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Microsoft and the Xbox One. Thoughts?


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#41 skytiger   Members   -  Reputation: 254

Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:33 AM

Could ESRAM + DDR3 outperform GDDR5 for a typical video game?



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#42 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 688

Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:56 AM

While I certainly use my 360 a lot more to watch TV Episodes (Hulu Plus Mostly, don't have a subscription to a cable company) and movies than I use it to play any game, I do think they could have spent a bit more time on the technology in games.  In my honest opinion the Xbox One Game Trailers didn't look much different that the same game trailers we saw when the 360 was announced.

The technology in games is exactly the same as a mid-level PC. What else is there to say?



#43 Prinz Eugn   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 3503

Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:46 PM

They named it 'Xbox One'? What?

 

Yeah we joked about that a lot in the studio today.  Don't confuse the XBox One with the XBox 1.  

 

720 was such a better number than One.  They can still change it back.

 

Just like they did with the Nintendo Revolution!

 

But seriously, god knows how many marketing gurus they tapped to come up with that name and the subsequent campaign around it... they aren't going to change it now.

 

As for the release, the cable thing was bizarre to me since I don't have cable either, but I do use my 360 for watching videos at least as much as I game on it. Switching between a game and netflix, that would be more interesting. As a note, it was nice to see an emphasis on speed in the UI, since the 360's Dashboard/Homescreen system menu was incredibly laggy for a dedicated platform if you were playing a game.


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#44 shuma-gorath   Members   -  Reputation: 882

Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:02 PM

I don't have a problem with Microsoft boasting about the entertainment features because, if you think about it, consoles have been multi-purpose at least since the Sega Saturn debuted.  (You'll recall it could play music CDs.)  I do, however, have a problem with Microsoft not showing a single live demo, which Sony did (even though they technically cheated on the Watch Dogs demo by running it on a PC).  I know E3 is around the corner, buy why waste our time?

 

One thing I like that Microsoft did is mentioned they were bundling the Kinect with the system, making it a standard device.  I think it is foolish to release a new console these days without having speech recognition as a base feature.  When Sony didn't say anything about this in the presentation, I thought they missed an opportunity.  It think it's a practical feature.

 

Now, this is probably going to sound like a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyway because it's been bugging me:

 

If the Xbox One has a x86-based CPU, shouldn't it be possible to provide to provide backwards compatibility with the games from the original Xbox?

 

Disregard the part about BC.  I was given some bad information.

 

 

Of all the rumored names, I thought 'Infinity' was the strongest, frankly, and caries the same connotation as "One", more or less in this (non-mathematical) context.

 

The name is lackluster, the industrial design is lackluster, hardware is good, but the platform will succeed on the back of its software stack and services.

My take on "One" is that they mean "one system to do it all."  I'm going to disagree with you on "Infinity," because I think if you release a system with that name, it suggests there's nothing else you can release that will top it.  I was hoping on "Gamma" myself, since it's the 3rd system and it sounds cool.



#45 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6472

Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:29 PM

It's worth noting that the Xbox will be running three kernels on top of a hypervisor. That's what I'd be worried about for performance, not the raw hardware.

 

Actually, the hypervisor is one of the "three OSes" they mentioned, so its two OSes on top of a thin hypervisor. One to run AAA games, one to run the system software and apps, and which Ars is also reporting to also provide some resources to the games OS in some manner. Ars specifically mentions Kinect processing, which seems likely given that certain gestures are always recognized.



#46 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2100

Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:57 PM

The new kinnect tech is what interests me.

http://gizmodo.com/kinect-2-full-video-walkthrough-the-xbox-sees-you-like-509155673

 

Technically very impressive, and the idea of allowing developers to use biometric feedback opens some intriguing possibilities (L4D style AI director that knows when you're scared?)  

 

But mostly, I find the idea of constantly connected camera that always watching and listening to me really, really creepy. The kinnect is mandatory and apparently, the console just won't work without it. 

 

Now, my wardrobe is largely free of aluminium headware, but this just feels way wrong to me. Even assuming we can trust microsoft not sell this information (hey advertisers! would you like to know whether your ads provoke an emotional response?), there's always the possibility of it being hacked.

 

That said, we already have phones, tablets and laptops with mics and cameras, so maybe I am just being paranoid.

 

Either way, I saw nothing that will tempt me from my ivory tower of pc gaming. I mostly play with KBM, have an xbox controller for when I don't and I doubt there's enough money in the world to convince to join the great unwashed on xbox live


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#47 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:09 PM

But mostly, I find the idea of constantly connected camera that always watching and listening to me really, really creepy. The kinnect is mandatory and apparently, the console just won't work without it. 

 

And soon we'll have Google Glass. The future of always being watched and recorded is inevitable... 



#48 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6472

Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:02 PM

Could ESRAM + DDR3 outperform GDDR5 for a typical video game?

 

It could be better for certain kinds of problems, though GDDR5 can probably say the same for a different set of problems. Given the way that games are constructed today, and the balance of the kinds of problems involved, I'd say its likely to close to give anyone an edge. The difference, if any, will be that on PS4 what you see is what you get, whereas on the XBox One you have the option of moving things between the two and seeing what works best. You might come out ahead, or you might come out behind, but you have to make some effort. That, assumes, of course, that the memory is software managed and not just a massive, hardware-controlled cache. If that's the case, then what you see is what you get, just like Sony's system.

 

But I tend to think that the 32MB of ESRAM will mostly be consumed by various graphics buffers for much of its life, and as a scratchpad for intermediate results.

 

Mostly though, given that the XBox 360 was a unified GDDR system (it too had a EDRAM framebuffer-only memory of 10MB), that Microsoft went this route because they believe it will save them costs, especially over the lifetime of the console. DDR3 is cheap and available, and will be for many years to come, that's not so much the case with GDDR5 -- its expensive now, and its not going to get cheaper relative to DDR3. Since the ESRAM is on-chip, it'll carry less cost as Microsoft migrates to smaller silicon fabrication processes.

 

If its been effective at reducing the manufacturing costs, then they can launch at a lower price point and drop prices sooner to help gain market share. Or, just take home higher profit margins.

 

Playstation 4 is taking the path of being the system that gamers will want, while Xbox One is taking the path of being the system that, they think, everyone will want.



#49 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3324

Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:20 PM

Playstation 4 is taking the path of being the system that gamers will want, while Xbox One is taking the path of being the system that, they think, everyone will want.

 

I agree with this assessment but I'm baffled at the idea that they'll find a market out there for a device like this. Maybe some families will think it's a good compromise machine. But the Xbox brand has built on the loyalty of hardcore gamers and top-performing games for young men. It's too big a void to cross in my opinion, and I think they're only attempting it because their poor hardware choices have forced their hand.



#50 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 26972

Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:21 PM

Could ESRAM + DDR3 outperform GDDR5 for a typical video game?

 

...on the XBox One you might have the option of moving things between the two and seeing what works best.

But I tend to think that the 32MB of ESRAM will mostly be consumed by various graphics buffers for much of its life, and as a scratchpad for intermediate results.

Regarding the embedded RAM, we won't know the impact it will have until we know how it's used. As Ravyne says, maybe it'll be addressable as usable RAM, or maybe it will have a special fixed function.

 

On the 360, the embedded RAM could only be written to by ROP (the only place ROP could write to), and then data could only be copied from EDRAM to main memory (GDDRAM) in large chunks (graphical "resolve" operations). Or, in simpler terms: only render-targets could occupy EDRAM.

This is actually one of those quirks that developers have to deal with... When not in use, render-targets live in main RAM, but the only place you can draw to is EDRAM, so your engine has to hide the fact that when you bind a new render-target, if you want to draw over it's existing contents, you first have to draw a full-screen quad textured with the render-target's previous contents (to copy this data back into EDRAM), and when you're finished, the engine has to copy the EDRAM values back into main RAM.

This also placed a lot of restrictions on the resolution of the render-targets you could use, because they'd have to fit in EDRAM. A FP16 HDR buffer and a D24S8 buffer at 720p are ~10.5MiB, which doesn't fit... which means it's impossible to do FP16 HDR rendering (and depth buffering) at 720p on the 360, without resorting to rendering the screen in two passes and stitching them together.

 

My guess would be that the One's embedded RAM will be used for a similar fixed purpose, and won't be freely addressable RAM that the developer can use however they like.

 

Sony mentioned that they decided against using embedded RAM for this exact reason -- that although it has some benefits, it's a huge quirk that developers have to deal with (and the PS3 was quirk-central, so they've got some making up to do!).

 

Regarding DDR3 vs GDDR5: we have to wait and see what the cache miss times are like for each console specifically before we know for sure.

t will probably also depend on whether you're CPU-bound or GPU-bound.

 

P.S. does anyone else have the new consoles in their offices yet? I could go run some benchmarks, but I really don't have time, and I wouldn't be able to share the results anyway dry.png


Edited by Hodgman, 22 May 2013 - 06:29 PM.


#51 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6472

Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:25 PM

I agree with this assessment but I'm baffled at the idea that they'll find a market out there for a device like this.

 

Baffled, really? Home consoles today are being used for more hours to watch netflix and the like than they are for gaming. The original Wii sold a bajillion units on braindead hardware by appealing to kids, parents, and grannies with kiddy motion games. More and more people are getting their gaming fix from simpler experiences on much smaller devices. And neither console, despite their GPU improvements, represents the kind of leap over their predecessors as the previous generation did.

 

I agree with your assessment that Microsoft has foregone the high-end, but I'm baffled why you're baffled :)

 

 

Here's the scene I predict all across the US this holiday: 10s of thousands of parents, standing before Xbox One and PS4 displays, realizing that they can get an Xbox One, a game, and an extra controller for the price of the PS4. That mom and dad get all the cool TV/VoD integration when the kids are away, and that little Suzy can play all these neat Kinect games when her older siblings aren't using it. That Billie is always excited about new CoD maps, and that those are coming to XBox One first. Dad's in love with the ESPN and NFL content, and the fantasy sports integration. Mom's in love with the TV content and skype integration.

 

Do I think there might be a number of 16-30 males jumping ship to PS4 this generation, sure. Do I think that MS will more than make up the difference in appealing to a broader audience, even surer. PS4 is the stronger proposition if all you really care about is gaming, Xbox One has the stronger proposition for everyone else.

 

I don't know that Xbox will launch at a lower price, but given the difference in hardware choices, that's my prediction. We haven't seen a price disparity between similarly-capable hardware since the Saturn vs. PSOne, which we all know went to the unproven, but less expensive newcomer. I think price will have a lot of sway, especially in this economy. And Flying Spaghetti Monster help Sony if they have yield issues on their massive SoC, or supply chain issues with their unprecedented need for high-capacity GDDR5 chips.



#52 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:41 PM

Honestly, how much of a difference are we really talking about as far as graphics go? I'm sure if you grab screenshots and a magnifying glass you'll be able to see the difference, but how much of a difference will this really make while you're playing?



#53 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18367

Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:59 PM

Honestly, how much of a difference are we really talking about as far as graphics go? I'm sure if you grab screenshots and a magnifying glass you'll be able to see the difference, but how much of a difference will this really make while you're playing?

For most AAA games there won't be a difference. Both will use the same code with a tiny bit of cross-platform binding.
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#54 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3601

Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:05 PM

I'd guess we'll see the differences in a few years when both consoles pass the middle of their lifespan in the market with developers pushing more and more each platform's specific strengths.

 

Right now I'd expect very little difference on multi platform titles. I'm more intrigued about what the x86 (x86_64?) transition will mean on the PC side of things...


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#55 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6653

Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:10 AM

I'm more intrigued about what the x86 (x86_64?) transition will mean on the PC side of things...

Somewhere in the region of 'none' - given that 99% of code is C or C++ in most code bases the work flow will be the same. You still can't highly tune because PCs in the wild are nothing like the consoles from a hardware/dataflow point of view.

#56 skytiger   Members   -  Reputation: 254

Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:21 AM

Do I think there might be a number of 16-30 males jumping ship to PS4 this generation, sure

 

but xbox live means all their friends will have to jump ship too ...



#57 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1394

Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:52 AM

I agree with this assessment but I'm baffled at the idea that they'll find a market out there for a device like this. Maybe some families will think it's a good compromise machine. But the Xbox brand has built on the loyalty of hardcore gamers and top-performing games for young men. It's too big a void to cross in my opinion, and I think they're only attempting it because their poor hardware choices have forced their hand.

 

 

You aren't looking at the big picture.  Gaming may be a multi billion dollar industry but compare wiith TV, Movies and Music it is insignificant.  What Microsoft has done is use games as an entry way to totally disrupt the home entertainment buisness.  Here in the UK we have three methods of watching TV Terrestrial, SKY (total monopoly on satalite),  or Virgin (Complete monopoly on cabel).   The XBOX One will allow me to watch almost all the content that all these providers have plus more for a fraction of the cost.

Currently with the XBOX 360 I only need a £4.99 per month Love Film subscription to watch all the best shows and a huge back catalog of movies.   For anything newer I can watch all the latest releases on demand through Blinkbox.   Sky or Virgin cost £50+ per month.   All XBOX needs is some way of paying off the sports companies and showing Live sports and they will have completly disrupted the TV and Movie industry in the UK.

You can also already watch Sky content on the XBOX if you have a sky subscription.  How long will it be before you can subscribe directly through the xbox without the need for satalite equipment?

 

Not sure how it works in other terratories but Microsofts next step would be to court the content makers directly such as HBO and Time Warner to get the content exclusively and directly and cut off Love Film, Netflix and other services.



#58 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3324

Posted 23 May 2013 - 05:26 AM

Baffled, really? Home consoles today are being used for more hours to watch netflix and the like than they are for gaming.

 

Maybe this is an American thing. I don't see it here in the UK.

 

The original Wii sold a bajillion units on braindead hardware by appealing to kids, parents, and grannies with kiddy motion games.

 

Sure - but it's a game console. People buy games consoles, not home entertainment systems.

 

 

You aren't looking at the big picture. Gaming may be a multi billion dollar industry but compare wiith TV, Movies and Music it is insignificant.

 

The problem is that Microsoft are not and never have been in a position to sell those things to people. There's little indication that anybody apart from gamers really want a unified tv/music/game playing device in their living room, and the family market aren't going to go to Microsoft for such a thing.

 

Here in the UK we have three methods of watching TV Terrestrial, SKY (total monopoly on satalite), or Virgin (Complete monopoly on cabel). The XBOX One will allow me to watch almost all the content that all these providers have plus more for a fraction of the cost.

 

What makes you think the price will be magically lower than the existing methods? The content owners choose the price, and the cable and satellite companies pay the content owners. The reason HBO can afford to make expensive shows like Game of Thrones is because they can charge a lot for access. Microsoft may well want exclusives on their machine but without decent market penetration in place they won't get it.



#59 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 26972

Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:20 AM

Here in Australia there's basically only one Pay-TV provider. They normally provide their service via a dish, but some ISPs also act as relesellers who provide the service via cable or DSL. Lately, Microsoft has also gotten in on it, and they resell it through Xbox live gold. Ignoring the Internet fees and XBL gold subscription costs, it's about the same price as the regular service, but without the $100's of initial costs for a dish and a Pay-TV set top box.

Normally Pay-TV is largely sold via door-to-door salesmen (contractors) who get a percentage or your first payment as commission. I imagine MS gets a similar commission from every monthly XBL-Pay-TV payment.

So, MS has already entered the TV market here, and doing more of that with the 720 isn't a surprise.
And yeah, we don't get Hulu/Netflix/etc... Which sucks, so I imagine the whole TV-via Internet companies this is much bigger in the US.

#60 kryotech   Members   -  Reputation: 802

Posted 23 May 2013 - 07:13 AM

Here's the scene I predict all across the US this holiday: 10s of thousands of parents, standing before Xbox One and PS4 displays, realizing that they can get an Xbox One, a game, and an extra controller for the price of the PS4. That mom and dad get all the cool TV/VoD integration when the kids are away, and that little Suzy can play all these neat Kinect games when her older siblings aren't using it. That Billie is always excited about new CoD maps, and that those are coming to XBox One first. Dad's in love with the ESPN and NFL content, and the fantasy sports integration. Mom's in love with the TV content and skype integration.

 

Do I think there might be a number of 16-30 males jumping ship to PS4 this generation, sure. Do I think that MS will more than make up the difference in appealing to a broader audience, even surer. PS4 is the stronger proposition if all you really care about is gaming, Xbox One has the stronger proposition for everyone else.

 

I don't know that Xbox will launch at a lower price, but given the difference in hardware choices, that's my prediction. We haven't seen a price disparity between similarly-capable hardware since the Saturn vs. PSOne, which we all know went to the unproven, but less expensive newcomer. I think price will have a lot of sway, especially in this economy. And Flying Spaghetti Monster help Sony if they have yield issues on their massive SoC, or supply chain issues with their unprecedented need for high-capacity GDDR5 chips.

 

On the other hand, we could have a scene where shoppers go out and here's what happens: the parents won't be sure if they really want this integrated device thing, while the hardcore gamer kid will almost certainly be against it. Who does that really leave? The casual gamer? Microsoft would really have to advertise their console, way more than Nintendo does. 

 

Mostly though, an integrated home entertainment system does not have a market. Are people really going to spend $300+ on something so that they never have to pick up a remote? You can get Netflix, etc, on the PS3/PS4, and beyond that, the ability to switch to TV or a movie without a remote seems somewhat pointless. Are you really that lazy that you cannot pick up the remote, switch the input, and pick up another remote to turn on the other device? Most households will have how many devices connected to one TV? 3? Are people really going to pick this up just to be able to change between three inputs without any remote? For the average person, that seems pointless.

 

Moreover, the Wii did very well because it advertised a new kind of gaming, and initially, it did deliver a new experience. The Xbox One is trying to be a console, but not focusing on the console aspects. Whether it will appeal to people beyond the mainstream is questionable at best. 


Kryotech




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