Saturday, February 25, 2012

My list for the next XBox...

Microsoft seems to be making an "XBox 720" console, with the usual "better graphics blah blah" specs. That's great. We can do with a GPU upgrade, more RAM etc. They'll get all those wishes from the game developers.

Here's something to add to that basket, from a game (casual) end user.

- support for two monitors

Yes. Two HDMI ports. Would be awesome for games s.a. SSX snowboarding, or racing games. Instead of split screen, give each player a full high-res screen! Even for shoot ups s.a. Battlefield this would allow wider view angle.

Since current PC-level CPU's are anyways (I presume) ready for multiple monitor support, this wouldn't be such an over-the-top requirement. Most likely, it'll already be on the silicon that Microsoft works with. Just don't disable it. Use it.

When used for dual player mode (i.e. SSX or car games) each HDMI could carry their own audio, as well. This allows (maybe with earphones) to hear your own stuff.

This may sound like "really, that's the last thing this world needs". And maybe so. But at the same time, playing in company and against a human opponent is incredibly much fun! Almost all of my NHL (2008, I confess!) gaming is like that. There dual screen mode is not badly needed, since there's only one puck. With SSX and car games, splitting the screen literally takes half the fun out!

Some more things:

- get rid of the DVD. I trust you will (it's slow, noisy and... simply old-fashioned). Downloaded content of games on standard (non-writable) USB sticks.


Tietokone has an article today:

- no physical disk drive. Check.
- games will be sold on little memory cards. Hmm... okay, just make it a real USB dongle, like Autodesk does.

What they really should do is:
- make a good local caching thing (with unlimited storage on the Cloud). One can install *any*number of games, the ones not being used lately can get removed and can be re-fetched from the Cloud. All this seamlessly. Plus ability to change the local cache disk, without as much hassle as there currently is. Just disk out, disk in. If the Cloud has the primary copy, the local disk is nothing but a cache (unless you're being offline).

- Finally, smooth integration of Zune (or whatever videos are called) with XBox dashboard. Still not there. Microsoft internal organizational glitches show all over the final UI. Why don't they learn. Why?

- Bring text input to the 21st century. Actually, let me show the secret key codes (of so many games nowadays) to the Kinect camera, instead of typing them in. Have some overall thinking!

Addendum II:

Another rumor, via Finnish

The graphics arrangement looks promisingly capable of two-monitor usage (I hope MS is really checking this option out!). I'd leave the Blu-Ray out, or at least make it optional. With a fast network connection, who needs it (and MS would make more money selling *all* games downloadable, anyways). If they need physical media, non-writable USB sticks are *way* better for everyone (maybe USB 3.0 so even read times are blazingly fast).

Addendum III:

Power hungry. Not.

The current XBox 360's drain something in the neighborhood of 150W when playing a game. Older models probably more. And this is without the tv.

Now, an Apple TV (2nd generation) drains 6W.

See the difference? Now, *what if* the Apple TV system-on-chip actually gets good enough to run Xbox 360 level graphics. It can. That's a 20-fold difference in power consumption!

So, if I were Microsoft I would be highly concerned with the power envelope of the new (if ever) XBox 720. It's not only the features. Cut down the moving parts (no DVD, hard disk etc.). Cut down the size. Cut down the power need. Try to get close to the Apple TV while still being a great ass-kicking game machine.


Make an XBox almost as small as the Apple TV. With Kinect. With existing XBox 360 features only.

Then make the "XBox 720" with upgraded performance, but only about twice the size and power envelope of the little brother. Continue selling both. Kinect games are fine with the existing graphics.

1 comment:

Asko K. said...

The reveal will be on May 21st 2013. Let's see if there's anything genuinly new.