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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 1:10:25 PM , Rating: 1
...right. When the used game can't actually be used by the new owner, the right-to-resell systems that's spelled out in the law has been intentionally disrupted by MS.

Can you resell the game? Sure. But if the new owner can't use it, then there quickly will be no resale market...the original owner will be effectively refused the right of resale that the law gives them.

RE: No...
By tayb on 2/6/2013 2:08:59 PM , Rating: 1
Your complaining that the used game has far less value. That's true but it still doesn't prevent you from selling it.

This is hardly different in practice from attempting to sell an old version of Madden. No one will want it. Will you sue EA for devaluing older versions of its game thereby killing the resale market?

Annoying? Sure. Anti-consumer? Sure. Illegal? No way.

Too many people complain to the courts when in reality the market should just properly react by NOT buying the system and/or the games. Don't buy the Microsoft console. If enough people follow suit Microsoft will either adapt or exit the console market.

RE: No...
By kyuuketsuki on 2/6/2013 2:58:18 PM , Rating: 1
I hope you're just trolling, because your logic is absolutely retarded.

Let's see... If Ford started installing a system in their cars that prevented anyone but the original owner from starting the car, that'd be legal, right? I mean, you could still sell the car if you wanted. No one will want it since its unusable, thereby eliminating a secondhand market, but totally not infringing on the legal right to resell property. Except no, that's bullshit. Luckily, even the most inept judge would have to have a firm enough grasp of the law and logic not to buy that load of crap.

This has nothing to do with developers getting fairly recompensed for their work (the publisher gets all the money anyway). This is a blatantly anti-consumer, pad-the-bottom-line scheme. For digital goods, it's a gray area what with the licensing, but for anything involving a physical good, even software on a physical disc, it's definitely illegal to prevent resell.

This probably won't happen even if it's an accurate rumor, for the same reason it hasn't happened before: the legal department will tell management that there's no way in hell it's gonna fly.

If it does happen, I quite sure people will be pissed, sales will be poor, and lawsuits will fly. And Microsoft will deserve it.

RE: No...
By eagle470 on 2/6/13, Rating: 0
RE: No...
By tng on 2/6/2013 3:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Game developers don't make money anywhere at any other stage then the initial purchase.
What you are talking about is this...

Guy buys Ford pickup, which means that $ go to Ford Corporate, not directly back into the pockets of the assembly line workers. Guy buys Ford parts, again same thing, assembly line workers don't get a percentage of the royalties on the purchase price.

Game developers I assume don't work for free, if they do then they are stupid. They get a salary and that is that, they don't own the right to the code that they write while employed.

Neither does Ford get a cut of the price if the guy sells his pickup and again if they did the guy on the factory floor would see none of it.

RE: No...
By Hairyfeet on 2/6/2013 10:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that unlike Ford its trivial for the game makers to continue making money after the sale, simply by making DLC. I bought plenty of stupid outfits and vehicles for Saints Row 3 and I waited to get Borderlands until I could buy it with all the DLC, did I NEED a Genki Mobile or the Claptrap Robolution? Nope but after trying both games I liked them and wanted to have even crazier rides in SR 3 and I knew I liked the story enough in Borderlands I wanted it to continue.

So this entire argument makes even less sense because unlike Ford who would have a problem trying to sell me fuzzy dice for my Ranger (GREAT small truck BTW, a shame they quit making 'em) it really isn't hard for a developer to make cool little things to keep me giving them money. Heck they could even make money off their older titles this way, as how many of us wouldn't like more places to go in Bioshock I & II? Cool new weapons for the Far Cry and Crysis series? More cool tanks and troops in Company of Heroes? Plenty of ways to make money after the sale WITHOUT shafting used game sales. A smart game dev should look forward to used game sales, as that gives one more person to sell cool DLC to.

RE: No...
By FiveTenths on 2/6/2013 4:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
The comparison makes perfect sense, your take on it is nonsense

Ford Corporate develops/manufactures the car. The dealer (retailer) buys the car; this is the only point that Ford Corporate makes money. If I sell my used car Ford doesn't see a dime, if a dealer sells a used car Ford Corporate does not see a dime, this is exactly the same situation as selling a used game.

The rest of your argument is absurd, not every car is repaired or maintained with OEM parts and wtf does merchandising have to do with buying a new car.

RE: No...
By wempa on 2/6/2013 4:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
^^^ what he said

RE: No...
By croc on 2/7/2013 4:41:37 AM , Rating: 2
If the game being sold cannot be used except through an illegal act, then by selling that game you are guilty of enticing the buyer to violate the law. THAT is a crime. A FEDERAL crime, as the violation will be one of the DMCA variety. So, yeah - you can sell it. You can also sell someone a stolen watch, you'll probably get more cash and less prison time. Stick with the watch.

RE: No...
By 91TTZ on 2/7/2013 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
Your complaining that the used game has far less value. That's true but it still doesn't prevent you from selling it. This is hardly different in practice from attempting to sell an old version of Madden. No one will want it. Will you sue EA for devaluing older versions of its game thereby killing the resale market?

No, he's not complaining that the game has less value because it's old. He's complaining because the used game will not be able to be played at all. They are effectively subverting the law that says you have the right to resell a used product. They're making it so the used product has zero value (since you can't possibly use it) and therefore they're trying to get around the law.

This would be the same as if GM made a law that blocked you from registering a used car. Sure, you could still sell your used Camaro, but the new owner wouldn't be able to drive it. It would therefore have almost no value.

You need to look at a law as having an overall meaning. Just because a manufacturer has found a workaround to subvert a law doesn't mean that they aren't still acting against the spirit of the law. They might be able to get away with it for a while but eventually that loophole will be closed.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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