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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.

PS4
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 RufusM on 2/6/2013 2:47:29 PM , Rating: 5
+6 this fine man!

This effectively eliminates game rentals too, which is something the publishing pricks hate too, along with the RIAA, MPAA, etc.

This was part of the attraction of buying a console. With my other consoles I can plug them in many years from now and play any of its games. I don't have to worry about DRM and being locked out of a game, with the exception being multi-player relying on a game server somewhere. I can sell my used consoles and games to defray the cost of new ones.

If they move ahead with this, I will switch to Sony unless they do it too. If everyone moves to this model, I may do a boycott and just go do something else with my money.


RE: Good
By GulWestfale on 2/6/2013 3:18:02 PM , Rating: 5
is a banner hammer a hammer with banners on it, or are you saying that MS will have banners depicting hammers included with each xbox?

as for the topic... sony has recently applied for a patent that would allow their new console to associate each game disc wit one specific console, even if the console is not connected to the internet. the first thing that came to mind was -like reclaimer said- now i can't bring games to my brother's house anymore. plus, no more lending games to your friends. you'd have to actually bring your own console along with the game disc... lame. then there's the used market; i cannot justify spending $60 on a map pack for "Call of Bunnyhoppers" or "This Year's Uniform Designs in Last Year's Sports Game", but at $20 used it's alright for a weekend or two.
and when you look at prices of games on steam... well, why would i buy a console? i need a PC for my work, so it's already there. the price of a decent graphics card is roughly in line with the price of a console, so i'd rather spend my money on that, and get good games at a fair price.

and as far as netflix and youtube on my TV are concerned, you don't need a console for that, either. if you can't (or don't want to) stream that from your PC, you can just hook up your smartphone to your TV, and without paying for xbox live.


RE: Good
By augiem on 2/6/13, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By augiem on 2/6/2013 6:17:23 PM , Rating: 2
not socialist countries, but countries with socialized medicine


RE: Good
By PresidentThomasJefferson on 2/6/2013 8:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
About 50% of pharma research is funded by gov funding

Even antibiotics, MRI machines, & genetic engineering were invented/funded by gov ..and mostly via gov money creation aka 'deficit' spending because all gov spending becomes income for the private sector

Seven Deadly Frauds of Economic Policy http://moslereconomics.com/wp-content/powerpoints/... by Bank CEO/economist Warren Mosler from http://MoslerEconomics.com/ - --he's made billions from being middle-class following his own MMT economics advice


RE: Good
By inperfectdarkness on 2/7/2013 3:05:09 AM , Rating: 4
Negative, Ghostrider.

While the PC is less popular these days, that is the fault of CONSUMERS who have voted with their $$$ that they wanted consoles to be at the forefront of gaming. Consoles, which--mind you--are traditionally based around hardware sales for a loss, and software sale at a price which compensates for it.

The reason why PC games are lower cost (and the prices on them fall faster than their console bretheren) is because the MFG isn't trying to get back into the black after subsidizing your hardware purchase. It's the same reason why pre-paid plans are cheaper; you aren't paying in the long-term for your carrier to subsidize your phone.

On a side note, I am GREATLY disturbed by this trend towards elimination of second-hand markets. Even on Steam, I'm unwilling to buy new games because this business-model eliminates my ability to recoup any of my money on a game--if I decide I'm done using it.

What I can predict is that piracy (due to these kinds of draconian DRM measures) is going to skyrocket. Whereas before, I might be able to buy a $50 game and get $30 on trade-in, allowing me to purchase another new game for only $20 more. Instead, now I'll have to fork over $50 each time I want a new game. In the long run, this is only going to HURT developers. They will sell less games & piracy will increase dramatically; because people aren't willing to spend full-price on a game they might not even like.


RE: Good
By augiem on 2/7/2013 4:20:33 AM , Rating: 2
The amount the console seller loses is insignificant when you consider how many games are being sold. The company would easily make up the hardware costs after only a handful of games sold to each console owner judging by the price difference between some PC and console games these days. The rest is profit. The console maker gets his cut of the higher price, but so do the developer and publisher. Subsidization is a small factor in the equation.

As for Steam, they take a 30% cut of everything sold, so the issue of the "manufacturer" taking his cut pops up on the PC as well.

Consider this: How many $100 million budget games have been developed for the PC which are not console ports? Yes, you are right the consumer has decided consoles are king. By their choices, they've shaped the developers' choices. They go where the money is. These big budget games simply would not exist if, with the market as it stands right now, they were sold on the PC exclusively because there's not enough sales to support the dev costs. And with the price slashing that goes on in the PC world, even more so.

PC game prices could simply not remain as low as they are if it weren't for the console market propping it up, as sad as that is. Can a company afford to make Batman Arkham City and sell it for $5 like frequently happens on Steam? Or a two-pack of Bioshock for $5-$10? No, that's simply ridiculous.


RE: Good
By augiem on 2/7/13, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By 91TTZ on 2/7/2013 10:09:52 AM , Rating: 2
People were primarily driven to the phones/tablets/etc based on their design, but as the design of all the devices becomes more similar people are migrating to open ecosystems. For instance, free operating systems like Android and Linux seem to be gaining ground on Microsoft and Apple, and free programs are increasingly being used instead of pay programs.

This whole walled garden/no used software trend is just what it looks like when the pay software industry enters a downward spiral. Since they can no longer bully the overall industry (the way Microsoft and Apple tried to do) they're resorting to squeezing their existing customer base for more profit. This will, in turn, shrink their customer base as people become pissed off.


RE: Good
By TheJian on 2/10/2013 9:45:16 AM , Rating: 3
Steam doesn't stop piracy. Everything that comes on "steam only" is ripped immediately. There are groups that release steam games all the time.

CD Projekt noted this with the witcher 2, saying that the steam version was the most pirated version they sold...LOL.

NOTE it was sold on GOG with no protection the same day. DRM gets you nothing but a PITA for your HONEST PAYING customers.

Charge less (meaning more reasonable, say $20-30) for games and sell more copies without protections. Torchlight, Legends of Grimrock etc are paving the NEW wave of gaming. Thank god. They make just as much on torchlight 2 at $20 as they did with $60 retail games. The exact $12 per copy. Why pay some company $60 then because they're fat and bloated with useless management? Bring on the puny devs by the thousands ;)

I'll gladly pay $20-30 for a great torchlight 2 type game vs. D3 at $60. Ideally I'd like to see them charge $30 for the next torchlight and make it 50% larger/longer game. ;) I don't think games are worth more than $30 these days (especially when they are shorter than 15hrs). I guess that's why I concentrate on RPG/Strategy these days and not much FPS. I prefer to get 50-100hrs+ of gameplay for my money with no need to deal with online trash (and the punks/cheats that come with it).

ps. Clouds are stupid and need to die (especially in IT - totally dumb here). Buying an app from an appstore (or game) isn't cloud based. Cloud means RUNNING on that cloud and depending on it to work. Buying something from googleplay doesn't mean I run from there, I download it and install my game and run it OFFLINE on a tablet etc. Totally different from xbox720 requiring internet to even fire up your games. Even the disc you buy will be forced online in this case or not work. So in effect your local game disc becomes cloud forced. Obviously without a perf hit, but a PITA. So if my net is down I can't use it? That will go over big.

People put up with steam because of $5 sales all day and easy updates/downloads/purchases. Try that with $60 games forced online totally and watch sales tank. We buy from app stores, we don't play through or require them after purchase. Big difference. Even steam can be turned to offline mode usually (though I still view it as a virus...LOL - I own 0 steam games). LOVE gog though :)

You don't have to play on WOW servers my friend. Nor do you need to play on their servers for starcraft2 etc. The only game I know still not hacked is D3. Which I'm not sure enough people even care to play though I'm sure they working on remapping the rmah for private use as I type this ;) These tactics are pointless over time. Private Server hacks...Nuff said.


RE: Good
By djkrypplephite on 2/9/2013 10:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm betting they will directly do game rentals via download much like iTunes does with movies. That way, they will profit from it and run retail competition out. So yes, you will still be able to rent I'm sure. At what price when they own a monopoly on it, who can say?


"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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