back to article Microsoft next-gen Xbox details leak

An allegedly leaked Microsoft presentation which details next-gen Xbox plans, has been removed at the request of the software company's lawyers, adding weight its authenticity. The 56-page document claims the next Xbox will feature a Blu-ray Disc optical drive, support for augmented reality glasses and the second-generation of …

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Unhappy

all for a retail price of $300 (£191).

I have a nasty suspicion it'll be:

all for a retail price of $300 (£300).

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Re: all for a retail price of $300 (£191).

Ah, well you see there are difficulties bringing a product to market in a foreign territory and the distribution channels are far more expensive. Not to mention sales tax, import duty, window tax, backhanders etc. So it makes sound fiscal sense to simplify the process by charging the same numeric value in every country and only varying the currency symbol. Except in regions where the difference between the USD and the local currency would result in a loss for the manufacturer.

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Re: all for a retail price of $300 (£191).

Assuming no major changes to the USD:GBP exchange rate, I'd be more inclined to expect a £250 price tag.

US prices are always quoted without any sales taxes included as those vary from state to state, so most US citizens are paying more than the headline $300 figure.

Microsoft will also want to ensure the natural exchange fluctuations don't bite them too hard. Given the state of the Euro, I wouldn't blame them for adding on a generous "F*ck-Up Factor". The UK's economy has some strong ties with the Eurozone, despite not being in the Eurozone itself, so if the EUR does go tits-up, as many seem to believe, the GBP will very likely suffer some collateral damage too.

Also, the UK now has a 20% VAT rate, not the 17.5% one it had before, so a £250 price tag seems logical to me: £40-ish of that would be VAT.

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Anonymous Coward

Habbo

The question is will it link to Habbo and will you be able to use the glasses. What kind of options will the Kinect offer....

Well it had to be said.......

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Anonymous Coward

Partially Legit

I think this probably is a legit document from MS, but going by its age, and some of the content, I can't help but wonder if this was more of a blue sky document.

I mean, there's so many things in the leak I just can't get behind. Firstly is the 2013 release, I mean, they announced all their major franchise games being launched in 2013 for the 360. There's no way they'd launch all those games when teh new console is just on the horizon. It'd be stupid.

Then of course is teh price. $300 for a launch console is pretty cheap, especially when you consider current hardware + current kinect isn't far off that price as is it just doesn't seem legit. If the new console adds blu-ray, brand spanking new hardware and an updated kinect with its own processing unit, I'd expect it to be running at maybe $300 for the console on its own, $400 with added kinect.

Final bit I'm not sold on the augmented reality glasses, the concept just seems off I mean... why would you even need them?

Then of course there's other clearly rediculous things in the document, scalable hardware making use of 6-8 cores, with additional PPC cores for backwards compatibility. Having scaling hardware defeats the purpose of a console in the first place. And 6-8 general purpose cores wouldn't get used, most games barely make use of quad core at the moment.

Overall I'm saying this was a bluesky paper made during an idea gathering concept phase, and I highly doubt most of it will be a reality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: stupid inability to type

Also, I apologize for all the teh, for some reason I can never type that word correctly.

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Meh

Re: Partially Legit

The big "FOR DISCUSSION ONLY" banners on the page do kind of give that impression, don't they? The hardware spec doesn't look very fixed either. 6-8 ARM/x86 is not particularly specific. Going to 8x2GHz seems odd too unless you get to also use the 3x3.2GHz PPC cores and they're not just reserved for legacy stuff. 10GHz -> 16GHz is not a 6x performance increase by any standard (mind you, neither is 10GHz -> 26GHz, but the OOO pipelines on the 2GHz parts probably make up for the apparent difference).

But who cares that most games barely make use of quad-core? Neither console has quad-core. PS3 has hex SPUs which are used by audio & physics even if the developer isn't using them directly (and a AAA developer is using them; even AA developers are often offloading mesh skinning). X360 has three cores, which are typically kept fairly busy these days in AAA titles, although too much of that makes your PS3 port rather difficult. PC ports of those titles have virtually zero performance constraints so yes they probably barely make use of one core on an i7 machine. (Do people still make games just for PC?) Overall, current program design is dictated by current hardware. Next-gen hardware can't be dictated by current program design, otherwise it'd also be dictated by current hardware, which would be nuts. We hit max practical clock rate a while ago and have to use multiple cores going forwards. Indeed, it's fascinating to see the main clock rate almost halve for this design (which presumably helps overall power consumption). So if you can't use the PPC cores you're stuffed already just trying to run your old single-threaded game code on this mutha.

Still, the overall system architecture is probably relatively fixed, and it's interesting to see that there may be a GPU just for the system (perhaps an X360 GPU) and 2 cores reserved for the system (a bit PS3-esque). And it may be heterogeneous in ISA and possibly also in endianness, which will be great fun. Microsoft may steal Sony's crown as the world's premier designer of awkward-to-program hardware. Keeps the amateurs out, as my friend Greg used to say ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: stupid inability to type

don't worry, we thought your 'tehs' were deliberate, since you were talking about games consoles!

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Alert

Sustainable

I do wonder how long the world can support different console manufacturers. The barriers to entry for software developers are huge, and become higher and higher for each machine generation. The only way to reverse a trend which will see 3(?) studios producing lowest-common-denominator schlock would be to harmonise the platforms, like with, uh, PCs.

Hmmm. Not gonna happen, is it.

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Re: we can only hope

That a service like OnLive eventually picks up. Sadly I don't see that happening until the next gen is finished with. Right now broadband just isn't fast enough to handle the streams to a degree most gamers would be happy with.

And even then there will still be people who can't get fast enough speeds. But in theory it'd work out better for all. No more pre-owned games market or piracy for developers. No more developing for multiple platforms since it's basically PC development. And on the user side, no more buying games, no more lost disks. And you'd only pay for what you play.

Of course we know it'll never work like that be we can only hope.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: we can only hope

Would love to try that on my .7MB connection, which I doubt will get upgraded in the next 10 years at this rate.

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Re: Sustainable

I agree, with the current love in with VM's I guess it is only time until someone supplies games over the wire?

On the flip side, would it be possibly for Sony et al to agree on standard hardware and supply versions of this?

In the same way that JVC did with the WonderMega, or LG/Panasonic did with the 3DO?

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Joke

Re: we can only hope

The ISPs really need to work on increasing the speed of light, too, because otherwise latency is going to be a big issue for twitch games.

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Re: Sustainable

It used to be exclusive titles that in part dictated your choice of console. Sonic and Mario have been together for some time now! There are still a few exclusive PS3 titles (WipEout, Tekken) that tempt me, but most of the AAA titles are cross-platform.

Still, the PS3 has always been a more civilised machine for an adults lounge (quiet, plays blu-ray and iPlayer, rechargeable controllers as standard, doesn't look like a toy) but far too pricey at launch.

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Re: we can only hope

Grrr! Having to sit and wait for a flippin title update before being able to play! Avoiding that kind of shit is why we bought a console instead of bothering our PC.

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TRT
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WTF?

Hang on...

A 10 year life cycle with no need to upgrade hardware ever again?

In the words of Victor Meldrew, "I don't belieeeeeeve it!"

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Anonymous Coward

Performance Increase

A performance increase of 6x the Xbox 360 is claimed. Given that my current year old PC has a performance more than 20x the Xbox 360, this is not terribly exciting. Still, it should help improve the quality of PC ports somewhat.

The document claims a GPU with 64 ALUs. I'm not sure what they mean there, but by comparison the ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 (announced in September 2009) has 1600 physical ALUs. Presumably they are using a different architecture, so the numbers are not comparable. As for the launch price of $299, that is August 2010 dollars. We should probably adjust for inflation.

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Boffin

Re: Performance Increase

Depends what you mean by ALU.

In games circles it's useful to describe an ALU as "something that can process a quad-pixel area using vector code", which takes 16 scalar ALUs to achieve.

In "w00t look how hardcore our new GPU is" circles it's useful to describe an ALU as something that can add two numbers, which is 1 scalar ALU.

So if 1600 ALUs is really 100 quad-pixel processors, and 64 ALUs is 64 quad-pixel processors, it doesn't look so bad.

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I've just quickly read it..If it is a hoax someone has way too much time on their hands....

The Yukon Architecture Snapshot page was quite interesting, hope they keep the xbox 360 hardware backwards compatibility in. Although I did find the arm/x86 cpu a little confusing...I wonder if it suggests they hadn't [back then] decided which platform to use. I understand arm for low power stuff, such as the 'always on SoC'.

From the handout, it does seem MS is keen to go after the entire multi media market and try and do almost everything. I agree with anon though, it does sound like a blue sky document.

Will be interesting to see down the track, how close the new xbox proves this document....

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ARM or x86?

Slide 9 - colour me surprised!

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Re: ARM or x86?

One issue with the v1.0 releases of each next-generation console has been the noise and power consumption. Early XBox360s (and XBoxes) were noisy buggers. Even the first PS3s could get quite loud as the fans powered-up.

Microsoft might therefore be planning to use the ARM core(s) for the Dashboard. This would certainly reduce power consumption and allow things like Blu-Ray viewing to be done without touching the x86 stuff at all.

Also, it's notable that AMD have recently announced their intention to include ARM cores on some of their x86 CPUs to handle some auxiliary features like security and encryption. I can imaging MS being interested in doing something similar to handle their DRM and make their consoles harder to crack.

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FAIL

Blu-Ray drive?

So nice of them to catch up to last-gen... I'm also thinking that news will make Sony happy.... $$$$$$$$$$$

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Re: Blu-Ray drive?

Really? The PS3 is lovely bit of kit, but I imagine Sony would have preferred the income that the XBOX has brought MS.

Sony aren't the only people to make a Blu-ray drive, and I doubt that the licence income will repair their balance sheet.

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Re: Blu-Ray drive?

Not having Blu-Ray slashed the cost of the 360 and allowed Microsoft to beat Sony to market. The beancounters were very happy with that decision.

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Meh

Will it be backward compatible?

I hope to god that old 360 games work on this...

That being said, I don't think god will be listening very much :P

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Coat

Re: Will it be backward compatible?

Only 'cos he's still playing Saber Wulf on the Spectrum.

Not even God can find the exit in that game.

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Re: Will it be backward compatible?

Why? You have a 360 already you can play them on!

Never got this need to play old crap on new crap.

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Re: Will it be backward compatible?

Page 8 states

"App Pool: Dedicated resources for Xbox

360 gaming (HW) "

Would HW mean a 360 in hardware, like the PS2 or Wii did for backward compatibility, rather than the current 360 patchy software emulation, or Sonys vaporware?

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Re: Will it be backward compatible?

Yeah good luck with that. They want you buying new games.

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Re: Will it be backward compatible?

@jason 7: good point! but being able to do this does mean I'll be able to get rid of at least some of the old crap

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Re: Will it be backward compatible?

Ah yes the old new crap old crap conundrum.

Plus SWMBO pressure is high on this type of situation.

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