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Microsoft seeks staff for "next- gen console architectures"

By Alec Meer

Tue 08 Mar 2011 8:42am GMT / 3:42am EST / 12:42am PST

Job postings fuel new hardware speculation

A series of job postings from Microsoft have hinted that the Xbox firm is starting work on new console hardware.

Positions on LinkedIn (brought to light on Beyond3D) called for a graphics hardware architect to work on "next-generation console architectures from conception through implementation", plus a senior architect and performance engineer for the Xbox Console Architecture Group.

Also sought was a senior hardware design verification engineer, "responsible for the design verification and qualification of the Xbox console at the component, motherboard, and system levels."

With no further details available as yet, the positions do not yet confirm whether Microsoft is working on a new console, further revision of the current one, or something else entirely.

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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology

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this should be very interesting...ill shall be keeping an eye on this...

Posted:5 years ago


Josef Brett Animator

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This would be about right for thier predictions wouldn't it? If MS and Sony have said we'll have these current consoles for another 3 years or so, then this seems to back that statement up.

Posted:5 years ago


Erlend Grefsrud Creative Director, Strongman Games Ltd.

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Only Sony doesn't seem to want to build new console hardware and the developer community doesn't want to transition. If Microsoft puts out a new console in 3 years that's not aiming for the new market paradigm, they're screwed. Sony is already putting out a gaming tablet -- where is MS' tablet? Is this it?

The fact that they're talking about Win8 including an app store rather than rushing to implement a variant of the XBLA marketplace for Win7 should give you an idea of how out of touch they are. If they introduce a streamlined app marketplace in TWO YEARS, that ship has left a long time ago and might already be burning in some distant bay.

That said, it's not like MS E&DD has been making great business calls for the last decade, so I wouldn't put it past them.

Posted:5 years ago

They better not rely on DVD for their next console

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kurtis Buckley on 18th March 2011 6:28pm

Posted:5 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,288 447 0.3
I'd say although Sony don't want to release new hardware, the piracy issue that's sprung up since January combined with a potential nightmare if Sony and LG go to court, & the courts find in LG's favour re. blueray patents mean Sony must at least be thinking about it.

Of course MS could be building an Xbox phone;)

Posted:5 years ago


Chris Nash QA Engineer

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Kurtis: Oh, of course not. It's not like it's the (second?) most popular and ubiquitous optical disc format in the world, or anything. No, MS will make sure that their proprietary Blu-ray drive will explicitly not accept any DVDs. It makes perfect sense.

Posted:5 years ago


Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 943 0.7
If they can make hardware that will avoid so many failures and release it at a reasonable price... Im all for it. the main reason i never bought a 360 or Original Xbox was poor hardware design. The original XBOX was huge, looked more like a server than a console and the 360 had a high rate of hardware failure. And at 600 dollers on release I avoided it. I did stock up on 360 gamesand now with the new slim design, i think its good to purchase one.

However, I think the future of gaming isnt so much on graphics, since graphics are pretty much close to reality... i hope they focus on chipsets that allow for complex physics and A.I. in games. Such as objects with real density and mass(weight), Different materials such as wood and metal and they behave differantly like in real life when they encounter explosions or different ambient conditions. How liquids and objects collide with one another, objects having volume inside, so you can cut up, smash and break like a real object, and more interesting A.I. Frankly I think shooters can benefit with better A.I. not graphics. Stuff like that ya know.

Im very excited at new hardware, Im just hoping they can do something with the technology that isnt just more horsepower and better graphics. I think you can do more stuff with programming and software with hardware now a days. And I think games are calling for game engines that can provide a better expirience for gamers in areas, other than graphics.

I know alot of what I said may sound rediculouse. But I think with current technology more things are possible. An example of this would be the new 3d bionic commando. A game like that would not have been possible with previose technology. But new technology allowed for complex swinging mechanics in a 3D world. It had lack luster sails, but I personally enjoyed it up till I found out my arm was my (SPOILER) ex wife... but anyway I hope you guys get what Im trying to say.

Posted:5 years ago

@ Rick - I think you're onto the money there!

Posted:5 years ago


Howard Parry

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But I thought Kinect was the new console launch for Microsoft

Posted:5 years ago


Paulmichael Contreras Contributing Editor, PlayStation LifeStyle

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Interesting, considering Sony apparently stopped development on the PS4 temporarily to focus on the NGP.

Posted:5 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

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@Rick, whilst I agree that better physics and other stuff will improve games more than graphics, it's graphics you can stick on tv to advertise a new console. Someone won't see their mate playing for 5 minutes and comment on the chemical reactions.

Posted:5 years ago


Ben Ross Studying Philosophy, University of Western Ontario

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@Andrew: They might, if the segment of gameplay they happen to catch involves you knocking over a well-simulated barrel of acid which proceeds to realistically melt away surrounding materials in the environment. The sorts of improvements Rick eludes to, while not fundamentally 'graphical', will still help create a richer visual experience by incorporating more realistic simulation methods.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ben Ross on 8th March 2011 8:59pm

Posted:5 years ago


Corey Williams Podcaster/blogger

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The thing about Microsoft is that they support the developers really well. I think they understand how important software is and thankfully are willing to listen to, and take into consideration what developers need and want. They aren't going to release a new console that requires devs to change how they develop games. At least that's my hope. If they can release new hardware that allows developers to keep their current pipelines and development procedures in tact, they won't have a problem.

But what do I know? I'm a blogger/podcaster.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Corey Williams on 8th March 2011 11:25pm

Posted:5 years ago


Gregor Ebert

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I always thought MS and Sony would plan their new console for a few years now, but it seems like the main development starts only now.

@Rick / Andrew: Of course there will be better graphics; but I think it won't be such a huge step like from Xbox to 360 (or in Sonys Case PS2 to PS3). Did you see that Red Dead Redemption movie that came out a few weeks after the game? I think the initial graphics of the new console generation will be like that.

But I have to agree that AI and much improved physics will be the next step. Procedural animation like in GTA IV and RDR will be standard, face animation like L.A. Noire and then some nice chunks like procedural animated water and smoke effects etc.

But after all it's good to see that there WILL be a next console generation. After statements of Micheal Patcher and Sonys approach to develop a new PSP by trespassing another home console I was a bit afraid.

Greetz from Germany,

The current consoles may be come to their end in terms of graphics, but I think in terms of physics there's much more to squeeze out of them; especially the PS3 with it's huge Cell chip. Some of the recent games like Killzone, GT5 or RDR showed already improved particle effects; I think there's a lot more to achieve in this department!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gregor Ebert on 9th March 2011 12:56pm

Posted:5 years ago


Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

682 540 0.8
I'd say we've got another generation yet in graphics; we're still playing our games in a "painterly" world rather than a photorealistic one. Whether anybody wants that next generation is anybody's guess; gamers may not notice the difference so much as they did between, say, the PS2 and PS3, and I'd bet it would bump art costs yet again.

But with the advent of GPGPUs, it could well be that extra capacity could be used for graphics or physics or AI or all three.

Posted:5 years ago


Erlend Grefsrud Creative Director, Strongman Games Ltd.

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Photorealism isn't going to happen any time soon. We're talking a proper generational timeline on that one. Also, hardware architectures will have to completely change (true GPGPUs instead of programmable shader pipelines) and that will not happen in the next generation of home consoles. Not unless the platform holder desperately wants the market to crash.

Neither Sony nor Microsoft should have much incentive to stay in the console biz, to be honest. Their strategies have failed and they're losing money or earning petty change. The console developer ecosystem is not healthy. Things have to change.

Posted:5 years ago

Yeah your right, they should just stick with the old tech with less storage. Sony were stupid for trying to advance tech with their blu ray drive, shoulda just stuck with DVD because blu ray makes no difference and just increased the price of the console unnecessarily...

Posted:5 years ago


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