Rumors are suggesting that Microsoft will reveal the next-generation Xbox at E3 2012, some people are suggesting that this will be called the Xbox 720, however this is unconfirmed, today we will look possible technical specifications and a price point for the console.
Let’s start with price, obviously it is hard to predict a price as we do not know for sure what the next-gen Xbox will feature, however we do have some insight from previous consoles to go by. The Xbox 360 was available upon launch in two different configurations, $299 for the Core model and $399 for the Premium model, later on the Elite launched for $479, currently you can by the new smaller Xbox 360 250GB for just $299, so how much will Microsoft ask for the Xbox 720?
We think that it is safe to say that the next Microsoft console will retail for somewhere between $400 – $500, whether there will multiple versions on offer is hard to say, if this is the case don’t be too surprised if there is a more expensive model available.
As for specifications it is even harder to make predictions, in terms of internal storage if standard 2.5-inch hard drives are used we expect a minimum of 250GB to be available, this is plenty to be honest, but when you compare SATA hard drive prices it wouldn’t cost a lot more to give it a 320GB or 500GB HDD instead, we don’t think that 1TB of storage will be necessary as 500GB should allow you to store plenty of games, DLC and demos. There is also a chance that Microsoft may choose to give the 360 a solid-state drive, these use less power, run cooler and are quieter and faster than standard HDDs.
In terms of connectivity we think that it will feature integrated WiFi b/g/n, this will ensure that it will be able to connect to existing wireless access points and even lots of the latest and greatest wireless routers. We still expect there to be an Ethernet port, to be honest 100Mb/s is sufficient for most of us, however it will not cost a lot to make this a Gigabit Ethernet port.
The Xbox 360’s optical drive reads dual-layer DVDs which hold roughly 8GB of data, apparently some of this storage is used for anti-piracy measures, therefore we don’t think that this format will allow enough for a next-gen console. The PS3’s Blu-ray drive supports single-layer discs which hold roughly 25GB of data and also dual-layer discs which hold roughly 50GB of data, this swamps 360 media and despite backing HD-DVD the format ending up being discontinued. We wonder if this time round Microsoft will bite the bullet and give the next-gen Xbox a Blu-ray drive, either that or a new format altogether.
The performance hardware within the 720 is where things get really difficult to predict, what we can say is that dual-core and quad-core processor manufacturers have made huge advances since the 360 arrived in late 2005, also the influx of high-end smartphones and tablets has ensured that GPU’s have came on leaps and bounds. The 360’s 3.2 GHz PowerPC Tri-Core Xenon processor and 512MB RAM ensured that it would have longevity, the new Xbox will undoubtedly wipe the floor with this, however Microsoft have to take into account price limitations. We would like to see at least 4 cores with clock speeds of 3.5GHz per core, however we think that Microsoft could surprise us with a 6 or 8 core chip.
As for graphics processor the 360 featured a 500 MHz ATI Xenos GPU which was quite similar to the ATI Radeon X1900 / X1950 graphics cards, we think that Microsoft will stick with ATI (who were acquired by AMD back in 2006), perhaps Microsoft will choose something similar to to the 67xx / 68xx series, however something like this is extremely hard to predict.
We have now spoken about the next-gen console’s main attributes therefore we will just list some other things we would like to see, we think that HDMI-out is a given, perhaps this will output at a higher resolution than 1080p and will support 3D. We still think that there will be USB ports for charging headsets / controllers and we hope that there will be support for Xbox 360 peripherals.
What do you want the next-gen Xbox to feature?