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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 augiem on 2/6/2013 3:18:52 PM , Rating: 1
If they can pull it off here, it won't be long before the media giants do the same for music/movies.

Ever heard of iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN... It's already here. Has been for a while.

RE: Good
By zerocks on 2/6/2013 3:44:31 PM , Rating: 4
Ever heard of iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN... It's already here. Has been for a while.

Yes because I can't still buy a DVD/Bluray and bring it around to a friends house to watch it without signing in to my account..

RE: Good
By augiem on 2/6/2013 6:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
True. I guess the point was, the day is coming when you won't be able to buy digital media and ferry it around. And it's not just starting with MS. It's already well underway and has been for a while. We're half way there.

RE: Good
By tng on 2/6/2013 6:52:40 PM , Rating: 3
That is what the "Cloud" is for... so that they can keep track of what you have and you think it is convenient.

Yes I am paranoid.

RE: Good
By augiem on 2/7/2013 4:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
Paranoid and correct.

RE: Good
By RufusM on 2/6/2013 4:26:31 PM , Rating: 3
If Microsoft wants to charge me $X/month to play any game in their library via DRM digital download (comparable to Neflix streaming) I'll buy that if it has enough value for the cost. I'll even buy a digital game that is DRM'd if the cost is low enough and it provides enough value.

I won't, however, buy a digital game for $60 (or digital movie from Amazon) that is DRM'd and can be taken away from me at their whim. When I buy a game I want to be able to play it when I want on the hardware it was designed for AND sell later like any other physical object I purchase (TV, computer, whatever). If they take that away, I simply won't participate in buying.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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