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Thread: Rumor: Xbox Natal is Actually Microsoft's Next Console

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    Default Rumor: Xbox Natal is Actually Microsoft's Next Console

    Rumor: Xbox Natal is Actually Microsoft's Next Console

    So you know how Microsoft is saying Natal will be as big as console launch? Well...yeah.
    By Sam Kennedy, 06/12/2009

    Earlier this week gaming blog Kotaku quoted Microsoft's Shane Kim as saying that the launch of Natal, Microsoft's new controller-free motion control technology, would be as big as the launch of a console. Not surprising. That's because Natal is going to be a new console.

    On this week's Listen Up podcast we discussed Natal, and David Ellis and I talked about what we've been hearing regarding the new technology -- and how it's actually the cornerstone of Microsoft's next evolution of the Xbox. Microsoft will not only release Natal as an add-on for the Xbox 360, it will come standard with the next Xbox console.

    Yes, there will be a new Xbox console next fall.

    However, the new console won't just be an Xbox 360 with a camera, though -- we've heard it will be considered a new platform and carry a new name (Xbox Natal?). It's not clear what sort of upgrades we might see, but some have suggested it will be an slight upgrade of the current Xbox 360 technology. Current Xbox 360 games would be playable on it, but future games would be able to take advantage of the added muscle. Similar to what we see in the PC space, games played on the more advanced Xbox would look or perform better, but publishers will still be able to support owners of both systems. Some developers have complained that they've already maxed out the Xbox 360; perhaps this will give them room to expand.

    Make no mistake, we wouldn't be talking about the sort of hardware leap we've seen with Xbox (or most other) platforms in the past, and we're not talking about Microsoft ending one console cycle and starting another. We're talking about an evolution of the Xbox 360; similar hardware but upgraded, repackaged, and rebranded. It's actually not that unlike what Nintendo did with the Wii, where it essentially took the GameCube hardware, stuck in motion controls, and successfully relaunched it. The new Xbox console is said to be aimed directly at a mainstream audience -- and will launch before Nintendo is able to release its Wii HD.

    What's interesting is that Nintendo and Microsoft are on a course to deliver very similar products yet are coming at them from opposite directions. Microsoft currently has the HD hardware and will in the future introduce motion controls, while Nintendo has motion controls and will in the future introduce HD hardware. Sony's PS3 will also be providing motion controls next year, though as a peripheral for its EyeToy camera.
    As John Davison pointed out on the podcast, the Wii was the first console to do this, but it's likely that all future hardware will be more iterative than substantive. The distinction between new consoles will become far less marked -- similar to what we've seen in the handheld space, such as with the transitions from the Game Boy to the Game Boy Advance, the DS to the DSi, or the PSP to the PSP Go.

    So when would we first hear about this new Xbox console? Our sources point to next year's Game Developer's Conference as the target for its unveiling and Fall 2010 as the target for release.
    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3174762


    So, a slightly upgraded Xbox 360 combined with Natal
    (ala GameCube --> Wii) is Microsoft's next console?

    Thoughts?

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    Goodbye in-depth video games, hello quick money grubbing ala shovelware motion sensing horsecrap.
    DERP

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    I have my doubts this is true...but if it is..well, Microsoft will have lost my business. Assuming they don't include standard controlling along with the motion sensing.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    Microsoft needed to re-engineer the Xbox 360 a few years back, just to make it stop overheating. A new 360 with slightly more powerful hardware? Sounds like a machine that will red ring even faster. If they'd stop being so cheap and just upgrade the cooling system on the 360, I'd be happy. And so would millions of others who have had multiple Xbox 360s die from overheating.

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    With excruciatingly few exceptions, the Wii library has proven motion controls in video games to be little more than shallow, gimmicky shit so far. I haven't looked into or gotten excited about Natal thus far, but I still can't imagine getting hyped about motion controls.

    If Natal is Microsoft's next stab at a console, I'll pass.

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    Crono (Level 14) Sonicwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    Microsoft needed to re-engineer the Xbox 360 a few years back, just to make it stop overheating. A new 360 with slightly more powerful hardware? Sounds like a machine that will red ring even faster. If they'd stop being so cheap and just upgrade the cooling system on the 360, I'd be happy. And so would millions of others who have had multiple Xbox 360s die from overheating.
    Microsoft should just do what Sony does to every console. A budget redesign which improves on the faults of the predecessor... A 360Slim with these added motion sensing capabilities would sure sell. They really need to nip this heating problem in the bud.
    DERP

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    I don't think any company, be it Nintendo, Sony, or MS is ballsy enough to launch any console without a traditional interface. It's like voice recognition. Sure, it's neat, but would you want to replace a mouse/keyboard with "Computer, open My Documents, please."

    In the end, I don't see this changing much. A new console or a peripheral, it'll have it's uses but I highly doubt we'll end up becoming the old generation saying things like, "These whippersnappers today don't even know what it's like to hold a controller!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    I highly doubt we'll end up becoming the old generation saying things like, "These whippersnappers today don't even know what it's like to hold a controller!"
    I really believe virtual/augmented reality will be a major thing in the near future. You never know what controls they could dream up then. I doubt the video games in their present form would be standard still in 20, 30 or 40 years.
    DERP

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    Things will evolve but I doubt the interface will be completely replaced for one major reason: it's never really happened before. There's no precedent for it and there's no real reason why it has to happen.

    The computer is 50+ years old. The automobile is approaching 100 years old. The airplane is roughly as old. Guns are a few hundred years old. And boats and ships are even older than that. While they advanced over time, there hasn't been some gigantic overhaul of how humans interact with the machinery. Innovation expands how we can do things but doesn't necessarily replace what's most efficient. And while voice activated computers make for a great plot device in Star Trek, it's incredibly impractical.

    I can't imagine interfacing with video games by waving your hands in the air being any more practical for most things that would be considered actual games. I think most people would rather make moves in virtual Chess with the click of a button than have to manually make the motion as if they were playing real chess. And that's not even considering games that ask the player to do things not comfortably translated into body movements. I could play Pac-Man by pointing my arms in different directions like a football referee but where's the benefit? These new interfaces are good but usually have fairly specific applications.
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 06-13-2009 at 02:59 AM.

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    I'm no developer, but I highly doubt the 360 is even close to being maxed out. I swear, developers get lazier and lazier each day, and so does Microsoft. That's why they need like a bajillion GBs for a PC game install now. Zero fucking optimization, anywhere, basically. Not to shit on them, since they do work hard making kick-ass games, but it seems the general sentiment is "ah, fuck trying to configure this on the current hardware, let's just make everyone upgrade to a 9800GTX or a Xbox 720 to play it!" Anyone remember that game for PC that was like 60 KB and had pretty nice 3D graphics, came out like three or four years back? Played like shit, but it was an interesting theoretical exercise. Probably a topic on here...

    FIX the problems that the system already has, get creative with the processing power under the hood and stop making games with wasteful graphical effects. Gears of War 2 looked plenty nice to me. The PS2 was absolutely not maxed out in 2005...God of War 2 came out in 2007 and looked much better than the first one.

    The thing about these upgrades is that they're never "forced"...to begin with. But pretty soon everything will be released for this new Xbox 360 2x or Natal or whatever the shitty name will be, and then all the Xbox users will be fucked. Kind of like last time. Granted, if it's the same price as the 360 currently, I won't have a problem. But then, I don't see that happening.

    [/rant...I know, I know, it's only a rumor, but...wtf]
    Last edited by unwinddesign; 06-13-2009 at 04:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unwinddesign View Post
    Anyone remember that game for PC that was like 60 KB and had pretty nice 3D graphics, came out like three or four years back? Played like shit, but it was an interesting theoretical exercise. Probably a topic on here...
    Are you referring to .kkrieger? It was 96k and came out in 2006. It reminded me of the "tech demo" days between the Atari ST and Amiga groups. Yes, it played like crap but it was incredible to see a game like that fit into 96k.

    I agree, most developers these days don't really give the impression that their games are really optimized for their platform. Or maybe the constraints of a game system are so loose now compared to what they used to be that its more difficult to see just how optimized a game really is.

    For instance it's easy to look back at Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force III, Scorcher, Virtua Fighter 2, Power Slave, Sonic R etc. on the Saturn and tell just how hard they coded and optimized to get everything in those games running with a solid frame rate. They had limited resources and had to code in creative ways to achieve those things. Same thing with the Factor 5 Star Wars games on the N64 where they wrote their own microcode to work around the systems faults. It was incredible, and proved that to a degree, limitations can force some developers to be more creative and thus the final product ends up being a better game.

    But as each generation of systems passes the constraints get less and the resources get bigger. Faster processors, more ram, etc. So now it feels like most developers don't have to really optimize their games because it doesn't push the system as it would have several system generations ago.

    I hope this generation lasts another several years so we can see what the current 3 systems can really do. Natal sounds like it could be really cool, but it all comes down to the games and creative developers. And no matter how good the motion sensing is... nothing will replace a controller, mouse, or keyboard for me.
    If a god is willing to prevent evil, but not able, then he is not omnipotent. If he is able, but not willing, then he must be malevolent. If he is both willing and able, then why is there evil? If he is neither able or willing then why call him a god?

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    I just want to say that I hate that many have had to deal with MS RROD situation....it is crazy to think that many are on their 2nd to even 5th console.

    Hearing about this makes sense. The RROD/360 failure isssue needs to be addressed correctly. A redesign and 360 upgrade would make sense.

    Here are my concens.

    1. It better still use a traditional controller
    2. It better be Backwards compatable with all titles
    3. Software support for the device
    4. Price...MS is not known to offer things cheaply.
    5. Console support for the 360 when its replacement is out....MS not known for keeping systems around.

    I think that the Natal has been recieved with praise, but I fear that MS will try to mimmic the Wii too much with casual games. This might frustrate their fan base who bought a 360 becasue it was different than the Wii. I like both systems for different reasons. When you get systems starting to be like one another, usually one fails and the other succeeds.
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    my money's on this being just the 360 slim, upgraded with valhalla and bundled with natal. i'm sure it'll have an upgraded hard drive too, since ms is getting more serious about pushing direct-dl games.

    if they created a new console that was only a minor upgrade, it would create a division between new and old consoles as much as a major upgrade would. if you're going to do that, might as well make it a big jump in power. besides, despite how much ms would love to wade in nintendo's blue ocean, i doubt they're willing to concede the core market to sony, who'd jump on an underpowered 360 successor with a beastly ps4, although not in 2010.

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    Sounds cool. I couldn't care less about the motion controls though. I'm just excited that my 100+ 360 games aren't going to be last-gen anytime soon.
    "One of the ways I gauge a DS game is by recharges. "...Tycho (Penny Arcade)

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    WORLD EXCLUSIVE FIRST DETAILS ON MICROSOFT'S NEXT XBOX

    06/13/09 1UP recently posted a new article revealing details on Microsoft's plans for their next XBox, we can officially confirm the information found in that particular report was indeed correct. However today FGNOnline would like to reveal Microsoft's planned specifications of their new unit.

    As mentioned in the 1UP piece the system shall indeed integrate the motion sensing technology Natal into the actual device, however our separate sources can now reveal the modest upgrade made to the actual architecture of the new system.

    GPU

    Whereas the original XBox 360 used a Shader Model 3 GPU with on-board 10MB eDRAM for 720p acceleration, the new XBox has a Shader Model 5 capable GPU with 32MB of eDRAM for 1080p output. The GPU again is designed by AMD and runs at a clock rate of 600MHz.

    CPU

    The IBM developed CPU shall have 6 cores instead of the 3 found in the original model.
    Each single core shall have the same processing throughput as each single core from the XCPU. Meaning the chip is literally 200% as strong and shall now be on equal footing with the PS3 CELL CPU in GFLOPS performance.

    MEMORY

    The main system RAM has been upgraded from 512MB to 1024MB, and from GDDR3 to GDDR5.
    The system retains a Unified Memory Architecture.

    OTHER

    The platform integrates a 2.5" 32GB SSD (Solid State Drive) instead of a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) as found in the original models. The system also uses a standard DVD drive foregoing Blu-ray thus ensuring backwards and forwards compatibility whilst simultaneously keeping the bill of materials low. Internet connectivity is provided via WiFi.

    RELEASE & PRICING

    Microsoft plans on a Q4 2010 simultaneous worldwide release. The company is targeting a sub $300 price point.

    http://fgnonline.webs.com/

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    I have a hard time believing this report, and if it's totally false, MS better crush the rumors soon.
    I don't want you to hate me, I want you to want to hate me - GamersUniteMagazine.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkTheMagicDragon View Post
    if they created a new console that was only a minor upgrade, it would create a division between new and old consoles as much as a major upgrade would. if you're going to do that, might as well make it a big jump in power. besides, despite how much ms would love to wade in nintendo's blue ocean, i doubt they're willing to concede the core market to sony, who'd jump on an underpowered 360 successor with a beastly ps4, although not in 2010.
    Sure, let me get out my wallet with the thousand-dollar bills.

    Developers hardly scratched the service on this generation, in terms of pushing processor power. So, 'roid'-ing for a graphics boost now would seem redundant. Not to mention how towering production costs (i.e. time and programming) pile up to take full advantage of such a beast.

    Quote Originally Posted by swlovinist View Post
    I think that the Natal has been recieved with praise, but I fear that MS will try to mimmic the Wii too much with casual games. This might frustrate their fan base who bought a 360 becasue it was different than the Wii. I like both systems for different reasons. When you get systems starting to be like one another, usually one fails and the other succeeds.
    That'll be ironic. Gamers dealing with years of RROD, don't even bat an eye, but the moment they have to share with grandma and grandpa, they go into a fit of rage.


    E3 showed the next generation will focus on motion-controls. It's a good thing for two reasons:

    A. Companies can start catching up in making full use with what graphical capabilities consoles have now.
    B. Opens new venues for game dev. to explore.
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    I've been really wondering about where Microsoft is going with their next console, but I seriously doubt that Natal is going to be the Wiimote to their Wii. Some of those specs above actually fit with my personal expectations, so I doubt they're going to release a console specifically toward the mainstream.

    The specs in that quote sound ALMOST decent. Let me break things down:
    GPU
    -600mhz for a GPU is pretty good. If it's built for 1920x1080 output, it must be pretty respectable. I'm going to guess it's based on the Radeon 4870 at this point. That means on-chip Havok, geometry tesselation, and all that good stuff. Look at AMD's Radeon tech demos to see what to expect.

    Processor
    -Wrong direction. Unless they're running several background tasks, they're asking for trouble. The 360 has three cores, which is fine, and modern PCs use four. PS3 uses one core to run the XMB at all times, so if Microsoft follows suit that's five cores to use. AMD is talking about moving processing to the GPU, so Microsoft better have a good plan for all that CPU.

    RAM
    -Are they insane??? RAM is DIRT CHEAP these days! Unless there's a standard DIMM in a user-accessible area, 1gb is a BAD move.

    Optical Drive
    -DVD for the THIRD time? Even Sega, the bumbling failure of CD systems didn't use the same format on three consoles. Even SD cards or USB media would have been an upgrade, since those can easily hold more than 9gb of data, and their prices are rapidly falling. Unless the DVD drive is for legacy compatibility, they're killing themselves.

    Operating System
    -Put Windows 7 on it! Simply include a read-only partition with the backup image, and let it replace the PC! I would GLADLY replace my desktop gaming rig with an equivalent gaming console if it were a full-fledged PC. Think about what a standardized machine could do for PC gaming!

    Controller
    -Screw Natal, make a modular 360 pad. Allow both analog sticks to be swapped for touchpads and trackballs, and you have better FPS and RTS control in the living room.

    Case
    -Microsoft should not be allowed to design cases anymore. Just get a decent mid-tower case and etch a big X in the window.

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    A mid tower case would be way too big for a console. It works for a pc sitting under a desk, but most people, like myself, keep their consoles in an entertainment center and don't want it taking t much space. They just need to learn how to cool their machines properly.

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    Here's some nice cases.



    They're definitely a little bigger than the 360. The issue is, that's how big it has to be for adequite cooling. If they put the 360 in one of these, it would probably be rock solid. There's even a company doing this sort of thing.


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