Nextbox rumors..

shoptroll wrote:

I am expecting the WiiU to use a small amount of flash memory for internal storage and expecting customers to suppliment that with SDHC cards or a USB hard drive.

Man, I WISH they'd let you use a USB hard drive without resorting to a firmware hack. That would be great. It's also what they've been promising off-and-on for the entirety of the Wii's life cycle, and we all know how that turned out.

Gravey wrote:
Scratched wrote:

I think it would be really funny if it was just an improved this-gen, and the next 10 call of duty games are still using a polished Quake3 engine, and still sell blockbuster numbers.

Well that's it, really. What has the last six years of this technological generation gained us, when the most lucrative game still follows the nearly-twenty-year-old deathmatch formula. What reason do I have to to get excited believing the next generation will give us something incredible, when this existing "next generation" proves that the money is still in "draw a line from object A to object B".

Better indie / small studio games? A lot of awesome and innovative indie stuff wouldn't exist without cheaply-licensed technology like the Unreal engine, and that kind of middleware wouldn't exist if it couldn't also be licensed to big-budget games that sell millions of copies by appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Real innovation is never going to happen in the AAA space on a large scale. It just isn't. Get used to it. But that doesn't mean that big dumb iterative AAA games don't have a place in an ecosystem that allows innovation to happen.

Technology trickles down. Innovation trickles up. There will be puppies and kittens and rainbows. I promise you this.

Oh I know, I just like to get mad over how each generation is sold. It would irk me less if the core, most lucrative, gameplay all this tech is being thrown at was something more technically evolved than deathmatch or capture the flag. But I know it's lowest-common-denominator messaging and I just have to, as they say, DEAL W/IT.

I do suspect the platform model of the next gens, at least from MS and maybe Sony will evolve. I bet there will be continued pushes to get F2P models to work, and I also suspect that there will be more of an "App Store" model for the indie games.

Minecraft for XBLA is already hinting about the ability to update being sped up for them.

By late in next gen, I also think that the IP TV on demand model will be much more important than it is now.

And MS is going to push the "Skype from the couch" model to try to disrupt telecom. Whether they succeed or not is a question, but Skype is going to be part of next gen Kinect and deeply integrated into Win Phone.

MannishBoy wrote:

By late in next gen, I also think that the IP TV on demand model will be much more important than it is now.

And MS is going to push the "Skype from the couch" model to try to disrupt telecom. Whether they succeed or not is a question, but Skype is going to be part of next gen Kinect and deeply integrated into Win Phone.

I don't doubt this for a second. Isn't the latest dashboard update primarily focused on Kinect and IP TV features?

They're going to be competing with Apple (who could easily add a camera to the rumored Apple TV for FaceTime) in addition to Nintendo/Sony for the living room. It's going to be interesting, although probably not so much if you only care about gaming.

shoptroll wrote:

I don't doubt this for a second. Isn't the latest dashboard update primarily focused on Kinect and IP TV features?

Yep. Problem is the content providers aren't giving them the access they need yet. The tech for IP TV is there, and has been (Uverse has been available for a long time on Xbox). I think they'll chip away network by network from the bottom up until one of the majors breaks and gives them what they want. That will likely take a couple of years it sounds like.

MannishBoy wrote:

Yep. Problem is the content providers aren't giving them the access they need yet. The tech for IP TV is there, and has been (Uverse has been available for a long time on Xbox). I think they'll chip away network by network from the bottom up until one of the majors breaks and gives them what they want. That will likely take a couple of years it sounds like.

Yeah, the content providers have a significant number of tech companies trying to beat down their doors. From what I heard, MS was ready to go for a big push with the latest update but the content providers wanted a lot more money than they were willing to pay. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out with MS, Google, Apple, Netflix and others trying to work out deals with them. Plus you have the political issues of stuff like network neutrality and SOPA which I'm sure will muddy up the waters a fair bit too.

Of course the problem for set top box manufacturers like MS is that the TV companies like Samsung are aggressively pursuing IP TV too. Which probably isn't a huge issue at the moment, but when the next big TV upgrade rush comes it'll render the IP TV bullet point somewhat moot for MS unless they lock down some long-term exclusive contracts.

I think "smart TVs" in general are a non starter due to tech obsolescence faster than screen obsolescene, although I think Samsung is trying to sell a module concept. TV manufactures just don't have the core competencies to stand on their own, unless they incorporate something like a Google TV, which so far still has a long way to go.

I'd rather have a box I can update when new things come along myself. My screens stay around for awhile. And as gaming grows, consoles are a good way to get in the living room.

TheGameguru wrote:
Scratched wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

That's why I've qualified everything I've said with "If they focus on AI and systems". If developers put horsepower to use on those things and realize that graphical upgrades will be really minor compared to last generation then that's fine. Otherwise I don't see a reason to upgrade.

AI isn't a horsepower problem, it's a design and complexity of implementation problem, unless you're just talking about putting more bots in a game.

Most developers I've talked to say that it is very much so a limitation with current console hardware.. it can also be a limitation of the way code is executed on the systems but having more raw horsepower will certainly give developers choosing to flex their AI skills "room to work"

Absolutely. No cycles are wasted in AAA games and AI definitely gets a very limited number of them at the moment. More horsepower is key.

I've actually got a Samsung TV with their SmartTV stuff. It's not terrible (there's a lot of junky apps in there) but it's great for the Netflix integration, and performance got a nice kick in the pants with the last update which makes it feel a lot "snappier" than when I first got it.

But you're right about consoles being a bit more agile since they have a release cadence of 5 years (and a HTPC is even faster). Although that could change if the specs stagnate enough (I'm sure there will be a great debate about this once the Wii U and 360++ specs are finalized). I think the TV industry wishes they could get that pacing of release... Look how aggressively they've pushed for 3DTV adoption despite people taking a long time to switch to HDTV only years ago. 4K resolution TVs were on display at CES but you're talking ten grand for one of those right now, which means we're a ways off from them being a mainstream option.

MannishBoy wrote:

I think "smart TVs" in general are a non starter due to tech obsolescence faster than screen obsolescene, although I think Samsung is trying to sell a module concept. TV manufactures just don't have the core competencies to stand on their own, unless they incorporate something like a Google TV, which so far still has a long way to go.

I'd rather have a box I can update when new things come along myself. My screens stay around for awhile. And as gaming grows, consoles are a good way to get in the living room.

Hence this, which I thought was an interesting idea:

Dubbed the Streaming Stick, Roku’s new device plugs into any TV with an MHL-enabled HDMI port, and uses Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, eliminating the need for cables or external power adapters. Like other smart-TV products, users can enlist the stick to stream media from Netflix, Hulu, and other “cord-cutting” services that bypass cable and satellite boxes entirely.
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...

rather than build all that into the TV, just build enough into the TV that you're basically upgrading the TV's capabilities while keeping the same screen.

CheezePavilion wrote:

rather than build all that into the TV, just build enough into the TV that you're basically upgrading the TV's capabilities while keeping the same screen.

That's my point, solutions like this and consoles will always be more nimble than the pricey screens they're attached to.

Problem with the Roku at this point is there aren't many TVs yet with those powered MHL ports. But that will happen slowly over time.

hbi2k wrote:

I'm really sort of surprised that Roku hasn't caught on any more than they have.

Brand recognition is probably their biggest problem. They're not an established player (ie. Sony, Samsung or even Apple) on the market and I don't even know if they're sold in big box / department stores.

Starting to get off-topic here, but it's really interesting O/T, so who cares....

I'm really sort of surprised that Roku hasn't caught on any more than they have. They really strike a wonderful balance between a low price point, being friendly to the little guys (what other set-top box lets ANYONE release an app/channel/whateveryouwannacallit without having to go through a lengthy vetting process?), easy setup, and a slick, "just works" UI. As far as I'm concerned, they're the ones to beat right now. In fact, now that they've got Angry Birds on their latest hardware revision, I'll be REALLY curious to see if they try to start competing in the casual games space in a more serious way. If they could hop in bed with EA and get that Popcap library on there, they could be a force to be reckoned with. If they could merge their strengths with the strengths of OnLive? Fuhgeddaboudit.

shoptroll wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

I'm really sort of surprised that Roku hasn't caught on any more than they have.

Brand recognition is probably their biggest problem. They're not an established player (ie. Sony, Samsung or even Apple) on the market and I don't even know if they're sold in big box / department stores.

I know Target carries the Roku box. I'd be surprised if places like Best Buy and Wal-Mart didn't too.

hbi2k wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

I'm really sort of surprised that Roku hasn't caught on any more than they have.

Brand recognition is probably their biggest problem. They're not an established player (ie. Sony, Samsung or even Apple) on the market and I don't even know if they're sold in big box / department stores.

I know Target carries the Roku box. I'd be surprised if places like Best Buy and Wal-Mart didn't too.

I think the Xbox and PS3 are the main reason Roku didn't take off.

hbi2k wrote:

a slick, "just works" UI.

I've using Roku for about a year, and while I agree that the UI is functional, I wouldn't call it slick. My main gripe is that no matter how many "channels" you've chosen to appear on your home screen, they all display as a single horizontal row, which only uses about a third of the TV screen's vertical space. The remote lets you navigate vertically, so it makes no sense to me why they don't display your channels as rows of 6 or so. That way, if you have 15 channels, they're all right there for you to see, and it's a lot easier to get to them using the left/right AND up/down parts of the remote's D-pad.

Fair enough, "slick" might be too strong. There's definitely room for improvement. Personally, I'd be happy if there were just some way to re-order the channels instead of the most recently installed one always being farthest to the right.

What I mostly meant was that it's easy to use. There aren't screens upon screens of obscure settings to wade through, and the remote control is as simple as simple can be. It's the sort of design that should appeal to fans of the white-slate, minimalist design of the iPod and its ilk.

hbi2k wrote:

Personally, I'd be happy if there were just some way to re-order the channels instead of the most recently installed one always being farthest to the right.

Actually, you can reorder them, which I learned entirely by accident. Highlight the channel you want to move, and push the * button. That brings up an options menu, and one of them is to change the channel's position.

My remote doesn't have a * button. I have an older model, so it's entirely possible that you have the feature but I don't. I dunno, I'll have to play around with it some more.

That sucks. I too have an "old" (Roku 1) model, but of the 3 models they sold at the time, I bought the mid-priced model. Now that I think about it, I remember that the low-end model had fewer buttons.

So... how about that Nextbox 720?

Any predictions about the name? I mean...the more I say 720 the more I adjust to it but it's just so dumb!

Come to think of it.....I think most console names are pretty dumb at first. Though I still like the 360's old codename 'Xenon.'

And Revolution still > Wii, while I'm at it.

I really hope they don't use that GPU.
Look at this benchmark:
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/vi...

If they're shipping in 2013 they could at least have a GPU that was high end in 2011, not one that would've been high end in 2007.

kyrieee wrote:

I really hope they don't use that GPU.

I know what you're saying, but I think a change of direction and all it brings would be interesting.

Although pushing computation capacity is also interesting, there's also a part of me that wants to see an extended period of polishing and refining rather than a race to flog studios to death chasing tech. I'd like to see what tech heavy studios do if they can't do more of the same, and other studios catch up to them and present alternatives. What would be wrong with a plateau in video games for a while?

That's not to suggest that the 6670 (or whatever else has been suggested) isn't a nice step up, it would allow a nice bump on the current-gen, but not a stratospheric "Avatar/Toy story in real-time" that always gets trotted out.

Digital Foundry's analysis mentioned that the initial 360 dev kits shipped with a significantly weaker GPU that was swapped out once they got closer to launch. So this rumor could go either way. I expect we'll get a reveal at GDC in March regardless.

Speedhuntr wrote:

Any predictions about the name? I mean...the more I say 720 the more I adjust to it but it's just so dumb!

Come to think of it.....I think most console names are pretty dumb at first. Though I still like the 360's old codename 'Xenon.'

And Revolution still > Wii, while I'm at it.

Almost 100 million units later, the masses have spoken. Regarding Xbox...

Jeff provides the best answer, probably. "Spin into the audience that they have instead of the audience they want, and just call it Xbox 420. Just get it over with."

Ars talks on how Microsoft could kill used sales.

1. Going full download, no discs

2. Kiosk purchases with a keycard, that burns an immediate, specific copy that only works if that keycard is in your Xbox

3. Going Blu-Ray and reserving a small portion of the disc as writeable, which is used to encrypt that disc for that user

dejanzie wrote:

Ars talks on how Microsoft could kill used sales.

1. Going full download, no discs

Ugh, journalists need to realize this sh*t isn't going to happen for a long while. Something like 30% of Xbox 360s have never touched the internet. The customer profile on people buying consoles does not fit this model. The collective mindshare of connected non-PC devices just isn't there yet. My conservative bet on the first download only console is 2030. That might sound crazy, but that's only 2ish generations away.

I don't see how it would be that hard to block used games. Just put a code in every retail box that ties the game to a particular gamertag. You can play or install from the disc, but without a license for a GT, you can't play it.

That's the easy solution, but how fiery would the internet rage get over actually doing so? Are they willing to take the risk? I'd bet not yet. Sony flew a test balloon about this before the launch of the PS3 and people got pretty hot.

dejanzie wrote:

Ars talks on how Microsoft could kill used sales.

1. Going full download, no discs

2. Kiosk purchases with a keycard, that burns an immediate, specific copy that only works if that keycard is in your Xbox

3. Going Blu-Ray and reserving a small portion of the disc as writeable, which is used to encrypt that disc for that user

None of these are even remotely likely and Ars knows it. They're just trolling for pageviews.