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Microsoft switching to AMD for next Xbox - Report

The next Xbox is leaving behind PowerPC and backwards compatibility

Microsoft is switching from the PowerPC/ATI CPU/GPU combination that powered the Xbox 360 to a brand-new AMD system-on-a-chip (SOC) for the next Xbox, sources have told Bloomberg. The SOC reportedly combines AMD's x86 Jaguar cores with its graphics chips.

The change to x86 means that Xbox 360 software probably won't work on the new Xbox, a situation mirrored by Sony's shift to x86 for the PlayStation 4. AMD is also the primary chip provider for the PS4, which uses an 8-core Jaguar CPU with a Radeon GPU. It could be a boon for AMD if the next Xbox and PS4 take off, as the company has lost ground to rivals Intel and Nvidia.

The move also means developers and publishers can expect PC-style architecture for both next-generation consoles.

"We'll probably see many more titles because the console makers are saying the publishers are back in the driver's seat," said Envisioneering Group president Richard Doherty told Bloomberg. Doherty believes that the change will also allow Sony to bring down the initial cost of manufacturing its consoles.

[Image via Xbit Laboratories]

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Latest comments (13)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
Good for a power boost? Perhaps. Good for my existing 360 library? Sadly no:(
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Sergiu Badau Wittenberger QA Tester 3 years ago
You will still have your xBox 360 after the next one appears, won't you ? Anyway, the Always-On is a big turn-off for me, I will probably go with a ps4.
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 3 years ago
Well that unties me from Microsoft, leaving me free to judge all consoles Steambox/Xbox/PS4 on their true merits. I guess that is a good thing, strange that Microsoft would surrender their key advantage, Sony did the same with PS3 which allowed me to switch to the 360 from the PS2 and this gen has been a lot longer for me personally to of built up a substantially larger library.

Strange if they do this because on one hand they are discouraging the secondhand market yet on the other, they are saying if you keep hold of your games they'll eventually become obsolete.
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Show all comments (13)
Craig Burkey Software Engineer 3 years ago
@Sergiu RROD? Mines had it once and that was over 3 years ago, I'm stuck with a 20Gb HDD because I fear it will fail on me imminently and I don't want to shell out for an old style HDD then have to get a slim 360 replacement.

I was holding out hope that rather than having to buy that replacement I could use the money to offset the cost of the NextXbox.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
No Wai ;-)

Yup, AMD dominating this generation has been widely speculated over the last couple of years. So I wouldn't be too surprised.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London3 years ago
I wonder how much this will hurt Microsoft (and Sony). Being able to carry your library of games over to the new machine means a) you're more likely to stay locked into whatever ecosystem you currently have the most time and money invested in, b) you can trade in your old console to help pay for the new one without losing access to your entire game collection, and c) publishers can generate a useful additional revenue stream from back catalogue.

Also, with the growth of digital content, players probably have more expectation of being able to carry their content from device to device within the same family, like they can with PC, Android and iOS, not to mention Wii U and blu-ray, and like they could in the past with PS2 and Xbox 360.

I know it annoyed me when I heard the PS4 wouldn't be back compatible, as I don't really have room to keep two PlayStations permanently under my TV and I've got a big collection of PS3 games I'll still want access to, both retail and digital, including a lot that I haven't even got around to playing yet. Personally it makes me less likely to buy a PS4 at launch, although I'll probably still pick one up a year or so down the line if / when there's more of a catalogue of must have games available for it and I've worked through my backlog of last gen titles. I wonder how many other people are in the same boat?
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D3 years ago
Terrible decision. I only ever really play a few games though, so I won't be affected too badly (90% of my gaming is NHL or FIFA). But for those with large libraries, this decision sucks.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
The decision can only be terrible for those concerned with backwards compatibility, as numerous as they may be.

Performance, price, power consumption, development factors are reasons for the decision to be 'good' on the other hand. The industry looks to be moving towards a new generation of multi-core X86 processors and sacrifices will be made for this.

Sony are in the same boat so it would put the consoles on similar footing in that sense.
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Having backwards compat was the last positive MS could use against Sony. But if they really wanted to go Windows 8, then x86 was virtually required.

So, it comes down to exclusives. Without significant ones, both the Durango and PS4 are virtually living room PCs. And if the same games end up a lot cheaper on Steam (as has always happened in the past), then why bother with either?

MS really should put some real information out there, this could really hurt them.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 3 years ago
huh, how is this news? It was already revealed a few months ago that both the PS4 and the new xbox where to use modified AMD jaguar chips.. Now bloomberg comes out with it and it seems like it's new news..
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Now bloomberg comes out with it and it seems like it's new news..
hehe...
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 3 years ago
Yeah, I was a little confused about how this was news as well. Anyway.....
strange that Microsoft would surrender their key advantage,
Not at all, if you look at the extra expense and massive technical compromises that backwards compatibility would bring. The Wii U went this direction and we ended up with a platform that's technically last-generation in every respect but memory, and even there falls far short of the upcoming generation. And this doesn't affect just the console side, but also developers.
So, it comes down to exclusives. Without significant ones, both the Durango and PS4 are virtually living room PCs. And if the same games end up a lot cheaper on Steam (as has always happened in the past), then why bother with either?
Oh, the exclusives will be there. Uncharted isn't going anywhere but on PlayStation hardware, and Halo nowhere but Xbox. And besides, the significantly higher convenience and ease of use of a console over a PC is worth the extra expense for software for many people. (Heck, it was even worth it to me for years, and I'm extremely proficient at building and configuring PCs. In the end, it wasn't software prices that moved me back to the PC platform, though it was a nice bonus, but the poor level of customer service from the console manufacturers.)
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Jace Cisnero Games/Level Designers 3 years ago
It's not about that. A lot of people will not own more than one console and will ditch their existing unit to upgrade.

Without backwards compatibility, this reduces the existing online community of players for the killer features of the 360 and Xbox Live.

Furthermore, there's no reason to expect Microsoft to keep the Xbox Live service functioning for the 360 over the long term. Those who had an original Xbox and a subscription to Live will remember the pain of transferring your account over to the 360. It was a one way trip.

People need to realize that lack of backwards compatibility could very effectively kill the existing 360.
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