Print 28 comment(s) - last by afkrotch.. on Oct 29 at 8:21 PM

Possible names include Xbox 3, Xbox 720, NeXtbox, Project Midway Redux

Although we are still at the dawn of the next-generation of consoles as we await the arrival of Wii and PlayStation 3, Microsoft is already looking at the next-next-generation. With the software giant's year-long head-start over its competition, its main responsibility is more of a maintenance and improvement of the Xbox 360 toddler rather than to be a frantic parent of a launch in its infancy.

Console generations are usually spaced five years apart. Even with four years to go, Microsoft admits that it is already working on the next Xbox, as revealed in a Kikizo video interview with European Xbox boss Chris Lewis.

"Of course we're thinking about [the next Xbox]. We're constantly thinking about the next thing, we have to. It's my point about complacency - you can't sit back on your laurels in this business - the consumer won't let you, the developers certainly won't let us. So that's happening right now," Lewis reaffirms. "We keep our development cycles very fast and high, that is the nature of the company and how we operate in terms of research and development, and that's no different than any other part of Microsoft."

Understandably, Lewis did not go further into the topic as the current focus of Microsoft’s efforts is towards the Xbox 360. Lewis believes that the next Xbox may be further away than some may think. Microsoft wishes to maintain the lifecycle of the Xbox 360 longer than the scant four years it did for the original Xbox by offering more options for customization and upgrades such as the HD-DVD add-on, 1080p capability and other peripherals.

"We want to give people the chance to continue to expand - either through accessories or storage, or the Live which continually evolves and broadens - 360 can evolve in its own right, and that's an important step that we took beyond [the original Xbox]."

Microsoft's acknowledgment of its plans for the next-next-generation demonstrates its long-term commitment to its Xbox brand and the console market.

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Industry Opinion
By TimberJon on 10/19/2006 12:00:13 PM , Rating: 3
They need more RPGs for the Xbox.

Xbox should support video capture, that you can activate/deactivate from your controller, and email to yourself, others, or to an FTP location of your choice.

It should incorporate a THX surround sound processor, so you can hook up any speaker configuration (say up to 7.1 or 7.2). Or plug an already-existing sound system to it.

Should have a built-in VGA port, or whatever, for Projectors. A resolution selector couldnt hurt for this feature.

USB 2.0 memory stick file viewing. X2ox should utilize a really simple and error-free version of windows media player to be able to view videos on a memory stick. Also a windows picture viewer for images. Why not an MS Office suite as well?

Maybe I'm going too far with that one, but you could play games in the conference room, or display powerpoint presentations, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets... All with remote of course. With the projector support, It should fly pretty good as a multimedia center for businesses AND homes.

Maybe that is taking the X2ox a little too far into home computing, but you shouldnt be able to use it as a PC unless they allow editing of Word and Excel files and things with the use of a keyboard.

Perhaps they would even allow PC games to be installed and played on it with a Keyboard and Mouse.. Then everyone would HAVE to get one.

PC industry would riot, but hey, if they all make the "best systems" in the industry, then thered just be better competition.

RE: Industry Opinion
By kextyn on 10/19/2006 12:38:40 PM , Rating: 3
You can't get a THX sound processor. Quoted from Wikipedia:

"The THX system is not a recording technology, and it does not specify a sound recording format; all digital (Dolby Digital, SDDS) and all analog sound formats (Dolby SR, Ultra-Stereo) can be "shown in THX." THX is mainly a quality assurance system."

THX is not understood by most people. Even some theaters who claim they are THX certified have lost their certification years ago because they didn't keep up on it, even though the equipment didn't change.

Most home theater projectors have component connections so you don't need VGA. I have personally played an XBox 360 on a DLP projector at 720p and 1080i without any problems (and yes, it looked great.)

Remember, it's a video game console. Even if you want to broaden it to "entertainment console" it is still not the place to be putting office applications.

As for the video capture, I assume you mean the ability to record what you're playing? Because if you want to record other video with a camera they have a camera available. But to record video while you're playing is too resource intensive. The framerates would drop quite a bit. The hard drive is also not big enough to be doing much video recording without doing a lot of compression (which means more of a resource hog.)

RE: Industry Opinion
By Trisped on 10/19/2006 1:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
Most of that is already on the XBox360.
No video capture, but you can easily pass through a VCR or DVR before displaying on screen, so you can capture like that.

It has 5.1 which is rather good. Not as good as 6.1, 7.1, or 8.1, but very few people have support for that. Quality between them is not as big as between stereo and 5.1

You can get VGA cables, so having a built in port is redundant. Plus, it has component and everything that comes out right now (except LCD computer monitors) will take composite, s-video, component, or VGA/Dsub.

Although you can't go in and view the files on a USB stick, you can open the appropriate viewers on the console (like the media player) to play the contents. I have a CD with 100+ mp3s on it and some video's that I can play with out trouble. Works the same with USB.

the Office stuff is too far, since it is more of an entertainment system then a pc.

PC games are made to run on a PC. XBox360 does not have the right core, OS, or drivers to run PC games.

PC industry only benefits from consoles, as they help push forward inovation and provide low cost mediums to deliver ported games.

RE: Industry Opinion
By Hemipower on 10/19/2006 10:59:21 PM , Rating: 1
actually 360 has a couple rpg exclusives, including blue dragon, lost odyssey, and you know the bioware guys are kick ass and take names.
I hope shirokishi (white knight) for ps3 is good as well.

RE: Industry Opinion
By Zoomer on 10/22/2006 12:03:38 AM , Rating: 2
They shouldn't bother making RPGs for xboxes, just continue churning out xXx or whatever beach volleyball crap.

And I won't even have to consider buying it. Sweet.

4 years to go..... that a real joke.........
By kilkennycat on 10/20/2006 3:34:32 PM , Rating: 1
The current Xbox360 is going to look very shabby indeed in 4 years. Dx10 graphics hardware will have been in PCs for at least 3 years and the $500 PC in 3 years time will likely have 5 times the compute and graphics-processing processing power of a current Xbox360. Please note the acceleration in the development of key computer components over the last couple of years. For example, the Quad-core addition to the Core2-family (Kentsfield) with an 8Meg cache and compute power vastly exceeding that of the 3 simple cores of the Xbox360 is arriving next month. Introduction at $999, exactly the same compute horsepower will be available in that $500 PC for <$100 chip-cost within 3 years, using a 45 or 32nm process.

I fully expect the Xbox360 will go through at least 2 major refreshes in the next 4 years. The idea of a 4 year static-design in the current form is just not on. If Microsoft want to stay in the console business, which is running at a huge loss right now, they must iteratively cut costs and update the product at every opportunity that make marketing and financial sense, while ensuring that the updated product is full backward compatible with current Xbox360 sofware. Consider the successful evolution of the iPod as one classic example.

Short term, Microsoft HAS to get the manufacturing cost of the Xbox360 down and PRONTO. Every Xbox360 sold today is sold at a huge loss. Microsoft is currently betting on the game-licence revenue and their own game sales to offset that loss and the bet shows no signs of paying off. Even after one year of no competition for the Xbox360, the business is still leaking wads of cash. A hardware refresh by refabricating the GPU and CPU in 65nm (or less) ASAP is MANDATORY. These are by far the most expensive components in the Xbox360; the re-spin will significantly cut the manufacturing cost, get heat out of the box (currently nicely cooking the DVD-drive) and radically cut down the power-supply requirements, another cost-saving. It is a logical certainty that this design exercise is under way right now and will be implemented in Xbox360s shipped for the 2007 Christmas season, if not sooner.

Also, the full integration of a HD-DVD drive into the Xbox360 has now become critically-urgent. The PS3 folk are already loudly proclaiming graphics-intensive games freed from the shackles of data-compression and low-graphics-quality cut-scenes, thanks to the Blu-ray capacity. The upcoming HD-DVD drive for the Xbox360 is a kludge "bag-on-the-side" hobbled by the existing Xbox360 I/O interface and only capable of playing HD-DVD video and for simple data transfers. So, also expect a version of the Xbox360 by Christmas 2007 or shortly after, with a fully-integrated HD-DVD drive, capable of both HD-movies and graphically-intensive games. Whether this Xbox360 with the integrated HD-DVD drive will be called Xbox720, Xbox360 Mark 2, or Xbox360-HD, I have no idea. Anyway, by that time the current Xbox360 will have been 2 years on the market and any screams of "foul" from existing Xbox360 owners and in particular those who have bought the HD-DVD add-on for the current Xbox360 will be totally ignored. One or two years of design-stability for an expensive consumer-product nowadays is a very long time. Consider the evolution speeds of the digital camcorder, the digital still-camera, the iPod, all with initial purchase costs close to or exceeding that of an Xbox360.

This first Xbox360 refresh HAS to happen soon for cost reasons, so the only real question now is whether the refresh will boost the processing capability of the Xbox360. Since Microsoft is the Xbox360 manufacturer, adding some Dx10 hardware-capability in the GPU silicon-spin might be irresistibly tempting (to put one over the PS3). Since Dx10 hardware is currently very power-hungry, any such addition might be very limited, but would be a big marketing and publicity bonus for Microsoft in their Xbox360 vs PS3 battle. (Dx10 development tooling will already be available for the PC and easily ported to the Xbox360++.)

By Enoch2001 on 10/21/2006 2:22:49 PM , Rating: 2

The original Xbox came out November 2001 and was sold at a loss for most of its life cycle, which is still going on might I add.

The 360 came out 4 years later in November 2005, and of course will be sold at a loss for much of its life span.

Yet in 2 days, Halo 2 makes 120 million USD and Halo 1 didn't do too shabby either, and both Halo 1 and 2 are selling titles for X1.

The fact of the matter is that a truckload of cash is being made by the sale of Xbox's (1 and 2) and the games that sell for them. Couple that with Halo 3 due shortly, Gears of War, etc.

If you fully expect the 360 to go through 2 major refreshes in 4 years, you're smoking crack.

By Zoomer on 10/22/2006 12:06:46 AM , Rating: 2
They can NOT change the config of the xbox 360. It'll just make them look like idiot's when little Johnny's new game can't play on the xbox360 he got as a birthday present last year...

It will piss many people off if they try that.

Hmm...scratch the above. Yeah, they should do it and lose even more money! yeah go for it!

By therealnickdanger on 10/19/2006 8:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
Continuing R&D into a successor. Sounds remarkably typical and un-newsworthy. IMO. Just run-o-the-mill PR.

RE: Yup...
By michal1980 on 10/19/2006 9:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
what would have been news is if M$ wasn't working on the next console.

360 life-cycle >> xbox I
By kitchme on 10/19/2006 10:37:07 AM , Rating: 2
Apart from being put on spot to answer a question about the next-next gen console, he also mentioned that life-cycle of 360 will be considerably longer than 1st xbox (released Feb 2002). I'd say there won't be a new console (from MS) for at least three years. Plus, they'd like to see some profit before venturing into an expensive R&D for a new console.

xbox 720?!
By JNo on 10/20/2006 5:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
potential name of 3rd gen is xbox 720?! I know that 720 is degrees and represents 2 revolutions or 2x 360. Still sounds like it could *potentially* confuse some people to thinking it's limited to 720p... and everything should be a minimum of 1080p by then...

By afkrotch on 10/29/2006 8:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
All I ever hear is ppl complaining about price. Why, why are you all complaining about price? Please, show me a PC that is comparable to the Xbox 360 or PS3 for the price they are being sold for.

Wii. WTF kind of trash is that. Man, you can buy an Xbox that has that much power. Nintendo will fail like it always does and the handheld will keep them afloat.

When has a stupid gimmick controller from Nintendo ever taken off? Powerglove? That robot thing? Superscope? N64 controller? When I haul my console somewhere, I'd like to not take a big stupid item that I have to plop on top of a TV to use the controller. Or the fact that the controller comes in like a bajillion pieces that connect and intertwine with each other.

I can't wait
By kextyn on 10/19/06, Rating: 0
AMD should take notes
By Regs on 10/19/06, Rating: -1
RE: AMD should take notes
By kextyn on 10/19/2006 9:39:04 AM , Rating: 2
What does the lifecycle of a video game console have to do with a CPU?

RE: AMD should take notes
By Regs on 10/19/06, Rating: -1
RE: AMD should take notes
By retrospooty on 10/19/2006 10:38:31 AM , Rating: 2
What AMD CPU had a 4 year cycle? they have been releasing new CPU and stepping regularily as far as I remember. Athlon, Athlon XP, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2. Not to mention that until Conroe appeared a few months ago they had the performance crown by a large margin over Intel for a few years. that is like a David and Goliath type this... pretty impressive if you ask me. Now we are at a stage where both A64 X2 and Conroe are both way faster than they need to be for 99.9% of the users.

RE: AMD should take notes
By Regs on 10/19/2006 3:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
We are talking k7 and K8. That's two. K8 will have a four year cycle if K8L arrives next year.

Consider AMD or Intel might be making Xbox's new CPU. I think it might have a lot to do with it.

How about work on better games
By encryptkeeper on 10/19/06, Rating: -1
By 05SilverGT on 10/19/06, Rating: -1
RE: Ok...
By kextyn on 10/19/2006 9:41:15 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, but Sony also maintains that their consoles have a 10 year life cycle. They have commmited to at least another 4 years with the PS2.

RE: Ok...
By exdeath on 10/19/2006 10:28:28 AM , Rating: 5
PS4? Has Sony started with the "PS4 will revolutionize the industry and be over 10,000 times more powerful than a 1,000 PC cluster" hype yet? *rolls eyes*

RE: Ok...
By ogreslayer on 10/19/2006 4:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yes they have... Not super hype but they have already started floating the idea. Which is why there 10year statement is total BS when MS releases XBOX the Revenge out on Sony 4-6years from now with support for 4k graphics and an included coffee maker, they will be forced to showcase a new system be it a whole new platform or a PS3+ with 4 cell processors and nvidia's latest greatest in SLI its gonna happen.

This really isn't that big a deal at all...

RE: Ok...
By Christopher1 on 10/19/2006 8:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
The prices had better come down DRASTICALLY for consoles in that amount of time. I have priced the WII, PS3 and XBox360.

All but the WII are WAAAAAAAY out of my price envelope, and so are the games. That is coming from someone who is willing to spend 10,000 dollars on a PC.

RE: Ok...
By Russell on 10/19/2006 10:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
To purchase a PS4, you'll need to take out a mortgage.

RE: Ok...
By Narutoyasha76 on 10/19/2006 10:29:55 AM , Rating: 2
It's only natural that Microsoft is allready working on its future generation console. Nintendo and Sony will soon follow (Nintendo worked on the Wii as soon as the Gamecube came out). Competition among the console makers makes them keep spending money and time on R&D on the next system.

When the PS3 goes for less than $300 then I will buy one, for now my PS2 and Xenosaga EP3, God of War 2 and others will keep me more than happy. (why buy a PS3 or Xbox360 now if the systems are $400 or more and the games are $60 or more.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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