The Silence Before the Storm – Next-Gen Console Wars (Part 1)
The speculation is enough to drive any gamer, or console enthusiast mad. The latest release rumors suggest that Microsoft and Sony will reveal the next Xbox and Playstation consoles shortly before E3 in June, with launches occurring just in time for the holiday season. Personally, I don’t believe these two systems will debut side by side. I think it’s much more likely that we can expect one announcement followed by the other. Why? Because both corporations want to grab as much media attention as possible and announcing a new console at the same time as your competitor is something these two divisions surely have considered and want to avoid. It should then go without saying that there are two options these corporate giants have to choose from, either wait for their rival to release their own new system, or be aggressive and try to launch before the other. So who is going to be first? What rumors hold up to analysis and which of them seem to have too many flaws?
The Next-Gen Microsoft Xbox
Codenamed Durango, the next-gen development kit was first spotted in July 2012. The kit’s legitimacy was verified by multiple developers working on next-gen projects and multiple sources have said that we can expect processing power six times greater than that of the Xbox 360.
Other potential next-gen Xbox names that have been mentioned include the Xbox 720, Xbox Loop and Xbox Infinity. Microsoft did recently purchase www.xbox8.com, so it may not be too much of a leap to assume that either Loop, or Infinity could be the final console’s name. As for Xbox 720, it could very well be the next-gen name. Personally, I tend to agree with the idea that this will not flesh out. Mainly due to the belief that the Xbox 360 was named so to represent either a revolution (360 degrees), or the complete solution (again 360 degrees). Moving from 360 to 720, if this idea is correct, doesn’t make much sense.
Based on reports, it seems that the next-gen Xbox will use an AMD eight-core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz, 4-8GB DDR3 RAM, and an AMD 6670 GPU. Total computing power estimated to be 1.23 teraflops.
Storage and Drive
Due to Playstation’s lead over Xbox in the Blu-ray department, it might seem logical that the next-gen system would include a Blu-ray drive, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Microsoft is poised to become a leader in digital content delivery, and including a Blu-ray player for the purpose of watching Blu-ray films isn’t something I find all that likely.
As for storage, I would expect a reasonably sized SSD. Something comparable to what we’re already used to as far as capacity is concerned.
One source has claimed that the next-gen platform will launch with Skype as its default communications program, effectively replacing the Xbox Live chat and messenger application. I don’t find this too hard to swallow. The Live chat has always been just okay. This could be a welcomed addition to the new system.
We’re all familiar with Microsoft’s IllumiRoom tech that has been featured recently. It’s only a proof-of-concept now, but the next-gen Xbox could be the launching pad for this new feature. We’ll have to wait and find out. I personally don’t believe we’ll see IllumiRoom in the next-gen, I think if it is announced it will be part of an upgraded Kinect system.