The mighty ship Microsoft has sprung a leak. The “IEB Roadmap” document details Microsoft’s plan for the Xbox until 2015 and were briefly available to the public, originally through website Scribd. Microsoft’s lawyers, Covington & Birling LLP, were quickly sent in to sniff out and take down any remaining copies. All sites that were hosting the file have now received the take down notice, and have complied.
The IEB Roadmap builds an interesting picture of the Xbox Next, the name Microsoft will use for the next console. Putting the Next Xbox at the center of our entertainment needs Microsoft hopes to make the console more than just the king of big screen TV gaming. With a multitude of input devices, PVR functions, media serving and highly integrated network functions the X-Box Next is being billed as the one box to rule them all, in the living room.
The age of the document is being question at the moment, with it being up to 2 years old. It mentions the use of a PowerPC chip for backwards compatibility, something that has been removed from the specifications. This does also help to confirm that the Xbox Next will be using an X86 processor, likely supplied by AMD.
Little information is given about internal hardware specifics, but an interesting overview is given. The chipset will provide between 4 and 6 times the processing power of the current 360. Multiple CPU’s and GPU’s will be included within the Next, possibly only the top end model will include the full assortment or processors.
The few hardware specifications present list hardware including Blu-Ray, USB 3.0, HDMI, 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet, PCI-E, DisplayPort and SATA connectivity. Storage includes the Blu-ray drive, a hard disk drive, and flash storage. Video RAM is listed as 4 GB of 128 bit DDR4 RAM.
Far more advanced multi-tasking will be present in the Next, when compared to the 360 at any rate. Many of the new functions are reliant on the ability to do background processing, to the extent that even when turned off it will continue to serve media or record TV shows. Background processing tasks will include recording a TV show, serving media to a networked computer or converting video files. Playing games while this is going on in the background will be the ultimate multi-tasking test.
Gaming is of course the bread and butter for any entertainment solution, Microsoft are aiming for true 1080P full 3D graphics that runs at a silky smooth 60 frames per second.
Microsoft has obviously realized the importance of input devices to the Next console. Kinect 1 and 2 are bundled options along with ample ports for gaming controllers and other input devices.
New hardware is also mentioned. Project Fortaleza Glasses are described as a pair of augmented reality glasses for the living room, similar to Google’s Project Glass. A 4G version is also in the works and would work anywhere.
Network connectivity is finally being fully utilized. Gamers are able to send the Next’s picture to any compatible device to allow playing to continue. The Xbox still running the game but the picture and controller signals are sent, a type of remote desktop for your console. This is on top of the usual media streaming and internet TV functions.
There is a little over a year until the Next generation consoles become the new current generation console. The Next is shaping up nicely, it is a very good sign that they are so involved with the system software and functions this far out. Sony looks to have some major competition on their hands in the next generation battle for our living rooms, especially if Microsoft can stick to it’s $299 USD price target.
Microsoft has some major plans afoot, integrating desktop PC, tablets, smartphones and games consoles into one giant Microsoft compatible eco system. Tiles tiles every.