Microsoft Xbox "Loop" to Feature ARM Processor, Windows 9 Core - Report

Microsoft Wants Xbox "Loop" to Be Less Expensive than Xbox 360

by Anton Shilov
11/07/2011 | 11:26 PM

Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox known as "Loop" will feature a custom ARM architecture-based processor along with Windows 9 core, according to an unofficial report. The main intention of the software giant is to ensure that the Xbox Loop is less expensive in manufacturing than the current Xbox 360.


The Xbox Next is projected to feature an ARM-based heterogeneous system-on-chip (SoC) with  multiple dedicated assistive cores for graphics, AI, physics, sound, networking, encryption and sensors, according to MS Nerd blog. The SoC will be designed by Microsoft and two yet-to-be-named partners. The new console is projected to feature operating system that will be based on Windows 9 core. The whole gaming machine is expected to be smaller and less expensive to manufacturer than its predecessor.

Such high amount of integration of the SoC will let Microsoft to greatly reduce internal design complexity of the initial console. The first and second generations of the Xbox 360 sported a number of key chips inside, which did not allow Microsoft to quickly reduce the manufacturing costs and pricing even as semiconductor manufacturing processes became thinner and allowed such a possibility in theory.

In case Microsoft decides to sustain backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 without substantial IP development licensing, then the company can hire AMD (its ATI graphics division) to create a new custom Radeon graphics core for the Xbox Next and then integrate it into the "Loop" silicon. Should Microsoft drop compatibility, it will have a chance to use ARM-, PowerVR- or Nvidia-developed cores.

Since a lot tools will be shared between Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9/Windows 9 Mobile platforms, usage of the Win9 core on the Xbox Loop is completely justified. This will not only ensure higher efficiency of the operating system compared to the X360, but will also make development easier.

Microsoft is projected to launch its Xbox Loop next-generation video game console in 2013.

Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.