Microsoft Working On New Xbox Design

Microsoft Working On New Xbox Design

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Insiders at Toshiba have reported that Microsoft is working on a brand new Xbox with a new HD DVD drive, larger hard drive, new entertainment software and other features.

The new device, while still functioning as a game console, is intended to serve as an "entertainment hub," with 1080p video playback and wireless networking capability. Other possibilities for the system include a dual HDTV tuner, EPG (electronic program guide) capability and an MP3 player docking port. The design is reportedly in response to recent surveys which show that in several countries, Sony's competing PlayStation 3 console is selling primarily because it includes a Blu-ray player.

"An Xbox with a built-in HD DVD is critical," a Toshiba executive said to technology website SmartHouse. "It also has to be more than a gaming machine. Microsoft recognizes this. A version of the device may also be sold under the Toshiba brand name." Toshiba owns the patent to HD DVD.

"The PS3 has been extremely successful for Sony in getting Blu-ray off the ground and for Microsoft, the omission of a built-in HD DVD player is set to hurt sales going forward as consumers are aware that the PS3 comes with a Blu-ray player," added JB HiFi Marketing Director Scott Browing.

Toshiba is also reported to be working with Microsoft to reduce heat and noise output from current levels in order to keep the device silent during movie playback, and to reduce hardware failure rates. The new device is expected to be unveiled in late 2008 or in 2009 at the Las Vegas CES.

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I think this would push me over the edge. By then, Bioshock would be way cheap, and getting an HD DVD player as well as a tuner would be total gravy.

I've actually been looking for an external ATSC tuner to use with my older HD set (with NTSC tuner only)... dang, that new model tempts.

-- Steve

I really get disappointed when I hear stuff like this, because it just feels like it's too soon for the next generation.

It's not surprising they'd include all that other multimedia functionality, but the thing that I hope Microsoft keeps in mind is that the system should be about the games, first and foremost. Sony's focus has always been on adding so many other non-gaming features to their console, and the PS3 showed just how little they actually care about real gaming. If the next Xbox is the same way, well, I'll be mad disappointed.

I will say, however, that those features do sound nice...

ccesarano:
I really get disappointed when I hear stuff like this, because it just feels like it's too soon for the next generation.

It's not surprising they'd include all that other multimedia functionality, but the thing that I hope Microsoft keeps in mind is that the system should be about the games, first and foremost. Sony's focus has always been on adding so many other non-gaming features to their console, and the PS3 showed just how little they actually care about real gaming. If the next Xbox is the same way, well, I'll be mad disappointed.

I will say, however, that those features do sound nice...

I don't think they'll forget about that. With the newest chipsets, and more functions, that super duper Xbox will be neat.

What's sad I think, is that now, I just don't know if I should wait a bit longer. I mean, it's going to take near a year now for that new design to take off.

Well, maybe this leaves me time to complete my PS2 collection, eventually look for a japanese one and grab a Dreamcast (yeah, just for the shoots).

I figure by the time that my 360 succumbs to the Red Ring of Death, they'll have about 20 different hardware revisions available, and I can get one with the exact features the original was lacking. Then I can take the repaired old one and turn it into a desktop or something.

"The PS3 has been extremely successful for Sony in getting Blu-ray off the ground"

Well I don't know if thats exactly true because I'm not sure if the PS3 has been successful with anything.

bue519:
"The PS3 has been extremely successful for Sony in getting Blu-ray off the ground"

Well I don't know if thats exactly true because I'm not sure if the PS3 has been successful with anything.

Sure they have, they've got Microsoft and Toshiba playing a game of monkey see, monkey do with them.

*If this rumor proves to be true than it* validates Shadow Skill's post yesterday (Although I agree it's tone was far more abrasive than necessary). If they are going to do this and you don't already have a Xbox might I suggest just buying a PS3 and waiting for this version to come out.

Interesting that Microsoft would change its mind about this:

I was more intrigued with the HD DVD drive as a piece of hardware. I asked if we would ever see games use the drive. A firm "no." I asked if we would ever see a 360 with an HD DVD drive built-in. Another firm "no." No hesitation.

"We don't want to charge customers $200 extra for something that may be the next Betamax," Henson told me (whoops).

I thought I read somewhere (Jason Cross?) that there was an issue with the speed of HD-DVD drives, namely that they wouldn't be fast enough to provide the same level of performance as the current drive. Of course the tech could improve by late 2008/early 2009.

bue519:
"The PS3 has been extremely successful for Sony in getting Blu-ray off the ground"

Well I don't know if thats exactly true because I'm not sure if the PS3 has been successful with anything.

My understanding is that in Australia (and perhaps in other places) the system is being marketed as a Blu-ray player that also plays videogames, rather than the other way around, and in that they're having somewhat more success selling the thing than many other markets.

Malygris:

bue519:
"The PS3 has been extremely successful for Sony in getting Blu-ray off the ground"

Well I don't know if thats exactly true because I'm not sure if the PS3 has been successful with anything.

My understanding is that in Australia (and perhaps in other places) the system is being marketed as a Blu-ray player that also plays videogames, rather than the other way around, and in that they're having somewhat more success selling the thing than many other markets.

Precisely what happens, yep. And it can only get better, as they're lowering the price of this Blu-ray pla... *cough* PS3.

Anyway, prices are falling for the hardcore machines. This can only be good for us.

I continue to be surprised at the lack of skepticism aimed at this concept. ccesarano is treating this like the XBOX720 (next generation? My understanding is that this would be an extension of the current hardware.) Others seem to be making conclusions based off of this as if it were confirmed fact. Did I miss the press release? Maybe you meant your responses in a hypothetical manner (with an implied "if this were true"), but the responses don't seem to be couched in that tone. Do we really want to go so far as to say that an insider loonie at Toshiba VALIDATES shadow skill?

Time for me to be a skeptic: Toshiba desperately WANTS Microsoft to do this, as they have the most to lose from the potential death of HD-DVD. This announcement (leak) confirming (purporting) Microsoft's plans is probably complete hooha (bullshit).

Also, this potential product would do little to serve a mass-market need, and would not likely be at a reasonable pricepoint. To those talking about waiting for this device, I would add "saving" to the "waiting" portion, because dual HD tuners, with a bigger hard drive, chassis redesign, HD-DVD drive, MP3 dock, wireless networking, "entertainment software", etc, etc, won't be cheap. It probably won't even be affordable.

Honestly, every time someone brings one of these franken-monstrosities to market, they fail horribly. And every time I hear about one, the source starts to sound like a 12 year old dreaming up his ultimate Christmas Wish-list, with custom flamejob and ability to defy gravity included.

Why am I one of the only people reading the SmartHouse article and thinking, "Wow, what crappy writing..." (the SmartHouse people, not you Malygris), and then follow up with, "These people must be desperate for traffic."

@Justin Fletcher: If I recall correctly, I think the concern that Microsoft espoused early on (in defense of their sticking with DVD9, so keep your grain of salt handy) was that DVD throughput at 12x (~142 Mb/s) was better than the available 2x HD speeds, like what Sony used for the PS3 (BR: ~108 Mb/s, HD: ~73 Mbit/s). The 4x BR/HD drives that are starting to become available will, in BR's case, blow 12x DVD out of the water, and in HD's case, just surpass. By 6x/8x, there will simply be no question. (Source of drive speeds: Wikipedia). I think that your "could" is more likely a "will".

Edit: 4tw, and by that, I mean silly typo. Edit^2: As Daffy would put it, "Verb trouble"

Guys this is a rumor, personally I want to believe that Microsoft is not insane enough to actually try this in any form, but then again I thought a PS3 without ps2 backwards compatibility was too crazy to happen and it did. This whole thing is so dangerous to introduce because even if they still would not use HD-DVD for games (And thereby not screw the people who already have one.) if Sony was clever they could spin the introduction of such a unit into ads that question whether Microsoft is going to abbandon their users who only have the DVD capable machines because they finally had to admit that DVD was "last-gen." They could then begin to categorize all of the 360's games as "last-gen" while touting their own games (even the crappy ones.) as "next-gen" because of Blu-ray.

Then there is of course the movie issue; if Sony execs would wake up they could start counteracting the HDMI enabled 360's and this player by simply saying "So you have your Xbox 360 but don't have one with an HDMI port why worry about being able to play your HD movies on your 360 when you can get a PS3 which comes with a Blu-ray player built in and can play HD-DVDs with any USB HD-DVD drive via Linux." If Microsoft does this such an add campaign would actually become even more potent potentially.

I would think that the Xbox division would bleed itself dry with price drops trying to counteract the situation that they would have made by themselves. For that reason logic tells me that this is either the next Xbox (which had better not come out in 2009.) or that this is not likely to happen. But as I said before logic failed me with the 40gb model.

Hmm... that sounds interesting. I already have an Xbox 360 unfortunately, but mine was made in December '05 and still hasn't died. (Yay!) But it is lacking in newer features the current 360's have. So I'll probably sell mine when this "new" one is released. (I think i might be emotionally attached to my 360 now. Crazy isn't it...)

Geoffrey

I agree. To me it's just a classical Xbox 360, with the neat chipset that stays cool, and with HD-DVD inside. It's logical that they include it now, considering the amount Microsoft has been spending recently on HD-DVD to force it, signing a deal with two big Hollywood firms.
Back then, when they made their first comment, there was nothing sure, and it was just a move to make it look like they resigned.
When you look like the wounded, you can count on surprise.

Selling it like a HD-DVD player is a good thing to try.
I suppose that they might want to offer a new casing design, though.
It still looks a bit too nerdy for an average living room player.

 

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