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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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RE: It doesn't matter to me
By BRB29 on 6/18/2013 1:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
If anyone even noticed that the ps4 gpu has 32rop and more shaders. We're going to need that to push 4k res. Cloud isn't going to help us with that. I would buy it for that.

But ultimately, it is the games that will be the final decision. I don't care for these new consoles until next summer. For now, SC2, COH2, dota2, rome2, and chivalry are all i can handle and look forward to.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By Mitch101 on 6/18/2013 1:51:11 PM , Rating: 3
I dont see 4K taking off so fast most of the TV's Ive seen that are affordable only do 30fps. The 60fps 4k HDTV's are expensive. Plus if you get one where are you going to get 4k TV, movies, content from? I havent even heard any dates about 4k content being broadcast or distributed on disc and we know how long it takes everyone to agree on a copy protected format.

By the time 4k really starts to become mainstream or affordable in sets the next gen consoles will be starting to take shape.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By bsd228 on 6/18/2013 2:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
I have over 30,000 images that would benefit from a 4k display. And if you're willing to accept 15fps, the latest Gopro will do 4k recording.

The really impressive feature on the Sony 4ks is the 2 player gaming using the same screen. 7 grand (for the 65") is still too steep to me for the value given, but it's clear to me that the price drops will occur much faster than they did 10 years ago with the first rush towards Plasma/LCD flat screens.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By someguy123 on 6/19/2013 9:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
4K gaming is a long time away, especially for consoles. I mean is conceivable on older games or with a bunch of gtx titans strapped together, but both consoles aren't touting hardware capable of running modern games at 4k, much less 4k split screen.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By EasyC on 6/19/2013 7:15:48 AM , Rating: 2
Amazon has a 50" 4k tv with decent reviews for 970$ shipped. It is also 120Hz, just saying...

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By marimvibe on 6/19/2013 10:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
Why on Earth would you get a 4K 50" TV? Are you sitting 2 feet from the screen?

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By Flunk on 6/19/2013 2:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
Me? Yes, we can't all be millionaires you know.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2013 3:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI 1.4 is bandwidth limited to 30Hz while at Quad-HD/4K/2160p resolution.

Not sure whey they are trying to get 120hz but unless it has a display port something is fishy. Marketing maybe or displaying 30 images 4 times each?

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By someguy123 on 6/19/2013 9:36:23 PM , Rating: 2
Greater than 60hz on a television is pretty much a marketing thing right now. The backlight is legitimately strobing at 120hz (and some TVs have software blending for video output), but there isn't a TV out right now that can deliver 120hz of real frames. Even desktops the best you can get are TN panels @ 120 or 144hz.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By Mitch101 on 6/20/2013 1:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree it didnt smell right to me especially with the Sony 4k set costing 3-4 times more.

120 or 144hz makes sense for a gaming unit. I think the highest for movies might be 48 or 96 even then movie buffs want 24 enforced. I would prefer sports be at a higher rate but cant tell you if 60 is good enough or if sports should be higher.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By andrewaggb on 6/18/2013 1:51:28 PM , Rating: 4
ps4 has a better gpu, but it's not going to game at 4k. not even close. the ps4 and xbone gpu's are designed to game with decent quality at 1080p. The only thing they will do at 4k is video playback.

RE: It doesn't matter to me
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/18/13, Rating: -1
RE: It doesn't matter to me
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/18/2013 2:53:12 PM , Rating: 3
Awww, down rated for facts... LOL!

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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