Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

Summary: 'Microsoft is still selling a ton of Xbox 360s, and they won't replace the existing one until sales begin to slow.'

SHARE:
19

According to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, the next iteration of the Xbox console (widely rumored to the called Xbox 720) won't be available until 2014.

Multiple rumors have suggested that Microsoft is preparing to launch a new Xbox console during 2012 to counter pressure from Nintendo's Wii U, but according to Pachter, all Microsoft will do for 2012 is revamp the existing 360 line.

"Those rumors are silly. Microsoft is still selling a ton of Xbox 360s, and they won't replace the existing one until sales begin to slow. I think the rumors are based upon leaks about modifying the current Xbox 360 to allow it to operate Windows 8," Pachter told IndustryGamer. "I fully expect a new model of Xbox 360 by holiday 2012, but don't think we see a new console altogether from Microsoft until 2014."

In many ways this makes sense. The 360 is selling well, and there's room to shave more off the retail price of the console. It's also good news for people who have bought a 360 in recent years and invested in games. It means their console will stay fresher for longer. It's also much cheaper (from both an engineering, technical and marketing point of view) to bring an updated console to market than it is to push a new console.

The only problem is that the 360 is old technology. Six years old to be exact. Sure, the console has seen a few facelifts in that time, but under the hood (where it counts) it's still the same old console. And that's creating a problem for games developers who are having to use clever tricks to get more out of these ancient technology. The gulf between the processing power of a console and a modern gaming PC is huge, and that's only going to get worse if we have to wait until 2014 before seeing a console refresh. Take a game like 'Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' for example. I've seen this played on Xbox 360 and PS3 (and PC, which is my platform of choice), and there are times when the framerate tanks dramatically because the console can't keep up with the game. You'd expect poor graphics from a six year old PC, call it a day and admit that it was time to upgrade, but with the Xbox 360 or PS3, you're stuck in dim and distant the past.

Thoughts? Would you like to see a completely new Xbox in 2012 or are you happy with your 360?

Related:

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

19 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It makes you wonder how people enjoyed games prior to 6 years ago

    "And that's creating a problem for games developers who are having to use clever tricks to get more out of these ancient technology."

    How did we ever enjoy games before 6 years ago? After all, there were no tricks available to make those old consoles / PCs perform as well as modern consoles / PCs so it makes me wonder if people hated all games because they didn't look as good as they would eventually look in 2010.

    Oh yeah, I remember. We still enjoyed games that focused on good storytelling or good action or innovative gameplay. I remember really getting into flight simulators like Falcon 4 (released 1998 or 13 years ago) and playing it on hardware that doesn't even come close to the hardware we find in smartphones today.

    I'm not one to whine about the state of modern games or get all nostalgic and say that games were better "in the old days" because the truth is that there are great games today and there were lousy games "in the old days". The constant I've noticed is that what makes or breaks a game has very little to do with the capabilities of the hardware.

    So no, I don't worry about those poor game makers who have run out of tricks to get more out of ancient technologies.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

      @toddybottom

      "I remember really getting into flight simulators like Falcon 4 (released 1998 or 13 years ago) and playing it on hardware that doesn't even come close to the hardware we find in smartphones today."

      You can still buy Falcon 4.0 today: Lead Pursuit bought the rights from Atari, and re-released the game with bug fixes, a new/overhauled campaign system, and compatibility updates for more recent versions of Windows.

      http://www.graphsim.com/games-falcon-af.html

      I'm not necessarily saying I don't like the nostalgia of old games, however it is the case that the systems are aging and new games aren't working so well without a lot of clever tricks.

      "The constant I've noticed is that what makes or breaks a game has very little to do with the capabilities of the hardware."

      Yes and no. The indie titles are rarely affected, as they usually go with a more cartoony or old style look that works fine on older software. However, AAA titles that push the limits of realism and hardware are affected. This is true for titles that end up being on both consoles and PC, and is especially true for shooters that try to push realism to its limits.
      CobraA1
  • test

    If anything, this is a good thing because maybe they can invest that time into making better games.
    toddybottom
    • ZDNet, you've got weird spam filters

      ZDNet will accept my first post but the moment I add that sentence from my second post, the entire post gets deleted. However, there is clearly nothing in that sentence that triggers the spam filter by itself since my second post doesn't get deleted.
      toddybottom
      • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

        @toddybottom Indeed, I've been noticing my posts disappearing as well. I tend to be a bit abrasive at times, but I try to remain within reason and I'm not spamming.

        It seems as if ZDNet is fighting the spam battle using some odd heuristic methods that aren't working so well :/.
        CobraA1
  • Its all about priorities

    The xbox was designed to be limited. Microsoft does not like to compete, even with itself. They prefer a bunch of pocket protector nerds wearing horn-rimmed glasses buying high dollar gaming PCs running Windows whatever Ultimate. Because the OS costs as much as an xbox, but Microsoft does not have to support it.
    Rick_Kl
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    "The only problem is that the 360 is old technology. Six years old to be exact."

    Indeed. While it used to be pretty good, it's aging, and yeah they're pulling a lot of tricks in order to try to make graphics better.

    This is the largest gulf between video game console generations. I can't think of any other console I waited six or more years for. Frankly, the next refresh of consoles is long overdue.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    It's good that Nintendo is there to shake things up. Microsoft does its best work when under competitive pressure. Kinect might not exist today if it weren't for Nintendo's Wiimote.
    lippidp
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    *wince* I'm one of the few that believes you don't need that fancy physics engine or hyperrealistic graphics and whatnot to make an excellent game, but there is a limit, and they're kneecapping themselves as their competitors advance. To put it into perspective, it would be like if the PS3 came out today, having decided that the hardware in the PS2 was good enough. It's not like the PS2 had problems selling either, hell, I still find myself buying games for it. Despite that fact, if they decided to just continue to develop for the PS2 until today, there'd be nothing left of the Playstation brand, as the Wii and Xbox would have quickly devoured the weaker PS2.
    Aerowind
  • I think the simplest thing ...

    ... for MS to do, is come out with reference designs for XBox consoles based on Windows, every 1 or 2 years. Then have Original Design Manufactures build them. MS would probably have to organize this similar to the way it does Windows Phone, where it ensures that the user experience on these devices are acceptable to excellent. I believe MS should also ensure that moving from one device to the next, or adding devices, is seamless for the user, so that games, apps, credits, etc. are all appropriately synched across devices. It may also be a good idea for MS to specify gaming performance standards, and ensure that PCs and these consoles are certified against them. This would allow, among other things, people to go to an online store, and see and access only games which can be played well on their PCs / consoles.
    P. Douglas
    • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

      @P. Douglas Well MS has been unable to accomplish easy transitions on the PC side since their first release.
      mrlinux
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    The analyst said it, it must be true.
    AdeOghert
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    I mainly use my two Xbox 360s for Media Center Extenders (one a new 4gb and one an older white with a 20gb drive) and either game on a Wii with my 7 year old or on my PC.

    I would not mind a price drop on the current 4gb 360. I would like a third one to use as an extender for my bedroom.
    Brooks Fancher
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    The PC will always be ahead, myself ditching PC gaming for a 360 before the PS3 was out due to it being a cheaper than upgrading, and better in the living room, like 5 -6 years ago before HDMI was on every graphics card.

    I'm really glad I have gone back to PC gaming, as the graphics, controls (You have a choice on PC) are undoubtedly better. The biggest difference to me is the load times, I really get annoyed going back to xbox for that reason alone, and the PS3 is much worse in that respect.

    Online gaming pros and cons, i do like to have a big list of serves to choose from, although xbox headsets do make online a bit more fun, PC users dont seem to bother.

    Windows 8 on xbox does sound like a good idea, will they then let you play with a keyboard and mouse? I think not, although I hope so.
    RossC0
    • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

      @RossC0 You can play with a keyboard and mouse on the current xbox360. You just have to buy the Xim3. They have some videos of it in action on the site too.
      http://xim3.com/
      MallusLittera
  • A new XBox720 might be coming in 2012, but, it wouldn't serve MS to tell

    anyone about it, because, as soon as they release the news of a completely new future XBox console, the current XBox360 sales would tank, and prospective buyers would sit and wait until the new system launches. <br><br>So, 2012 or 2013 might be realistic, but, it would be suicidal for Microsoft to disclose the news about a new gaming console.
    adornoe
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    its why I dont play on consoles. Console graphics aren't even usually as good as the best PC's available when they come out. And they only get refreshed every once in a while.
    Jimster480
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    I love playing older games and playing on older gaming systems, but I'm getting bored with the Xbox 360 and am ready for a new console sooner rather than later. I understand where Microsoft is coming from but it's time to give gamers a new console rather than a new reincarnation of the same dusty old thing! -Aaron Krivanek
    gamemasterAK
  • RE: Analyst: Updated Xbox 2012, no new console until 2014

    The graphics comment has been made about the Xbox 360 since it came out. It was made about the Wii when that came out. Matter of fact, when the Wii came out it was declared a useless product because it couldn't deliver HD video. Yeah, that really hurt their sales.

    I'm playing Skyrim on the 360 these days and I don't see the horrendous slowdowns due to graphics. The only pauses I actually get are in loading times and menus when I happen to go into a menu in the middle of an autosave. Never seen a stutter or slow framerate anywhere else. That said, I'm not claiming the system has massive amounts of power ... but I'm just saying that they did their job well in being efficient.

    Overall, I have to say that having game developers work on these "tricks" is not a bad thing. If consoles got refreshed on a faster cycle the programmers would simply not work out better and more efficient ways to deliver graphics. They'd simply use the extra power without optimizing as much.

    But, yes, it is hurting PC gaming. Oh well. As someone who used to be a PC gamer I can say that I'd be annoyed if I was still doing PC gaming but at the same time ... change happens. Console gaming is too big for the developers to ignore so if they want to make it across platforms then they have to do justice to the console. PC gaming is strong ... but not strong enough to justify building the game from scratch twice.
    Ididar