Look, I won’t embarrass us both by claiming to be an expert on all these gigabits and teraflops and whatnot. But, I do understand when someone says “you know, just like a PC?”
So it was when Mark Cerny revealed the way the PlayStation 4 would get games from programmer’s code to player’s screens and it seems like the rumours of the Next Xbox being strikingly similar are going to pan out.
Some of those much-famed “insiders” have been spilling beans to Bloomberg and they agree that the Xbox 720 (ugh, I hate that as much as you do) will ditch the Power PC architecture of the Xbox 360 and move to the same x86 architecture that the PlayStation 4 has plumped for. You know, just like a PC?
Obviously nobody is going on record until Microsoft acknowledges the machine themselves – latest rumours for that are pointing to May 21st, just a few weeks before E3 in Los Angeles. But there does seem to be a mounting number of unnamed sources and anonymous tipsters all making very similar claims.
Importantly, if these rumours do turn out to be true, this is probably a good indication that the next Xbox will not feature backwards compatibility. A change in the basic architecture of the chip will, as is the case for the PS4, make it very difficult to just run software designed for the Power PC architecture of the Xbox 360. Whether Microsoft will have a competitor for the much-assumed Gaikai streaming solution Sony might have remains to be seen.
AMD, who are claimed to be making the main processor and the graphics chip, have seen their share price jump to its highest point in almost two years.
Interestingly, Bloomberg says that AMD is keen to support the next generation of consoles in an attempt to make up for the shrinking PC market. Why that informs a move towards the shrinking console market is a bit of a mystery to me but then, the boffins at Bloomberg are demonstrably smarter than me.
Although, the Bloomberg piece’s authority should perhaps be questioned. Firstly, it states that two sources claim Microsoft hasn’t rushed to show the next Xbox because the company “saw little competitive pressure from Sony.” So, according to two sources, Microsoft’s biggest competitor in this market isn’t putting any pressure on with the PS4 reveal (it’s too social-media focussed to matter, apparently). Okay, that seems… odd.
The piece goes on to state that “at Sony’s February unveiling of the PlayStation 4, the Tokyo-based company showed a picture of the machine without demonstrating it onstage.” That, as anyone who watched the live stream, read the ensuing news or opinion pieces or even just googled “PlayStation 4 reveal” before publishing their piece on Bloomberg will know, is totally wrong. So maybe their intelligence is not so demonstrable after all.