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Next-Gen Console Wars Will Soon Begin In Earnest 284

When the Wii U was released at the end of last year, Nintendo got a head-start on the long-awaited new generation of video game consoles. Now, Sony has announced a press conference for February 20th that is expected to unveil the PlayStation 4, codenamed 'Orbis.' This will precede the announcement of the Xbox 360's successor, codenamed 'Durango,' but that too will likely be announced by E3 in June. Specs for development kits of both systems have leaked widely. The two systems both use 8-core AMD chips clocked around 1.6 GHz. Durango has 8GB of DDR3 RAM, while Orbis has 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, though Sony is trying to push that up to 8GB for the console's final spec. Reports also suggest Sony is tinkering with its controller design, going so far as to add a "Share" button to let people exchange screenshots and recordings. Developers indicate the systems are very close in power, though Sony's system currently has an edge. With the upcoming announcement of the PS4, the big-three console makers will kick off a new round of direct competition. They'll maneuver to one-up each other with the most powerful hardware and the slickest software. However, they'll also hope the release of three major consoles in rapid succession will help to anchor a part of the games industry that no longer enjoys the dominance it once did, thanks to threats from mobile.
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Next-Gen Console Wars Will Soon Begin In Earnest

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Saturday February 02, 2013 @01:40PM (#42771953)

    Somewhere, a Nintendo exec is opening a bottle of Jack Daniels to pour a toast to the one year they had a current gen console.

    But seriously, any word on the optical drives for the new consoles? I imagine Sony will stick to a blu-ray drive (I just hope they lose the bluetooth remote and include an IR sensor this time). But will MS swallow their pride and go bluray (widely viewed as a Sony technology), or develop some proprietary optical drive, or use some sort of SSD-type technology--or take the REALLY bold, and risky, step of going download only? I think they would be better off swallowing their pride and going blu-ray myself. But, then again, I say that as someone who has a lot of blu-ray movies and who would really like one console to watch all my stuff instead of several.

    • Nintendo is not really about technology as much as innovative, fun games, for the whole family.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        yea innovation like new supermario world zelda quest 387

        • by Kryptonian Jor-El ( 970056 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @02:05PM (#42772111)
          How many COD games are there again?
          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2013 @03:09PM (#42772539)

            How many COD games are there again?

            There are 9 CoD games [].

            On the other hand, there are 18 Super Mario games [], 12 Mario Party games [], 10 Mario Kart games [], 19 Zelda games [], and 12 Metroid games [].

            I am not the AC you're replying to, but I do agree with him. Nintendo basically re-re-re-re-re-releases the same three games over and over. Claiming they're "about innovation" is ridiculous (and I seriously question "fun for the whole family" too, given that all their multiplayer games either aggressively punish good players or have effectively random scoring systems).

            • by Latentius ( 2557506 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @03:20PM (#42772633)

              While the number of games alone certainly does seem to support your point, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, would be how different are these games from one another (in any way you care to compare games)? Another, you have to keep in mind the lifespan of these games. Yes, there are 18 Super Mario games, but they're also spread out over 30 years, which isn't all that different from 9 CoD games over 10 years. It's just that the Nintendo series have been around for longer. Given a few more decades, the other game developers are sure to milk their franchises for all they're worth.

              Though, I hardly see how this is even really relevant. New people are continually being introduced to gaming, and even of those who've been gamers for decades, if a particular series continues to be fun to play, who cares if there are 20 previous games in the series?

              • could just admit that doody and bario are beating ye old dead horse for all she be worth and call it a day? Hell Nintendo has built an empire out of dead horse beating and nostalgia, if people are willing to buy new systems just to play the same 3 or 4 games whose to say they are wrong? I don't get Madden either but I hear its a license to print money and at the end of the day that's what its all about, getting those gamers to open up them wallets and let the money out.
          • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

            How is that relevant to repetitive Nintendo games? COD is from Activision and is on every platform, INCLUDING the Wii.

        • yea innovation like new supermario world zelda quest 387

          How many COD games are there again?

          This is only relevant if one assumes the discussion is a fanboy/partisan pointscoring exercise where the "least worst" side wins.

          In truth, the fact that there have been 234 Call of Duty games (or whatever) doesn't negate the fact that Nintendo's reliance on the 142nd Zelda game ("Zelda Gets Really Old" []), or Super Mario Land 379 1/2 are exploiting the same old properties, and hardly "innovative".

          (Yes, they *could* in theory do something innovative featuring Mario, but (e.g.) "New Super Mario Bros U" isn'

      • by lbbros ( 900904 )
        Also about tight-fisted control on what you can do with the console, even more than Sony or Microsoft. Region lock, anyone?
    • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @01:47PM (#42771991)

      Somewhere, a Nintendo exec is opening a bottle of Jack Daniels to pour a toast to the one year they had a current gen console.

      If you define "generation" by technological capabilities, then yes. If you use the actual definition, then they have had a current gen console for years, and Sony and Microsoft are now joining the next gen that Nintendo started back in November.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They've been a generation behind for years.

        • The Wii sold 99 million units (making it quite easily the most popular of the generation), and was the least powerful unit of the generation. The PlayStation 3 sold 70 million units (making it arguably the least popular of the generation, though the Xbox 360's tendency toward hardware failure may very well make up for the 5 million unit difference between it and the PS3), and was the most powerful unit of the generation. Modern video game graphics are well beyond the point where we need to be desperately co

          • You do realize that the install base is irrelevant by itself without discussing attach rate...right?
            • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

              Yep - the majority of revenue comes from software licensing, and the Wii has been far below Xbox 360 and PS3 as far as games sold per console (let alone Xbox Live and PSN subscription fees).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alen ( 225700 )

      blu ray is not a sony tech, the consortium is over 300 companies including apple and microsoft. i don't even think sony owns most of the patents. they were just an early producer of the technology and wanted to push HD for their own profits

    • by dagamer34 ( 1012833 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @01:51PM (#42772029)
      If Microsoft wants to make the ultimate entertainment device, it's going to have a Bluray drive. I don't think it has anything to do with "sucking up pride", it's simply impractical to ship a new console with a DVD drive in 2013, and using some proprietary format is just plain idiotic because of the overhead costs. Heck, if even Nintendo has adopted the technology (but not licensed the ability to play BD video), then it's a given that Microsoft will include a Bluray drive in its next console. A given. I do expect 1st day digital downloads for all games though.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        using some proprietary format is just plain idiotic because of the overhead costs.

        I'm actually kind of surprised MS didn't just buy up the old HD-DVD patents and re-task that format for game discs.

        • Nobody's manufacturing the lasers any more. The generation of HD players that supported both HD-DVD and BluRay had two lasers in them, one for each disc.

          It's a great format to use for game discs (or movies for that matter), but it's probably more expensive to implement HD-DVD than BluRay because supply costs will likely outweigh patent licensing costs.

        • Because they want to push "home entertainment system" so that folks don't have to buy both an xbox and a blu-ray player etc.

          Part of the reason I bought an original xbox was for the dvd capability. From my perspective the system didn't cost me $400 it cost me $400 minus the cost of a dvd player, so it ended up costing at the time a net of around $250.

      • IM sorry but Blu-ray is not 'the ultimate'. It might be the ultimate optical disc, but HDD based video smashes it in every metric.
    • I think that the new steam (Linux) box by Valve will grab a significant market share. Why? because it will be much more customizable, AND run current PC games.

      • Why? because it will be much more customizable,

        No one gives a crap....gamers want to play games only Slashdot nerds have that kind of fetish for customization.

        AND run current PC games.

        No, it doesn't. Check the list of Linux compatible games on Steam, it's very short. Sure if you want to play Team Fortress and a few indie stuff then you're in luck, but if you want to play native Linux versions of stuff like WoW or STO, or Skyrim, or XCOM, then you're screwed.

      • Personally, Consoles are dead to me. I'm tired of these gimmicky neutered PCs. You can't upgrade them, so their cycles drag on for multiples of actual hardware (moore's) cycles, ignoring exponential advancements and holding back the industry of games. These console specs are already shittier than a budget PC build I did for $500 today. When they're released a similar spec'd PC might be $300 or less, or even doable in a laptop. With a PC you can add on another GPU via Crossfire/SLI or hell even just mor

    • or take the REALLY bold, and risky, step of going download only? ...with their own App Store and taking a measly 30% cut of every download, and tying everything into a marketing exercise in shifting Windows 8 phones and Windows 8 tablets? Nope, can't see that happening at all.

      Blu-ray is for losers who want to own their own content and watch it again and again, Microsoft says you should pay to watch every movie you used to "own" every time you want to watch it.

  • by Jetra ( 2622687 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @01:47PM (#42771995)
    Starting the launch with Mario Sequel 58, Zelda Remake number 14, Halo 5, and who can forget Final Fantasy XIV - II: Offline Edition?
  • Nintendo had crappy sales of the WiiU and the 3DS and so MS and Sony probably smell blood

    announce their new consoles now to keep people from buying a Wii U. not like there are much games for the Wii U anyway. most of the good ones are still months away

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @01:56PM (#42772065)

    X86-64? cpus? will they be able to run linux or a full windows desktop?

    Now a nice to have will be some kind of cable card / tru2way / allvid system as well.

    • Well considering both the PS2 was/is and PS3 was/is (depending on which firmware it has) quite capable of running Linux, I would say yes.

    • More interestingly, how are they going to keep it cool without noise? People are used to PCs that whirr, they are less forgiving of consoles.

      • More interestingly, how are they going to keep it cool without noise? People are used to PCs that whirr, they are less forgiving of consoles.

        I just build a new i7 system using Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU fan and COUGAR CF-V12HB Vortex Hydro-Dynamic-Bearing (Fluid) case fans and SSD drives. It is almost whisper quiet with 5 case fans and the CPU fan. The blu-ray drive makes more noise than the fans. The point is, they can make it quiet if they want to. The technology is available.

    • The rumour is that the PS4 will actually use linux as the backend OS for the developers, might be bullshit but could be interesting.

  • The winner will be decided by which one will allow "install another OS". We can trust that this time, Sony would mean it.

    • PC+Steam. Easy

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why would that determine the winner? Nobody outside of Slashdot gave a shit last time around.

    • Why would that matter, nobody outside of Slashdot gave a shit....if they did we'd have seen a LOT more people on the YDL forum. Most of the people whining abou tthe removal of OtherOS probably NEVER actually ran Linux on a PS3, (or had a Linux kit for the PS2 for that matter)

      And yes, I had that PS2 Linux kid AND I ran YDL on my PS3.

  • by Walzmyn ( 913748 )

    My Feelings

  • It seems to me if these things are going to be running powerhouse next gen games, then they are going to really have to optimize these games to be multithreaded. Hell my Galaxy Note II runs with a 4 core processor at this speed. Perhaps I'm out of line, but I would have expected at least a *slightly* higher clock speed.??
    • Clock speed doesn't say much about performance, unless you're comparing the exact same processor with different clock speeds.

    • Re:1.6 ghz? (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Optimizer ( 14168 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @04:32PM (#42773063)

      As someone with some game development experience, let me throw in some observations. (*based on the specs mentioned here).

      The 3.2 Ghz Power PC CPUs in the Xbox 360 and PS3 were in-order execution units. As I remember, code on the 360 typically executed about 0.2 IPC -(Instructions per cycle), sometimes worse. The very best hand optimized assembler doing tasks like video decoding could execute about 0.9 IPC once properly cached and unrolled.

      AMD and Intel have decades of R&D now into out-of-order x86 execution (the x86/x64 opcodes being translated to internal micro ops), which is a major factor in their performance. Even the Power PC G5 chip devoted a good chunk of its silicon to Out-or-order execution. The 360 and PS3 CPUs - designed almost 10 years ago - traded Out of Order execution for die size and clock speed.

      The specs say that the 1.6 Ghz CPUs can issue up to 2 instructions per cycle. If real world performance works out to an IPC of 1.2 to 1.6, which seems very doable, then you will see a 3x to 4x increase in the real-world rate of instructions being performed . ( 0.2 IPC @ 3.2Ghz == 0.4 IPC @ 1.6Ghz ). This doesn't take into account any efficiency gains due to the instruction set, cache, etc.

      And at the same time, I would imagine it's a whole lot easier to deal with other things on the chipsets at 1,.6Ghz than at 3.2 Ghz (mature tech and all that)

      • Except that you're forgetting one key component of the 360 CPU: SMT.

        Fine-grained SMT (the only SMT worth pursuing) allows for a second thread to populate unused execution units, allowing for an in-order CPU core to potentially exceed 1.0 IPC when running highly-threaded code (or maintain near 1.0 in I/O-blocked instances)..

        The 360 cores are dual-decode, dual-issue (just like the Pentium, Intel Atom), as anything less would make zero sense to implement SMT for, and anything more would be overkill for an in-o

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      It's not all about clock speed, it depends on the architecture. The WiiU CPU has 3 PPC RISC cores, each capable of executing 2 instructions per cycle.

      And of course the games are going to be multithreaded... it can effectively run 6 threads at once, 2 on each core. And given the GPU's capabilities and decent pixel/vertex/geometry shaders, on a game console the CPU isn't everything, anyway.

  • err what was the submitter smoking when they wrote that - no way that the marquee games like halo ME3 etc are going to face any threat from mobile any time son
    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      No, the submitter sees where it's going, look at Nvidia's Tegra 4 [] and with MS and Sony going for a surprisingly underpowered chip (1.6Ghz rather than the 3.6Ghz that the chip can run at) whilst mobile phones which cost as much as a console and can be plugged into a TV and have far less draconian DRM systems, and are a lot more open than PS or Xbox and can now play back HD1080 and are fully portable etc, and have you even looked at the 3d games available for android - that's now, mobile phones are getting mo

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @02:14PM (#42772177) Journal

    The Android concolelets, like the Ouya, could be about to upend the whole thing. It's just one more consequence of the "good enough" being embraced by both gamers and the industry. Nintendo was in this space before, and they'll definitely have to compete with Ouya, Gamestick and the sea of nameless Chinese manufacturers of Android mini PCs. The heavy games, those that needs tons of storage, CPU and GPU power will still be around, of course, not everyone who bought an Xbox was playing those. Problem (for MS and Sony) is, there's a new kid in town who wants to eat up some of that (the heavy gamer) marketshare: Valve.

    • That doesn't really seem like a revolution; just a new competitor making headway into the same old space. The revolution would be if NONE of the next gen consoles sell well because all but the hardest of the hardcore are too busy playing Cut the Rope on their iPads to bother purchasing a console at all.

      • Combining the openness of Android with the user experience of a traditional console is pretty revolutionary. Both users and devs no longer being bound to the chains of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft could have a transformative effect on the industry.

  • I have been playing the wii up to now. I am actually interested in the Wii U. But the price is just too high for me to get it.

    370 bucks for a gaming system with one game. Then each subsequent game is $60 new, $50 preowned. I am going to pass on that.

    For comparison the wii launched at $250 and games were less than $50. 20% jack up in 7 years is too much. according to [1], inflation since the wii launch is only 14%. So definitely, the price rose.

    [1] []

  • A "Share" button? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmazingRuss ( 555076 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @04:11PM (#42772923)

    Oh FFS. That reeks of cluelessness and desperation.

    Sony, sure enough.

    • I hope it won't be tied to the Move camera, or we'll be seeing "share your penis" until Sony shuts that feature off. Nothing to look forward to next gen. I just can't be bothered to participate.

  • It's funny... we hear "after the PSN fiasco, I won't trust Sony with my dirty underpants, much less buy their next console. Fuck Sony."

    "After 6 consoles, damnit, I'm not giving Microsoft a dime since they can't be bothered to make decent, reliable hardware. Fuck Microsoft."

    and then.... "new specs are leaked......."

    SHINY! ME want!!!

    Typical. :)

    • That is bad luck for you. I had an xbox 360 for a while, and I actually never had a single issue with it. I did sell it after a while though to go back to PC gaming.
      Seeing as that you have had 5 replacements, it seem the customer service is doing well. Also, are you sure you are doing it right if you broke 5 boxes? ;)

      • I didn't have 5. I had 3. I stopped at 3, getting tired of the whole deal. There have been people who have had plenty of the old style consoles replaced. This isn't an isolated incident. Just google the track record of the pre-slim quality and you will see that 5 is about average if you gamed more than 15 minutes at a time.

        The quality problem with the 360's hardware is precisely one reason why I won't be getting Microsoft's next console (720, whatever). And since Sony took Linux install from my console, I w

  • My hardware purchases are driven by the games I want to play. I'll not be buying the next Play Station because because Sony killed the PS version of the Everquest franchise. I'll be upgrading my PC for Everquest Next.

  • Just told my bro, who owns a 360, to get ready to shell out some dough for a new Xbox. He gave me a dirty look and said he's finished with Microsoft consoles because of, quote: "They Nickel and Dime me to death".

    As for me, I'm very content with the Ouya and my Linux desktop. Gaming doesn't have to mean $600 for a console, plus subscription, plus $70 games. That's outrageous, for me at least.

    • This, but also, honestly, I'm tired of being fragmented to death as well, and I'm really afraid of that with the OUYA. You know what's nice?

      Humble Bundles that let me pay for a game that I can play on my Linux box...
      and my Mac...
      and a Windows machine...
      and an Android device.

      Not quite as nice is me buying a game ONCE in the Play store and then being able to play it on all my Android devices. And possibly the desktop here soon via the Chrome browser or Android X86.

      I'm all in for gaming on Android as a general

  • I would assume that the "share button" is sony's attempt to put a social media component into their platform. Maybe one of of you younger guys can explain the draw, because I surely do not get it.
    Why do so many games try to push a social media component. Like DIRT3 for example. I it constantly asking me to share a video on youtube. Why?? Why would anyone want to watch a video of me playing a game like it is some kind of real life event? I sure as heck have no desire to watch other folks play a game.

    Sure, I

  • by NoZart ( 961808 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @06:25PM (#42773781)

    I don't exactly know and am honestly too drunk and lazy to google it, but if memory serves me right, the time between console announcement and actual appearance on the market seemed to be pretty long, so i think we look at 2014/2015.

    Plus i think it is entirely possible that the announcements (NOT the actual market releases) are made a bit earlier this time to get people to diss the Wii U and wait for the "big thing"

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972