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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: irrelevant
By TSS on 6/19/2013 10:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
You're a silly person if you think privacy policies mean jack schitt these days.

Think about it. The Xbox one is listening for you to say "Xbox on" so it can switch on. This means that every single sound in the room is processed and analyzed before the Xbox can come to the conclusion you said "xbox on" and not "give me another beer".

Meanwhile, it will still hear you saying you want another beer. Now maybe microsoft doesn't authorise the NSA to listen in but as the past weeks have shown clearly the NSA doesn't need authorization to record stuff, they do it anyway. Not only that, but your politicians are DEFENDING THEM.

So, are you stil willingly and naively going to belive the NSA won't do everything in their power to find some way to tap into that datastream the xbox generates anyway? Or the camera's? Or that microsoft cares as long as nobody knows about it? Even if they're not, and this only time will tell, i'm not going to chance it. Especially not as a foreigner to the NSA.

RE: irrelevant
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 10:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
Oh my God. Will you people please shut up?

RE: irrelevant
By inighthawki on 6/19/2013 11:22:45 AM , Rating: 3
In order to "record" the data stream the data actually needs to be sent over some sort of networked connection. They don't magically have super special access to everything in the world. If the Kinect doesn't actually transmit data anywhere across the internet, the NSA cannot get hold of it.

Also, who seriously cares if the Kinect is analyzing you saying "give me another beer." The signal processing is going to read this as an unknown command, and all relevant information will be discarded. There is no concern for privacy here. Stop being ultra paranoid.

RE: irrelevant
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 12:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
So, are you stil willingly and naively going to belive the NSA won't do everything in their power to find some way to tap into that datastream the xbox generates anyway? Or the camera's

bro, nobody gives a rats ass whether you dance like a crab in front of your xbox or not. The NSA, FBI and CIA have bigger fish to fry. Nobody cares about the internet tough guy that whines about the government.

Last I checked, the federal is terrible with cybersecurity and have always been at least 2 generations behind in technology compared to large corporations.

The PRISM program along with other tools are nowhere near as effective as it lead people to believe. If you ever ask any federal employee about IT systems in the government they'll tell you "it's constantly down, never work as well as intended, and constant crashes/bugs/compatibility problems"

It's not like the freaking movies where you can change intersection lights at will and view any surveillance camera/satellite feeds. You can't do any of that on a whim.

RE: irrelevant
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 4:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I'd be a little careful with this haha. Hacking isn't just fun sci-fi Hollywood made up for exciting movies. If your camera is on the same OS as your network interface, you want one of those non-bypassable bright LED indicators lol. Not that some kid playing Xbox is Will Smith in Enemy of the State, but I mean, if some teenager with Aspergers can take a peek at you, the NSA certainly can.

And it's not like they haven't already demonstrated an intention to do lazy broad-spectrum tech policing. Maybe 'keywords' turn into key....faces or something. Whatever. I dunno.

You gotta listen to your inner Devil's Advocate sometimes. You never know with this stuff.

I'm just Saiyan.

RE: irrelevant
By inighthawki on 6/20/2013 1:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'm just Saiyan.

Just regular, or super?

RE: irrelevant
By BRB29 on 6/20/2013 8:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I'd be a little careful with this haha. Hacking isn't just fun sci-fi Hollywood made up for exciting movies. If your camera is on the same OS as your network interface, you want one of those non-bypassable bright LED indicators lol. Not that some kid playing Xbox is Will Smith in Enemy of the State, but I mean, if some teenager with Aspergers can take a peek at you, the NSA certainly can.

The government will probably never be able to sneak a peak at you through your xbox. It definitely is possible but they don't have the resources to do that or be able to do it legally. The NSA is not Congress, it doesn't make new laws. The NSA can't even change its mission lol.

RE: irrelevant
By karimtemple on 6/20/2013 9:58:13 AM , Rating: 2
It probably won't. I agree.

But, after news about some superspying supercomplex having been built, I don't want to hear about "resources." And after hard questions on ethics and Constitutionality being raised by professionals, scholars, and laymen alike following the Patriot Act and the Manning and Snowden leaks, I really don't want to hear about legality either. Ultimately, "you have nothing to worry about" is little more than a vague platitude.

RE: irrelevant
By BRB29 on 6/20/2013 10:25:45 AM , Rating: 2
What superspying supercomplex?

I know there's data storage facilities. What complex are you talking about.

let me make it clear to you. Regardless of technology, there is no way to spy on every American. The government would need to hire about 1/4 to 1/3 of the population just to monitor. To spy on people would require more than a 1:1 ratio. These agencies only numbered in thousands and most of the employees are actually not agents. Most of the agents are not spying on anyone, it takes days to track a single file or phone call to its origin. If they really want to spy on people, they are failing hard.

Look, if you really are that paranoid about this then just visit DC. Talk to real people instead of sensational articles.

RE: irrelevant
By karimtemple on 6/20/2013 10:49:09 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not paranoid, I'm just talking about what's possible and what's not. You keep saying "they need to hire all these people," which is a drastic misrepresentation of how technology works. I've written whole essays about why The Conspiracy™ is a stupid fear, but it's also irresponsible to convince yourself that the government would never ever spy on you. Not being likely doesn't make it impossible.

RE: irrelevant
By BRB29 on 6/20/2013 11:13:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm saying the government could spy on anyone at any time. They would only do it when it is absolutely necessary. What is deemed necessary is based on their mission. Their mission is based on their what Congress creates and votes on.

With the limited manpower and resources, there's no way they can even look at every suspect. You've got to be doing some very convincing stuff and was referenced to make that list.

Data stored in a huge facility with limited access is useless if nobody actually use it. Access is very limited and every query is logged.

This is why I think people have an irrational fear. It's not that easy to spy on people for no reason. If there was a reason, it's your elected State Officials that made it and voted on it.

You can come up with conspiracies all day but I'm telling you that these craziness and conspiracies only existed because the common people are ignorant about their voting decisions. The requirements are very low to become a politician. If you believe you can speak for the people then run for office. A lot of these politicians got elected by only a few thousand votes. That's how ignorant people are to their rights. There has been several studies that showed people voted for candidates simply because they saw the name more often. That's why you see them spam their signs on the streets and radio ads like crazy now.

RE: irrelevant
By inighthawki on 6/20/2013 11:16:03 AM , Rating: 2
You're still missing the important point which is that without hacking into the device, and finding the Io buffers transferring the data, it is impossible to 'record' a video feed that is not sent across a networked connection. Believing that they would be able to see and record what the Kinect sees and hears is like believing that they can literally see and hear video files that are transposed, or for that matter being played, on your computer. It's just a different source of video and audio data. In this case it just happens to be from a camera instead of file.

In fact, they may even do all the video processing locally on the Kinect itself, which may mean the only thing actually transferred to the console may be resulting command information. But I'm not familiar with the technical aspects of how the new Kinect works so I can't actually say anything with confidence.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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