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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 NellyFromMA on 2/6/2013 1:05:40 PM , Rating: 1
LOL I was downrated for offering insight. Sorry for disagreeing with the forum gods!

RE: Good
By augiem on 2/6/2013 3:15:38 PM , Rating: 1
You were downrated by pirates.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2013 3:34:56 PM , Rating: 4
You call that insight? As if we're not already tired of this boogeyman "pirate" excuse being used for everything?

Honestly what percentage of Xbox consoles do you actually believe were modded? Maybe like 2%, maybe. Probably less. Oh yeah, that's really killed Microsoft's profits!

RE: Good
By StanO360 on 2/6/2013 4:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
No where close to 2%. But piracy is not the issue with that, it's playing COD WAW and guys shooting tank rounds out of their carbines!

RE: Good
By JKflipflop98 on 2/7/2013 10:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
It is "the issue with that" because you have to have a modded box to play pirated games. That's the real reason people mod their xboxes. Being able to auto-fire howitzer rounds out of your MP5 is just a nice bonus.

RE: Good
By MrBlastman on 2/6/2013 4:56:16 PM , Rating: 5
No what killed console sales was not piracy but instead... lack of interest!

I owned consoles before the latest gen--at least one of each for the most part all the way back to the 2600. It stopped (almost) with the most recent iteration. I do own a Wii but, admittedly, it isn't really what you would consider the current family. I saw no point in getting an 360 or PS 3 because--the few games I was interested in that came out on those machines were ported to the PC with better interfaces and controls.

Consoles killed themselves. Not piracy. They became redundant. At some point the end user asks themselves--Hey! I have to be online to use this thing... but my PC does too. And my PC has a keyboard. A mouse. Better controllers--all this and more. Why bother?

And so they did.

PC gaming, like it or not, is strong right now. Not due to pirates killing the consoles. It was due to them becoming an obsolete concept.

Draconian measures like preventing used game sales kills all interest I had in the newer systems (which was near zero anyways). Most of my older systems were fueled by used games. Now you can't even do that. Why bother? I have a toddler now and am faced with a decision: To pay full price for new releases on consoles or let her use the old stuff that I have.

It is easy to answer the question too--use the older stuff. Or let her play Steam games that I buy on super sales.

Forget it Microsoft. You're being asinine with this move.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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