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AirRaid
06-12-09, 11:06 PM
Rumor: Xbox Natal is Actually Microsoft's Next Console

So you know how Microsoft is saying Natal will be as big as console launch? Well...yeah.
By Sam Kennedy, 06/12/2009

Earlier this week gaming blog Kotaku quoted Microsoft's Shane Kim as saying that the launch of Natal, Microsoft's new controller-free motion control technology, would be as big as the launch of a console. Not surprising. That's because Natal is going to be a new console.

On this week's Listen Up podcast we discussed Natal, and David Ellis and I talked about what we've been hearing regarding the new technology -- and how it's actually the cornerstone of Microsoft's next evolution of the Xbox. Microsoft will not only release Natal as an add-on for the Xbox 360, it will come standard with the next Xbox console.

Yes, there will be a new Xbox console next fall.

However, the new console won't just be an Xbox 360 with a camera, though -- we've heard it will be considered a new platform and carry a new name (Xbox Natal?). It's not clear what sort of upgrades we might see, but some have suggested it will be an slight upgrade of the current Xbox 360 technology. Current Xbox 360 games would be playable on it, but future games would be able to take advantage of the added muscle. Similar to what we see in the PC space, games played on the more advanced Xbox would look or perform better, but publishers will still be able to support owners of both systems. Some developers have complained that they've already maxed out the Xbox 360; perhaps this will give them room to expand.

Make no mistake, we wouldn't be talking about the sort of hardware leap we've seen with Xbox (or most other) platforms in the past, and we're not talking about Microsoft ending one console cycle and starting another. We're talking about an evolution of the Xbox 360; similar hardware but upgraded, repackaged, and rebranded. It's actually not that unlike what Nintendo did with the Wii, where it essentially took the GameCube hardware, stuck in motion controls, and successfully relaunched it. The new Xbox console is said to be aimed directly at a mainstream audience -- and will launch before Nintendo is able to release its Wii HD.

What's interesting is that Nintendo and Microsoft are on a course to deliver very similar products yet are coming at them from opposite directions. Microsoft currently has the HD hardware and will in the future introduce motion controls, while Nintendo has motion controls and will in the future introduce HD hardware. Sony's PS3 will also be providing motion controls next year, though as a peripheral for its EyeToy camera.
As John Davison pointed out on the podcast, the Wii was the first console to do this, but it's likely that all future hardware will be more iterative than substantive. The distinction between new consoles will become far less marked -- similar to what we've seen in the handheld space, such as with the transitions from the Game Boy to the Game Boy Advance, the DS to the DSi, or the PSP to the PSP Go.

So when would we first hear about this new Xbox console? Our sources point to next year's Game Developer's Conference as the target for its unveiling and Fall 2010 as the target for release.

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3174762

I would be all for this, especially if Microsoft upgrades the Xbox 360 architecture with more CPU cores, more shader ALUs, more EDRAM and more main RAM.

Or they go with a new DX11 GPU that's backwards compatible with Xenos.

NarcissistZero
06-12-09, 11:49 PM
I really doubt it.

I'm sure the natal will be packaged with the console in one box though.

Lfctony
06-13-09, 12:11 AM
Perhaps this will suck as well... (WEEEEEE!!!) Suffice to say that I won't be touching this...

S.I.N
06-13-09, 12:16 AM
They seem very confident so I can see them pushing it hard but at the same time the way there talking makes me think the price of this thing is going to be more $100. Wouldn't be surprised if the damn thing cost near $200. Just look at how over priced there accessories are.

Lyme
06-13-09, 01:11 AM
Extremely speculative. Shane Kim was quoted as saying that the project Natal launch will be as big as a console launch.

Lfctony
06-13-09, 03:18 AM
Last thing I want after an exhausting day at work is come home and instead of having a relaxing game on my console, I'll just stand around and fling my arms and legs around like an idiot... See where this is going? I already have four hard workouts a week at the local gym, I don't need more while gaming...

Toss3
06-13-09, 04:12 AM
I would be all for this, especially if Microsoft upgrades the Xbox 360 architecture with more CPU cores, more shader ALUs, more EDRAM and more main RAM.

Or they go with a new DX11 GPU that's backwards compatible with Xenos.

I think that they are talking about a new bundle - not an upgrade of the hardware. They are just going to stick natal in with the current xbox360 and give it a different name(hence the nintendo reference). They couldn't go with a DX11 GPU as that would be pointless as the old xbox360 wouldn't be able to play any of the new games and people would be pissed off.

Lfctony - natal isn't being forced upon you; the old controller is still going to be supported. They're just giving the mainstream market another option other than nintendo.

jolle
06-13-09, 06:29 AM
I think that they are talking about a new bundle - not an upgrade of the hardware.
This rumor says they´re upping the hardware slightly though.
More RAM and and power in general would be nice, cause that´d prolly mean better looking ports for the PC.

Lfctony
06-13-09, 07:23 AM
Lfctony - natal isn't being forced upon you; the old controller is still going to be supported. They're just giving the mainstream market another option other than nintendo.

I hope you're right, because I absolutely hate the Wii controls... Unfortunately for the Wii, almost no games offer the option to play without the motion controls, but with a normal controller...

six_storm
06-13-09, 08:45 AM
This is a false rumor for sure. Out of all the small personal demos I've seen, the MS guys say that it will work with all XBOX 360 consoles, old or new. Also, one MS tech said that the Natal wouldn't be outrageous in price, that MS wanted to make it affordable for everyone.

jolle
06-13-09, 09:13 AM
This is a false rumor for sure. Out of all the small personal demos I've seen, the MS guys say that it will work with all XBOX 360 consoles, old or new. Also, one MS tech said that the Natal wouldn't be outrageous in price, that MS wanted to make it affordable for everyone.
So none of that really has anything to do with these rumors.
It sais they´re releasing a new updated Xbox which comes with natal, and that natal will still work fine as an addon for the current 360.

But releasing a updated xbox with higher end HW in it doesnt really make much sense IMO.
Im sure devs would be thrilled to have to work on 2 versions of 360 aside from PS3 and PC.
Cause they gotta make the game work on the old one, and the new one and preferably ramp up the graphics and stuff for the new one.
But if that turns out to be true after all, then as mentioned maybe the PC gets the ported content from the new one, in which case that would be nice.

AirRaid
06-13-09, 10:29 AM
WORLD EXCLUSIVE FIRST DETAILS ON MICROSOFT'S NEXT XBOX

06/13/09 1UP recently posted a new article revealing details on Microsoft's plans for their next XBox, we can officially confirm the information found in that particular report was indeed correct. However today FGNOnline would like to reveal Microsoft's planned specifications of their new unit.

As mentioned in the 1UP piece the system shall indeed integrate the motion sensing technology Natal into the actual device, however our separate sources can now reveal the modest upgrade made to the actual architecture of the new system.

GPU

Whereas the original XBox 360 used a Shader Model 3 GPU with on-board 10MB eDRAM for 720p acceleration, the new XBox has a Shader Model 5 capable GPU with 32MB of eDRAM for 1080p output. The GPU again is designed by AMD and runs at a clock rate of 600MHz.

CPU

The IBM developed CPU shall have 6 cores instead of the 3 found in the original model.
Each single core shall have the same processing throughput as each single core from the XCPU. Meaning the chip is literally 200% as strong and shall now be on equal footing with the PS3 CELL CPU in GFLOPS performance.

MEMORY

The main system RAM has been upgraded from 512MB to 1024MB, and from GDDR3 to GDDR5.
The system retains a Unified Memory Architecture.

OTHER

The platform integrates a 2.5" 32GB SSD (Solid State Drive) instead of a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) as found in the original models. The system also uses a standard DVD drive foregoing Blu-ray thus ensuring backwards and forwards compatibility whilst simultaneously keeping the bill of materials low. Internet connectivity is provided via WiFi.

RELEASE & PRICING

Microsoft plans on a Q4 2010 simultaneous worldwide release. The company is targeting a sub $300 price point.


http://fgnonline.webs.com/

It's not as if this new console is a generational leap forward like Xbox to Xbox 360, this is not the next-gen Xbox3 (which is still in development BTW). It's more like going from GameCube to Wii, and then some. The DX11 Shader Model 5.0 GPU and 3x the amount of eDRAM is a big deal if that's true.

I'm disappointed that it would only have 1GB of main RAM, I think it could use 2GB. However the CPU increase and especially the new GPU with more eDRAM sounds really nice.

I hope this turns out to be true. I'd buy this new Xbox just for playing conventional non-Natal games. I'd love console games running at 60fps, 1080p.

Toss3
06-13-09, 10:50 AM
http://fgnonline.webs.com/

It's not as if this new console is a generational leap forward like Xbox to Xbox 360, this is not the next-gen Xbox3 (which is still in development BTW). It's more like going from GameCube to Wii, and then some. The DX11 Shader Model 5.0 GPU and 3x the amount of eDRAM is a big deal if that's true.

I'm disappointed that it would only have 1GB of main RAM, I think it could use 2GB. However the CPU increase and especially the new GPU with more eDRAM sounds really nice.

I hope this turns out to be true. I'd buy this new Xbox just for playing conventional non-Natal games. I'd love console games running at 60fps, 1080p.

I won't believe this until we get some actual facts from microsoft themselves. This would be absolutely awesome if true and could potentially mean that the days of the RROD are almost gone! (nana2) Heh I'm actually drooling here..

Lyme
06-13-09, 11:09 AM
Things must be really slow in gaming news if this is the best rumor that people could come up with.

Buio
06-13-09, 12:28 PM
Things must be really slow in gaming news if this is the best rumor that people could come up with.

What he said.

XDanger
06-13-09, 12:37 PM
http://fgnonline.webs.com/

It's not as if this new console is a generational leap forward like Xbox to Xbox 360, this is not the next-gen Xbox3 (which is still in development BTW). It's more like going from GameCube to Wii, and then some. The DX11 Shader Model 5.0 GPU and 3x the amount of eDRAM is a big deal if that's true.

I'm disappointed that it would only have 1GB of main RAM, I think it could use 2GB. However the CPU increase and especially the new GPU with more eDRAM sounds really nice.

I hope this turns out to be true. I'd buy this new Xbox just for playing conventional non-Natal games. I'd love console games running at 60fps, 1080p.


This isn't how console life cycles work, Extreme fail.

The next XBox 360 will be reduced in size and have slightly different ports or built in wireless whatever but no other changes like memory amount.
Having said that the original xbox didnt have a slim revision like all other consoles in recent history so maybe it'll stay big

After a few years the price of producing the consoles goes down ,The last thing you want is to add to it and make it loss making again.

A beefier 360 would just alienate existing users who cant afford an upgrade.

Also a smaller slightly better CHEAPER 360 would do more for microsofts profits than a hardware overhaul, It just doesn't make sense.

Natal is just a camera not a new xbox, I'll bet your life on it.

NarcissistZero
06-13-09, 01:42 PM
Yeah, that "we have the specs" thing sounds in no way real.

"Not just 3 cores... 6 cores! And DDR5 RAM!"

ViN86
06-13-09, 04:35 PM
Doubtful. On Jimmy Fallon's show, the lead development guy of Project Natal said "it will work on all current XBOX360's".

Maybe they will launch it as part of new 360's, but it appears it will be available for the current 360's as well.

ViN86
06-13-09, 04:39 PM
According to here:
http://www.joystiq.com/2009/06/13/rumor-natal-part-of-new-xbox-console-due-fall-2010/

Natal is expected to be part of the new Fall 2010 console as well as featured as an upgrade to current 360's. This is to be expected.

However, Natal being its own console is well... absurd lol.

Did we understand the OP correctly? Sounded like they were saying Natal is going to be a console by itself...

AirRaid
06-14-09, 01:36 AM
Lets clear things up:


*Natal is an motion sensing camera add-on for Xbox 360. Natal will work with any Xbox 360, even ones released in 2005.

*Microsoft will apparently release a new, upgraded Xbox next year, based on Xbox 360 architecture, but slightly or somewhat more powerful (CPU, GPU) and that has more RAM, and probably other features like WiFi. Not unlike how Wii is a slightly upgraded GameCube with more features, and also the DSi which has 4 times the RAM and double the CPU clockspeed compared to DS and DS Lite.

*Natal will come standard with this new Xbox

*The new beefier Xbox is *not* a completely next-gen Xbox3, which is something that is further off. The release of Xbox 3 is anywhere from as early as 2011 to as late as 2015.

*The name of the new Xbox is not known. It might be called "Xbox Natal" or Xbox 360 Natal" or "Xbox 360 II" for all we know.


Another possibility is that the new Xbox is simply a redesigned, slimmer, smaller, lighter Xbox 360 (with the CPU+GPU combined on one chip; the Valhalla chipset/motherboard) and that is in no way upgraded over the current Xbox 360, having the same core CPU/GPU/RAM specifications.
Like PS1 -> PSOne and PS2 -> PS2 Slim.

But the 1up.com article is pretty clear, the new Xbox apparently is an upgraded Xbox 360 of some sort. It wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft is following in Nintendo's footsteps--They were extremely successful going from GameCube to Wii. Nintendo took their Gekko CPU & Flipper GPU which were both designed in the late 1990s for the GameCube, clocked them 1.5x faster, put in an extra 64MB of RAM, made a totally new controller, rebranded & repackaged the new version as Wii.

NarcissistZero
06-14-09, 01:49 AM
These sites rumor this stuff wrong all the time... 1UP especially. I wouldn't act like this is really happening until we hear a lot more information.

crainger
06-14-09, 02:56 AM
It's a gamble playing with a consoles CPU and RAM. Remember the modders who upgraded the Xboxs CPUs, they found most games refused to run at all and some performed even slower. Also when they introduced the HDD install feature, several games, including Gears 2 performed unpredictably when installed. Who knows what a faster CPU and more RAM will do. Not only that, console gamers can be very... 'Competitive' online. IF games do run better, then God knows the problems it will create with the online community.

ViN86
06-14-09, 11:29 AM
It's a gamble playing with a consoles CPU and RAM. Remember the modders who upgraded the Xboxs CPUs, they found most games refused to run at all and some performed even slower. Also when they introduced the HDD install feature, several games, including Gears 2 performed unpredictably when installed. Who knows what a faster CPU and more RAM will do. Not only that, console gamers can be very... 'Competitive' online. IF games do run better, then God knows the problems it will create with the online community.

Yes, with PC's it's acceptable since people have the same opportunity to upgrade their hardware as they want. But with a regulated system like a console that's not really an option without buying a completely new console lol.

I don't know why they would upgrade hardware on a new 360 really. It would definitely affect the developers as well. I mean, when they can have access to memory, yet they're forced to be restricted to previous versions of the console, I would think that would become very frustrating.

Not to mention memory management is arguably the hardest thing there is on console development.

Lyme
06-14-09, 12:25 PM
People need to understand that the little black Natal box contains more than just two cameras and a microphone, it also holds a custom cpu and a lot of memory. Both speech recognition and image analysis takes quite a bit of hardware. I fully expect a few are misconstruing the hardware that needs to go into project Natal with a upgrade to the 360.

MaxFX
06-14-09, 01:01 PM
Im all for it if means better hardware, would sit damn nice with a DX11 GPU and more Mem and a better CPU. bring it out MS this would definelty fly :D

Remember the rumor earlier about the next box. the talk was about that MS said make the games ala Pc so when the new box is out it will look and play better, cleaner graffics, longer view distance. better fps bla bla.

So it would seem like a good fit I say. and in fall/vinter next year it will be pretty perfect for it to came out as the 360 is old even now!