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Next Gen Xbox To Run On Windows?

With the news that Nintendo is working on its newest console, the Wii U, it makes sense that the rumour mill would run on overdrive about what Sony and Microsoft are planning for their next gen consoles. From what the new consoles would be called to how they are going to look, everyone was joining in on the discussion. Well now Microsoft has stepped up and added fuel to the fire in relation to its rumoured Xbox 720.

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, a forum for partners to learn about the latest Microsoft programs, strategies, and cutting-edge technologies, Microsoft’s Andy Lees revealed their ideal for the future. “We won’t have an ecosystem for PCs, and one for phones, and one for tablets – they’ll all come together,” he went on to explain, “We are aiming to provide coherence and consistency across the PC, the phone, and the TV, particularly with Xbox. That’s through providing new types of scenarios, things like the way in which we make the user experience more common.”

With the Windows phones and tablets already running on Windows, albeit a lighter version, will achieving this new ecosystem mean that the next Xbox will run on Windows also? As yet there is no time frame for when Microsoft are planning on releasing the new console and not really much else known about what is planned for it- even the name, Xbox 720 is speculation. All I know is I am eagerly waiting on some official information about what’s coming after the Xbox 360

For a full transcript of Andy Lee’s presentation head over to Microsoft’s News Centre.

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  • Anonymous

    The idea of drastically changing Windows is the worst idea I have ever heard. Changing your interface, that most of your customers already cant use, will not help anything.

    • Doctor__Zaius

      If you can’t figure out how to use windows (which has been around for over 20 years) Then why WOULDN’T they completely change it? Obviously some thing is wrong if customers are unable to use a product. So they should probably change it.

      • Anonymous

        Im talking about computer illiterate people. The ones who call the internet AOL and think every computer is an IBM. 

        They know only the most basic aspects of windows, and its probably not any fault of the design, but just a failure to understand. If you changed the interface they would be right back to square one and have to relearn everything.

  • Mark Withers

    i just have to say… if this turns out to be true I will of course be dragging this article out at every opportunity and saying “told you so!” to everyone 🙂  http://www.platformnation.com/2010/04/12/will-the-next-xbox-be-a-pc/

    • Anonymous

      A Consoles entire purpose is to provide a cheaper way to play games. Often times the price is subsidized at first by manufacturers, but more importantly cost is kept down through standardization of parts, and the optimization of the parts which help milk power out of weaker chips.

      The problem with a console that gets hardware upgrades is that you cant assume everyone will buy it. Lets say there is a RAM upgrade for the Xbox 360, any game that wants to use it has to either;

      A: Develop the game to work for the lowest common denominator, the Xbox 360’s that dont have the upgrade. Then then must make any extra features that use the RAM not vital to gameplay, ie any mechanics or options that would change how the game plays. It could only be visual, like better looking textures.

      B: Develop the game to only work for the upgraded systems. Now they are only appealing to users with the upgrade, which many times is a significantly smaller portion of the audience.

      For instance, the Kinect Sensor, which is a major accessory/upgrade for the system has sold under 15 million units so far. So say this hypothetical RAM upgrade does just as well, and sells 15 million units. There are over 50 million 360s sold. So any game developed for this RAM upgrade that actually puts it to use in a significant way, say to create a seamless open world game, or some sort of zombie game with lots of enemies on screen, can only be marketed towards that 30%. This means higher development costs and less potential revenue for developers.

      Its just not very feasible to have upgrades for a console. Its very hard to do and in the past has not worked (Sega CD). I guess the Wii Motion Plus is a good example of something that has worked, but I am not really informed on how old controllers work with games and if any games specifically implement the new accuracy. Nintendo is also a rare example because of their exceptional first party popularity.

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  • Anonymous

    I think it is likely that the xbox will get some kind of windows, that OS is being stretched and squeezed into all kinds of machines, so it would seem inevitable that it comes to gaming in some form or other. As for what is coming, well i hear a lot of wishful thinking about the lauded “next-gen”, but even the mighty Sony have warned us not to expect a huge leap in power. I think Microsoft might well bring out another 360, with more ram, built-in Kinect, possibly a bigger capacity optical drive and maybe even a Windows based OS, but little improvement in processing power.

  • Anonymous

    I think it is likely that the xbox will get some kind of windows, that OS is being stretched and squeezed into all kinds of machines, so it would seem inevitable that it comes to gaming in some form or other. As for what is coming, well i hear a lot of wishful thinking about the lauded “next-gen”, but even the mighty Sony have warned us not to expect a huge leap in power. I think Microsoft might well bring out another 360, with more ram, built-in Kinect, possibly a bigger capacity optical drive and maybe even a Windows based OS, but little improvement in processing power.

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  • Anonymous

    I believe there is improvement to be made, but it wont be made with CPU processing power. If you take a look at the advancements made on PC’s since the Xbox’s release they are impressive, but not very useful to gaming, mainly because they are general purpose processors. The Core 2 Duo is a very powerful processor, and has no problems running modern games compared to the new Core i7’s. Both do very well. However because console processors are application specific there could be a much bigger gain in power for the next generation consoles. Even then though I doubt this is where the difference will be.

    GPU technology has come very far since the Xbox 360’s release. If you take a look at what was top of the line in 2006, the Nvidia 8 Series, and look at whats top of the line now, the Nvidia 500 series. Its a huge difference. The ability to push effects such as SSAO, dynamic lighting and shadows, and volumetric effects is amazing now. This is where a new generation console could really get its power. I bet you could get a major increase in visuals with a new GPU.

    However maybe a move towards general architecture CPUs in consoles is what Microsoft is going for. I think this would be a poor move as it would increase complexity and cost while giving gaming no performance boost. While you can say Windows runs on a phone, I dont believe there is much in common between WP7 and W7, though I will admit my ignorance on that matter.

    When thinking about the path Microsoft will take with Windows 8 you have to consider that they have two main users bases, enterprise and retail (or individual user). In both markets they are the dominant product. Recently Apple’s Mac OS has gained more marketshare from Windows, but more importantly, increased the rate at which it gained marketshare. In the retail space a big change could be helpful. Windows has many negative perceptions attached to it which could be alienated by creating a new brand. However they also have to deal with the fact that a large number of their users are very ignorant and inexperienced when it comes to using their software, so a big change could just as easily push people over to Mac as it could to Windows’ successor.

    In the enterprise arena however a big change would be disastrous. Businesses are already very hesitant to even upgrade to the next version of Windows, with many still being on XP (and MS has extended their support for XP multiple times, with it finally being scheduled to be abandoned in 2014). I can almost say for sure there is a 0% chance of them changing things drastically for enterprise users. 

    But this means that there wont be a big change when Windows 8 comes, which goes against what was said in this conference and what has been seen in leaked screenshots. Which brings me to the conclusion that Microsoft may be moving to some sort of dual-OS environment.

    Its  no secret that Windows has many features (and bloat) that most users dont need. And its also no secret that the registry in Windows slows it down and is the main factor in computers aging. They cant abandon what they already have because of its use in enterprise and individual productivity, but they can add another environment to operate side by side. 

    They could go two ways, and do something like they did with Windows Media Center though to a much greater extent, and almost create a second OS in Windows. Or they could do something closer to a dual-boot setup where the OS’es are separate. Dual-booting which has always been popular with enthusiast, has gotten much more attention recently from demos showing Android/Chrome OS/Meego running as a supplemental OS on Laptops for better battery life/efficiency.

    I believe a dual-boot set up is actually ideal for most users, despite its seeming complexity. 

    But back to this article, I dont think Windows as we know it will be on the next Xbox. I think we will just see a much higher level of integration between Xboxes and PC’s then we see now. Maybe the next Xbox will run this new super OS that desktops will also run in addition to Windows. I would expand on this more but I have to get to work.

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