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Xbox One will last "conservatively 10 years" says Microsoft

Xbox One will last "conservatively 10 years" says Microsoft

Wed 06 Nov 2013 5:00pm GMT / 12:00pm EST / 9:00am PST
Hardware

Canadian marketing head says new console is outpacing Xbox 360 preorders 2-to-1, no worries about a Red Ring of Death repeat

As evidenced by the 40-foot console constructed in a Vancouver parking lot recently, Microsoft expects Xbox One to be big. Speaking with GamesIndustry International at the X13 showcase event in Toronto yesterday, Microsoft Canada's Xbox director of marketing Craig Flannagan put the November 22 launch into perspective.

"I've been here for the launch of Xbox 360. I was here for the launch of Kinect. This is far and away the biggest launch we've ever done," Flannagan said. "It's the most hardware we've ever produced. It's the most we've ever pre-sold. We're preselling a little over 2-to-1 from what we did with Xbox 360. The momentum on launch has been really good. And we didn't have a 40-foot console at the launch of the 360, either."

As for how Xbox One will fare against the PlayStation 4 and Wii U, Flannagan pointed to Xbox Live and the company's focus on social integration as two differentiating factors that will give it the edge. He also said he was proud of the game lineup, saying Xbox One exclusives walked out of E3 with twice the awards of both competitors.

"Xbox One is going to start ahead, in terms of the experience we can deliver," Flannagan said. "And because we're built for the future, we're going to stay ahead. I think there is not a better experience you can buy this holiday, and there will not be a time this generation where there's a better experience you can buy than Xbox One...And it's probably going to be a pretty long generation. We're probably here for a while because we're built for the future. This is a console that will last you, conservatively a decade, if I had to put a bet down today."

The idea of a launch Xbox One lasting a decade brings to mind the Red Ring of Death and Microsoft's notoriously unreliable Xbox 360 launch hardware. When asked if he's heard consumers expressing concerns about the Xbox One's durability, Flannagan said, "Not really."

"We feel great about where the hardware is at right now," Flanagan said. "Our yields are good. It's allowing us to produce more consoles than we ever have for a launch. We feel great about how the hardware is performing."

While Flannagan expects the hardware purchased this month to keep running years into the future, he doesn't expect it to offer the same experience. Just as the Xbox One went through multiple different dashboards and overhauled feature sets over the course of the last eight years, so too will the Xbox One evolve.

"Much like 360, Xbox One's not going to look a whole lot five years from now like it does on November 22, 2013. I don't know where it's going to go, but that's kind of fun because we're built for the future. We do have a connection; we can change what things look like and how it performs."

67 Comments

I'd like to see how next gen consoles fare over the next 3-5 years. 10 years appears to be too far to contemplate without a XB1.1 or something I'd imagine

Posted:10 months ago

#1

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,403 1.1
Popular Comment
Consoles always last as long as the market wants them to, not how long the execs wish for.

Posted:10 months ago

#2
Will your position last that long?

Posted:10 months ago

#3

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
There would definitely be a Slim version in that time, but it'll still be an X1. If the 360 can last 8-9 years, then I won't be that surprised to see the X1 hit 10.

Posted:10 months ago

#4

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,093 1,048 1.0
And people say I was crazy, when all I want is to build a giant laser to etch a giant picture of myself onto the surface of the moon. But I can relate to his excitement when it comes to pet projects, particularily ones involving 40ft consoles.

Posted:10 months ago

#5

Frank Trottier
Analyst programmer

22 22 1.0
Edited one last time in the comment box. Executed with bOLD fonts.

Shit I made a mess, what happened haha

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Frank Trottier on 6th November 2013 9:00pm

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
I doubt these new consoles will last 10 years, considering this generation hasn't/won't last that long also there's less of technical leap this time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 6th November 2013 9:25pm

Posted:10 months ago

#7

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Moore's law.
Processing power doubles every two years.
Ten years = five doublings. So similar market level processing power will be 32 times more.
And ARM is beating Moore considerably, so will have progressed even more.
So in ten years time an Xbone would not have the power to pull the skin off a rice pudding.

Posted:10 months ago

#8

Gareth Eckley
Commercial Analyst

88 67 0.8
Hardware is irrelevant. The woefully underutilised Dreamcast proved that much. Catalogue is king.

Since PC's will be able to emulate X-Bones within 3 years, PC's will still be relevant, although people will continue to predict there will be no market for custom solutions.

X-bones will be popular, but unreliable, leading to the sale of more units since the user is already locked into a platform. Playstations will be reliable, but will miss out on important Western exclusives. Nintendo will stay in the game with the 3Ds and launch one new and exciting product.

More Flat Earth news.

Posted:10 months ago

#9

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Bruce Moore's Law is nearing its end, and tablets are a LONG way, even today, from an Xbox 360, much less an Xbox One. There are huge limits on the power of something that can't run dedicated cooling and has to be concerned about battery life.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57600373-92/end-of-moores-law-its-not-just-about-physics/

Posted:10 months ago

#10

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Nicholas Pantazis

The end of Moore's law has been predicted continuously ever since it was created. I remember when sub micron was seen as an unbreakable barrier.
There are several technologies coming on stream that will see it continue. And, as I have said repeatedly, ARM are currently beating it.

Posted:10 months ago

#11

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Popular Comment
Ahem. I hate to bring this up again Bruce

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-10-31-qualcomm-were-never-going-to-build-a-chip-thats-faster-than-a-console

However I do accept that they are only the world's number 1 mobile chip manufacturer so they probably don't know what they're talking about. I'm sure their clear, definitive, unambiguous comment was code for something else. Yes that must be it. When they said "We're never going to build a chip that's faster than a console - in the truest sense." they of course meant the opposite.

Posted:10 months ago

#12

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
Popular Comment
@ Bruce We have genuine evidence of the cap of Moore's Law now. ARM is in fact one of the places it's most obvious. ARM isn't following Moore's Law, it's catching up to existing technology that already was, but its limits are clearly visible, as in the article Justin just posted. The head of DARPA and Qualcomm are, believe it or not, is far more knowledgeable about chip architecture than you.

Posted:10 months ago

#13

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Nicholas Pantazis

Try reading this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0404510
Or this one: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v406/n6799/full/4061047a0.html
Multiple technology paths for the continuation of Moore's law: http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.0244
More on upcoming technology: http://arxiv.org/abs/1212.3362

Posted:10 months ago

#14

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

806 636 0.8
@Bruce:
So in ten years time an Xbone would not have the power to pull the skin off a rice pudding.
Could explain then if you mind, how come current gen consoles can move the games of nowadays? It's shocking that a professional on the industry like you with, (iirc) around 20 years experience, seems to be a stranger to the concept of "Dedicated gaming platform" and why you require less than half the power that you would need to perform the same task in a multy-purpose machine.

Please, try and develop your statements a bit. I know you personal "battle against pesky reality" must be hard, but give it some thought before posting stuff like that... or that very same statement could be applied to your career too.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 7th November 2013 8:25am

Posted:10 months ago

#15

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Bruce. You can quote as many papers you like. The manufacturers of the chips say they won't catch up with consoles. That's a definitive unbiased comment direct from the horses mouth

Posted:10 months ago

#16

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Alfonso Sexto

I am fed up with your ad hominem attacks, they are unprofessional and there is no need for them.

@ Justin Biddle

This conversation is about the 10 year gap to the next MS console. I don't know why you are changing the subject.

Posted:10 months ago

#17

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

314 206 0.7
Based on the fact that people are relatively happy with the games they are playing on the current gen, I suspect he may have a case. Looks arent everything as they say. I also think the current gen will be around for some time to come. As a developer there is still a big market to sell into on the current generation of consoles. The only upside of the next gen is that it will be easier to develop for.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 7th November 2013 10:35am

Posted:10 months ago

#18

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
@Bruce You were the one who brought up mobile chip processing power. This is getting hilarious now. You're not only selectively forgetting what people who work in the very field you are talking about say you are also forgetting what you have said yourself.

"Moore's law.
Processing power doubles every two years.
Ten years = five doublings. So similar market level processing power will be 32 times more.
And ARM is beating Moore considerably, so will have progressed even more.
So in ten years time an Xbone would not have the power to pull the skin off a rice pudding."

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 7th November 2013 11:14am

Posted:10 months ago

#19

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Justin Biddle

I didn't mention mobile.
I mentioned ARM processors because they are beating Moore's law. They are used in a huge range of devices including Surface laptops, servers and possibly soon Apple desktop and laptop machines.

Posted:10 months ago

#20

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
In which case I fail to see your point. PCs have always had chips which supersede consoles and haven't killed them off in previous generations. Unless your point is that mobile and tablets have such a large user base that their increase in power will undermine consoles. In which case we come right back round to mobile chip power and what I said is still relevant.

Posted:10 months ago

#21

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Justin Biddle

My point is that if you try and make a console last for ten years in the market then it will be competing against other devices that will be around 50 times more powerful.
The power of Moore's law is relentless and unstoppable and pervades everything in our lives.


PCs haven't killed consoles before because they are completely different devices with completely different business models. Now the console business model has been successfully challenged and we live in a different world.

I don't know why in every post you have made in this discussion you have gone on about mobile. This discussion is about the viability of long console lives.

Posted:10 months ago

#22

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Popular Comment
Says the man who brings up consoles death obsessively at the drop of a hat in any thread and has been called to task on this by other posters before so trying to paint me as someone who goes off topic frequently is hypocritical at best.

Back to consoles. These weak devices can sell over a $1billion on one game alone. I'm sure you will come back with some flimsy excuse as how one of the biggest game launches at the end of a 7 year console cycle on old antiquated hardware is just a blip. Heck. Fifa 14 has even be released for the ps2. However I won't disagree that 10 years seems rather hopeful although he maybe referring to life after a generation change as well, as the old consoles aren't immediately mothballed on next gen launch.

Of course things eventually get more powerful than the current generation. It's the reason another one is launched after a period. Whether or not there will be another generation after the next I have no idea.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 7th November 2013 12:33pm

Posted:10 months ago

#23

Andrew Watson
Programmer

92 200 2.2
I figured Bruce would be here again.

Posted:10 months ago

#24

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Aye. And on this topic I will leave it upto readers of the post to make up their own minds whether I have a) gone off topic or b) presented an on topic argument that Bruce didn't like and found hard to refute so he has attempted to make out that I have gone off topic rather than deal with the point raised. The fact my original comment seems to have got enough votes to be a top comment suggests a good number of people felt I was on topic

(I say this not in a bragging way but just as the only way I can judge if it was reasonably on topic).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 7th November 2013 12:45pm

Posted:10 months ago

#25

Stefan Pettersson
Specialist Consultant

77 19 0.2
My gut feeling is that both the XO and PS4 are seriously underpowered. Previous generations have brought with them a performance increase and thus been attractive to technology driven hardcore gamers, who buy expensive stuff and lots of games.

With XO/PS4 pc:s are already far ahead, even before launch. That's why neither Microsoft nor Sony can count on the same support from hardcore gamers. People preordering today are, my guess here, platform fans and it's always nice to have them in your corner. But with less than par performance compared to modern pc:s, and Steambox around the corner, chances are hardcore gamers won't be there to save the day after the fans have collected their new consoles. And clearly 350-400 Euros are way to much for most familys considering they'll have to buy extra controllers and games for hundreds of Euros on top of that.

Posted:10 months ago

#26

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Depends what you mean by platform fans. If you mean console in general as a platform then you maybe right. If you mean brand as in xbox or ps then perhaps not. For example myself and several friends who bought xbox last time have switched to PS4 this time because we didn't like what XOne had to offer. Obviously that is only one small sample and only deals with brand loyalty rather than loyalty to consoles in general

Posted:10 months ago

#27

André Gomes de Oliveira
C++ Programmer

8 5 0.6
I wouldn't be surprised if it did, just maybe not exatcly like MS expects it.

The PS2 did it, the Ps3 and Xbox 360 have begun to gain momentum in Brazil a couple of years ago, so at least where I live, I see them lasting 10 years and thensome.

I'd be surprised if the next consoles don't do the same. Except for the Wii U, I wonder where that one will be in the next 3 years.

Posted:10 months ago

#28

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Sharing a timeshare with e.t the game? ;-)

Posted:10 months ago

#29

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,165 948 0.8
Popular Comment
The Cell processor is still more powerful than the GPU + CPU of the iPad Air in raw terms, and yes, its a 7 year old chip. Comparisons aside, is it really that weak in the real-world for making gaming applications? Not really. Especially in combination with the other parts of the system i.e. the GPU.

I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to prove. To this day, 7 years later there are games coming that that look and play better than they did 7 years ago. Titles such as Beyond Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6 and MGS5 take animation and photo-realistic shading and rendering to new heights considering the constraints.

So, what were we saying about Xbox One after 7 years? Mobile devices aren't expected to be as powerful and even if they were, how would that change the ability to make great experiences on the Xbox? Well, it wouldn't.

Of course, you have expressed an expectation there will be a mass exodus to smart-phones and tablets, doing away with the dedicated experience to be found on a high performance console in your living room.

Posted:10 months ago

#30

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,403 1.1
Try reading this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0404510
Or this one: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v406/n6799/full/4061047a0.html
Multiple technology paths for the continuation of Moore's law: http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.0244
More on upcoming technology: http://arxiv.org/abs/1212.3362
Bruce, do you have any idea of the average length of time before concepts like these get put into consumer operations? I'll give you a hint: much longer than a console generation.

A few of the concepts in those papers are talking about chip development beyond the common CMOS production method. Do you realize how much money it would require for the industry to move to an entirely new manufacturing process? We're still building $5-$10 billion CMOS plants today.

Posted:10 months ago

#31

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,093 1,048 1.0
If you want to break Moore's Law, you need to shrink that chip. You need to work on your nanometers for that CMOS design. If you look at which manufacturers drive that technology forward, then designers of ARM hardware are not among them. ARM is seemingly beating Moore's law, when all it does is still catching up to state of the art CMOS design. It's easy to to point out your high acceleration, when you start from standing still.

Posted:10 months ago

#32

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,403 1.1
Good point, Klaus.

Mobile design is outpacing Moore's law on a relative term, not absolute. Eventually, it will come into relative parity and will move more 1:1 with Moore's Law as does full scale CPU design rather than the accelerated process we've seen over the past decade.

Posted:10 months ago

#33
In my eyes, the problem is that the 360/PS3 were overpowered - especially compared to the PS2/XBOX. If you take out the extra memory in the new consoles, I think they would really struggle.

But MS has a completely different problem with the XBone.

If the PS4 outsells it in the US by 2:1 or more in the first 3-6 months ... alarm bells will really start ringing. Because the PS4 is going to easily widen that margin in Europe. And then there is also Japan.

Both the 360 & PS3 had different comparative strengths over each other. The PS2 had the market, but the XBOX had shaders, and more tricks. The Wii had motion controls, Nintendo games, but was underpowered.

What does the XBone REALLY have over the PS4? Microsoft funded exclusives? Kinect vs PSeye? Windows 8 support? XBox Live? It took all of last generation, but Sony has pretty much caught up in that area now.

I might be completely wrong in how I see this battle - but to me, the XBone is still underpowered and overpriced (compared to the PS4). And unlike the WiiU, Sony is going to get all the 3rd-party support it needs.

So, Microsoft can do the last thing it really wants to - drop the price. Once they undercut Sony, the battle will really be on. But if that makes the XBone a loss-making device ... what is really in this for Microsoft? Having a W8 box in the living room?

To me, this is the biggest danger to the "10-year" lifespan of the XBone. It starts losing Microsoft money, the company gets restructured ... and it effectively gets yanked.

Sony of course has the other issue ... things don't go quite as well as they hope ... and the company becomes effectively bankrupt. To me, that seems the biggest risk on the PS4 side ;).

Posted:10 months ago

#34

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,165 948 0.8
What does the XBone REALLY have over the PS4? Microsoft funded exclusives? Kinect vs PSeye? Windows 8 support? XBox Live? It took all of last generation, but Sony has pretty much caught up in that area now.
I think Microsoft will do particularly well on multimedia and general ecosystem.

Actually, a war could be won on those factors in my opinion once you get past just the games. If you assume both platforms will have most of the same games that is (outside exclusives which both companies will heavily invest).

Its a bit of a catch 22. I'd find myself more interested in PS4 as a gamer and the price is far more attractive. However, I don't think the OS, software, UI and integration with other devices will be as strong. But then again, Microsoft do have a well developed Windows (and Xbox Live) ecosystem.

Could be wrong. I don't necessarily think PS4 outselling Xbone 2:1 would be that devastating financially, but it would cast a shadow on Xbox when many think it was on course to really dominate the console market after the Xbox 360's success. Microsoft would really want to be a leader in any area of technology and keep their relevance in a very competitive market.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 7th November 2013 8:19pm

Posted:10 months ago

#35

Sergio De Los Santos
Senior Rendering Programmer

5 10 2.0
Bruce, Moore's law is about transistors, not performance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law

While it is true that most of the times the performance also doubles, it's been a while since Intel can claim that. As Klaus said before, ARM on the other side is catching up very fast, but in think that eventually, once their CPUs becomes complex as the Intel cpus, I expect to see a similar trend. Even if ARM architecture is better than x86-64...

Also, while CPU power has its uses, nobody needs a mobile or tablet with 16 cores running at 3ghz. In fact, most people doesn't need a desktop PC with that CPU power...

I think that current top of the line ARM cpus (like Apple's A7) are in the same league as the AMD Jaguar that the PS4 and XBox One has. The consoles have more cores sure, but that's not a big deal, in a couple of years performance CPU side will be there.

But GPU is another story... increase in flops per what are a challenge here. We will see progress sure, but I don't think that we will see a device with 1tflop in 10w envelope any time soon... besides each new process it is giving more headaches (TSMC first, now intel with broadwell at 14nm), so I expect that each new process will take longer to reach market..

Also, as a Rendering coder I found Mobile GPUs quite a challenge. Their tile base nature of most of them, requiere to rethink your pipeline in order to squeeze the performance you need. The consoles has one advantage, there is only two hardware to design and implement (XBox/PS4, I am ignoring Nintendo, sorry :) ), and both are there for years, thats why you can dedicate time to learn how to squeeze performance.

Mobile GPUs? As I said they are different, but the problem is there is a lot of mobile GPUs, not just 5 providers (ARM/Mali, Qualcomm/Adreno, nVidia/Tegra, PowerVR, Vivante) there is at least a couple of generations in the market and there is software fragmentation... You don't have the time to learn how to squeeze performance, since everything is changing so fast. The same problem that we have on PC...

Posted:10 months ago

#36

Martin Parker
Studying BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming

6 13 2.2
I can see the potential in the next generation of consoles (Excluding the Wii U) to last 10 years; Not because PCs won't become far superior over the next gen but because there is no new amazing feature in the foreseeable future that the consoles cannot adapt to do. Most of the revolutionary new technologies can be achieved on the new generation, except 4K 60fps (Probably). I say this because at the moment the trend for technology seems to be more towards efficiency and new experiences over raw computational power, I'd imagine that we can thank tablets, smart watches, and even the last gen consoles for that current focus. More and more devices are communicating with each other and becoming more adaptable to provide us with a more integrated experience. When I think about it the mobile devices market have been leaders in this approach and the next generation seems to be stepping towards this too. The real value of the new consoles is not their ability to provide breathtaking graphics but to be able to communicate with tablets, vitas, oculus rifts and whatever else appears in the future to provide better experiences.
We're beyond or approaching the point where Moor's Law doesn't matters for consoles... If anybody thinks differently I will happily bow to their experience.

Posted:10 months ago

#37

Eric Leisy
VR Production Designer

117 126 1.1
It doesn't seem too surprising that these consoles will last 10 years. I'm not familiar with the hardware specifications of the PS4 or Xbone, but I assume they are comparable to a mid range computer of today. The current consoles have almost lasted as long, and they aren't finished developing 360 or PS3 games either.

It will be interesting to see how the battle develops between xbone and ps3, because like others have said - the architectures of both platforms are now so similar - aren't they both basically just PC's with off the shelf hardware, lightly customized for consoles? It seems like the difference of the consoles now lies soley in the exclusive game each can pull in. Although, the XBOX seems to have a more media oriented appeal, so maybe that will help them a lot. Myself, I haven't thought too much about getting a new xbox, I am planning for a PS4. The xbox 360 kind of soured my appetite for their machine, with having to have 4 different xbox's before getting one that was stable.

Posted:10 months ago

#38

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
4K televisions are starting to replace 1080p.
Long before 10 yeas are up 4K will be the norm and people will want devices that drive it.

Tablets will be 4K pretty quickly and will drive 4K televisions. So will give a far better visual experience than Xbone and PS4.

Posted:10 months ago

#39

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Aaah. So this is the new angle. After some fairly strong rebuttal of the capability of mobile chips and a fairly concise explanation of Moore's law we're moving onto 4K. I'm guessing though we will be needing some sort of giant cooling device add on though to stop a tablet running a top end 4K game melting in your hand.

Worthe bearing in mind there still seems to be a market for the PS2 as some games are still being made for it. That's not even HD and look how old that is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 12:14pm

Posted:10 months ago

#40

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,165 948 0.8
Mobile devices can quite happily support 3k natively if you look at newer iPads and Samsung tablets for example. For video and lower complexity graphics, what would stop consoles doing the same through the next 10 years?

Posted:10 months ago

#41

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
. I'm guessing though we will be needing some sort of giant cooling device add on though to stop a tablet running a top end 4K game melting in your hand.
As usual you are wrong. http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/23/japan-display-4k-tablet-lcd/

Posted:10 months ago

#42

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
You seem to have ignored the part where I said high end game. I.E. the processing power required to run and render the game and at 4k. Somewhat different to a photo or video stream.

I knew instantly when I wrote the comment you would latch onto the 4K part and ignore the proviso. I was tempted to put it in bold but was hoping that most people would read the full context without me having to point it out

And on that note. Let's assume you're right. Why do top end pcs and the next gen consoles need massive cooling rigs. If these chips are so readily available why do they decide to make their products bigger than they need to be?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 12:55pm

Posted:10 months ago

#43

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Justin Biddle

X86 architecture is very power inefficient. Even Haswell. This is a consequence of its heritage and higglety pigglety development. Its design philosophy is the availability of mains power.

ARM architecture is incredibly power efficient, because of its heritage in embedded and battery powered devices. The cores don't just switch off when not needed. Different elements within the core are constantly adjusting their clock speed to match demand. Different sized cores can be put on the same SOC so that processing power can be radically and instantly switched to match demand.
You can put 16 ARM CPU cores in one SOC: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2013/08/22/lsi-launches-cache-coherent-16-core-smp-arm-processor/ And they are about to switch from 32 to 64 bit architecture.

This is why server farms, which are obviously mains powered, are now switching from X86 to ARM architecture. The vastly reduced power usage makes them far cheaper to run and far more environmentally friendly.

It is also why 10 billion ARM based chips are shipped each year. A number Intel can only dream of.

Posted:10 months ago

#44

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
I fully admit my understanding of this topic is limited but I do feel that @Sergio De Los Santos further up gave a very good argument against this.

Servers by the way seldom need to run high end graphics and hence lack a power and heat hungry gpu.

You pick and chose the bits that suit your obsession when trying to make out mobile will kill console. Evidence is mounting that it won't and hence your arguments become more and more strained with each passing day. But note. Unlike you I'm not against the "opposition". Mobile is obviously user based a lot bigger. More people can and will play games on a mobile than a console. As to how much money is made out of it and what the success rate for developers is I have no idea.

But they're two different markets. They cater to different gaming needs. They are not mutually exclusive. Some like the casual gaming of mobile. Some like the more hardcore gaming of console. Some like both. Neither threaten the other. WiiU is massively threatened by mobile gaming but that is because the Wii was heavily into casual gaming (please note that this sentence is very much my own personal opinion).

If and when a tablet/mobile is capable of playing a high end console type game then I will fully admit that they are threat. It's no good going on that they will do so soon (of which I doubt for reasons already given). They don't at the moment. And until they do they are not a threat to console gaming.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 1:28pm

Posted:10 months ago

#45

Carlos Bordeu
Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder

61 82 1.3
"The cores don't just switch off when not needed. Different elements within the core are constantly adjusting their clock speed to match demand. Different sized cores can be put on the same SOC so that processing power can be radically and instantly switched to match demand."

@Bruce

I'm nothing of an expert and have been interestingly following this debate, so correct me if wrong, but wouldn't a high end game be using all your cores pretty intensively at almost all times? If you are playing a console type experience you're not going to play a short gaming session. Consoles aren't like mobile device which remain idle... mmm... like most of the time.

So my question is: If the high end game is using all the processing power it can for extended periods of time, does it really make a difference if the architecture can switch off cores when they're constantly being needed anyways?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carlos Bordeu on 8th November 2013 1:31pm

Posted:10 months ago

#46

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Dont know you guys but Im cool with anything between 5 and 7 year cycles for console games and 3 and 5 for handhelds.

Posted:10 months ago

#47

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,403 1.1
4K televisions are starting to replace 1080p.
Long before 10 yeas are up 4K will be the norm and people will want devices that drive it.

Tablets will be 4K pretty quickly and will drive 4K televisions. So will give a far better visual experience than Xbone and PS4.
In my best George Takai impersonation: Oh my!

Bruce, resolution in a vacuum is nothing. Simply being able to populate 8.3 million pixels is one thing. Being able to do it with sufficient polygons, shaders, post processing, A.I. and physics that we've come to expect...all at a playable frame rate is a totally different matter. You're not going to get that in a tablet without exceeding the thermal design envelope.

You are asking to pour 10 liters of water in a 5 liter bucket. You squeeze out as much as you can of your 5 liter bucket but physics prevents you from adding more. Stop trying to break the laws of physics, Bruce.

Posted:10 months ago

#48

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Servers by the way seldom need to run high end graphics and hence lack a power and heat hungry gpu.
Wrong again. http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla-servers.html
http://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/gpu.cfm
but wouldn't a high end game be using all your cores pretty intensively at almost all times?
Not really. It is surprising how little a CPU is actually used. And ARM allows available CPU power to be continually tailored to demand, thus using the minimum electrical power. This allows mobile phones to be always on. And allows mobile devices to play games without melting.
Stop trying to break the laws of physics
Stop ignoring Moore's law. It applies to everything. So power usage halves every two years. But once again this has been comprehensively beaten recently. Here is a good article on the A7: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7335/the-iphone-5s-review/2

Posted:10 months ago

#49

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,403 1.1
Bruce, 99.999% of all servers on Earth don't even have a GPU. Much less a high end GPU. A few exceptions do not validate your point.

As for Moore's law, I'm not ignoring it at all. However, if I had to side with either the laws of physics or Moore's law, guess which side I'm on? Moore's law does not supersede the laws of physics. As as I already noted, mobile chips had a baseline well below Moore's law to start with They are simply catching up, not exceeding it. And it won't take long before they move into parity with it once their transistor budget comes into line with full scale chips. Do you honestly expect this rate of increase to maintain indefinitely?

Posted:10 months ago

#50
Moores law is PURELY AN Observational TREND, which the industry can sometimes mistakenly view as a self-fulfilling hyper bole.
The nice thing about exponential curves is it is non sustainable beyond its linear extrapolation

Most likely transistors will give way to quantum and DNA sequencing into one almighty simulation called life.
Poof mobile. poof console!

Posted:10 months ago

#51

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
@Jim Webb. That is what really annoyed me about his reply. He ignored the word seldom. To everyone else but him it was obvious I did not mean there weren't the odd edge case.

Bruce's selectivity really undermines his arguments and diminishes their value

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 3:26pm

Posted:10 months ago

#52

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Jim, ARM is just about to experience the biggest jump in power to date as it goes from 32 bit to 64 bit with the Cortex A-57 cores. Which will run in a 16 core configuration.
Here is the ARM performance and power consumption graph: http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6420/Screen%20Shot%202012-10-30%20at%2012.22.41%20PM_575px.png
As you can see power usage is going down whilst performance is rocketing.

ARM are not "catching up" with anyone else. They have their own unique architecture and their own development roadmap.
If there has been any catching up in recent years it has been Intel's attempts to be less profligate with electrical power.

Posted:10 months ago

#53

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Fear not mobile. SuperBruce is here to defend you. Not even the laws of physics will stand in his way! He has but one rule and you won't find it any physics book known to man!

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 3:49pm

Posted:10 months ago

#54

Sergio De Los Santos
Senior Rendering Programmer

5 10 2.0
I don't see games rendered in 4k anytime soon, neither on tablets nor consoles. Let's face it, neither the new Radeon R9 290x nor the new GeForce 780ti can do that properly and both beasts consumes more than 250w...

But cloud based gaming may bring that kind of games to tablets, smart tvs and even consoles eventually. However that has nothing to do with ARM or mobile GPUs, we can do that on low end smartphones right now, the problem is on the server and infrastructure...

Posted:10 months ago

#55

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

806 636 0.8
@Bruce
I'm proving a point by saying that your predictions follow an obsessive hate for consoles and not facts themselves, so far you did not prove me wrong. This is an open discussion place and, if you share something, the rest of us have the chance to answer you with our own perspective. If you want to take it as "attacks" so be it, but I can't think about something more unprofessional.

I've agreed with you in some occasions, but look at the rest of the comments. Are we all wrong and you are the one right?

Posted:10 months ago

#56

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,403 1.1
Jim, ARM is just about to experience the biggest jump in power to date as it goes from 32 bit to 64 bit with the Cortex A-57 cores. Which will run in a 16 core configuration.
And then what, Bruce? Then what? 128 bits and 64 cores?

Don't you see the rate of increase curving back towards reality? You cannot keep up this same rate of increase indefinitely. It's simply not physically possible. Not without, as the Dr noted, quantum, crystal, molecular, DNA or some other type of exotic computing. All of which are much more than a console generation away.

Posted:10 months ago

#57
On a separate related issue 4K

You will notice that, whilst the ability to pump out a 4K resolution may sound awesome on paper, the reality is - its a pain in the butt visually to compensate for. For us having to work in the smoke/mirrors aspect to produce matte paintings in films/games, it leaves no room to hide tricks/techniques in a hyper detailed environment left normally to motion blur. Its not like there is a super 4K brush in photoshop to make it all better

2/ Having an increased resolution, means visual creatives have to cram an arm, leg and TVs worth into shaders/textures whilst ensuring believability is not suspended by being too sharp. For the games industry, this is less of an issue whereas for film, CGI, greenscreen and prostheses show up very obviously eg. Hobbit

So we have to "catch up" to be able to fully integrate and use all these nice toys and increased resolution...and THAT means, anyone having to pump out nice games will have to work even harder, and maybe have larger teams to truly bring out that blockbuster experience be it on your next advanced entertainment device (whatever it may be)

Posted:10 months ago

#58

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
Nope. I've changed my mind. Everything Bruce has said is true. The laws of physics can be broken. Now if you excuse me I'm going to jump into my time machine and head back in time to kill my younger self so as I never had to live through this conversation

Posted:10 months ago

#59

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

655 270 0.4
tablets are a LONG way, even today, from an Xbox 360, much less an Xbox One
The Kabini (A5000 is a quad-core jaguar already on the market @ 1.5ghz) seems to be just a tinybit slower than the A7. Obviously, the A7 is dual core only, but its not a 25W part either. Nevertheless, the Jaguar seems to be about half the performance of an i7 clock for clock, but the i5/i7 typically ships with twice the clockspeed. So ARM is already competetive enough. GPU, on the other hand, is a different issue.

Review of the Kabini is here.

Posted:10 months ago

#60

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Fear not mobile. SuperBruce is here to defend you.
Nope. I've changed my mind. Everything Bruce has said is true. The laws of physics can be broken. Now if you excuse me I'm going to jump into my time machine and head back in time to kill my younger self so as I never had to live through this conversation
When you attack me you have lost the argument. It is totally out of order on a professional industry site.

Posted:10 months ago

#61

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

157 482 3.1
That's Ok. The similar arguments of everyone else in the thread will still stand. Besides, your reply is going to look so silly once I've wiped myself from existence and my comments disappear

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 6:14pm

Posted:10 months ago

#62

Gil Salvado
3D/2D Artist

33 37 1.1
And even if CPU's on mobile platforms would technically outperform console specs, it's still about the ability to use that power to your advantage. I can beat a Lamborghini in a Smart, if the sports car driver doesn't now how to drive his car at maximum performance. Consoles are about as much a dedicated gaming device as it can get, therefore developer focusing on console games will always be able to develop software which uses the consoles hardware to its very peak.

Nevertheless, I don't believe we will still have the original launch version of XB1 in five years time. There will be updates to the hardware to make consumers who already own an XB1 buy a new one. I don't believe Microsoft wants the XB1 hardware to last for a decade, but the brand.

My only concern about this is how game studios and publishers adapt to this looming ten year cycle. Correct me, if I'm wrong, but we've seen a lot of publishers and developers extinct due to this current cycle. They just didn't had the savings to outlast the Long Tail, when consumer's were mostly interested in established franchises and publishers/investors were afraid of the risks of new original IP's.

My only hope remains that we see enough new development studios and publishers rise in this new cycle to fill in the gaps.

Posted:10 months ago

#63

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,093 1,048 1.0
The upcoming Arm chip by nVidia called Tegra 4 will be of 40nm structural design. A current Snapdragon has 28nm. A current Intel is at 22nm. A Vishera from AMD is at 32nm.

Comparing those four chip designs, you shall notice some peculiar properties realting to the size of the individual transistors. Nobody is disputing the great leaps in power ARM design has made over the past years. However, most of those leaps came from adapting existing technology. Moore's law applies to the limit, not to chip designs that were abandoned for two decades and then rediscovered. That current limit is Haswell design, not ARM chips. Arguably ARM closed the gap on Intel, but that is no proof of power. That is just proof ARM chip manufactureres can do what has been done before.

The real test of ARm chips will be when they are miniturized to the same degree as current x64 chips and can run the similar speeds. Except that we were at that point 20 years ago, when ARM and 68000 designs went head to head. Turns out they both lost to x86.

But within the confines of devices with a 150W TDP going up against battery powered devices with 12W TDP, the consoles are at a distict advantage.

------------------

I find 4k to be currently a non-issue. There are a few film print scanners doing 4k, there are a few prototype cameras doing 4k. There is no broadcast gear for 4k. There are no physical discs. There is no tested compression algorithm for 4k streaming. Essentially, 4k is a prototype technology which Sony is putting into the hands of consumers. Kudos for doing that and trying to set up a streaming service, but I have seen first hand how long it took for TV stations to adapt to HDTV. Therefore I am not holding my breath.

Posted:10 months ago

#64

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,165 948 0.8
@Bruce
X86 architecture is very power inefficient. Even Haswell. This is a consequence of its heritage and higglety pigglety development. Its design philosophy is the availability of mains power.

I don't think that's completely accurate and runs mostly on rhetoric. On the low power stakes, even a single core X86 Atom CPU can give an ARM CPU a run for its money in terms of performance within a similar power envelope, usually beating it. I observed this when I had one of Intel's first Android smartphones and it was gaining performance on a dual threaded core which you would expect from a quad core ARM at the time. Both architectures have since improved.

This article has an interesting comparison from the modern day.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/14/intel_clover_trail_plus_benchmark_comparison_with_arm/

ULV laptops, ultra-books and even the Surface pro show the scalability and efficiency of even some of the bigger, more advanced CPU architectures in a slimmer format, offering superior performance to what would be possible otherwise.

Sure, Intel chips are not as power efficient but they are more feature rich and offer more performance. Intel will always be able to compete on how much performance and features they can get into a single core.

Desktop X86 processors, have far and beyond more features packed into each physical die than any mobile processor - Intel, ARM or otherwise, and they have managed to really push the limits of what you can do within the confines of silicon. In terms of high performance architecture, you would be wrong to assume that an ARM processor of the same size and wattage would be necessarily be an equal.

Perhaps the simplicity of ARM cores and their scalability in to large servers is a great usage for them. Those advantages wouldn't necessarily translate to consumer electronics or the types of things we may use an Intel Core for.

Not really. It is surprising how little a CPU is actually used. And ARM allows available CPU power to be continually tailored to demand, thus using the minimum electrical power.

If the CPU is used so little, then why are you making it out to be so important? Of course, to say the CPU isn't used much would be untrue, for games in particular that is.

The fact that ARM CPUs use minimal electrical power doesn't make them instantly better. All you are seeing is common sense design for the target hardware. ARM make chips that place importance on reducing the number of instructions and the activity of the CPU as much as possible, which also means performance doesn't come first.

I know how excited you and many are about 64-bit ARM processors, but just being 64-bit or improved architectures, doesn't actually mean they're faster than the equivalent X86 processor.

You also seemed to brush asides the importance of the GPU in all of this, for reasons I can't work out. Especially seeing as this is where the bulk of the computing power comes from on mobile, console and desktop devices. The magnitude of difference in performance and the limitations of the silicon are a similar story.

Though, not only do you have the limitations of size and watts but the fact that again, the architecture prioritises using as little performance as possible to save power - to an extent that the entire approach to rendering if different. This doesn't translate to better graphics performance compared to a PC or console, but better power efficiency given the circumstances which is the aim.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 10th November 2013 1:48am

Posted:10 months ago

#65

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