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Meanwhile Xbox 360 continues to sell strong

Even as the storm over digital rights management (DRM) thunders on the horizon for Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) holiday season, the offline-playable Xbox 360 continues to sell strong.

I. Xbox 360 Stays Strong

In May the Xbox 360 marked its 29th month atop U.S. sales charts, moving 114,000 units.  That's down from 160,000 units in May 2012, but then again the console market as a whole ticked downward.  Microsoft's numbers come courtesy of third party sales tracking firm NPD Group Inc.  Overall game revenue was down 25 percent for the month.
In total Microsoft pocketed $149.8M USD in Xbox revenue (from software, accessories, and console sales).

Microsoft is hoping that a redesigned case, showed off at this years Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will help it continue its dominance.  The new case resembles the upcoming Xbox One, with a slimmer profile and quieter internals.  The redesign is similar to rival Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) penchant for "slim" console refreshes.

Microsoft Xbox 360 refresh
Microsoft's Xbox 360 refresh

Prices for the redesigned 'box remain unchanged at $199.99 for the 4GB version, $299.99 for a 250GB version, and $299.99 for a 4GB version with a bundled Kinect sensor.  Microsoft has announced that it hopes to sell another 25 million Xbox 360s, offering the system as a cheaper alternative to next generation consoles.  That would bring lifetime sales to 100 million units globally.

II. Microsoft: Xbox is 10x... no, 3x... no, 8x... no, 10x... no, 40x More Powerful!

Meanwhile yet another controversy is brewing over the Xbox One -- but this time it isn't about DRM.  Rather it's about the processing power of the Xbox One.

In raw performance of the in-console hardware, Sony's PlayStation 4 will reportedly trump the Xbox One's internals with a slightly more powerful CPU/GPU combo.  But Microsoft's controversial "always on" DRM scheme does offer some degree of parity, allowing Microsoft to bump some amount of processing off the console.

Regardless, Microsoft appears intent on comparing its console against a known -- the Xbox 360.  And it's there that the confusion begins.
Xbox One
The Xbox One

In an interview with Stevivor on May 22 Microsoft Xbox Australia spokesperson Adam Pollington remarked, "It’s also been stated that the Xbox One is ten times more powerful than the Xbox 360, so we’re effectively 40 times greater than the Xbox 360 in terms of processing capabilities [using the cloud]." (emphasis added)

Microsoft Game Studio chief Phil Spencer on Monday's episode of "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" bragged that the Xbox 360 was 3x more powerful:

Later, at roughly 4 a.m. EST he took to Twitter to correct himself at least twice as he first said 8x, then 10x (without the cloud):

Even if that number is correct there's still some big questions about Microsoft's numbers.  Mr. Pollington's comments seem to suggest that the Xbox One will quadruple its onboard processing power via the cloud.  That's a rather ambitious claim -- and one which will need to be seen to be believed.

If it can indeed up its console's performance by 300 percent with cloud computing, then perhaps it has some ammo against critics of its always-on DRM scheme.  If not, the critics will score yet another strike against the embattled gaming box.

Sources: Microsoft [1], [2; Twitter]

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By Da W on 6/18/2013 1:01:51 PM , Rating: 1
Sony's PS4 will have the SAME 8-core Jaguar processor @1.6Ghz as Microsoft's xBox one. On the GPU side, PS4 will have 50% more compute units (18 vs 12) of the SAME architecture and most likely run at a lower clock rate since more CU makes more heat. Both Xbox and PS4 are constrained by power usage and heat more than architecture. In effect PS4 will have likely less than 50% more graphical power. And we are talking about shadder power only.

What it means is that developper will develop the same game, basic version for the Xbox, sightly better graphics for the PS4 and still better graphics for the PC. Like on a regular PC game, when you crank up your graphics from low to medium to high to ultra with 2X, 4X, 16X FSAA and all that crap. Can you really see the difference at the margin? Is the game more or less enjoyable? I only hear my GPU fans make more noise.

So it depends what you want to do, Xbox being clearly more multimedia-hub oriented. I agree the DRM thing is bad, but having used Steam for a decade i can live with it. I'm sure any developper that makes an unlocked game on the PS4 will not lock its Xbox version.

But to anyone bragging about the PS4 "graphical power", i'm gonna throw them my 600$ HTPC in their face and laught at them. It's a 8-cell phone caliber core CPU with a below 200$ GPU, it IS NOT POWERFUL!!! :-)

RE: Internals
By freedom4556 on 6/18/2013 2:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was just about to post something about the guts and Jason's quote:
In raw performance of the in-console hardware, Sony's PlayStation 4 will reportedly trump the Xbox One's internals with a slightly more powerful CPU/GPU combo.

Beat me to the punch. In any case, Anand mentioned shader throughput (which would consider clock rate). 1.23 to 1.84 teraflops means the Xbox One is 33% slower that the Playstation in compute and that's not considering the advantage of bandwidth from GDDR5 for the Playstation versus the Xbox's DDR3. The Xbox has 38% of the main memory performance, and even the eSRAM has only 58% of the throughput of the GDDR5. There is a reason they use it on all modern GPUs. So it's at least 1/3 slower for 20% cheaper.

And as for the "cellphone" GPU, Jaguar is more like an Intel Atom or Celeron competitor, not cellphone but laptop. Anand has some numbers comparing a quad core Jaguar SOC to a dual core IVB Pentium, and the numbers are similar.

RE: Internals
By euler007 on 6/18/2013 5:33:53 PM , Rating: 5
If 33% qualifies as "slightly" I guess I'm slightly slower then Usain Bolt.

RE: Internals
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 8:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
ROFL. This.

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