2013 will be a massive year in gaming but this post is especially written for the Microsoft fans. Huge games like Grand Theft Auto 5 and Bioshock Infinite will release in the final year of the Xbox 360 and this holiday should show the release of the next Xbox console. I got a chance to interview a Microsoft employee with information on the console codenamed "Durango" and "720." I've posted a lot of information on the Xbox 360's successor over the past few years and I have to say with each passing month I grow more and more exciting to see it's release. My contact wishes to remain anonymous so for this article his name will be "John Xbox."
Daniel: "First off where in the development stage is the 360's successor?"
John Xbox: "It's still in the alpha stages so nothing is exact until the end of the first quarter of 2013 then it will enter into beta when they should also release info on the specs."
Daniel: "The 360 had major issues with overheating when it first released. Has Microsoft learned its lesson?"
John Xbox: "We have a proper cooling solution this time so heat should no longer be an issue. The case is also made out of magnesium to displace heat."
Daniel: "The next Xbox is rumored to have massive computing power. What can you say about the console's innards?"
John Xbox: "It will either have a 12 or 16 core processor from AMD where it splits up each individual process that goes on into separate cores. 8GB of RAM. The graphics will be running at 5 or 6 teraflops which is current five hundred dollar graphics cards in computers. It's running on DirectX 11 now but can be opted for 12 if it is released before we close beta-testing. Again, all this is still in the alpha stages."
A Teraflop is one trillion floating point operations per second. This measure of compute capacity describes how many multiplications can be performed within one second. Computer vendors and computers resource providers typically list the computing performance of their systems in terms of the number of gigaflops (billion floating point operations per second) or teraflops achieved on standard benchmark programs, such as LINPACK DP, TPP, and HPC benchmarks.
Daniel: "When the 360 launched the motherboard was dubbed 'Xenon' and it was the main reason for the Red Ring of Death. New 360 released with updated motherboard dubbed 'Jasper,' and the final wave of 360s now house the 'Valhalla' motherboard. How is the motherboard of the next Xbox arranged?"
John Xbox: "The graphics card and processors are handled in a new 32nm ARM architecture APU. Graphics, physics, coding, data processing, retrieval, everything that has to be processed is handled in one chip."
Daniel: "Will the console have a Bluray player?"
John Xbox: "Yes."
Daniel: "I've heard reports of the next Xbox having Kinect built into the console. Is that true?"
John Xbox: "That I am unsure about, but the new Kinect will be about ten times greater than the current model."
Daniel: "In a new era of digital entertainment, memory is a crucial factor. Will the next Xbox have a portable harddrive or cloud storage?"
John Xbox: "Both. As I said before internal memory will be 8GB of RAM. The Wii U has 2GB RAM and the PS4 is only going to have 2-4GB RAM.
Daniel: "The 360 controller is one of the most iconic symbols of gaming and it's regarded as one of the best in its functionality and comfortable design. Will the next Xbox have a different controller?"
John Xbox: "The controller will be slightly more sensitive but will remain in the current layout; small changes only."
Daniel: "Will the next Xbox have a power supply?"
John Xbox: "I don't know about the power supply yet."
Daniel: "Price. What will the next Xbox cost?"
John Xbox: "They want to keep it sub four hundred with premium bundles and sub three hundred entry level system, but thats still all up in the air."
Daniel: "What about game prices?"
John Xbox: "$49.99-$79.99. Special Editions will obviously cost more."
Daniel: "Has Microsoft decided on a name to call the next Xbox? Will it really be called Xbox 720?"
John Xbox: "I doubt it. It may just be called simply 'Xbox,' but I don't know."
Daniel: "When will the next Xbox release?"
John Xbox: "Until it clears alpha stages all dates are temporary. I'd say Holiday 2013; releasing sometime after Black Friday."
Daniel: "For a final question; will Xbox 360 players be able to play with and against next Xbox players online through Xbox Live?"
John Xbox: "It's possible."
With those words you gain a bit of a glimpse into what will be the next Xbox console. Some of this info was already known, but now we are getting a clearer picture of what 2013/2014 will look like. The first half of 2013 is extremely crucial for Microsoft as the next Xbox will go from a PC mock-up in a plastic case to a beta stage prototype. I am looking forward to the future that is for sure.