Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

Summary: It has been almost 6 years since the release of the Xbox 360. Will we have to wait for 2015 until Microsoft unveils a new Xbox? It appears we just might...

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Xbox 2015?

Xbox 2015?

 

Directly on the heels of discovering an internal Microsoft video showing WGX's vision for ubiquitous gaming across platforms(Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone et al), I have now stumbled upon an incredibly tiny-though-significant morsel from a designer Microsoft has brought on-board to collaborate with their IEB (Interactive Entertainment Business) Design group to investigate future user experience scenarios and hardware for the Xbox circa 2015.

Posted just yesterday (3/20/2011) on the Web portfolio of one Ben Peterson, here is a screen shot of the noted confidential project as it currently resides (click the image to see it at full size):

 

Microsoft Xbox: Confidential / Collaboration with Microsoft's IEB Design group investigating future user experiences and hardware for 2015. *Work samples only permissible in person.* (March 2011)

 

We can glean from the noted March 2011 date above that this is a completely new project just getting underway. As for the black devices we see, obviously he did not want to disclose more than a huge tease. The top half looks like a stand of some sort with something attached to the top if it while the bottom half looks like a zoomed-in section of a Kinect-shaped device, but that's merely guess work on my behalf, of course.

The main question currently burning in my mind is if Microsoft is simply aiming to utilize the Xbox 360 platform in 2015 and just keep introducing new devices, or if they're going to go big and release a whole new console with a game-changing user experience accompanying it. Personally, I'm thinking the latter. One reason I say this is because 2015 is 4 years away. That would put the Xbox 360 at almost 10 yearson the market. I can't see the Xbox 360 platform lasting beyond another 4 years.

Also, consider the Nintendo 3DS, if you will. It's a device that gives us a completely new gaming experience by being the first to utilize built-in 3D technology like it does. Be it visually, interactively, or otherwise, I think Microsoft is going to shoot for a similar approach via the implementation of technology based on innovation achieved by in-house research and development; not simply create a product encompassing the familiar.

Unlike the Nintendo 3DS, though, I'm not sure that Microsoft will take the 3D route. If they do, I have no doubt they are working on addressing the issues that all but secure the death of 3D as it's currently implemented in cinemaand elsewhere. Not to mention the headaches, eye strain, and other adverse effects many people experience when spending time immersed in current 3D technologies.

Whatever the case may be, the 2015 time frame is one that gives Microsoft considerable time for R&D, prototyping, production, and marketing planning, so I don't see this as being too far off the mark from Microsoft planning a big release. Personally, I'm still a PC gamer, so I wouldn't know where to begin with suggestions or recommendations for Microsoft's projections for 2015. With that in mind, I'm relying on all of you console gamers out there to provide some feedback in this space!

What kind of advancements would YOUlike to see on the next generation of Xbox hardware? Do you think a more powerful console is in need at this point or are you satisfied with how games currently look and perform? Also, how about user experience? Has your Kinect enhanced your gaming experience or do you feel Microsoft fell short of the mark?

 

Let us hear from you in the comments below!

 

3/22/2011 Update: Fellow CBSi blog GameSpot picked up on this story yesterday and sought to find out what they could from either Microsoft or Ben Peterson. Their update included a comment from Eurogamer who heard from Ben: "I'm a student designer, it's not real." There is additional evidence to suggest that Mr. Peterson hasn't been completely honest with other work he claims he has been a part of in his portfolio, as you can read here.

Well, I'm still not sure which side to believe. Personally, I couldn't care less about the actual date or release of a new Xbox release because I'm still a steadfast PC gamer. With that said, I did a little bit of URL hacking back when I first discovered this guy's profile and ran across the following image (which I didn't post because I didn't find it relevant to at the time):

 

 

To note, the original URL that image was tied to was also discovered by someone after this story went live yesterday as you can see here, although it is now currently a dead link. At any rate, WWU ID? A quick Google search revealed Western Washington University: Industrial Design. The school has an address of 516 High St. Bellingham, WA 98225 and it's no secret that Microsoft (located in Redmond, WA) loves to utilize local talent for their design projects. After finding that bit of information, I decided to see if Ben Peterson was listed anywhere on WWU's site via the following Google query: site:wwu.edu "Ben Peterson"

Lo and behold, he is located hereon a WWU "Staff Information" page under a section titled "technology assistants," about 1/4 down the page. His noted programs of expertise? Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premiere -- all programs that would make one capable of taking part in such a project.

So, at the very least, the conclusion I'm drawing is that I don't quite buy his explanation that this was simply a fake on his behalf -- especially now that we have evidence suggesting that it is/was his university that likely has/had the partnership with Microsoft IEB; not just him. This may also explain the inconsistencies GameSpot pointed out in their article. Lastly, if this was all just one big fake/hoax, then why did he remove it from his site when the story spread like wildfire?

Again, I have no motives for wanting to believe that this really is just something more than a fake, but I still see compelling evidence to the contrary. For the time being, at least.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility

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47 comments
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  • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

    Will their next gen console utilize Direct3D 11? I am sure they will
    shellcodes_coder
    • Don't think so.

      @shellcodes_coder
      It should be using Direct3D 13
      asdacap
      • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

        @asdacap
        Another important question regarding the next generation of consoles is whether or not they will be back-compatible with current games.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
  • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

    Four years seems like a long wait.

    I'm certain that the console will be much more powerful than the last gen, but in some ways I think more processor for AI is more important than more graphics horsepower. An an indie developer I can easily crush the CPUs with physics and AI while the GPU laughs at me.

    For developers, more graphics horsepower is something of a double-edged sword. The more power you have the more you can do, but also the more expensive it becomes to write a game that graphically keeps up with everyone else.

    Seems like a large part of the longevity of the current gen of consoles is due to the fact that fully utilizing all their resources is already such an enormously complicated and expensive process. Given that it's not realistic to now expect market growth to help offset higher graphics development costs we may already be at an inflection point where the price points of games will not support much higher graphics development costs.
    SlithyTove
    • I'm not a games developer but I was wondering the same thing.

      @SlithyTove Libraries may help though.

      "Did gyre and gimble in the Wabe..."
      DevGuy_z
    • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

      @SlithyTove

      "An an indie developer I can easily crush the CPUs with physics and AI . . ."

      With the advances in DirectX 10 & 11, you can actually do that stuff on the GPU on a PC.

      Yeah, we need to add that to the consoles.
      CobraA1
  • First of all

    it should run Windows. So Console->PC game porting can be much easier.
    anothersmartguy
    • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

      @anothersmartguy Are you kidding??? I'm sorry but that's a no-go...if you want a console to run Windows 7 build a gaming rig....there should be ZERO OS overhead playing console games....at a minimum strip it down to a kernel-level OS and then run the games.
      bizarrosteveballmer
      • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

        @bizarrosteveballmer Why do you think it would be windows 7. They said 2015. It might be windows 9 or 10.
        FlatbushE21
      • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

        @bizarrosteveballmer

        Windows needs a gaming mode first - that automatically kills Internet enabled services everytime a full screen game is being run. That way you don't have a bunch of jack asses running around your server, all the while downloading 10 torrents, and running AV scans.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • I don't see the problem...

        With mult-core processors and multiple OSes and multiple monitors running at the same time, but in different cores, the gaming wouldn't have to take resources from the machine, since the machine will be capable of doing many different chores at the same time.

        Furthermore, even today we have PCs with 6 and more cores, so, right now we could run gaming and regular work/entertainment at the same time.
        adornoe
    • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

      @anothersmartguy In my opinion it would be better for MS, if they would give up PC=Office *AND* Gaming platform, in the long run.
      Lastwebpage
  • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

    I think they need to get away from the giant noisy box thing. Think Roku. Also more connectivity to SmartPhones and other devices. They should also support 3D. I love what Sony has done. Playing games in 3d on a big screen is really fun.
    sharkboyjohn
  • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

    I think the CPU & GPU should be improved. Adding 3-D and more life like rendering will task the current CPU & GPU. Microsoft should also implement a more robust type of facetime . The game players should show the real face of the player on RPG's.
    sean.signer@...
  • Steve, honestly...

    How does something at least four years in the future generate interest?

    Really. Anybody.
    Bueller?
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

      @Dietrich: Well, considering how far and wide this story has now spread, I would say quite a bit of interest has been shown in something at least four years in the future! It's the prospect of a new Xbox console that most likely lures. At that, 2015 seems to be a date that jives with other random mentions out of the Microsoft camp where the Xbox is concerned.

      Maybe if the Xbox ran Linux, you would be a little more interested? lol. Only kidding. :)

      -Stephen
      StephenChapman
      • RE: Exclusive: Microsoft looking to 2015 for next-gen Xbox release?

        @StephenChapman Have they even utilized all three processors on the current system?
        bizarrosteveballmer
      • To be honest...

        @bizarrosteveballmer I have absolutely no idea. Since I'm not a console gamer and don't keep up with the granular details of how much games have pushed the 360, I'm the last person who would have sound advice there.

        I do remember talk of Crytek supposedly being able to max out the processing and graphical capabilities of both the 360 and PS3 with CryEngine 3, but I don't think they carried that over into Crysis 2. At that, I'm not even sure if all three processors (or however many they have in the system) are factory-enabled!

        I suppose I could just search Google to answer some of my own questions here and appear more informed on the topic, but I can't be arsed at the moment. lol. :D

        -Stephen
        StephenChapman
    • Crippled by arrogance

      Exactly! Maybe they will recognize the mistake they made by stubbornly sticking to DVD HD. Maybe the next console will have BluRay but by that time the new PS4 with RedRay will be here.
      john_gillespie@...
      • Dying technology

        @john_gillespie@..., BluRay is withering on the vine, so probably won't even still exist in 2015. MS made the smart move by staying away from Sony's boondoggle.
        itpro_z