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View Full Version : Microsoft 'yanked optical drive from Xbox 720'


darren
03-09-2012, 07:32 AM
looks like nextbox is going to be pure download.

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/03/09/microsoft_drops_optical_disc_drive_for_next_xbox/

Microsoft's next Xbox - whatever it's called - will not feature an optical disc drive, moles have claimed. Instead, it will gain games by downloads and possibly on memory cards too.

Allegedly breaking one of the "strictest NDA" contracts ever encountered, the insiders said the console will indeed be launched in 2013, as rumoured, with a type of removable solid-state storage rather than the DVD format of yesteryear, MCV reports.

The news that console manufacturers could turn their backs on discs is worrying for already struggling high street outlets, such as Game, which may have to hope that punters will prefer to buy games on memory cards rather that suffer long download times, in order to easie its business troubles.

Microsoft declined to comment on the claims, but did release an ambiguous statement on console lifecycles:

"Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle like introducing the world to controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships.

"We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention. Beyond that we do not comment on rumours or speculation.

Alucard
03-09-2012, 07:45 AM
Hacking will be that much easier then.

Escaflowne2001
03-09-2012, 07:51 AM
other places are saying it'll be like the Vita, cards sold in the shops or downloads to the consoles. All just rumors doubt they'll go download only yet to big of a risk especially when Sony have all but confirmed there sticking with Blu-rays.

darren
03-09-2012, 07:55 AM
cards would be interesting.

a/ they could have a first time write to stop them being re sold, something not really do able with dvds etc

b/ depending on the size, would you be able to put them in a MS portable device and take them on the go? the cart would make sense if they are looking at a tablet controller, it might have a cart slot?

c/ would make the system smaller and i guess would reduce load times quite a bit.


interesting times .. E3 should be a corker this year ..

BlindMaphisto
03-09-2012, 08:00 AM
If the abolition of the used game market would lead to faster price drops for people looking to save money I could get behind it but since microsoft are a gaggle of useless yeast infections I know that won't happen so fuck em. Might just skip the next generation.

eastx
03-09-2012, 08:51 AM
If the abolition of the used game market would lead to faster price drops for people looking to save money I could get behind it but since microsoft are a gaggle of useless yeast infections I know that won't happen so fuck em. Might just skip the next generation.

Cue people reacting to rumors like they're facts. :P

The lack of backwards compatibility this would entail would be a drag, but I'm hoping it's not for reals.

Icarus4578
03-09-2012, 08:56 AM
They're able to make portable HDs with storage capacity in TBs. Even tiny 3DS carts can compress several gigs. So I'm thinking that they might go for something like the Hu-Cards NEC used for the TurboGrafx 16 albeit with far more memory. However, if in fact there really is no optical disc drive included with the new console, that eliminates playback of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, at least by direct means. They'll likely go digital distribution model.

Shorty0061
03-09-2012, 09:14 AM
Yeah, no thanks. With the way Sony and Microsoft handle their DD stores, I'm happier every day that I got back into pc gaming.

Nem
03-09-2012, 11:56 AM
I hope they go with this and fail miserably so i can have a laugh.

darren
03-09-2012, 12:16 PM
the full article

Trade newspaper MCV reported this morning that Microsoft is planning to drop optical disc media from the next generation Xbox, replacing it instead with a removable solid state format. The reaction online was instantaneous - a strong backlash against the idea of an all-digital console, lamenting the plight of those without superb broadband and fretting over the inevitable price hikes brought on by the end of second-hand and retailer discounting.

Spot the disconnect. What MCV reported is the end of optical media in the Xbox; what the world heard, apparently, is the end of physical retail. They're not the same thing, as anyone who's bought a PlayStation Vita - and then successfully walked into a shop and bought a game on a solid-state flash card - can tell you.

MCV shoulders much of the blame for the confusion, since having established that (according to its unnamed sources) Microsoft was proposing to replace optical discs with a solid-state format, it then proceeded to talk about the threat this poses to retail anyway - as if retail cares deeply whether it's selling games on discs or on solid-state cartridges. The next generation of consoles will, inevitably, shift some focus away from physical retail and on to digital distribution, but that will happen regardless of what format is chosen for physical distribution of games.

Still, even if that approach hadn't been taken in the original article, the reaction would probably still have been broadly the same. The industry is pretty jumpy about anything that has an impact on retail right now. It's understandable, given the GAME crisis and the overall fall in physical sales. It's just not terribly relevant to this discussion.

What we're actually talking about here, remember, is the question of whether games will be distributed on optical discs, as we currently do, or whether the next-generation Xbox will follow PlayStation Vita down the path of distributing games on flash cards. That's not a matter of digital retail strategy - next-gen games will be available simultaneously on digital download platforms and in physical retail, regardless of what form the physical product takes. Rather, it's a really straightforward question of cost:benefit.

What are the advantages of solid state? What are the disadvantages? What are the costs? Does it balance out? That's what we're really asking here. That's what Microsoft is asking, too. With solid state prices in freefall and given the problems the Xbox 360 has had with its disc drives over its lifespan, they'd be mad not to think about alternatives to discs. Thinking about it doesn't mean they'll do it, though - it just means they'll weigh the pros and cons.

What are the pros? Well, solid state memory gives you a fair few benefits in terms of the physical structure of the machine. Compared to an optical disc drive, it's small, it's got no complex moving parts, it makes no noise, generates little heat and doesn't suck up much power. From the perspective of a console hardware designer, those are all very positive things - although it's pretty obvious that they're much more attractive if you're designing handheld hardware (like PlayStation Vita). In a console that sits under a TV, plugged into the mains, power consumption, heat, noise and size are still considerations, but vastly less critical than they were in Sony's decision to drop discs from the Vita.

How about the technical aspects? In theory, solid state offers various advantages in this regard. Discs are a well-understood technology, but that doesn't stop them from being a bit of a pain in the backside - they stream data faster in some parts of the disc than others, and have long delays when you move between areas of the disc, forcing the read head to travel across the surface. They're very good at streaming large, continuous files (like movies) and pretty bad at providing access to loads of little files scattered around (like games). Developers solve this by cleverly arranging data on the disc, but it doesn't always work out; solid state should, in theory, be a much better medium to work from.

That's in theory. In practice, the term "solid state" covers a multitude of sins. It can mean the superb SSD drives which give computers a new lease of life and are beloved of anyone working with random access media anywhere, but it can also mean the cheap off-the-shelf SD card you pop into your camera, which offers far fewer advantages - if any. You get what you pay for, in essence. If you're paying for modern, high quality solid state, disc drives would be hard pressed to keep up with performance. If you're watching your budget, though, high quality optical drives will leave you in the dust.

Microsoft, of course, will be watching its budget. It's a trade-off. A good quality optical drive is expensive to build into a console, both financially and technically, but the media costs for games are subsequently very, very low. A solid state reader is cheap, but the media costs - if you're going to rival the performance of the optical drive - are high. Over the lifespan of a console, that could end up being very, very expensive indeed. Bear in mind that a single cent of added expense in game media means a million dollars of lost profit over just a few months of software sales.

It's also important to recognise where the technology now stands. It's lazy to compare solid state media with existing optical drives such as the PS3's somewhat sluggish Blu-Ray drive - instead, look at what the state of the art will be when next-gen consoles launch. Blu-Ray drive speeds have improved vastly in half a decade, and media prices have fallen dramatically. This is now a mature, cheap, attractive technology. Of course, in another half-decade, it'll look a bit old hat - which is why Microsoft is quite right to think about solid state alternatives - but if PS4 and Xbox3 launched tomorrow, the former with a Blu-Ray drive and the latter sporting solid-state, Sony would have a serious cost, capacity and performance advantage over its rival, at least for a few years.

That's a further crucial thing to remember. Microsoft isn't developing a console in isolation - it's building a product that it'll pitch against very strong rivals, and it's building it with one eye on what they're going to do. Sony will absolutely have a Blu-Ray drive in the next PlayStation. It's deeply committed to it as a movie format and as a game format, even as it pushes towards the eventual goal of digital distribution, and this time out, Blu-Ray drives are cheap, easy to build and provide strong performance.

In the face of that, could Microsoft convince consumers that not having a drive at all - no ability to play Blu-Rays or DVDs, no option of backwards compatibility, and potentially no real performance or capacity advantage - is a step into the future rather than a critical error? It's a tough call. Apple manages it, of course, but Apple's operating in a very different ecosystem with a very different set of rules.

Is Microsoft thinking about dropping the disc? Yes, of course it is. Every manufacturer knows this day is coming sooner or later. Will it happen in the next Xbox? I don't think the numbers stack up right now. The cost is high, the advantages low. The company may keep its options open with a high-performance removeable memory slot - that would make sense - but it's hard to imagine a new Xbox shipping in the next couple of years without the ubiquitous optical disc drive making a return.

KingOfSentinels
03-09-2012, 12:17 PM
Surprise announcement; MS using Steam on the Nextbox to distribute games.

http://findingmyvenus.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/success_baby-kid.jpg

Einhander
03-09-2012, 12:48 PM
MS's next console will run on Flash.

SavedFromSin
03-09-2012, 01:08 PM
If it goes pure download, I won't buy it. I hate digital distribution with a passion. I want a physical copy of my game sitting on my shelf so, in 15 years when I want to play it again, I can just grab it and put it in. Don't have to worry about whether the company will let me have access to it or whether I have filled up my hard drive.

Joe Redifer
03-09-2012, 02:36 PM
I think high-capacity cards might be cool of they were fast enough. Downloads only? No. That would limit their audience too much. Not enough people have fast enough internet or maybe they have caps placed on their service. Or they won't want to expand their storage to get more games, etc. I don't see it happening. Another thing I don't see happening is the name "Xbox 720".

Shorty0061
03-09-2012, 03:22 PM
Another thing I don't see happening is the name "Xbox 720".
But they had ads in real steel with the 720 name, which means we'll have some giant rockem sockem robots out in a few years :D

eastx
03-09-2012, 03:43 PM
I think high-capacity cards might be cool of they were fast enough. Downloads only? No. That would limit their audience too much. Not enough people have fast enough internet or maybe they have caps placed on their service. Or they won't want to expand their storage to get more games, etc. I don't see it happening. Another thing I don't see happening is the name "Xbox 720".

I fully agree. The cards would provide several benefits to us consumers, provided the price of games doesn't go up. But they'd definitely cost more to make, so we'll have to see what ends up happening.

darren
03-09-2012, 03:46 PM
if they used carts the system could one time write to them to mark them used, and thus not useable again until paid to be unlocked (ala the 10 to play some games now online when 2nd hand) .. this would destroy the 2nd hand market and they i guess could off set the extra cost of the production against the xtra they would make from either people buying more new stuff or paying to unlock 2nd hand stuff

spider-prime
03-09-2012, 06:56 PM
I can't see them going DD only yet. The sales only show it for PC for download only games.

Console games, the bigger sales are still in the retail games.

So if they made a cart based system again, this could actually work. Just have it install onto a HDD.

Alucard
03-10-2012, 01:20 AM
Can you imagine how big sales would be if you couldnt return the game though? Thats whats coming up next. Thats what makes DD so popular after.

Einhander
03-10-2012, 01:37 AM
Can you imagine how big sales would be if you couldnt return the game though? Thats whats coming up next. Thats what makes DD so popular after.

More people would just wait til it went down in price

Shorty0061
03-10-2012, 01:57 AM
More people would just wait til it went down in price

I may be wrong, but i haven't witnessed too many games on XBL or PSN budge on price since they landed on the stores, other than temporary sales.

Alucard
03-10-2012, 03:23 AM
More people would just wait til it went down in price

Yes but that wouldnt happen quickly on the console scene. They rely heavily on their first week sales. Becuase of this sort of thing it would be lower, so they would leave it at a higher price point for longer to get more returns.

spider-prime
03-10-2012, 03:47 AM
I may be wrong, but i haven't witnessed too many games on XBL or PSN budge on price since they landed on the stores, other than temporary sales.

They have lowered prices of games and kept them low. But those are usually retail games that have gone down in price in stores.

Escaflowne2001
03-10-2012, 07:45 AM
Can you imagine how big sales would be if you couldnt return the game though? Thats whats coming up next. Thats what makes DD so popular after.

For the big games yeah, for the middle and smaller games it wouldn't be great unless they adjust the prices accordingly.

Like the vita for example I can actually see people paying 44.99 to download Fifa 12 but I can't see many people downloading Army Corps Of Hell or Shinobido 2 for 39.99.

KingOfSentinels
03-10-2012, 08:10 AM
Digital distribution costs a lot less though, so smaller games would prefer it and could just put their titles cheaper right from the off. It's why most Indie games are download only. Boxing and shipping to stores and then all the used sales costs a lot more than just putting your game up for digital distribution.

So Shinobido 2 could go for 29.99, maybe less, instead of around 40. They'll make a lot more returns in doing so, you spend less and generally get more returns. The future is bright!

Digital distribution only is definitely happening, but I think this generation isn't the tipping scale. MS should keep a disc tray in their console and test the waters of DD; try and publicise it more and sway people to use it with a few incentives. And then for the next gen, ditch disc altogether once their playerbase has had a chance to get more acquainted with it, or don't, depending on how well it was received.

Dumping it straight away seems a bit like diving in the deep-end tbh. Nintendo are going to be distributing full retail games across the Nintendo Network for Wii U, but it still has a disc tray.

darren
03-10-2012, 11:59 AM
For the big games yeah, for the middle and smaller games it wouldn't be great unless they adjust the prices accordingly.

Like the vita for example I can actually see people paying 44.99 to download Fifa 12 but I can't see many people downloading Army Corps Of Hell or Shinobido 2 for 39.99.


45 for FIFA vita dlc ... lol ...that's more than you can get it retail ...

Escaflowne2001
03-10-2012, 02:41 PM
Most digital download games are on consoles. I have no idea why anyone would bother seriously.

darren
03-10-2012, 02:43 PM
ever retail at 45 is shocking .. the PS3 version was 40 day 1 ..

it happens on PC as well tho day 1 prices for digital download versions on Steam are ALWAYS more than the day 1 retail price .. utterly dumb .. it should be the other way round. Just greed tbh that its not

Kiuju2k
03-10-2012, 11:47 PM
I'm all for fully downloadable. With all the problems I had with my ps3's blu ray, fuck it let's go microsoft.

spider-prime
03-11-2012, 05:16 AM
I say we go back to carts again.

Joe Redifer
03-11-2012, 05:19 AM
Indeed. Not wimpy-ass SD cards, either. But man-sized carts like we had for Genesis and Super Nintendo, only more like the Genesis because the SNES carts were pretty fugly. Neo-Geo sized carts would be good for bigger games like Metal Gear Solid 5. And make sure we need to blow on them in 10 years!

spider-prime
03-11-2012, 06:10 AM
I still have unopened packages of cart cleaners for my original Game boy..... after looking in my storage bins, I also have some old Gameboy Printer paper that hasn't been opened. Oh, the memoriesssssssss.

Icarus4578
03-11-2012, 08:47 AM
Digital distribution would be an immediate turn-off and inevitably lead to price-fixing. I say go with cards like TG16. They'll be able to fit just as much, if not more memory onto cards than Blu-rays come next year. They fit snug into a jewel case and are very easy to maintain, whereas cartridge-based software is more susceptible to dust, dirt and grime build-up, especially inside its shell plastic casing.

Escaflowne2001
03-11-2012, 09:18 AM
I'm under the belief DD isn't really that popular in Japan so that could prolong retail games on Sony's and Nintendos future consoles aswell. You don't see many Japanese games on XBoxlive I could be wrong though.

darren
03-11-2012, 11:28 AM
I think there are a few. But the user base is not that great anyway. If it was a Japanese product they would be all over it.

Alucard
03-11-2012, 02:42 PM
The whole reason for this is to sidestep the used market. Thats the only reason.

Joe Redifer
03-11-2012, 04:09 PM
I say go with cards like TG16. .... whereas cartridge-based software is more susceptible to dust, dirt and grime build-up, especially inside its shell plastic casing.

Being on a cartridge doesn't make them any more prone to dust and whatnot. In fact since the TurboGrafx-16's pins are more exposed than regular carts, it's even worse. "But what about NES carts?" most people will retaliate with. Well, Nintendo sucked in the 8-bit days because they didn't know how to build their hardware. It's more the system's fault than the cart's.

darren
03-11-2012, 04:22 PM
my neogeo cart machine was the best for reliability back in the day

Icarus4578
03-11-2012, 04:54 PM
Being on a cartridge doesn't make them any more prone to dust and whatnot. In fact since the TurboGrafx-16's pins are more exposed than regular carts, it's even worse. "But what about NES carts?" most people will retaliate with. Well, Nintendo sucked in the 8-bit days because they didn't know how to build their hardware. It's more the system's fault than the cart's.

Not really. If dust gets inside a cart, it's much more difficult to clean out. I get what you're saying about the pins being exposed but it's the same deal with carts. I've yet to have an issue with a TG16 Hu-Card. They're small, slim and far easier to keep clean. Unlike much cart-based software, I don't have to blow on them in order to get them to work. They come with protective sleeves and are stored away in their jewel cases for safe-keeping. Obviously if you don't keep software stored away properly when not in use, it will be exposed to all the elements.

Some people I knew back in the day would leave their software strewn about everywhere with complete disregard for its well-being: on the floor/rug, bed, shelves, TV, etc. Heck, I'm probably just as guilty. As kids, we didn't really take software maintenance into consideration. Then again, I know some adults who will leave discs lying around in similar fashion... Point being, there is no full-proof format, especially against the element of stupidity.

spider-prime
03-11-2012, 05:32 PM
yah the NES carts weren't the problem, it was the push down 72 pin connector in the system that made it never work, they would get dirty from people putting their spit all over it hence rotting the pins.

But the pins in the system usually just get worn out and need replacing, if you bought the new system redesign of the NES, you would notice it lasts a lot longer and starts up games a lot easier.

I had games that were almost untouched and were in their box, I bought a NES off of ebay with the redesign model and the games worked perfectly, but the older games that I blew in when I was younger, still had problems, but that is my fault cause my spit is all over it wrecking the pins :P

Joe Redifer
03-11-2012, 07:01 PM
Why would dust inside the cart matter? Nothing needs to make a connection with anything inside of a cart. I have a few HuCards which are problematic. It's easier to get Genesis carts or NES carts working again. Carts are also stored in protective cases except for those made by Nintendo which came in shitty-ass cardboard boxes because the company was too poor/cheap to afford real boxes.

Spider, sand the pins and get the layer of gunk off and your carts should be OK. Do not be afraid of the sandpaper!

Icarus4578
03-11-2012, 08:38 PM
Things wear down over time; that's entropy at work. At some point all of the old stuff will become obsolete, save for any restoration projects, emulation and whatnot.

My dream console would be a 2D-dedicated system with simple plug-&-play carts/cards but with enhanced power at a low price, like say $79. Games would go for between $15-20 and it would have its own dedicated magazine a-la Nintendo Power. It would have no multimedia functionality, no online play, no firmware updates, and no gimmicks. Yup, that's my ideal game console. :D

Shipper/Reciever
03-11-2012, 08:51 PM
My dream console would be a 2D-dedicated system with simple plug-&-play carts/cards but with enhanced power at a low price, like say $79. Games would go for between $15-20 and it would have its own dedicated magazine a-la Nintendo Power. It would have no multimedia functionality, no online play, no firmware updates, and no gimmicks. Yup, that's my ideal game console. :D

I like this idea.

Icarus4578
03-11-2012, 09:27 PM
It could work. There's definitely an audience for it, even if comparatively smaller than the casual market as a whole. The price alone would be a huge draw, plus factor in high-quality original software and it could have a following similar to what both Nintendo and Sega enjoyed back in the day. Only problem is, in this day and age of high-tech multimedia functionality, fancy 3D worlds, DRM protection schemes, et al., nobody would dare such a novel old-school approach. Too bad.

darren
03-12-2012, 04:38 AM
Things wear down over time; that's entropy at work. At some point all of the old stuff will become obsolete, save for any restoration projects, emulation and whatnot.

My dream console would be a 2D-dedicated system with simple plug-&-play carts/cards but with enhanced power at a low price, like say $79. Games would go for between $15-20 and it would have its own dedicated magazine a-la Nintendo Power. It would have no multimedia functionality, no online play, no firmware updates, and no gimmicks. Yup, that's my ideal game console. :D

by a raspberry pi for $30 and write your own ..

Icarus4578
03-12-2012, 09:18 AM
I haven't a clue when it comes to programming stuff.

KingOfSentinels
04-02-2012, 08:15 AM
Urrrrm I'll just pit this in here. Rumoured that it has a blu-ray drive now.

Microsoft has told third-party developers its next-generation Xbox will be available at Christmas 2013.

That's according to a new rumour report from VG247, which cites "multiple sources".

According to its insiders, the next Xbox will use Sony's Blu-ray format and carry two GPUs that aren't CrossFire or SLI, and instead function independent of each other. The GPU's are reportedly equivalent to AMD's 7000 series GPUs. It's been described as "like two PCs taped together".

The machine will also have "four or six" CPU cores, it's claimed, with one dedicated entirely to Kinect - which will be built into the hardware - and another just for the console's operating system.

Finally, it's been suggested the next Xbox will take steps to crack down on piracy with an always-on internet connection requirement.

Microsoft is still being coy with its announcements of an Xbox 360 successor. Last month it put an end to rumours of an imminent announcement by officially confirming there will be no next-gen Xbox at E3.

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/342342/xbox-720-has-blu-ray-2-gpus-always-on-internet-rumour/

Discuss!

Nem
04-02-2012, 02:19 PM
The rumor is more plausable than prevous ones, but this part:

"Finally, it's been suggested the next Xbox will take steps to crack down on piracy with an always-on internet connection requirement."

completely fake. That would be slicing their market in half.

BlindMaphisto
04-02-2012, 02:40 PM
Gonna have to agree. The bluray just seems logical since it will expand the multimedia capabilities of the 720 and give them a large storage solution that's tested.

Not sure what the point of two independent gpu's is but interesting I guess.

But yeah I can't see MS making ubisoft's most hated drm there solution for piracy on the next console.

Kwestone
05-10-2012, 12:26 PM
As I get a little older... I am going back to my older style of gaming. I am once again finding myself drawn to pc games. And given that I have an absolutely stunning computer, the experience is rather light and satisfying. I still play starcraft 2, Im playing skyrim and ill be buying diablo 3 next tuesday.

As for console gaming. The only game that ill be buying is Romance of the three kingdoms 12. Ill be playing that series till im dead. However, given that this is probably the last in the series. That genre of gaming is probably officially dead after this release, which makes me really fucking sad. But on the flip side, ive waited almost 6 years for this game. So I cant wait for its release.

Koei and blizzard are probably my two favorite companies, and im talking about the old koei.

Also I havent been to this website in a long time, and im glad to see many of the same faces here! Thats dedication guys! :)