by Anton Shilov
04/18/2013 | 09:18 PM
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.