Nextbox rumors..

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It must be the middle of the week because I just read two Xbox "Next" rumors...

http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/25/27...

The anti-used game thing just sounds completely off the wall though..

http://semiaccurate.com/2012/01/18/x...

I guess a segment of us is pissed that its once again AMD in the mix...

TheGameguru wrote:

The anti-used game thing just sounds completely off the wall though..

Agreed, there's two basic premises that make this an impossibility:
The market wants used games: the backlash from consumers and Brick&Mortar retailers would be deafening.
It goes against all logical associations we have of physical objects. Something physical that can be bought, can be sold.

As the market slowly migrates towards digital-only, it will become acceptable. Since digital ownership is a new concept, it's still being defined as a social concept. It would not be as counter-intuitive.

Also, Steam users have begged for selling their titles and Steam has never showed any indication of budging. Now that some other platforms are openly considering, it's only a matter of time before Steam is forced to re-consider their terms with studios and publishers. If anything, the market is demanding digital ownership to be more like physical ownership, not less.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

As the market slowly migrates towards digital-only, it will become acceptable. Since digital ownership is a new concept, it's still being defined as a social concept. It would not be as counter-intuitive.

Exactly. An Xbox 720 that does same-day digital releases of its retail games is the only "anti-used game strategy" Microsoft could employ. And I might even welcome it, after I see how/if all my existing digital-only 360 games transfer over.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

Also, Steam users have begged for selling their titles and Steam has never showed any indication of budging. Now that some other platforms are openly considering, it's only a matter of time before Steam is forced to re-consider their terms with studios and publishers. If anything, the market is demanding digital ownership to be more like physical ownership, not less.

It will definitely be an interesting next five-to-ten years. I've gone all in with streaming movies services already, but I'd still rather own my games (insofar as game software is owned, yadda yadda).

TheGameguru wrote:

It must be the middle of the week because I just read two Xbox "Next" rumors...

http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/25/2733083/next-xbox-bringing-blu-ray-dri...

The anti-used game thing just sounds completely off the wall though..

http://semiaccurate.com/2012/01/18/xbox-nextxbox-720-chips-in-production...

I guess a segment of us is pissed that its once again AMD in the mix...

Maybe they're trial balloons? Leak from an anonymous source to gauge public opinion as they nail down the final kits?

I personally think the first idea would be crazy. Definitely off the wall. I would go for it if games were $30 a pop.

Just to add more info to the rumor, IGN claims that the next Xbox will use a GPU similar to the Radeon HD 6670, will be 6 times the graphics processing power of the 360, and will have 20% "greater performance" than the upcoming WiiU.

IGN goes on to say that developers will receive their dev kits as early as August of this year.

In related news, it seems that my Bold Prediction that the next Xbox would release this year is highly unlikely.

If you read the article, "that anti-used game thing" doesn't even sound like a thing.

...one of the unnamed, and therefore worthless sources also claims that the supposed "Xbox 720" will also "incorporate some sort of anti-used game system."

...

...but Kotaku, which has no first-hand knowledge and whose guess is no better than yours or mine, suggests this may be some sort of actual lockout restricting owners from playing used games if they weren't the first to purchase it.

Italics mine. Boldface denotes weasel words that render the rest of the statement meaningless.

I'm calling this yet another case of the enthusiast press making a mountain out of a molehill until I have any reason to believe differently.

MeatMan wrote:

Just to add more info to the rumor, IGN claims that the next Xbox will use a GPU similar to the Radeon HD 6670, will be 6 times the graphics processing power of the 360, and will have 20% "greater performance" than the upcoming WiiU.

The really interesting bit there is the math for the Wii U: if it's 80% as powerful as something 6 times as powerful as the current Xbox 360, that would make the Wii U over 4.5 times as powerful as the 360. That's a far sight better than the post-E3 rumors that the Wii U would simply have parity with the current generation HD consoles or, at best, be just slightly more powerful.

All of this "more powerful" stuff is useless without numbers. It was so easy when we were going from 8-bit to 16-bit to 32-bit to 64-bit.

I assume the 360 is 256-bit, right?

Seriously, though, I hope they stick with the same CPU at least. I fear for backwards compatibility if they switch architectures again. That might the be the point where I say "F it" and just hook a gaming PC up to my TV.

DSGamer wrote:

I fear for backwards compatibility if they switch architectures again. That might the be the point where I say "F it" and just hook a gaming PC up to my TV.

Yeah, this is really my ultimate concern about the next console generation. I switched from PC to console for the convenience, but I may switch back again for the flexibility.

Gravey wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I fear for backwards compatibility if they switch architectures again. That might the be the point where I say "F it" and just hook a gaming PC up to my TV.

Yeah, this is really my ultimate concern about the next console generation. I switched from PC to console for the convenience, but I may switch back again for the flexibility.

My bottom line is that I already have a tenuous relationship with my 360. I'm fully aware that there is a large gaming community on GWJ playing PC games together. I'm fully aware that gaming on the PC means you can pick and choose your server, giving you more control over whether you play with screaming idiots online. And I'm aware that Steam Sales come along frequently enough to make up for the lack of used gaming.

Nevermind being able to upgrade my own hard drive and things like that. These kind of rumors, if they're indeed trial balloons, are bad ones.

DSGamer wrote:

Nevermind being able to upgrade my own hard drive and things like that. These kind of rumors, if they're indeed trial balloons, are bad ones.

You can do that on Xbox if you want to get your hands dirty I rolled my own HD on a 4GB 360S back when 250GB drives were $30.

I really don't see myself ever being single platform, though. Console is great for a lot of stuff, and PCs are great for a lot of other stuff. There's some middle ground that both can do.

I predict the nextbox will be powered by electricity.

I'm still waiting for Microsoft to buy Gaikai and turn the entire market on it's head.

Competitive Advantage for Publishers:
- Day one availability
- No pre-load disasters
- 0 Piracy
- full backward-compatibility for Xbox, XBox360 titles

Advantage for Gamers:
- time-based demos
- take your save game wherever you go or lend your save game to anyone
- mass stream for competitive gaming (CoD tourneys and such)
- real-time assistance (not trouble-shooting, actual "can you pass this boss for me?" help)
- jump from one game to the other instantly: playing Assassin's and jump to CoD with your friends. go back to Assassin's the second CoD is over.

Advantages for MS:
- lower HW costs (no HDD)
- less HW means less returns of consoles

OK, I'll stop hijacking the OP.

MS has plenty of thin client options already that they could make into a On Live/Giakai solution without having to buy somebody else.

I hope that's not the only direction they go, though. Twitchy games just will not play the same. Or even some of the rhythm games where latency really matters.

Some types of games will be perfectly fine, but not all the core styles of games that made the Xbox the Xbox.

Scratched wrote:

I predict the nextbox will be powered by electricity.

My sources tell me it'll either be hamster-wheels or perpetual motion.

Speedhuntr wrote:
Scratched wrote:

I predict the nextbox will be powered by electricity.

My sources tell me it'll either be hamster-wheels or perpetual motion.

Silly people. It's THC.

DSGamer wrote:

All of this "more powerful" stuff is useless without numbers. It was so easy when we were going from 8-bit to 16-bit to 32-bit to 64-bit.

I assume the 360 is 256-bit, right?

It's also worth remembering that beefier hardware may or may not have practical results. The PS3 is ostensibly beefier than the 360, but the margin is narrow enough that other than a handful of platform-exclusives, not many devs take advantage. And the architecture is different enough that multiplatform games often perform worse, not better, if the dev codes with the 360 and/or PC in mind and then ports.

If the gap between the Wii U and neXtBox is great enough that devs don't often go multiplatform between them (a la the Wii vs. PS360), well and good. But if that "20% more powerful" quote is even close to accurate, chances are that most of that extra horsepower will go to waste in the majority of third-party games.

I would again stress that given how difficult it is to really compare "power" even raw spec's between systems is largely useless. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 used widely different GPU's and CPU's so much so that it was next to impossible to really sit there and draw up any realistic differences between the two in terms of power. Anyone saying the PS3 was more powerful than the 360 was simply applying their own personal logic to draw that conclusion. There is and will never be a real "fact" to that.

That will not change in the next gen.. in fact it will probably only get even more difficult to determine. The best thing about consoles though will not change in the next generation.. they all will still provide developers a base level to develop against.. and a single development environment (for each console) to best push their code to its max efficiency (though its up to individual developer(s) skill to max this process to its best)

Backwards comp. non-withstanding (I personally give no merit good or bad to backwards comp.) the next gen consoles should be no more or less complex to operate to an end user than this prior gen. They will be of course more complex to develop on simply because their capabilities will be that much greater.. so yes.. budgets will continue to rise for the AAA titles.. and thus the margins will continue to be squeezed.. so more DLC..and more attempts at alternative revenue streams.

But at the same time.. I do expect the XBLA type Titles to get even that much "better" and really push that $15 value concept.

hbi2k wrote:

The PS3 is ostensibly beefier than the 360, but the margin is narrow enough that other than a handful of platform-exclusives, not many devs take advantage. And the architecture is different enough that multiplatform games often perform worse, not better, if the dev codes with the 360 and/or PC in mind and then ports.

Ah, but that's only because Sony made the PS3 intentionally hard to develop on, to ensure that not just anyone can make any old game for it. It'll be 2015 by the time we see what the PS3 can really do.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Just to add more info to the rumor, IGN claims that the next Xbox will use a GPU similar to the Radeon HD 6670, will be 6 times the graphics processing power of the 360, and will have 20% "greater performance" than the upcoming WiiU.

The really interesting bit there is the math for the Wii U: if it's 80% as powerful as something 6 times as powerful as the current Xbox 360, that would make the Wii U over 4.5 times as powerful as the 360. That's a far sight better than the post-E3 rumors that the Wii U would simply have parity with the current generation HD consoles or, at best, be just slightly more powerful.

And while I'm here, from Mitch Krpata's Twitter:

@mkrpata wrote:

Math confirms it: the Xbox 720 is three times as powerful as the Wii U!

The PlayStation 4 is seven times as powerful as the human spirit.

The 3DS is only 5/8 as powerful as a flirty look from a pretty girl.

Gravey wrote:

Ah, but that's only because Sony made the PS3 intentionally hard to develop on, to ensure that not just anyone can make any old game for it. It'll be 2015 by the time we see what the PS3 can really do.

http://yearoftheps3.info/

TheGameguru wrote:

I would again stress that given how difficult it is to really compare "power" even raw spec's between systems is largely useless.

Yeah. Thus my joke about 256-bits. Even then there was no exact science to which machine was more "powerful". I seem to recall that the Sega Master System was more powerful than the NES, but I have no clue what that was based on. In the end it doesn't matter much. What matters is if it's enough of a jump to catch up a little with what PCs can do.

My question is this. Do games still get more expensive? Don't you reach a threshold eventually where the cost of creating engines and art assets starts to level off? I can't imagine next gen looking that much better. So unless a ton of time is put into complex AI routines, costs should level off a bit, no?

hbi2k wrote:

If the gap between the Wii U and neXtBox is great enough that devs don't often go multiplatform between them (a la the Wii vs. PS360), well and good. But if that "20% more powerful" quote is even close to accurate, chances are that most of that extra horsepower will go to waste in the majority of third-party games.

But that's assuming Nintendo will have a respectable, ongoing lineup/relationship with (AAA) third-party developers, which has not been the case for the last two generations. Once the PS4 is released, I can easily see the same situation that exists now - "core" games on the Xbox and PlayStation consoles and "other" games on the Nintendo console.

Gravey wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

The PS3 is ostensibly beefier than the 360, but the margin is narrow enough that other than a handful of platform-exclusives, not many devs take advantage. And the architecture is different enough that multiplatform games often perform worse, not better, if the dev codes with the 360 and/or PC in mind and then ports.

Ah, but that's only because Sony made the PS3 intentionally hard to develop on, to ensure that not just anyone can make any old game for it. It'll be 2015 by the time we see what the PS3 can really do.

Hmm. Guess I'd better get a second job so that I can afford one. #Stupidsh*tSonyPRSays

TheGameguru wrote:

I would again stress that given how difficult it is to really compare "power" even raw spec's between systems is largely useless. The Xbox 360 and the PS3 used widely different GPU's and CPU's so much so that it was next to impossible to really sit there and draw up any realistic differences between the two in terms of power. Anyone saying the PS3 was more powerful than the 360 was simply applying their own personal logic to draw that conclusion. There is and will never be a real "fact" to that.

Not a direct apples-to-apples comparison, just ballparking. If designing a console is anything like building a gaming PC, raw specs are less important than minimizing bottlenecks so that the specs you do have actually mean something. You might have 8 GB of RAM where I have 4 and a newer video card than me, but if your CPU is five years old, your games might still chug more than mine.

The next generation of consoles can't arrive soon enough for me. Not that I'm buying one right away, but I like the correlated jump in horsepower of pc games. Hoping Thief 4 will be a launch title.

I don't buy the latter-half-of-2013 info. If Microsoft is ordering large numbers of chips now, and if the gpu is based on the Radeon 6000/7000 (depends on the rumor - my guess is that it will draw on elements from both series), then it just doesn't make sense for it to be nearly two years away. The tech would be really antiquated by that point.

Holiday 2012 seems much more likely.

Also, the fact that we've seen almost no info on any Holiday 2012 titles suggests to me that they are being designed with the next-gen in mind.

I expect the system will, fundamentally, look an awful lot like the current xbox - just with more PPC cores, a modern Radeon GPU, and lots more memory. Developing on it will probably be a very easy transition for 360 programmers.

Honestly, the thought of a new generation of consoles kinda scares me, from an industry point of view.

A more powerful system does mean a chance at better graphics in games, but that means a higher cost in development as more artists/engineers/time is needed to develop and implement the assets. If AAA devs want to push the graphical envelope (and they obviously will), I'm betting what we're going to see in the next generation is a stagnation in the AAA market-- sure graphics will be pushed, but development cycles are so time-consuming and cost so much that I bet there will be very little innovation in gameplay (look at how much they had to pull back on Deus Ex, even with 4 years of development). But costs will still be passed on in a couple of ways-- 1) to the consumer in slightly higher pricepoints, and 2) a development job market that continues the toxic trend of burn-out contract work a la Team Bondi. Expect far more Call of Duties and such, and because of those, even more social, PSN/Live Arcade, indie, and casual games (as developers leave the hectic, stressful AAA space and start their own development teams, or AAA teams "downsize" projects to stay afloat, a la NetherRealm Studios). Not to say that there won't be any innovation in the AAA space, but if events like THQ's current situation are any indication, fewer publishers are going to go out on a limb on new AAA IPs.

So I think DSGamer is right-- at least, I hope he's right, for the sake of our hobby and my chosen profession-- next gen games aren't going to look too much better, IMHO, for the simple fact that the AAA space is already pushing itself to the limit, both cost- and time-wise. It's not going to even out so much as stretch itself to the breaking point. I only hope that more developers realize how thin they are actually stretching themselves and pull back on the reigns a bit-- at least as far as business practice and team management go. Either way, a AAA game is going to cost a lot of money and time, but I worry about the worst case scenario in which both of those factors increase to the point that developers feel they have no other option but to hand out work to burn-out contract "freelance" employees that have to work 16+ hours a day, 7 days a week until the game is done, then are out on their asses looking for the next big score. As it is currently, some publishers and developers already see this as a viable, even profitable, business option, and continue to burn through what they feel is a never-ending pool of talent.

polq37 wrote:

I don't buy the latter-half-of-2013 info. If Microsoft is ordering large numbers of chips now, and if the gpu is based on the Radeon 6000/7000 (depends on the rumor - my guess is that it will draw on elements from both series), then it just doesn't make sense for it to be nearly two years away. The tech would be really antiquated by that point.

Holiday 2012 seems much more likely.

Also, the fact that we've seen almost no info on any Holiday 2012 titles suggests to me that they are being designed with the next-gen in mind.

I expect the system will, fundamentally, look an awful lot like the current xbox - just with more PPC cores, a modern Radeon GPU, and lots more memory. Developing on it will probably be a very easy transition for 360 programmers.

Normally I'd agree with you, but considering the length of AAA development cycles now (again, Deus Ex took 4 years, and that game was even scaled back before release!), I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see new consoles outside 2012. But then, I've heard things from people that hint at some devs getting shiny new devkits, but that's all rumor-- like "someone's roommate's co-worker's cousin's mother twice-removed said so" kind of rumor-- but if there is any truth to it, I could see a console shipping in 2013.

WipEout wrote:

Honestly, the thought of a new generation of consoles kinda scares me, from an industry point of view.

A more powerful system does mean a chance at better graphics in games, but that means a higher cost in development as more artists/engineers/time is needed to develop and implement the assets. If AAA devs want to push the graphical envelope (and they obviously will), I'm betting what we're going to see in the next generation is a stagnation in the AAA market-- sure graphics will be pushed, but development cycles are so time-consuming and cost so much that I bet there will be very little innovation in gameplay (look at how much they had to pull back on Deus Ex, even with 4 years of development).

I think these fears are overblown. Back in the 90s, industry folks were saying the same kinds of things about Hollywood; the tremendous costs of summer blockbusters were crushing the movie industry and failed films were driving studios into bankruptcy.

Hollywood adapted. Movie production costs for summer blockbusters continued to go up, but Hollywood developed lots of different movies at different price points for different audiences. Also, the summer blockbusters became more reliable with more competent production teams behind them. Some are even very good movies. The same thing is happening in video games right now.

Also, I'm not sure that pointing to Deus Ex 3 useful in this case. Other companies are executing great AAA products on rational schedules. Bethesda has been great at releasing its games on target. Activision and EA are reliably releasing their big AAA franchise games on schedule for the Holiday seasons.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

The really interesting bit there is the math for the Wii U: if it's 80% as powerful as something 6 times as powerful as the current Xbox 360, that would make the Wii U over 4.5 times as powerful as the 360. That's a far sight better than the post-E3 rumors that the Wii U would simply have parity with the current generation HD consoles or, at best, be just slightly more powerful.

If they're going with a 6670 that's not anywhere near a smoking fast card that's currently on the market meaning MS isn't going all blingyity-blang and subsidizing the hardware like crazy. The 6670 is on the low-end of 2010's 6000 series cards. By the time this system launches we're either going to be 2 or 3 years past that date. 2010/2011's 6000 series cards. We're just now starting to get the 7000 series so already they're going to be a fair bit behind unlike the 360 was (I think, but I don't know the exact specs on the 360).

EDIT: If I'm reading Wikipedia correctly, the 360 shipped in 2005 with a chip comparable to the X1800 which hit retail around the same time. So they'd be shipping older tech in the 360 if this is accurate.

I really hope if they're low-balling the GPU that they're compensating with more RAM this time around. 4 GB or bust.

So we're looking at an incremental bump on the HD stuff (ie. drag everyone out of DirectX 9 into DX11), Nintendo hitting the shallow side of the pool (although hopefully not as bad a difference as a Wii and a 360/PS3), and any half-decent PC is already beating the new XBox console. Sounds like just more of the same, just bigger numbers, EDIT: which is about what I'd expect given the amount of money Sony and MS bled out this generation.

Assuming the rumors are true.

Also, a 6670 in a console where there's less abstraction layers between hardware and game code is a bit different than the equivalent card in a PC running full blown Windows.

I still take this all with a grain of salt. Remember that it wasn't that many months ago some of these sites were reporting that EA had dev boxes in house already, blah blah blah.

shoptroll wrote:

and any half-decent PC is already beating the new XBox console. Sounds like just more of the same, just bigger numbers.

But that was true for the launch of the last generation too. So it's not unexpected. Consoles will never be "cutting edge" tech. It just costs too much per unit.

Duoae wrote:
shoptroll wrote:

and any half-decent PC is already beating the new XBox console. Sounds like just more of the same, just bigger numbers.

But that was true for the launch of the last generation too. So it's not unexpected. Consoles will never be "cutting edge" tech. It just costs too much per unit.

Well, not really. The PS3 was pretty much the cheapest way to get cell processors when it was launched, which led to a few universities creating superclusters of the machines. The processor was great for black hole simulations and the like.

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