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In a bid to preserve backwards compatibility with existing video games, Microsoft Corp. reportedly plans to integrate Xbox 360 hardware into its Xbox Next “Durango” game consoles. The move will provide the new console a library of high-quality that will help the company to compete against Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and will also ensure that the current Xbox 360 owners will transit to next-gen.

“Everything you read [about technical specifications of the Xbox Next] was 100% correct. Except, for one tiny little detail that Microsoft kept guarded from most developers until very recently. That detail being that every Durango ships with an Xbox 360 SoC,” said an unnamed source with, presumably, a good knowledge of Microsoft’s plans in a post published via pastebin.com.

Microsoft and its partners from AMD and IBM designed a single-chip Xbox 360 system-on-chip three years ago when they integrated IBM Xenon central processing unit (CPU) and ATI Xenos graphics and memory controller hub (GMCH). That processor was made using 40nm process technology and it is possible to further shrink it in a bid to cut the costs. Addition of the chip to the Xbox Next will barely improve cost substantially, but should actually bolster the size of its motherboard since the chip should be accompanies by memory chips and possibly some other logic. Technically speaking, packing the Xbox 360 tech into Durango should not be that expensive or technically hard. However, it should make the console slightly bigger than it could have been.

Maintaining backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 titles like Halo, Gears of War and many others may be a strong advantage of the Xbox Next over its rival PlayStation 4, which will rely on cloud technologies to play PS3 games. In particular, Microsoft wants to ensure that its current customers will transit to the third-generation Xbox and not desert to PlayStation platform.

While backwards compatibility is important, it should not be overestimated. Early adopters of consoles want to play new games, not old titles. For them, backwards compatibility will not be crucial, but will increase the price by $50 to $100. Sony used to integrate PlayStation 2 hardware into PS3 in order to maintain software compatibility early in the lifecycle of the PlayStation 3 console. While it pleased loyal gamers, it did not drive sales of the platform and they remained weak simply because PS3 cost from $499 to $599.

Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox Next, Durango

Discussion

Comments currently: 12
Discussion started: 04/19/13 05:16:13 AM
Latest comment: 05/11/13 01:15:02 AM
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1. 
Backward compability is fine and all... but this solution effectively means that microsoft forces you to buy a second (or third) xbox 360 when buying a 720.

If i want to play Xbox 360 games i can boot up xbox 360 and play them as they were meant to be played .

Oh well... I am one of those deserting to the PlayStation platform anyway so they may do what they want.
2 1 [Posted by: exodeus  | Date: 04/19/13 05:29:47 AM]
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this solution effectively means that microsoft forces you to buy a second (or third) xbox 360 when buying a 720.

Huh? How exactly does it do that, when you can play the 360 games on the 720 (assuming this information is correct)?
1 0 [Posted by: bluvg  | Date: 04/19/13 10:19:07 AM]
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If you already own an xbox 360, why pay to have another one included inside the 720. If you don't have a 360, then backward compatibility to games that you don't have is not important, and again why pay the extra for a 720 to include backward compatibility you do not require.
0 0 [Posted by: mjv1121  | Date: 04/20/13 12:55:56 AM]
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Easy--most people don't want to keep around two consoles if they replace their 360 with a 720. It may be an issue of room, and/or it might be an issue of inputs.
0 0 [Posted by: bluvg  | Date: 04/21/13 07:44:22 PM]
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Well, I have a reason:
I don't yet own a console, but I want to play GTA V.
So I will have to buy a XBox or PS.
But when I buy a current-gen console it is obsolete in a second.
So I want to buy a next gen console while still being able to play the current gen GTA V
0 0 [Posted by: Sander Schenk  | Date: 05/11/13 01:15:02 AM]
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2. 
Honestly, I still don't understand how cloud-based games for consoles like PS3s and 360s can work well. Most people just don't have that level of reliability and latency characteristics for their internet connection. The round trip time from when you press a button on your wireless controller, the processing time on the local console, sending the data on the local (and likely wireless) network, forwarding the data to the cloud over the internet (with no QoS, and likely a shared connection both in-house and for your neighborhood), the cloud input processing, the cloud output processing, compressing the video output for transit, sending the data back through the internet, passing the data through the local network to the console, decompressing the video output, and then rendering the video on-screen (and some panels introduce their own latency)... that just does not seem like it would work well for a game that has anything other than something turn-based or with a relatively slow pace.
0 0 [Posted by: bluvg  | Date: 04/19/13 10:27:11 AM]
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3. 
As a consumer, I don't mind paying the extra $50 for backward compatibility. $100 is stretching it too far though.

However, this chip will not be needed after the first 3 years of launch. If 60 million units of Xbox will be sold in the next 8 years (like Xbox 360), that is a lot of unnecessary costs for Microsoft and the consumers alike to bear.

It is a tough call.
0 0 [Posted by: gamoniac  | Date: 04/19/13 12:10:17 PM]
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Well, I wish I could still pull out Kung Fu Chaos every now and then, but unfortunately it was never made backwards compatible with the 360. Realistically, they could now have compatibility with both 360 and original Xbox consoles, though!
0 0 [Posted by: bluvg  | Date: 04/21/13 07:46:59 PM]
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4. 
Personally backwards compatibility is a deal breaker for me and everyone I know on xbox. If its not then we won't buy it either go pc or buy a new xbox when they go on final sale+

We have thousands invested in games and we are not planing to sell them for 2 bucks to game stop !!!Actually I'd rather see second hand games disallowed before losing backwards compatibility because that would only bankrupt companys like Game Stop that only rip off consumers and game developers so they can profit. IMHO they are no better than pawn shops
1 0 [Posted by: PVRone  | Date: 04/19/13 08:04:50 PM]
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If you have invested money in xbox 360 games, then presumably you have a 360. If so, why would you want to pay for another one included inside the new 720?.

Surely backward compatibility is only important if you don't already have a 360 and don't already have 360 games, but you want to buy a 720 and then play older (i.e. 360) games on it.
0 0 [Posted by: mjv1121  | Date: 04/20/13 01:00:31 AM]
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