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Xbox 2 Coming In Eight Months reports that the next Xbox is coming in October. Supposedly this is a well-known secret in the gaming industry.

While internet news sources today have reported that Microsoft is readying to launch its next generation Xbox hardware in America and Europe in the fourth quarter of this year, Eurogamer has learnt that the specific timing for the machine’s roll-out is late October or early November, and merely weeks after the US launch. The exact date is yet to be solidified.

Xbox 2 is the name of the console, as many expected. Some competitors are criticizing Microsoft for coming out with the new box too early, forcing the next generation of consoles before the market is ready. E3 is expected to see the big reveal.

Am I the only person that thinks Microsoft should treat the Xbox like it were a PC, with new hardware every single year, making the game platform more powerful and robust, and allowing backward compatibility while improving quality every 12 months? Is it too crazy of an idea?
(via Slashdot)

February 15th, 2005 Posted by | General, Xbox | 5 comments

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  1. While new hardware does not generally affect the dev cycle of the PC, it would greatly disrupt the dev cycle for a console. Indeed, this release is far too early. Developers tend to see a new console release as a “whole package,” and begin a new cycle of development for the new console, rather than using their greater grasp of the dev technology for the old one to make great games.

    Think of what would have happened if Nintendo moved to a new console before the releases of Zelda: OOT, Perfect Dark, and Donkey Kong 64. Like on the SNES, the best games come from mature technology, and a short console lifespan, even with backwards compatibility, does not allow this.

    This could change, as more developers realize the potential of backwards compatibility, but considering an XBox 2 owner is much more likely to buy a game with “XBox 2″ emblazoned across the front, rather than just “XBox,” it’s unlikely. That nomenclature problem doesn’t affect PCs.

    Comment by Michael Akerman | February 15, 2005

  2. Lets say Microsoft put a lot of emphasis on backward compatibility. They would release a faster, more robust Xbox every 12 months, but one that worked the same and ran the same games. This means that developers are working off the same system for a longer than normal console cycle, but gamers can buy newer consoles to get better performance (although over time, five or six year old consoles might be too slow, but it would be your decision when to abandon them).

    Like you said, the more mature a console, the better the games. What if the console never entered a new cycle? It would conceivably be the most mature system on the market, with the best games.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | February 15, 2005

  3. I’m doubtful the developers would ever adapt to backwards compatibility, as such, and make great games for old systems (even though they work on the old one). I think what you’re describing is forward compatibility (meaning the XBox could play XBox 2 games, like an old PC can play new games, just with lower settings), and yes, that would work.

    They would be the first to do that, in the console world, of course.

    Comment by Michael Akerman | February 15, 2005

  4. Michael, you’ve created the key buzzword: Forward Compatibility. The first company to implement this successfully will see their console become as ubiquitious as the PC.

    Especially if they license it out and let other manufacturers build different versions of the console, all of which work with the same games.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | February 15, 2005

  5. Licensed game support… that is a really good idea. Sounds very Microsoftish too. Or Google, but they’re not in the console market… yet.

    Comment by Michael Akerman | February 15, 2005

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