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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 augiem on 2/6/2013 3:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
PC is increasingly moving to digital distribution. Steam is exactly what MS is proposing already. You cannot sell your games on Steam. You cannot play your games on another PC unless you log in with your Steam account. The only difference is that you can buy a disc to install it instead of digital download only. Otherwise, the two models are identical. Unless you're going to advocate playing only DRM-free, DVD only PC games, in which case, you don't have too many options left.


RE: Good
By kattanna on 2/6/2013 3:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And each game will be uniquely associated to your Xbox Live account.


and that sounds exactly like what steam does. If I want to play a game I have bought through steam, I can log into someone else's computer with MY steam account and play it.

sounds exactly the same to me

though.. you cannot sell games you have bought on steam to others.. but you can get great deals during the sales


RE: Good
By seamonkey79 on 2/6/2013 7:02:32 PM , Rating: 3
I can, however, pay $5 for a game 6 months ago people were paying $60 to pre-order. Something tells me MS isn't going to go for that quite as readily, considering four year old games (Batman Arkham Asylum) still run for $20 on their download service.


RE: Good
By TakinYourPoints on 2/6/2013 8:47:46 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Consoles are moving to what has been on the PC for years.

It is idiotic to cry about consoles being restrictive by potentially killing used game sales, and then looking to the even more restrictive digital distribution platforms on the PC to be your savior. You're dealing with restrictions on what you can do with your games in both cases.


RE: Good
By 91TTZ on 2/7/2013 10:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the allure of Steam is that it lets you buy a game for a greatly reduced price in exchange for not being able to resell it. I heard of people buying an older game for $10 instead of $40. Microsoft is trying to introduce a service where you get the tradeoff of not being able to resell the game without getting the benefit of the greatly reduced price.


RE: Good
By TakinYourPoints on 2/7/2013 5:46:27 PM , Rating: 1
We'll see how it works out. Console games right now drop in price pretty quickly, although it can take the more popular ones a while to hit the ~$10 range that Steam can offer during their holiday sales. Just wait a month or two and you save $20. Wait a year and you'll save over half.

Nintendo is the one exception, their games hold value for very long.

Right now Assassin's Creed 3 and Halo 4 are both $40 on Amazon. Halo 4 obviously isn't on PC, but AC3 is $50 on Steam. Far Cry 3 on the other hand costs the same on both platforms, $50.

It really depends. The other thing to keep in mind is that used game sales are usually not much lower than new, $5 or so. The benefit isn't in the buying, its in the selling.

I agree with you though, how acceptable locking down game licenses is depends on how cheaply games can be bought for. Steam style sales will help their "karma" a great deal, and it'll also sell copies to people who otherwise wouldn't buy a game when it is new.


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