the life of the console).

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