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Cliff Bleszinski, design director of Epic Games' Gears of War series of video games, said that it is still possible to improve quality of games on Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 game console and in particular to boost quality of graphics. Nonetheless, such improvement is unlikely to be revolutionary and "Avatar-like" quality of visuals is only projected on the next-gen consoles.

"I think if we bring out any more products on the Xbox 360 depending on life cycle, we will be able to squeeze more water from that stone. That said, I still think there is a huge amount of room for improvement in graphics," said Mr. Bleszinski in an interview with The Telegraph.

Apparently, the design director of Epic, a major game designer, happens to know about next-generation of game consoles, but cannot share the information. Moreover, he seems to know about the release timeframe, which means that companies like Microsoft Corp. and/or Sony Computer Entertainment have already set certain goals.

"We want to get to Avatar-quality and real time and beyond. I think we can absolutely get there, hopefully in the next generation if everybody ponies up and does good hardware. [...] I could tell you [how far out is the next-generation], but I would violate an NDA," added Cliff Bleszinski.

Earlier this year Microsoft's official Xbox magazine (OXM) published an article about hypothetical next-generation Xbox 360. Among other industrial experts, Neal Robison, the head of software developers relations at AMD, said that he would expect the future Xbox games to have Avatar-like graphics, that it would also continue using physical optical medium and will not be OnLive-like. In 2011, the Xbox brand turns tend years old and the Xbox 360 turns six. OXM believes - based on industrial rumours mostly - that the next-generation Xbox 360 is due sometimes in 2014.

"We are pretty darn close [to Avatar-like realism],” said Mr. Robison, but declined to comment  whether or not AMD is already working on the next Xbox console.

The new Xbox will inevitably considerably more powerful than the current one. In particular, Mr. Robison expects that the next-gen console will allow for ultra-realistic, rich visual experiences, with marked improvement for things like physics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Actual design, performance and specifications of the Xbox next may currently be known only conceptually. For example, some believe that Microsoft should more thoroughly work on integration of things like Kinect into the actual hardware. In addition, many believe that Microsoft should integrate Skype as well as social networks into the Xbox next. What definitely not happen is that Xbox will not rely onto processing of games in the cloud and will not transit to 100% digital distribution.

Tags: Epic, Gears of War, Xbox, Microsoft, Playstation, Sony, Xbox Next

Discussion

Comments currently: 5
Discussion started: 09/21/11 02:25:02 PM
Latest comment: 09/21/11 06:18:54 PM
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I continue to hope it's 2014.

Realistically, using 28nm (the option before 2014) we'd end up with a graphics chip around the caliber of Cayman/GF114, if not slightly finer tuned perf/mm because of newer graphics architectures. When you start figuring in those games will be programmed towards not only 1080p (or perhaps 3840x2160/4k [4096x2304] in non-3D), but more importantly 3D (because of needed resources) the perceived jump will be less significant, as current consoles are aimed at 720p and non-3D; and even PC games at ~1080p non-3D. The gap between PC/Console will disappear because of similar target resolution. Higher resolution obviously requires more horsepower to display the same 'core' graphics.

If you start thinking in terms of 20nm though, suddenly the prospect turns into something that could be quite exciting. Not only would we have better overall performance than what we have today with high-end graphics cards WHILE using higher-rez/3d, you'd be talking the same experience in a console that could be had with a high-end 28nm/mid-range 20nm PC card...which will probably have a VERY long life span given the slower transition to newer processes outside the likes on Intel.

IOW; A 28nm console chip just doesn't have the capability to withstand the convergence/demands that are being transitioned to over the next few years (ie 1080p 3D, 3840x2160, 4K), especially if they plan for the console to live a decade. 20nm OTOH, would handle the situation much better while being able to appear right on the cusp of that mainstream transition.
0 1 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 09/21/11 02:25:02 PM]
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We will be lucky if Microsoft and Sony go with 28nm chips, the latest news is with them opting for 40nm chips moved over to 28nm later down the track.

If they postpone them a litter longer they are looking at a 40nm design shrunk to a 28nm process either way its going to be VERY bad and PC will be two years ahead of the consoles before they even release.

If you look at the Wii2 with its (3 year old ) AMDHD4870 equivalent graphics card on 40nm then you can see how what i just stated above will unfortunately be the end hardware specs of the new Xbox and Play station.. i really hope I’m wrong and they go with a Bran NEW Designed midrange GPU on the 28nm process node
0 0 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 09/21/11 04:44:30 PM]
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There is absolutely no way that PS4 or Xbox720 will have a GPU slower than the Wii2's. For starters, they will launch later. Secondly, they will have GPUs that support DX11 because they have a strategy of cutting edge hardware unlike Nintendo's. Thirdly, the price of blu-ray has come down A LOT since PS3 launched. So Sony won't have to pay $250-275 for Blu-Ray integration this time. That leaves more $ towards other components, such as the GPU. Neither Sony nor Microsoft can afford to release less than a powerhouse of a console in fear that one of them will be completely ahead of the other in terms of hardware. So expect both of them to throw everything they have, esp. given the much longer console lifespans than in the past.
0 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 09/21/11 05:02:47 PM]
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1. Why do you hope for 2014, not 2012/2013? New generation of consoles is way overdue. They can't get here fast enough!

2. If they release by 2014, then I hope the GPU is 2x faster than Cayman, at least. By 2014, we'll be on HD8970 series and GTX780. Cayman will be a 3.5+ year old GPU (it came out December 2010). And Cayman is barely 15% faster than HD5870 from Sept 2009. So a Cayman GPU in 2014 would be abysmal, unless they plan on selling these consoles for $199, not $399-499.

3. Why would the perceived jump be less significant? Every single console generation has seen a huge jump in graphics. We have heard the same thing every new generation - the next jump won't be as large. It has been proven wrong every time. Console graphics are still 2 generations away from life-like graphics, if not more. At least another 15+ years. Modern graphics are still stuck at 2007 Crysis level, so we have ways to go. I think the next generation will bring an ever greater jump in graphics (DX11, Tessellation, 3D gaming, physics).

4. In the first paragraph, you state that graphics discrepancy between consoles and PCs will disappear. In the last paragraph, you state that Cayman-like graphics or even 28nm chips aren't sufficient to support a decade-long console. The 2 statements are contradictory. If you think that next generation consoles won't last a long time, that means PC graphics will far surpass them. I am confused by your entire view in general since your entire analysis rests on the idea that next generation of consoles will debut in 2014 and that they will at best have 28nm chips - both are just conjecture on your part.
0 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 09/21/11 04:52:55 PM]
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2. 
The ideal next gen consoles would have a 28nm GPU and a (Intel 22nm) (IBM/AMD) 28/32nm CPU be capable of both Bluray and internet content and released end of 2012 mid 2013

But things are not always ideal and here's hoping they dont rush them to market as the sooner they come out the slower the hardware will be.
0 0 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 09/21/11 06:18:54 PM]
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