Microsoft leaks details on XBOX 2


R

R420

Posted on Sun, Feb. 01, 2004

Microsoft leaks details on Xbox Next
PLANS REFLECT HARD-FOUGHT BATTLE WITH SONY FOR GAMERS' DOLLARS
By Dean Takahashi
Mercury News

Microsoft has quietly circulated the specifications for its
next-generation Xbox video-game console, indicating how the company
plans to carry on its war against dominant player Sony.

The details suggest Microsoft is far more concerned about keeping the
cost of its Xbox Next console low than it is with including dazzling
technological features or driving its rivals out of the business,
according to a variety of industry sources.

People familiar with Microsoft's strategy say the company apparently
believes it can capture a much larger share of the market if it
launches its machine before Sony fields its PlayStation 3 console in
2006.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on strategy details.

The new Xbox reflects some tough lessons learned in the current
console battle, in which Sony has outsold Microsoft 5 to 1. The Xbox
has put Microsoft on the map with a generation of gamers. But it has
also been a money loser, albeit a relatively small one for a company
with $53 billion in cash.

Microsoft launched its Xbox console 20 months after the PlayStation 2
debut. By the time Microsoft sold 1.5 million consoles, Sony had sold
more than 20 million PlayStations. To date, Microsoft has sold 13.7
million Xboxes, while Sony has sold more than 70 million. In the
United States alone, console sales amounted to $3 billion in sales
last year.

For gamers, the new Xbox will be impressive, giving them the ability
to play fast-action, realistic 3-D games on a high-definition TV set.
Microsoft's emissaries have told industry developers and publishers
that the next Xbox will be ready to launch in fall 2005 with the
following specifications:

• Three IBM-designed 64-bit microprocessors. The combined power of
these chips means the Xbox Next will have more computing power than
most personal computers. The chips are used in Apple Computer's
high-end G5 PowerMac machines now.

• A graphics chip designed by ATI Technologies with speeds much faster
than its upcoming R400 chip (correction: R420, not R400) for the
personal computer. This chip will help the next Xbox to display games
with the resolution of high-definition TV.

• Compatibility with the original Xbox, which is based on Intel and
Nvidia chips, isn't guaranteed. Microsoft is concerned it would cost
too much money in hardware or in licensing fees to enable the Xbox
Next to play old Xbox games. This is risky in part because Sony's
strategy has been to maintain compatibility with its old consoles.

``I can't imagine that Microsoft would be so insanely stupid as to
make it incompatible,'' said Jon Peddie, an analyst at Jon Peddie
Research in Tiburon.

Microsoft is leaving itself wiggle room to react to competitive moves
by Sony and Nintendo. A few details are to be decided. In contrast
with the current Xbox, the next one will have no hard disk drive --
unless Sony puts one in the PlayStation 3. Instead, the console will
rely on flash memory to store saved games and permanent data, much
like the current PlayStation 2.

The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random
access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to 512 gigabytes
(correction: 512 MB, not GB) if Sony puts in more. The previous Xbox
had 64 megabytes. And lastly, it isn't clear if Microsoft will include
the current DVD video technology or Blu-Ray, its successor. Blu-Ray
will hold much more data, but it's unclear when it will be ready for
market.

The current Xbox has an eight-gigabyte hard disk drive. That drive is
useful for online games and storing game art, but many developers
chose not to make use of it. As a result, Microsoft seems to have
decided that saving the $50 the hard drive costs outweighs its
benefits.

In telling the developers what will be in the box, Microsoft is
helping them get started on games that will be ready when the console
launches. But it is also soliciting feedback, and some developers are
pushing Microsoft to make changes.

``I would really like to see a hard disk drive in the box,'' said Tim
Sweeney, chief executive officer of Epic Games in Raleigh, N.C., who
has made his opinions known to Microsoft. ``For a console to really
have a useful online component, it has to have the hard drive to store
downloaded maps and other data.''

Sweeney says it is dangerous for Microsoft to wait until Sony reveals
the details of the PlayStation 3 or to pay too much attention to cost
issues.

``Sony isn't as motivated to launch a new console because it is No.
1,'' he said. ``If Microsoft waits for them, it is in effect allowing
Sony to design Microsoft's box.''

Regarding cost issues, a Microsoft spokeswoman would only say,
``Microsoft is in this for the long term.''

Developers like Sweeney say they are pleased it will be apparently
easy to develop games for Microsoft's new box. That was one of the
main advantages that Microsoft has had over its rivals. Current
information about the PlayStation 3, sketchy as it is, indicates that
it could be extremely difficult for developers to master.

The top executives of both Electronic Arts and Activision said this
week that they have not received formal ``software development kits''
from Microsoft yet, but they did say they have begun creating
next-generation games. Internally, Microsoft has begun developing game
prototypes, and it is using G5 systems to do so.

The same developers who have seen the Microsoft specifications say
Sony hasn't shared as much data with them. Sony appears to be willing
to wait until 2006, in part so that it can milk the profits from the
current generation PlayStation 2. In the meantime, Sony is launching
an all-in-one PS 2/video recording box dubbed the PSX and the
PlayStation Portable.

Microsoft's schedule may change -- it has a big meeting coming up for
developers this month. But for now it appears it will release
information about the new box at both the Game Developers Conference
in San Jose in March and at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los
Angeles in May.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/7849191.htm
 
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Z

Zackman

R420 said:
People familiar with Microsoft's strategy say the company apparently
believes it can capture a much larger share of the market if it
launches its machine before Sony fields its PlayStation 3 console in
2006.

Fatal error. Xbox2 launches first, Sony looks at it, Sony says "PS3 will
have this and this and this that makes it better than Xbox2, not to mention
Grand Theft Auto 5" and nobody buys Xbox2, a la the Dreamcast. Launching
before Sony will only be good if the lead time is short enough not to give
Sony any time to react and make changes to the PS3.
``I can't imagine that Microsoft would be so insanely stupid as to
make it incompatible,'' said Jon Peddie, an analyst at Jon Peddie
Research in Tiburon.

I can't imagine an analyst is so out of touch as to think this matters. It's
not like buying a new console renders the old one inoperable. And after a
few months, virually no one will want to play old-gen games on a new
console.
Microsoft is leaving itself wiggle room to react to competitive moves
by Sony and Nintendo. A few details are to be decided. In contrast
with the current Xbox, the next one will have no hard disk drive --
unless Sony puts one in the PlayStation 3. Instead, the console will
rely on flash memory to store saved games and permanent data, much
like the current PlayStation 2.

Oh Lord, PLEASE don't let this be true. There goes ripping soundtracks to
the Xbox. There goes downloads from Xbox Live. There goes caching games to
the HDD.

Hey Microsoft, it's good and all to want to keep costs low to make a profit.
But if the machine doesn't have the features you've already given gamers in
the original Xbox, it won't sell and you won't make ANY money.

Luckily, it's almost guaranteed that the PS3 will have a HDD, since Sony
wants it to be a media center hub. Hopefully this means the Xbox2 will have
one too.
The machine also will have about 256 megabytes of dynamic random
access memory. But Microsoft will upgrade that to 512 gigabytes
(correction: 512 MB, not GB) if Sony puts in more.

Damn, 512 *GB* of RAM would have been awesome. ;)
And lastly, it isn't clear if Microsoft will include
the current DVD video technology or Blu-Ray, its successor. Blu-Ray
will hold much more data, but it's unclear when it will be ready for
market.

Most Xbox games don't even fill a standard DVD, so why bother with Blu Ray?
``I would really like to see a hard disk drive in the box,'' said Tim
Sweeney, chief executive officer of Epic Games in Raleigh, N.C., who
has made his opinions known to Microsoft. ``For a console to really
have a useful online component, it has to have the hard drive to store
downloaded maps and other data.''

GO TIM! GO! TELL THEM!!!
Sweeney says it is dangerous for Microsoft to wait until Sony reveals
the details of the PlayStation 3 or to pay too much attention to cost
issues.

``Sony isn't as motivated to launch a new console because it is No.
1,'' he said. ``If Microsoft waits for them, it is in effect allowing
Sony to design Microsoft's box.''

HELLS YES! LISTEN TO SWEENEY!!!

-Z-
 
J

Jan Panteltje

Seems to me programming for 3 processors is not THAT easy.
Very few kids have a HTDV (or will have access to one in 2005).
Is there ANYTHING MS makes a profit on except copies of WinDOS?
other groups of the commercial snipped.
 
Z

Zackman

The difference is that unlike Sega, Microsoft actually has a competent
marketing department (and more money, too).

It's human nature. If a product comes out and there's a promise of a better
product coming out six months later, with lots of details an hype about that
product, people will hold off. And if Microsoft isn't going nuts packing
every bit of high tech into the box, then they're going to have to compete
on the basis of games and features alone. Sony has brand loyalty and a large
stable of game franchises behind it, two things MS is still in the process
of building.

If the Xbox launches early with a whole bunch AAA titles (more than just
Halo 3) then it might have a chance. But anything more than three months
early dooms them, IMO.

-Z-
 
M

Martin

R420 said:
Posted on Sun, Feb. 01, 2004

Microsoft leaks details on Xbox Next
PLANS REFLECT HARD-FOUGHT BATTLE WITH SONY FOR GAMERS' DOLLARS
By Dean Takahashi
Mercury News

Microsoft has quietly circulated the specifications for its
next-generation Xbox video-game console, indicating how the company
plans to carry on its war against dominant player Sony.


They would really set the cat amongst the pigeons if they could make an xbox
that played PS2 games...

Martin
 
B

Bobby

Interesting that MS is ditching nVidia in favour of ATI. That contract must
be worth $$$ to ATI.
 
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A

Andrew Ryan Chang

R420 said:
Microsoft leaks details on Xbox Next
PLANS REFLECT HARD-FOUGHT BATTLE WITH SONY FOR GAMERS' DOLLARS
By Dean Takahashi
Mercury News
Microsoft is leaving itself wiggle room to react to competitive moves
by Sony and Nintendo. A few details are to be decided. In contrast
with the current Xbox, the next one will have no hard disk drive --
unless Sony puts one in the PlayStation 3. Instead, the console will
rely on flash memory to store saved games and permanent data, much
like the current PlayStation 2.

Boo!
 
A

ammonton

In alt.comp.periphs.videocards.ati Zackman said:
Fatal error. Xbox2 launches first, Sony looks at it, Sony says "PS3
will have this and this and this that makes it better than Xbox2, not
to mention Grand Theft Auto 5" and nobody buys Xbox2, a la the
Dreamcast.

The difference is that unlike Sega, Microsoft actually has a competent
marketing department (and more money, too).

-a
 
S

Sir William

Lol, anyone find it...interesting that Microsoft is using Apple computers to
develop the hardware demos? I mean it is only natural given the processor
choice, but still ;)
 
A

ammonton

In alt.comp.periphs.videocards.ati Sir William said:
Lol, anyone find it...interesting that Microsoft is using Apple
computers to develop the hardware demos? I mean it is only natural
given the processor choice, but still ;)

The conspiracy nut in me just keeps thinking about that temp that got
fired for posting photos of G5 Macs being delivered to Microsoft.
<http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/even_microsoft_.html>
(I don't believe there's any connection, but let's see how long it takes
for this to become a rumour..)

-a
 
S

stu

Lol, anyone find it...interesting that Microsoft is using Apple computers
to
develop the hardware demos? I mean it is only natural given the processor
choice, but still ;)

Nope,makes total sense.
 
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P

Pluvious

On 1 Feb 2004 08:49:18 -0800, (e-mail address removed) (R420) wrote:

|
Microsoft has the opportunity to really shine and completely blow Sony
out of the water by throwing HUGE AMOUNTS of money at Xbox2 and
frankly, I don't understand why they don't. M$ has over 50 BILLION in
cash ON HAND!!! They can afford to throw every bell and whistle at
xbox 2 and not even be concerned about Sony and the PS3. Leapfrog
them by going crazy and really doing it right.

I can't believe M$ is pussy-footing around here. They need to make a
BOLD move and just drop a billion or so. Sony WHO?..

Pluvious
 
A

ammonton

In alt.comp.periphs.videocards.ati McCrack said:
Microsoft does develop apps for Mac's so why shouldn't they be taking
delivery of Mac G5's?

There was never anything suspicious about that, it was the (over)rection
to the pictures being posted that caused the stir.

-a
 
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D

Dirk

The details suggest Microsoft is far more concerned about keeping the
cost of its Xbox Next console low
and

• Three IBM-designed 64-bit microprocessors. The combined power of
these chips means the Xbox Next will have more computing power than
most personal computers. The chips are used in Apple Computer's
high-end G5 PowerMac machines now.

Three high-end CPUs? Well, high-end now, mid-range in 2005, but
anyway. That's about as plausible as current XBox having included 3
Pentium chips... Ie way over the top too expensive, if they're trying
to save cost.

Kinda suspcious article IMO in other respects too. I wouldn't trust a
word in it.
 
B

Bagpuss

Three high-end CPUs? Well, high-end now, mid-range in 2005, but
anyway. That's about as plausible as current XBox having included 3
Pentium chips... Ie way over the top too expensive, if they're trying
to save cost.

It depends on what they do. Coupled with ATI being involed in the
graphics set, you have a 64 bit graphics GPU (not that high specced as
128 bit is more the power to expect) a 64 bit CPU and a 64 bit
processor to work as a mobo chipset to control memory, disks, DVD
playback, sound e.t.c.
 
N

Nate Edel

In comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips Zackman said:
Most Xbox games don't even fill a standard DVD, so why bother with Blu Ray?

Media center -- if it looks like one of the HD-DVD standards is going to
catch on, you want people to be able to play their movies on it.
 
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H

Hank Hank Revolution

Cygnus personality #215 wrote:

<snipped more Cygnus trollbaiting>

Cygnus, with how many different names you post through Google Groups how
do you decide which one to use? I mean do you say R420 is my Sunday
name, Sprite Scaler is my Wednesday name, Cygnus X-1 is my laptop name
because everyone in the console groups knows what a psycho troll I am?
I'm just curious.
 

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