Xbox 720 May Feature PC-Like Customization

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Xbox 720 May Feature PC-Like Customization

image

Microsoft has filed patent applications for a "scalable hardware system".

Remember those Xbox 720 design documents from 2010 that leaked onto the internet? Whether you believe they're genuine or not, it's hard to deny they hint at things that Microsoft would love to implement in its next console. Microsoft's takedown notices may not have been the confirmation on the matter we were hoping for, but the discovery of a US patent application has just reignited the issue. Four months after the internal documents were created, Microsoft filed patents for a scalable hardware system with certain design concepts bearing a curious resemblance to ideas from the Xbox 720 documents.

The patent application, which you can read here, was published quietly last month and recently discovered by Beyond3D Forum Member "Sonic". Unlike design documents, an authentic US patent application is much harder to dismiss with a wave of your hand, especially when the inventor named on the application is Jeffrey Andrews, one of Microsoft's chief hardware architects.

The patent abstract explicitly states that the system will run "media applications such as game applications" and repeatedly states that platform and hardware resources will be capable of scaling up or down over time. Several possible system models are mentioned in the patent, all of which allow for multiple CPU and GPUs, which might even suggest a level of customization more in line with the common PC.

While the technology behind the system itself is very interesting, the main question is why Microsoft would allow a console to be customizable at all? The most likely answer lies in our prolonged console generation. If the next generation were to undergo a similar process, the ability to immediately increase hardware capability might be enough to keep the system relevant for the cycle's entire duration.

If Microsoft does use this technology in their next console, I'm curious whether these customization options will be available to end users. After all, Microsoft already provided an official SDK for the Kinect and the Ouya Kickstarter conclusively proved that customization is a big deal. If one of the industry's biggest platforms opened the door for user-controlled hacks and upgrades, it may gain a huge edge in the upcoming console generation.

Source: Eurogamer

Permalink

In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

I'm doubtful they would actually implement this in to the next Xbox. MS like their control.

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

Pretty sure Jim never said "we shall all be PCs or be shot." In fact, I don't think anyone here has ever said we should turn into computers.

OT: Patents suck. I've become increasingly convinced they are nothing but methods and means for companies to throw their weight around and crush competition.

consoles moving away from PCs to be more like PCs.
image

btw. ouya is nothing but a good and cheap barebone pc with a controller.

Scrustle:
I'm doubtful they would actually implement this in to the next Xbox. MS like their control.

I suspect it will be customization like the MAC. Only Microsoft approved components will be permitted, this isn't bad thing. After all the main point of consoles is the the reduced cost of development by having standard components.

I want the component that makes it so I don't have to buy three of these things. Oh, I forgot, I had to buy three 360s, why the hell would I buy hardware from Microsoft again?

Clearing the Eye:

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

Pretty sure Jim never said "we shall all be PCs or be shot." In fact, I don't think anyone here has ever said we should turn into computers.

OT: Patents suck. I've become increasingly convinced they are nothing but methods and means for companies to throw their weight around and crush competition.

More like his fans going "WAAH! YOU SHOULD ALL BE PLAYING ON PCS BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T YOU ARE STUPID, WAAAAHHH!"

image

YOU ARE TEARING THE ESCAPIST COMMUNITY APART, JIMQUISITON!

Don't know if I like this idea. Sounds to me like this will lead to mandatory upgrades for my Xbox so I can play the newest games. Sure this might have some positive sides, but from my point of view consoles should not need a hardware upgrade until the next gen comes along and not every few months/years just so I can run my games I just payed 60$ for.

I wish people would realize that "consoles" are just dumbed down PCs, especially XBOX.

The only point of them is DRM. So basically, expensive Steam.
Want me to link JimQuisition for you?

I think I'm going to stick to my initial assessment of the next console cycle. That is, stay out of it in favor of my PC unless they roll out quite a few console exclusives that I can't live without playing.

Clearing the Eye:

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

Pretty sure Jim never said "we shall all be PCs or be shot." In fact, I don't think anyone here has ever said we should turn into computers.

OT: Patents suck. I've become increasingly convinced they are nothing but methods and means for companies to throw their weight around and crush competition.

The reason why patents were introduced was to stop big companies throwing their weight around. Without them anyone coming up with a new idea that works, the large companies would just simply copy it and not pay the inventor anything. Who do you think would win in straight sales battle between a small start up and, lets say, Microsoft.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Having the option right now to improve my Xbox's GPU or give it more RAM would be attractive (assuming games could take advantage of it). It would also be nice to be able to replace burned-out components myself instead of having to pay Microsoft to do it (or replace my console).

On the other hand, the prospect of having to pay hundreds of dollars every year to ensure my Xbox Next meets the most current Microsoft hardware spec doesn't appeal to me. And I doubt developers are looking forward to having to make sure their titles run on multiple different hardware configurations.

I heard a while back that Windows 8 would play XBox games. Is that a thing that is real? If so, why would anyone buy an XBox 720 instead of a comparable PC with Windows 8?

My PC already features full customizability. I don't need to tie myself to a console that charges me for online play and 10$ extra for every game I buy.

Because really that is the only two things that will be left if M$ actually makes this patent a reality.

You will be playing on a console you have to upgrade to keep up with games without any of the PC benefits. In the end you will just pay more money. I'll continue being part of the glorious PC master race me thinks.

This isn't bad, according to Ars Technia it's designed so that the level of gameplay power doesn't change but if there is spare processing power it can go to other things. So it will allow them to do not box themselves into holes with stuff like cross-party chart and accessories etc

PingoBlack:
I wish people would realize that "consoles" are just dumbed down PCs, especially XBOX.

The only point of them is DRM. So basically, expensive Steam.
Want me to link JimQuisition for you?

I feel your tone is quite aggressive towards opinions of people who differ from yourself.

And the Jimquisition, unlike say Extra Credits, doesn't spend a whole lot of time on sound logical arguments, it's broadly (ish) cohesive but it's always a one sided commentary (or 'rant') in line with basically any other random guy on the internet, so forgive me, but considering his track record, I'd find what you have to say, more helpful than him. It's like having O'Reilly or Glenn Beck on your side, at best means nothing, and you have more esteem in my eyes than him because at least your a fresh perspective. For me, Jim on the other hand is just a bit of hipster, goth, scene kid, whatever. He's the counter-culture person who defines himself entirely in opposition to the popular opinion, which is just a bit boring. Yahtzee on the other hand, often has opinions that clash with popular opinion but he allows compromise and his opinions vary, sometimes he agrees if he feels like the evidence support it and unlike Jim it feels like Yahtzee has thought about something and then formed an opinion, whereas Jim forms an opinion and then creates a reason to support it.

Microsoft allowing Moding for the X-box?
Will the Apocalypse just get here already!?

This does not seem much different than Nintendo's attempt to do the same with the Nintendo64. Unfortunately, Nintendo only got as far as trying the 'ram expansion pack' or whatever it was called, which enabled high resolution textures in some games and maybe some other features in others. Nintendo also had another upgrade in the works which I do not think ever happened. It involved an upgrade to a 'zip disk' type media called the DD64 (disk drive) if I remember correctly.

Anyway, modular consoles do not seem like a viable idea. For starters, it takes away the prime advantage consoles have over PCs: developers can optimize games for a stable and specific hardware architecture and spec. Introducing different hardwares would force developers to optimize a game for different combinations of upgrades. Additionally, it makes 'what works and what don't' an ambiguous question when it's time to purchase a game. Consumers will have to pay attention to whether their chosen game will even work with their system specs, or face the possibility of a forced upgrade.

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

PingoBlack:
I wish people would realize that "consoles" are just dumbed down PCs, especially XBOX.

The only point of them is DRM. So basically, expensive Steam.
Want me to link JimQuisition for you?

Called it. FUCKING Called it! People would ask to link to the least trustworth asshole who works for this site!

Seriously, how do you people like him? He basically exists to cause idiotic flame wars. Like what's about to start.

BrotherRool:
I feel your tone is quite aggressive towards opinions of people who differ from yourself.

My tone? O.o

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360_hardware

XBOX always was based on PC hardware, the basic selling point is that due to it being standardized hardware it is more reliable than a persons quite non-standardized) PC.

Of course, most people are not geeky so they don't look at specs, so they tend to not realize the physical hardware they run. Unlike PS3 which has a rather different design, being a vector processor basically.

But why would you feel threatened by my text based comment is beyond me ... Oh I see, assumptions.

Mojo_22:
Don't know if I like this idea. Sounds to me like this will lead to mandatory upgrades for my Xbox so I can play the newest games. Sure this might have some positive sides, but from my point of view consoles should not need a hardware upgrade until the next gen comes along and not every few months/years just so I can run my games I just payed 60$ for.

As much as I think that will ba stupid idea, the evil voice inside my head is hoping microsoft will do it and watch as they alienate half their audience.

saintdane05:
Seriously, how do you people like him? He basically exists to cause idiotic flame wars. Like what's about to start.

I don't like him at all. You can read my previous post, I was making a point about design and stability of hardware platform and compared it to mess of PC customizations. Too geeky for you?

Mojo_22:
Don't know if I like this idea. Sounds to me like this will lead to mandatory upgrades for my Xbox so I can play the newest games. Sure this might have some positive sides, but from my point of view consoles should not need a hardware upgrade until the next gen comes along and not every few months/years just so I can run my games I just payed 60$ for.

That is a real danger. Close to end of the platform's life cycle it is quite possible many titles will either require better HW components or just refuse to work in full quality unless you have them.

For console market, this might not work out so well, unless games are cheaper so that money is spent on HW toys instead ... But I doubt they would make games cheaper.

saintdane05:

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

PingoBlack:
I wish people would realize that "consoles" are just dumbed down PCs, especially XBOX.

The only point of them is DRM. So basically, expensive Steam.
Want me to link JimQuisition for you?

Called it. FUCKING Called it! People would ask to link to the least trustworth asshole who works for this site!

Seriously, how do you people like him? He basically exists to cause idiotic flame wars. Like what's about to start.

That is hardly an unforeseen comment since it was released what 3 days ago.

OT: As nice as this working would be I don't see it happening as it just makes consoles into more restrictive PCs. This will require making all of the upgradable parts easy to access and install as a lot of people are on console because they want less effort to play and do not keep up with advances by upgrading parts.

This also means developers will have to optimise games for a wider variety of specs on the consoles. While this would be no where near as much on the PC it is one of the things devs bring up when they talking about developing for consoles and this would lose another pro for consoles.

The other problem I can see with this is that Microsoft will charge an arm, a leg and a pound of flesh for these parts. Just compare the price of their hard drives to a normal PC hard drive. The price is quite different especially when with a bit of fiddling around you can get an existing xbox hard drive and take out the actual hard drive and change it with a decently priced one. Although that does require a bit of effort.

Unless they want to fragment the player base then just do whatever.

Wow, even less reason to get a console at all. I like it.

albino boo:

Clearing the Eye:

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

Pretty sure Jim never said "we shall all be PCs or be shot." In fact, I don't think anyone here has ever said we should turn into computers.

OT: Patents suck. I've become increasingly convinced they are nothing but methods and means for companies to throw their weight around and crush competition.

The reason why patents were introduced was to stop big companies throwing their weight around. Without them anyone coming up with a new idea that works, the large companies would just simply copy it and not pay the inventor anything. Who do you think would win in straight sales battle between a small start up and, lets say, Microsoft.

But now people patent an idea or technology just to stop any competition. Fucking Apple is suing people for making smartphones all the time.

saintdane05:
More like his fans going "WAAH! YOU SHOULD ALL BE PLAYING ON PCS BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T YOU ARE STUPID, WAAAAHHH!"

image

YOU ARE TEARING THE ESCAPIST COMMUNITY APART, JIMQUISITON!

Wow, you seem really upset.

OT: The question is why the hell you would even bother buying a 720 anymore if this holds true. Ease of use is just flying out the fucking window. And then they come along with this plan, in which case you're gonna be upgrading your hardware every year anyway if you want to play games on higher settings.

Plus, knowing Micro$oft, these new hardware parts will be expensive as fuck.

So I dunno man. Just buy a fucking PC. Consoles obviously aren't giving you the best of both worlds anymore, so...

saintdane05:
Seriously, how do you people like him? He basically exists to cause idiotic flame wars. Like what's about to start.

Ffs, calm down. You're the only one screaming and flaming here.

Azuaron:
I heard a while back that Windows 8 would play XBox games. Is that a thing that is real? If so, why would anyone buy an XBox 720 instead of a comparable PC with Windows 8?

I may be wrong but I think Windows 8 will be able to play 360 games but not games from whatever the next xbox will be called.

OT: I thought the reason consoles had locked hardware was so consumers don't have to worry about games not working and developers only need to make their game compatible with one set of specs.

It actually might work
Not in the to-play-this-game-you-must-have-version-3-of-xbox way
But rather in the graphical and performance scaling
Any version of new XBox can run any game, but each better version will perform with improved graphics, higher FPS and shorter loading times.
For example XBox720v1 will be only slightly better than PS3, XBox720v2 will be at hardware level of average gaming PC, while XBox720v3 will perform as good as top-tier gaming PCs.
With further hardware development v4 and v5 will eventually be released
Developers will have requirement to make games that can run on all XBox versions
So it might work if MS don't fuck things up

To the people of this thread:

I realized that my post may have sounded a bit rude. I apologize for this. I, in fact, just finished playing the PC (Or Mac, if you want to get techincal) version of New Vegas. Hell, my PC has more hours then the majority of my consoles! (Except the Gamecube. Sonic Adventure 2 was badass, wasn't it?) I was not trying to insult any PC gamer.

HOWEVER! I still don't like Jim, nor his show. That I will stand by.

To make up for my epic act of assholery, how about some adorable?

saintdane05:
HOWEVER! I still don't like Jim, nor his show. That I will stand by.

No problem at all, it's only natural. :) Think of it this way ...
Even the most annoying person sometimes drops a good point. :)

In this case, Jim is not as important. What he said though resonates: If consoles are made as problematic to users as PC (compatibility issues, software versions, complicated updates and patching, ...) then customers will eventually turn away from them.

Not because Jim thinks so, but because the alternative becomes less painful. I'm an IT professional so I find some professional satisfaction in owning a complicated platform I have to tinker with, but I am not judging people that don't like that themselves.

Couple of thoughts on this:

-The configurable hardware components would most likely be tightly controlled by Microsoft, to keep the possible number configurations low for the benefit of developers and consumers. Of course this will most likely mean that the components are marked up some, and that tech-savvy users will probably circumvent those restrictions.

-Considering how much content can be fit in the 8 gigs of a single DVD and how much it costs to make that content I don't think that games will go over the 50 gig limit of a dual-layer blu-ray anytime soon, meaning that developers could package several different configurations of the game data on a single disc to match possible hardware configurations.

-Microsoft will probably keep their policy of demanding that developers ensure their game works on the weakest possible hardware configuration. Meaning that a game has to work on all possible configurations of XBox hardware before being released, possibly even requiring it to meet certain criteria for visual fidelity (1080p output, target frame-rate, etc) , more powerful configurations would merely offer higher fidelity and frame-rate and possibly more consistent performance while multi-tasking.

-This expandability might mean that the basic configuration might not support backwards compatibility but that backwards compatibility is offered as a hardware expansion.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand It would be pretty cool to upgrade a console and maybe even play mods on it. On the other hand the idea that I may have to pay to upgrade my console to play certain games doesn't really appeal to me. I guess I'll just wait for more info before damning or praising this thing.

Clearing the Eye:

saintdane05:
In before some asshole references Jim the asshole and yell how we shall all be PCs or be shot.

Pretty sure Jim never said "we shall all be PCs or be shot." In fact, I don't think anyone here has ever said we should turn into computers.

"I'm a PC, and world domination was my idea"

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here