Hey gamers, can’t we all just get along? Well, it looks like it is going to be much easier to do so, with news that the two major next-gen consoles will both contain a PC-like architecture.
In a report from classy finance site Bloomberg, it has been revealed that the Xbox 720 will shift its internal setup to an x86 format, highly similar to the design of the Playstation 4…..which, in turn, is highly similar to the design of a relatively powerful PC gaming rig.
The publication’s sources claim that the move to a more PC-like architecture is designed to reduce the costs of hardware manufacturing and increase ease of development.
The x86 technology licensed by Intel — the so-called instruction set fundamental to all modern personal computers — gives the new Xbox access to existing design elements, making the machine’s chip system cheaper to develop. The new chips also offer more computing power than parts Microsoft is currently using.
In the PlayStation 4, Sony adopted an AMD custom system-on-a-chip processor that includes eight 64-bit Jaguar cores with a Radeon graphics processor from AMD’s ATI unit. Here is a full spec sheet (which should be quite similar to the Xbox 720 when official info is released:
- Single-chip custom processor, with eight x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU cores and 1.84 TFLOPS next-gen AMD Radeon based graphics engine
- 8GB GDDR5 memory
- Built-in hard drive
- 6x Blu-Ray and 8x DVD drive
- USB 3.0 and auxiliary ports
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1
- HDMI, analog AV-out, and optical S/PDIF audio output
This transition to PC specs is helpful for game developers and publishers who have complained that current consoles, each with a different architecture, come with a steep learning curve that drives up development costs. These companies will save a great deal of money with the new chips.
But this move does have one particularly insidious negative ramification for the 720 though. Since they are dropping the Power PC technology designed by IBM, game discs made for the current Xbox 360 will likely not be compatible with the newest Xbox. I have a feeling this will not go over well with console players.
So what does this have to do with the PC community? Well, this news is actually quite bullish for PC gamers, since it allows for easier cross-platform development. The benefit of a simpler transition means that there will be more titles with PC as the lead design platform, along with the fact that there will be fewer crappy ports (which have been the bain of PC gamers existance for over a decade).
We should expect a full reveal of the latest Xbox in late May, likely a few weeks prior to E3.
Are you surprised by the console markets move towards a PC design? What do you think this means for PC gaming in general? Let us know!