The Xbox 720

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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Dennis Scimeca said:
The Xbox 720

Experts weigh in on the possibility of a modular Xbox.

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So we take a game console, and we allow people to upgrade individual components like CPU, GPU, and the like. We already have keyboard and mouse controllers available, plus motion controls, so a variety of interface devices isn't a problem.

Of course, each of these components will likely be proprietary. And while there may be imitators, warranties and certifications will only apply to first-party parts.

Developers will aim for the middle of the road, if they want to sell, or for the high-end if they want the publicity. Complaints will range from, "It's slow on my system" to "Why won't they make games that get the most out of my super-duper GPU?"

The expense will begin to annoy people, and they'll continue demanding that their console do more. Playing DVD, Blu-Ray, and music, browsing the internet, social networking, basic software applications... A lot of this we already have, of course.

And we'll have one company (Microsoft, probably) making these modular consoles, while another (Sony, most likely) will stick with the one-size-fits-all model that allows them to more tightly control the whole she-bang...

...and congratulations, we've just invented the PC and Mac markets. Again. All we've done is change the labels and the controllers.

It's okay, though. This is a good thing. Console developers have to stop developing game consoles. Cross-functionality is already in high-demand (see my phone-camera-GPS-browser-texting-toaster-loofa-beard-trimmer), and it is going to be nothing short of essential for the next generation. And you can only get so much like a personal computer before you are a personal computer.
 

GonzoGamer

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Apr 9, 2008
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But don't people get a console so they don't have to do all that.
If you're going to go through all that may as well play the PC and get mods and everything too.
They're also going to have to start posting system requirements on console games now too.

Also, this is what I heard they were going to do when they first started hyping up the original xbox and later the 360.

The one good thing about this is that when one of those components melts itself, you wont have to sent the whole machine in, Just that one piece. And if that one piece is cheap enough not too many people complain about it, they wont even have to replace it for free. It'll be profitable for them and a huge pain in the ass for gamers; yea, that seems to be about the direction we're going in.
 

Baresark

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I would like to point out that since the WiiU is being completely revealed at the E3, no matter what anyone says, people still think they are going to show a new console. Even though in the past they have taken the same 10 lifespan stance that Sony has taken. I hate all this rumor jazz. And, it's not till June(?). I don't give a damn at all.

Also, Microsoft has almost completely turned it's back on PC development. It's the very reason why some of their biggest products never showed up on the PC. I have the first Gears of War for the PC, but at zero hour they pulled the PC version of the sequel. No Halo games. It's a joke. Microsoft will only ever get my money for OS's, and not Windows 8 either (it's gonna suck if history tells us anything).
 

RaggedKarma

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Jan 21, 2011
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Modular consoles would get very limited benefits - developers have to build for the lowest common denominator, or else go mad accounting for all possible configurations. Having said that, I'd rather pay good money for a current-gen 360 with an SSD on-board.

It's more likely they'll license the Xbox software for third-party manufacturers (with strictly defined build requirements similar to Windows Phone 7), and get themselves out of the hardware game that way. Xbox's true value proposition is really in the software, specifically Live.

Really, though, the console market is all manner of messed up right now. The 'console experience' of the future is increasingly less predictable.
 

Kojiro ftt

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The day I have to tweak settings and debug a game on a "console" is the day I quit console gaming. I do enough of that shit at work, I don't want to do it at home. I will switch to Sony or Nintendo if MS starts that game.
 

vxicepickxv

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Sep 28, 2008
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I could see the posibility with specific first party hardware designed to run part of upgraded consoles. It's not difficult to design limiters in firmware or software to run older games at proper speeds. Look at DOS-box as a perfect example for that.
 

LegoDudeGuy

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Jun 9, 2010
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Eh, always have been a Nintendo/PC diehard, and never owned a Xbox of any kind, so it is no suprise that Microsoft would try something like this.

Release a new system (Lets call it the Xbox 360SX), with the ability to upgrade it with 25-50$ add-ons, which leads to games that require said add-ons (example: Wii MotionPlus and LoZ:SS), which ends with people with insufficient income to get left in the cold when Call of Duty: Future Warfare 4 come out.

That is my 2 cents.
 

Waaghpowa

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Apr 13, 2010
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I highly doubt modular consoles will happen. One of the main things about consoles that appeal to people is their simplicity. People just want it to work, rather than having to worry about system specifications.

Also, why would I buy a modular consoles? To me it sounds like a PC that has less versatility. Why not just buy a new computer and upgrade the parts in that.
 

grigjd3

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Mar 4, 2011
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Modular production has an overhead cost that isn't being considered in this argument. Not only do modular parts have to conform to some agreed upon (whether by accident or dictation) interface (which can sometimes even double the cost of production), but it also reduces possible market penetration for individual games. If I make a game designed for one chip set but the consoles have a variety of chipsets, everyone with a lesser machine will be unable to play my game. This is not only bad for me, but it would also be bad for the console maker, who is out the royalties which are the basis for profitability in the console market. The result of this is a market where developers refuse to make games for anything but the base chipset and the console maker has needlessly dramatically increased the price of their console with no commercial benefit.

It's worth noting that console history is not devoid of examples of consoles which tried to be upgraded - it's just that they were all horrible commercial failures. That said, the only company in the business today with enough history to remember these things is Nintendo so I could easily see M$ and $ony stupidly following this route. I'm not saying it won't happen - just that it won't make money.
 

Movi

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Oct 29, 2010
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I would just like to point out that there already was ONE modular console. Remember the Sega Megadrive? and then Sega CD? And then 32X? And even the Saturn which was just all of the above rolled into one?

How did that turn out?

THIS is why there will NEVER be a modular console. And good riddance anyway. If i wanted to mess around with specs and upgrades, i would have bought a PC.
 

Smokescreen

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Kojiro ftt said:
The day I have to tweak settings and debug a game on a "console" is the day I quit console gaming. I do enough of that shit at work, I don't want to do it at home. I will switch to Sony or Nintendo if MS starts that game.
Exactly. And I say that without having your job but: the whole point of having a console is that you can plug and play and you don't have to deal with all the other shit that PC players seem to enjoy.

On top of that, plug-play things help more people get into the activity. There's a reason that consoles sell by the millions.
 

Indignator

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Oct 26, 2011
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RaggedKarma said:
Modular consoles would get very limited benefits - developers have to build for the lowest common denominator, or else go mad accounting for all possible configurations. Having said that, I'd rather pay good money for a current-gen 360 with an SSD on-board.

It's more likely they'll license the Xbox software for third-party manufacturers (with strictly defined build requirements similar to Windows Phone 7), and get themselves out of the hardware game that way. Xbox's true value proposition is really in the software, specifically Live.

Really, though, the console market is all manner of messed up right now. The 'console experience' of the future is increasingly less predictable.
A modular console (or more accurately an upgradable console), if done right, will not turn into a PC. The upgrades (in the form of a single CPU/GPU chip) will have to be first party and a limited amount of them. For example at launch there could be three tiers. As technology progresses new tiers would be added every couple of years. No need to worry about specs, all you have to know is what tier you have. Also, developers will know the precise specs of each tier and so could create built-in settings for each one. The user would not even have to worry about the settings because the game would detect the tier automatically and adjust the settings accordingly.

Movi said:
I would just like to point out that there already was ONE modular console. Remember the Sega Megadrive? and then Sega CD? And then 32X? And even the Saturn which was just all of the above rolled into one?

How did that turn out?

THIS is why there will NEVER be a modular console. And good riddance anyway. If i wanted to mess around with specs and upgrades, i would have bought a PC.
Well the 32X was released at about the same time as the Saturn, so no wonder that it failed. The Sega CD was more of a peripheral but its failure can be countered by the success of the Kinect.

Also, I would like to point out that both the 360 and PS3 are modular in that they allow users to upgrade their HDDs.
 

ResonanceSD

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But I've already got a fully upgradeable and customisable console. It's called a full-tower desktop. Well done Microsoft.
 

Hugga_Bear

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Toeys said:
i just popped in to say that PCs are for real time strategy, mmorp, strategy and FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS. the damned halo generation have screwed it all up. i blame it for everything, and im not even going to bother giving my reasons cause ive given up
Nothing like stating opinion as fact is there? Yours to keep for sure, but one I disagree with and I don't stand alone there. Not everyone likes a mouse for FPS'.

There's been talk of this for some time, I remember when people were putting Linux on their PS3 (and remember being shown how to by OPM of all things), same idea arose and was spoken of fondly. Something more akin to multi-functionality is better though, I can see a time where PC and consoles basically become the same thing, they're already damned close, my PS3 can access the internet and run as well as my laptop and PC, it plays music and streams films or plays blu-rays, it has it's own photo album and so on. The only major difference comes in controllers (which can be crossed over anyway) and then this, hardware.

On the hardware front it comes down to the same old argument, pre packaged console like the PS3 was WAY cheaper than the requisite parts to make an equivalent PC. FAR cheaper, shockingly cheaper. Expense is likely the only real counter to this (ignoring business), buying the premade consoles is thus far still cheaper than the premade PC's and the DIY ones too...
 

CrystalShadow

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Apr 11, 2009
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" the power of a PC and the stability of a console."

Sigh. I do wish I didn't have to sit through remarks like this one... Upgradability and stability are almost mutually exclusive.

The whole reason for the stability of consoles is primarily down to not having to hit a moving target, and thus being able to do extensive bug-testing where you know there will not be any bugs induced by unexpected hardware configurations.

As soon as you add upgradable hardware to the mix, you throw all of that out of the window, and there goes most of your 'stability'.
 

draythefingerless

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Jul 10, 2010
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so what exactly will be the difference between the consoles and a pc? modularity would surely make things more expensive, and in the end youll be paying for a less able pc, with more prone aspects into gaming.
 

Mr. Omega

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Jul 1, 2010
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Do I want a console with mods? Yes. And it can be done.
Do I want a console that can be modded? No. Low-maintenance and stability are supposed to be two of the big selling points of a console (something that seems to have been forgotten this generation...)