Microsoft is hiring for a new team in California to build 'AAA' Xbox games

Christopher

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Jun 1, 2007
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#1
https://www.windowscentral.com/xbox-hiring-new-team-california-build-exclusive-aaa-games

Microsoft has been under pressure to do more to build up its first-party Xbox games portfolio as of late. Its primary competition in the console space, Sony's PlayStation, seems to be churning out Hollywood-level "AAA" games to widespread acclaim with no sign of slowing down. The same cannot be said for Xbox's recent efforts, but we're seeing the first signs that change is on the horizon.
Noticed by Rychu over at ResetEra, Microsoft is hiring a Principle Program Manager with experience in "AAA" games, located in Santa Monica, California.
Executive Producer/ Lead Producer
  • Develop and manage the product production and launch of across various platforms from both a development and publishing perspective
  • Manage development from concept to release and deliver great high quality games that build on franchise goals
  • Deliver financial and schedule goals on time and to quality
  • Build lead and manage a production team, working in conjunction with multiple cross-functional groups, to deliver milestones
  • Develop and improve production and organizational processes as the teams scale
  • Hire and grow internal studio talent to build teams and culture
  • Utilize location in Southern California to build an ecosystem of contract and external employees for production scalability
The listing asks for experiencing in shipping high-quality games to "AAA" standards, which typically refer to titles that utilize photorealistic art assets and expensive production values, including motion-capture, quality voice work and writing. Internally, only Forza, Halo, and Gears of War approach this standard for Xbox, with many of their other titles falling somewhere in the mid-range in terms of production quality.
Recently, I wrote an article describing how Xbox was working on a slim budget in recent years as part of the Windows & Devices group under Terry Myerson. With the re-organization in place and Xbox lead Phil Spencer sitting at the senior leadership table, Xbox will have the resources it needs to create a high-quality portfolio of content as we head towards the next shift in gaming, notably hardware-agnostic cloud streaming. Clearly, this, along with the recent hiring of Daniel Gallagher and promotion of Matt Booty, are the first signs of this turn around.
Good to hear, but it will be years before anything comes out of this studio. This needed to happen a while back, if true.
 

Two4DaMoney

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Jun 4, 2007
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#2
It's about freaking time, Phil. This is exactly what I want so that Sony doesn't get lazy. It's a win win for everyone.

I wonder what void they're going to fill on the xbox? Racing isn't needed. 1st person shooter isn't needed. 3rd person slot is open. Fable is coming back for the action-rpg genre. We probably won't find out anything until 2020 about this title since they're actually building from the ground up.
 
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Rush3d

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#4
Yeah lets hope this happens I am thinking of getting an Xbox One S
By the time they release their first game the Xbox One platform will be irrelevant. They'll probably start develop for Microsoft's next console.
 
May 20, 2008
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#5
By the time they release their first game the Xbox One platform will be irrelevant. They'll probably start develop for Microsoft's next console.
Xbox one will never be irrelevant. MS has too much invested and 3rd party publishers will continue to support it for years into the next generation.
 

Fijiandoce

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#6
Xbox one will never be irrelevant. MS has too much invested and 3rd party publishers will continue to support it for years into the next generation.
The "next-generation" that Rush brought up, and as you did too, kinda implies irrelevancy, in so far as the OP covers MS's First party AAA initiative.

The Last of Us is going on 5 years now since release, GOW is ~5 also. If 2018 marks the rallying point for this new direction then we'll be well into the next generation by the time these titles come out - if the target is in fact matching the quality Sony's first party line-up.

The turn around on AAA titles is getting incredibly long. Rush is probably correct in that this new initiative is aimed at MS's next-gen contender. There's no real feasible time frame which makes this viable for the Xbox One. Additionally, the references to "culture" and "ecosystem" in the job listing imply this job listing is kinda grass-roots. This looks like an address to the Ecosystem Sony have with the ICE team, and the manner in which they work with Sony's first parties to share/pool their knowledge.

The last thing an MS first party title needs is to be splitting their potential between a next-gen console, and the limitations of the base XB1 (DDR3 and ESRAM included).
 
May 20, 2008
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#7
The "next-generation" that Rush brought up, and as you did too, kinda implies irrelevancy, in so far as the OP covers MS's First party AAA initiative.
That doesn’t make it true though. He doesn’t know anything about the game or when it releases or when the next generation of consoles will release.



The Last of Us is going on 5 years now since release, GOW is ~5 also. If 2018 marks the rallying point for this new direction then we'll be well into the next generation by the time these titles come out - if the target is in fact matching the quality Sony's first party line-up.
Or maybe not. Even if it did, the ps4and Xbox one will still play a part in both strategies.

The turn around on AAA titles is getting incredibly long. Rush is probably correct in that this new initiative is aimed at MS's next-gen contender. There's no real feasible time frame which makes this viable for the Xbox One. Additionally, the references to "culture" and "ecosystem" in the job listing imply this job listing is kinda grass-roots. This looks like an address to the Ecosystem Sony have with the ICE team, and the manner in which they work with Sony's first parties to share/pool their knowledge.


The last thing an MS first party title needs is to be splitting their potential between a next-gen console, and the limitations of the base XB1 (DDR3 and ESRAM included).
I believe MS is just as capable as any other publisher out there. They just need to start catering to their entire fan base more. Maybe hire a few more key personnel here and there. It seems they are starting to do that but it’ll take some time just like Phil said.
 

Fijiandoce

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#8
That doesn’t make it true though. He doesn’t know anything about the game or when it releases or when the next generation of consoles will release.
Neither does saying it will never be irrelevant...
Xbox one will never be irrelevant.
That same logic applies to what you said, as you also have no knowledge of anything MS does...

Or maybe not. Even if it did, the ps4and Xbox one will still play a part in both strategies.
That remains to be seen. If the new consoles are sold the same way the current ones were (as in: were never sold at a loss), then Sony and MS may be more warm to the idea.

If however they are sold at a loss - as it has started to be speculated in part due to the Ryzen cores - then MS and Sony will probably want you to shift over to the new platform as soon as possible, as sales for the games will offset the loss.

I believe MS is just as capable as any other publisher out there. They just need to start catering to their entire fan base more. Maybe hire a few more key personnel here and there. It seems they are starting to do that but it’ll take some time just like Phil said.
Never said they weren't capable. Never said MS don't have their R&D teams. However, the ICE team was created specifically to work close with dev teams to get them working on the CellBE.

The choice of wording on the listing is kinda telling. This doesn't seem MS specific. It looks like it's meant to address the close ties Sony's studio's have - keep in mind, Sony's studios aren't "Sony's", they were all independent at some point. This is where MS fall behind, and this listing seems like it attempts to address this and get those non-MS owned studio's working for/with them.

Off the top of my head i can only think of Rare as an example of MS having an outside Devhouse... Meanwhile Sony's need not be listed (it should be pretty obvious).

As an aside, the ICE in the "ICE Team" stands for "Initiative for a Common Engine". Since the engine is the thing which drives the pretty graphics, anything one dev house creates, benefits the other dev houses.
 
May 20, 2008
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#9
Neither does saying it will never be irrelevant...

That same logic applies to what you said, as you also have no knowledge of anything MS does...
I know their history and that's beats speculation IMO.


That remains to be seen. If the new consoles are sold the same way the current ones were (as in: were never sold at a loss), then Sony and MS may be more warm to the idea.

If however they are sold at a loss - as it has started to be speculated in part due to the Ryzen cores - then MS and Sony will probably want you to shift over to the new platform as soon as possible, as sales for the games will offset the loss.
Yea "if" and "probably". That's really about all we can say right now. There is still the possibility that this gen may go on longer that we expect.

The choice of wording on the listing is kinda telling. This doesn't seem MS specific. It looks like it's meant to address the close ties Sony's studio's have - keep in mind, Sony's studios aren't "Sony's", they were all independent at some point. This is where MS fall behind, and this listing seems like it attempts to address this and get those non-MS owned studio's working for/with them.
Based off what? meh, I don't see much difference in other hiring qualifications. They are taking the right steps to improve things. That's all that matters to me.
 

Fijiandoce

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#10
I know their history and that's beats speculation IMO.
What you think you know does not make it fact. It stands no better or worse than what Rush said.

Yea "if" and "probably". That's really about all we can say right now. There is still the possibility that this gen may go on longer that we expect.
Doubtful that either will try to stretch this gen the same way they stretched the last. In their own respective ways, the PS360 pushed the envelope. They needed a long cycle as a result of production costs - both for R&D before the consoles themselves even existed, and then after launch when they sold for a loss..

Mobile games are starting to run simulation greater than what the jaguar cores produce - they are severely handicapped though by their TDP often being ~5W, vs the consoles 70W-ish TDP. What's the difference between PUBG mobile and PUBG Dektop? Functionally, they are both the same game, most of the drawback relate to aesthetics (and performance, obviously).
The Jaguar cores only saving grace is the x86 instruction set, which means a Ryzen CPU can run the current gen games with little compatibility issue
 

acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#11
What you think you know does not make it fact. It stands no better or worse than what Rush said.


Doubtful that either will try to stretch this gen the same way they stretched the last. In their own respective ways, the PS360 pushed the envelope. They needed a long cycle as a result of production costs - both for R&D before the consoles themselves even existed, and then after launch when they sold for a loss..

Mobile games are starting to run simulation greater than what the jaguar cores produce - they are severely handicapped though by their TDP often being ~5W, vs the consoles 70W-ish TDP. What's the difference between PUBG mobile and PUBG Dektop? Functionally, they are both the same game, most of the drawback relate to aesthetics (and performance, obviously).
The Jaguar cores only saving grace is the x86 instruction set, which means a Ryzen CPU can run the current gen games with little compatibility issue
We might not see an 8 year cycle as we saw last generation, but there is nothing that stops them going for something like a 7 year stretch seeing that they just got the mid gen refresh done. There is a danger that if they push way too many consoles in a short time span that it works against them and this is something that you see in other electronic markets too.

On a separate point, mobile gaming exists because it is something that can be tapped into and phones, and people can get some good phones today for something like £150-200 and this is something that is used each and every day. That said, phones are not built to be gaming machines, it is most often an afterthought. So phones will sell, and they will continue to to expand the market as far as games are concerned. Also, people that buy consoles know that they are more expensive in terms of power, yet the market is selling at a good enough rate despite these consoles still being expensive i.e. you cannot compare their prices at this point to what has been the trend of price drops and how regular those have been in the previous generations.

On the CPU, they will improve if developers demand it. I never really understand this argument by the way. Games that are being made for these consoles are also being made for PC, a good market of the PC market still games on rigs that are lower in specs than these consoles.
If gamers demand better spec, and by demand I mean they are willing to pay for better spec, then you will see a change in the way these consoles are put out, but so long as there is not that demand then console manufacturers will look at what is seen as being good enough to sustain a generation.

4k content is going to be the in thing with the X and the pro, and I believe it is what they will lean heavy on as 4k TV and online streaming content becomes more prevalent, as the price of TV's become even cheaper than they are right now.
 
H

Hedon

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#12
Last gen the 360 went more than 10 years. We have a mid gen console for the first time and I figure this gen will be just as long if not longer for Xbox One and PS4.
 

Fijiandoce

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#13
We might not see an 8 year cycle as we saw last generation, but there is nothing that stops them going for something like a 7 year stretch seeing that they just got the mid gen refresh done. There is a danger that if they push way too many consoles in a short time span that it works against them and this is something that you see in other electronic markets too.
PS4 launch was 2013, it's mid-gen refresh was 2016. I think it's safer to say we're in the twilight of this generation more so than we are stuck in the middle anymore.

If MS want to drag out an Xbox one X while Sony bring a totally new system to the table, then, as rush said, the Xbox will be highly irrelevant.

But even if you say this is the middle of the generation. It's taken Naughty Dog, an established Dev house, almost 5 years to bring The Last of Us 2 to market [Note on ND dev practice: ND typically move straight into pre-production of the next title right after the first one ships]

As the job listing says, this appears to be a ground up approach... I don't see a "AAA" title being feasible within such a short time.

On a separate point, mobile gaming exists because it is something that can be tapped into and phones, and people can get some good phones today for something like £150-200 and this is something that is used each and every day. That said, phones are not built to be gaming machines, it is most often an afterthought. So phones will sell, and they will continue to to expand the market as far as games are concerned. Also, people that buy consoles know that they are more expensive in terms of power, yet the market is selling at a good enough rate despite these consoles still being expensive i.e. you cannot compare their prices at this point to what has been the trend of price drops and how regular those have been in the previous generations.

On the CPU, they will improve if developers demand it. I never really understand this argument by the way. Games that are being made for these consoles are also being made for PC, a good market of the PC market still games on rigs that are lower in specs than these consoles.
If gamers demand better spec, and by demand I mean they are willing to pay for better spec, then you will see a change in the way these consoles are put out, but so long as there is not that demand then console manufacturers will look at what is seen as being good enough to sustain a generation.

4k content is going to be the in thing with the X and the pro, and I believe it is what they will lean heavy on as 4k TV and online streaming content becomes more prevalent, as the price of TV's become even cheaper than they are right now.
This is a bit off-topic, feel free to make a new thread if you'd like to discuss hardware. But as a note for that thread. PC CPU's have never trailed the current generation Jaguars. The Jaguars were obsolete out the gate, as even Sony's ICE team lead stated (He was obviously much kinder with his word choice than i tend to be though).
 
May 20, 2008
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#14
PS4 launch was 2013, it's mid-gen refresh was 2016. I think it's safer to say we're in the twilight of this generation more so than we are stuck in the middle anymore.

If MS want to drag out an Xbox one X while Sony bring a totally new system to the table, then, as rush said, the Xbox will be highly irrelevant.

But even if you say this is the middle of the generation. It's taken Naughty Dog, an established Dev house, almost 5 years to bring The Last of Us 2 to market [Note on ND dev practice: ND typically move straight into pre-production of the next title right after the first one ships]

As the job listing says, this appears to be a ground up approach... I don't see a "AAA" title being feasible within such a short time.


This is a bit off-topic, feel free to make a new thread if you'd like to discuss hardware. But as a note for that thread. PC CPU's have never trailed the current generation Jaguars. The Jaguars were obsolete out the gate, as even Sony's ICE team lead stated (He was obviously much kinder with his word choice than i tend to be though).
And just how does Sony launching a new system make Xbox one x irrelevant? I can see if they launch something that’s gonna do more than 4K but that’s not likely to happen. Xbox one x didn’t make ps4pro irrelevant. Neither of the two made the Switch irreverent. Gamers aren’t gonna stop playing Halo and using services like game pass just because Sony launches a new console.
 

Fijiandoce

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#15
Gamers aren’t gonna stop playing Halo and using services like game pass just because Sony launches a new console.
This is silly logic... as it makes as much sense as saying "PS4 owners aren't going to purchase Xbox one X when a theoretical PS5 is on the market"... if you want to make this an "us vs them" argument, more power to you. If you can't look past referencing one side in relation to another, then it's your loss.

Additionally, i don't know what it means if you can't see past how similar Xbox one x is to Pro... A new console will do more than simply allow one to crunch more pixels.

And just how does Sony launching a new system make Xbox one x irrelevant? I can see if they launch something that’s gonna do more than 4K but that’s not likely to happen. Xbox one x didn’t make ps4pro irrelevant. Neither of the two made the Switch irreverent. Gamers aren’t gonna stop playing Halo and using services like game pass just because Sony launches a new console.
As i said to @acryllicaltair if you want to talk about hardware, make a new thread, as this is getting off-topic from the Job listing. But suffice to say, if you can't see why a brand new system is different from a mid-gen refresh, i think you'd be wasting your time...
 
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acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#16
PS4 launch was 2013, it's mid-gen refresh was 2016. I think it's safer to say we're in the twilight of this generation more so than we are stuck in the middle anymore.

If MS want to drag out an Xbox one X while Sony bring a totally new system to the table, then, as rush said, the Xbox will be highly irrelevant.

But even if you say this is the middle of the generation. It's taken Naughty Dog, an established Dev house, almost 5 years to bring The Last of Us 2 to market [Note on ND dev practice: ND typically move straight into pre-production of the next title right after the first one ships

As the job listing says, this appears to be a ground up approach... I don't see a "AAA" title being feasible within such a short time.

This is year 5 and we just had a mid gen refresh. There is not much incentive for these console manufacturers not to go on another two years at the very least before they bring out new consoles. Do I believe that we will see new consoles this year? No. Next year? No.

That would make it a seven year cycle, and just one year off one of the longest game generations. I would assume that the soonest MS and Sony are looking at a new console is probably 2020.


But even if you say this is the middle of the generation. It's taken Naughty Dog, an established Dev house, almost 5 years to bring The Last of Us 2 to market [Note on ND dev practice: ND typically move straight into pre-production of the next title right after the first one ships]

As the job listing says, this appears to be a ground up approach... I don't see a "AAA" title being feasible within such a short time.
This is a bit dishonest. Since The Last of Us released, Naughty Dog have released The last of us remastered, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Uncharted 4: A thief's end, Uncharted: The lost legacy.

Someone with better knowledge of how game development works may say that a remaster may not have taken so much in terms of resources, but one thing they require is time and labour that may have been spent elsewhere on other projects. So, yes, it has taken 5 years for us to go on and see another iteration of The Last of Us, but it is not as if it has been the only thing that Naughty Dog has been working on. Just the same way as 343 Industries has worked on Halo 4, The Master Chief collection, Halo 5 and they are working on something that is yet to be announced. Heck even a new studio like The Coalition has a game out, and I do not expect that it will take them 5 years to come up with something else.


This is a bit off-topic, feel free to make a new thread if you'd like to discuss hardware. But as a note for that thread. PC CPU's have never trailed the current generation Jaguars. The Jaguars were obsolete out the gate, as even Sony's ICE team lead stated (He was obviously much kinder with his word choice than i tend to be though).
I say this so many times over here. You get what you pay for. If someone wants a high end gaming rig, then go and get a PC, build a rig.

There are specialty products on that end that appeal for people that have the will and the money to go on and invest on the highest end of the spectrum, but consoles, these are mass market goods where the cost of the entire thing has to be taken into consideration vis a vis market reaction. Sony last gen came up with a $600 console, straight off the bat it did not sell and they had to take far greater losses than even they had envisioned.

If people want higher end specs on the CPU end, they have to pay for it, or wait for the prices on these to come down, there would also be a push by developers asking....the only way that is possible is by having more games being CPU bound, which is something that is rare in itself. In short, MS and Sony are making a to sell at a certain price that appeals to the mass market while taking into consideration developer needs for the most part.

Finally I fail to get this quote that we need a new topic to discuss hardware. You are the one that brought up Ryzen cores.
 
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acryllicaltair

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#17
Last gen the 360 went more than 10 years. We have a mid gen console for the first time and I figure this gen will be just as long if not longer for Xbox One and PS4.
From a point of economics, producers always move when there is demand for a new product. There was demand for 4K alternatives seeing the price reduction to 4K television sets and the increase to 4k content and that is why you saw them trying to cash in on the mid gen thing. I game on a 4K set for the most part while I know of a lot of people that are not bothered by the 4K thing and are willing to wait out until the next console drops.

Each and every console that has been released since the Saturn, has been there to try and cash in on some technological advancement. The Saturn and the PS1 caught the CD Drive wave, and while the Dreamcast stayed in that and fell out, the PS2 and Xbox got the DVD, and then it was HD the next generation.

4K had not got to a point where it was seen as being important at the start of this generation, but it will be seen as that next gen. Yes, you will still have people gaming on 1080p sets, but with ultra HD becoming more and more prevalent, that is something that they will be looking to cash on going forward. I also think that we will continue to see disc copies of games even though there is a move towards digital distribution.

As is, there is no incentive for anyone to move first other than MS who might want to see some sort of first mover advantage in the next generation and they could bundle that with a comment as to how their console is both forward and backward compatible.

Outside this, they maybe target 60-65 million in console sales by 2020, say that is a success and move on from a generation where they were in the back foot off mistakes of their own making.
 
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Fijiandoce

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#18
This is year 5 and we just had a mid gen refresh. There is not much incentive for these console manufacturers not to go on another two years at the very least before they bring out new consoles. Do I believe that we will see new consoles this year? No. Next year? No.

That would make it a seven year cycle, and just one year off one of the longest game generations. I would assume that the soonest MS and Sony are looking at a new console is probably 2020.
Even if 2020 is the target, that's still too little time for a start-up to produce a 'AAA' title, hence why i originally sated this is likely something more akin to Sony's ICE than it is a new production team.

The Benefit of ICE is (as i've said the name already) it allows first parties to leverage a common engine. Sony started this way back with Killzone 2, the engine that powered K2 was supposed to be a universal engine shared by Sony's first parties. Now it seems they all contribute ideas towards the initiative. It's hard to argue against the results Son'y first party have produced thus far.


This is a bit dishonest.
Hardly, that's from Naughty Dog themselves. They have two teams who work on two different things at the same time, and a while back it looked like there would be a third. This was from the President of ND.

When ND wrap a project, they then spend the next several months on pre-production where anyone in the team can throw ideas around. It's where the crash games came from on PS1, and the Jak games on PS2.

Someone with better knowledge of how game development works may say that a remaster may not have taken so much in terms of resources, but one thing they require is time and labour that may have been spent elsewhere on other projects. So, yes, it has taken 5 years for us to go on and see another iteration of The Last of Us, but it is not as if it has been the only thing that Naughty Dog has been working on. Just the same way as 343 Industries has worked on Halo 4, The Master Chief collection, Halo 5 and they are working on something that is yet to be announced. Heck even a new studio like The Coalition has a game out, and I do not expect that it will take them 5 years to come up with something else.
A bit odd to call a reference to a quote from the President of a company dishonest, then proceed to follow it up with something like this.
Remastering TLoU mostly required moving code from the SPU's onto traditional cores (which are vastly more capable than an SPU). The assets are already created many times larger than what gets shipped, so no need to redo them. Only a small team is needed for this. Does not require the entire art department, and programmers to sort out.

Finally I fail to get this quote that we need a new topic to discuss hardware. You are the one that brought up Ryzen cores.
Ryzen was brought up for two reasons; Cost, and x86. Both of which are relevant to the topic at hand as cost influences the irrelevancy, and x86 refers to forwards compatibility... no hardware discussion. If you want one, go make one.
 
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acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#19
Even if 2020 is the target, that's still too little time for a start-up to produce a 'AAA' title, hence why i originally sated this is likely something more akin to Sony's ICE than it is a new production team.

The Benefit of ICE is (as i've said the name already) it allows first parties to leverage a common engine. Sony started this way back with Killzone 2, the engine that powered K2 was supposed to be a universal engine shared by Sony's first parties. Now it seems they all contribute ideas towards the initiative. It's hard to argue against the results Son'y first party have produced thus far.



Hardly, that's from Naughty Dog themselves. They have two teams who work on two different things at the same time, and a while back it looked like there would be a third. This was from the President of ND.

When ND wrap a project, they then spend the next several months on pre-production where anyone in the team can throw ideas around. It's where the crash games came from on PS1, and the Jak games on PS2.


A bit odd to call a reference to a quote from the President of a company dishonest, then proceed to follow it up with something like this.
Remastering TLoU mostly required moving code from the SPU's onto traditional cores (which are vastly more capable than an SPU). The assets are already created many times larger than what gets shipped, so no need to redo them. Only a small team is needed for this. Does not require the entire art department, and programmers to sort out.


Ryzen was brought up for two reasons; Cost, and x86. Both of which are relevant to the topic at hand as cost influences the irrelevancy, and x86 refers to forwards compatibility... no hardware discussion. If you want one, go make one.
1) Anything you produce costs three things: time, labor and money. This is why I said someone with better knowledge of how these things work (that was excluding me) was in a better place to expound on this. This does not mean I had read what some head at Naughty Dog had said, because I hadn't, neither does it disqualify anything that I have said. For reference, 343 put out the Anniversary collection for Halo, it sold tonnes as they worked on Halo 5. As far as I know (and I mean guessing), they have but one team working on their projects.

2) There is nothing that stops Microsoft from having a team working on something early on and waiting to see whether or not it will make console launch. They could simply port assets and have the game launch on their new console along with the current gen consoles with their mantra that not one gets left behind. This is something that is always left out, and I do not know why. The Coalition did not take an age to come out with a quality game, and what they put out is still the best third person shooter out on consoles.

3) Ryzen is a hardware component, that costs money. This is why I said people pay for what they get. If you want a top end CPU, top end GPU, top end RAM, top end whatever......you build a PC. But when it comes to consoles, these manufacturers care about one thing and one thing only; what sells to allow them to make money off software, and what allows them to break even and even make money sooner off hardware. That does not always lend itself to having the best available parts. The cost part is what I zeroed on if anything.
 

Fijiandoce

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#20
2) There is nothing that stops Microsoft from having a team working on something early on and waiting to see whether or not it will make console launch. They could simply port assets and have the game launch on their new console along with the current gen consoles with their mantra that not one gets left behind. This is something that is always left out, and I do not know why. The Coalition did not take an age to come out with a quality game, and what they put out is still the best third person shooter out on consoles.
I feel a lot of Xbox fans have forgotten that the base model still exists - not implying anything, just an observation made when reading comments around the web.

But, the base model will affect a theoretical cross-platform title. You can pick the easy stuff right away like Draw calls and AI being severely impacted by facilitating the Jaguar cores. Then you have stuff like working around the embedded ram, how that translates to the One, and then how that translates to your new system. Then you have stuff like a severely constrained memory bandwidth. "IF" MS pull of something special and use HBM, the memory bandwidth will be orders of magnitude smaller on base XB1. This affect everything you plan to push to the screen.

The Witcher is a prime example of a title created with no "next-gen" specs locked down. CDPR just worked away in total disregard for the PS360 - this does re-enforce the idea of irrelevancy.
 

acryllicaltair

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#21
I feel a lot of Xbox fans have forgotten that the base model still exists - not implying anything, just an observation made when reading comments around the web.

But, the base model will affect a theoretical cross-platform title. You can pick the easy stuff right away like Draw calls and AI being severely impacted by facilitating the Jaguar cores. Then you have stuff like working around the embedded ram, how that translates to the One, and then how that translates to your new system. Then you have stuff like a severely constrained memory bandwidth. "IF" MS pull of something special and use HBM, the memory bandwidth will be orders of magnitude smaller on base XB1. This affect everything you plan to push to the screen.

The Witcher is a prime example of a title created with no "next-gen" specs locked down. CDPR just worked away in total disregard for the PS360 - this does re-enforce the idea of irrelevancy.
No one assumes that they will keep supporting Xbox One forever. At some point in time, that support will end as it always does with every console generation. It similarly does not mean that we will not see what happens in the PC space where you can code for the lowest common denominator and have bells and whistles higher.

This is what gaming in the PC space is, and most gamers on that platform have tech that is of lower quality than these consoles.
 

Fijiandoce

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#22
No one assumes that they will keep supporting Xbox One forever. At some point in time, that support will end as it always does with every console generation. It similarly does not mean that we will not see what happens in the PC space where you can code for the lowest common denominator and have bells and whistles higher.

This is what gaming in the PC space is, and most gamers on that platform have tech that is of lower quality than these consoles.
Developing for the PC space is a little bit different.

You can code in assembly on PC no issue, but the only people who code in assembly know that they are going to work with a very specific equipment set. Assembly is as close to the metal as you can get - and all programming languages are essentially high level assembly code (just more human readable).

When you move to work on general hardware, you have no idea what your code will execute on, so cue the 'Drivers' everyone and their mothers are familiar with on Windows platforms. Drivers add layers of abstraction, but remove all the compatibility headache. But there is a performance cost due to the overhead from this.
Benefit of this overhead however is this scenario which you've posted; that you can code for the lowest common denominator as the drivers will just work their magic and your code will run.

Consoles don't work that way. For example, the Pro has AMD's "rapid packed math" (or half precision math). This essentially takes one of AMD's 32bit registers and splits it in two, as two 16bit registers. You can theoretically do twice as much work, but you can only perform the same operand on the register, so your job must be of the same type... this doesn't work on base PS4. You can't run your code this way on the PS4, but the Pro is perfectly happy to do this.

There is a lot of code that can be run at half precision, and while it won't be a 2x uplift, a pro specific title will get as close to it as possible, as the code can be specifically catered for it... just like the assembly language (this is where you hear a lot of the "close to the metal stuff").

So, the translation on console is not the same as the translation on PC. The instruction set will be the same, yes (though caveats). But it's not a one to one feature match. The architecture is generally exploited on the console far more than it is on the PC, and the code is generally a lot more specific.

Games coded for NextBox and Nextstation will be similar to the Pro. If you want to get the most out of the machine, you need to exploit what the architecture can accomplish. In the Pro's case, that would mean running as much code at half precision as possible, but this makes the base model irrelevant as it cannot run the code the same way.
 

acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#23
Developing for the PC space is a little bit different.

You can code in assembly on PC no issue, but the only people who code in assembly know that they are going to work with a very specific equipment set. Assembly is as close to the metal as you can get - and all programming languages are essentially high level assembly code (just more human readable).

When you move to work on general hardware, you have no idea what your code will execute on, so cue the 'Drivers' everyone and their mothers are familiar with on Windows platforms. Drivers add layers of abstraction, but remove all the compatibility headache. But there is a performance cost due to the overhead from this.
Benefit of this overhead however is this scenario which you've posted; that you can code for the lowest common denominator as the drivers will just work their magic and your code will run.

Consoles don't work that way. For example, the Pro has AMD's "rapid packed math" (or half precision math). This essentially takes one of AMD's 32bit registers and splits it in two, as two 16bit registers. You can theoretically do twice as much work, but you can only perform the same operand on the register, so your job must be of the same type... this doesn't work on base PS4. You can't run your code this way on the PS4, but the Pro is perfectly happy to do this.

There is a lot of code that can be run at half precision, and while it won't be a 2x uplift, a pro specific title will get as close to it as possible, as the code can be specifically catered for it... just like the assembly language (this is where you hear a lot of the "close to the metal stuff").

So, the translation on console is not the same as the translation on PC. The instruction set will be the same, yes (though caveats). But it's not a one to one feature match. The architecture is generally exploited on the console far more than it is on the PC, and the code is generally a lot more specific.

Games coded for NextBox and Nextstation will be similar to the Pro. If you want to get the most out of the machine, you need to exploit what the architecture can accomplish. In the Pro's case, that would mean running as much code at half precision as possible, but this makes the base model irrelevant as it cannot run the code the same way.
The Xbox One X architecture is different to the original base console, yet it is performing just fine running games that were hard coded for the base console.

There are people that are paid by Microsoft to figure these things out, and they have got to a situation where they are comfortable emulating previous gen versions on the console too, so let them think and worry about that.

I also think that you have taken my PC statement away from what it was basically meant to answer. That there are people that are running a lot of weak systems compared to current gen consoles yet we see games coded for less than what is demanded by consoles. That population is the vast majority of what comprises the PC gaming market.

The worry was that Microsoft would not have enough time to put out AAA games with an imminent console launch, the argument was that it would take them vastly longer if that is something that they wanted to do off a new studio. Both are false, and they also do not need a unified platform for everything they are doing in house as has been done by Sony and as EA has been doing with their titles. Having a unified engine may have its advantages as to how they would code for that engine, but the question is whether or not it would lend itself to each game genre that they may want to encompass.

I hope that they expand their first party studios, hope that they expand their second party partnerships going forward which is something that Phil and increase their investment in titles that turn out to be quality. That is something that they have been intimating that they are committed to doing, and in an age where everything is blown out of proportion, it is lost to many that the playstation bar a few quality titles is not lighting it up on volume based on anything that Sony is doing in the development and publishing scene.
 

Fijiandoce

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#24
The Xbox One X architecture is different to the original base console, yet it is performing just fine running games that were hard coded for the base console.
If you think about this in relation to what i posted, you might understand why i have the mindset that the Pro and One X are hot trash... but i digress.

There are people that are paid by Microsoft to figure these things out, and they have got to a situation where they are comfortable emulating previous gen versions on the console too, so let them think and worry about that.
This is a bit of a cop out point to raise because its so generic. Nintendo have the exact same thing, so do Apple. No one is worrying about what the teams do - i've even referenced above the fact MS has some of the best engineers (they'd have to otherwise Windows as a platform would suck arse).

I also think that you have taken my PC statement away from what it was basically meant to answer. That there are people that are running a lot of weak systems compared to current gen consoles yet we see games coded for less than what is demanded by consoles. That population is the vast majority of what comprises the PC gaming market.
Again, this is hardware, but as i've said, the Jaguar cores were obsolete out the gate.

The worry was that Microsoft would not have enough time to put out AAA games with an imminent console launch, the argument was that it would take them vastly longer if that is something that they wanted to do off a new studio. Both are false
To quote your own post:
1) Anything you produce costs three things: time, labor and money.
They have no labour force, it does not sound like they've been given MS's credit card (financial institutions would have picked up on this new direction), and the point being discussed is about time.

With regard to time: The texture artists have no assets, the modellers have no assets, the programmers have no established code base, the sound team have no sound clips. To top it off, they have no direction.

Hideo Kojima came down from Japan to the US and has already created his Studio - it's established, there's no denying this fact. He's gone with Gurilla Games' Decima engine. So the artist have some sort of 3D model library, the sound guys have some sound clips, the programmers have a code base and an established editor where all departments can implement their creations. Even with Kojima having all that he needs and giving the group direction, his title's release is TBD...

they also do not need a unified platform for everything they are doing in house as has been done by Sony and as EA has been doing with their titles. Having a unified engine may have its advantages as to how they would code for that engine, but the question is whether or not it would lend itself to each game genre that they may want to encompass.
The graphics engine is not inherently tied to the type of game you want to make. It handles the way you make requests to the GPU. If you have a subsurface scattering technique that is 50% faster for your engine, it translates across every title that uses it. This saves on Development time as you aren't reinventing the wheel everytime you create your title. Granted, this isn't saying all Sony studio's merely copy and paste, just as MS have fantastic engineers, so to do the big Dev houses. But if they have a framework that is proven to work, there is no sense in foregoing it.

If the Common Engine had no merit then EPIC, Crytek, Unity etc. would all be out of business. These engines exist for the sole purpose of saving development time by not requiring a dev team to start from scratch. The ICE pool idea's and techniques built for Sony's platform, that has actual material worth for those who target that platform (ostensibly the first party studio's). It would make sense for MS to implement something similar for its platform. There is no evidence to suggest that ICE has had no impact on the development of Sony's fist party line up - which if we're being honest does stand head and shoulders above what MS has managed. Not to imply MS don't have quality, but Sony do have a leg up in this area.

EDIT:
Just as an aside, Sony's first party studios do not use ICE, as it's just an initiative. Each studio has it's own engine.
 
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acryllicaltair

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#25
If you think about this in relation to what i posted, you might understand why i have the mindset that the Pro and One X are hot trash... but i digress.


This is a bit of a cop out point to raise because its so generic. Nintendo have the exact same thing, so do Apple. No one is worrying about what the teams do - i've even referenced above the fact MS has some of the best engineers (they'd have to otherwise Windows as a platform would suck arse).


Again, this is hardware, but as i've said, the Jaguar cores were obsolete out the gate.


To quote your own post:

They have no labour force, it does not sound like they've been given MS's credit card (financial institutions would have picked up on this new direction), and the point being discussed is about time.

With regard to time: The texture artists have no assets, the modellers have no assets, the programmers have no established code base, the sound team have no sound clips. To top it off, they have no direction.

Hideo Kojima came down from Japan to the US and has already created his Studio - it's established, there's no denying this fact. He's gone with Gurilla Games' Decima engine. So the artist have some sort of 3D model library, the sound guys have some sound clips, the programmers have a code base and an established editor where all departments can implement their creations. Even with Kojima having all that he needs and giving the group direction, his title's release is TBD...


The graphics engine is not inherently tied to the type of game you want to make. It handles the way you make requests to the GPU. If you have a subsurface scattering technique that is 50% faster for your engine, it translates across every title that uses it. This saves on Development time as you aren't reinventing the wheel everytime you create your title. Granted, this isn't saying all Sony studio's merely copy and paste, just as MS have fantastic engineers, so to do the big Dev houses. But if they have a framework that is proven to work, there is no sense in foregoing it.

If the Common Engine had no merit then EPIC, Crytek, Unity etc. would all be out of business. These engines exist for the sole purpose of saving development time by not requiring a dev team to start from scratch. The ICE pool idea's and techniques built for Sony's platform, that has actual material worth for those who target that platform (ostensibly the first party studio's). It would make sense for MS to implement something similar for its platform. There is no evidence to suggest that ICE has had no impact on the development of Sony's fist party line up - which if we're being honest does stand head and shoulders above what MS has managed. Not to imply MS don't have quality, but Sony do have a leg up in this area.

EDIT:
Just as an aside, Sony's first party studios do not use ICE, as it's just an initiative. Each studio has it's own engine.
This was being raised in terms of games, and the ability of Microsoft to produce AAA games. It is neither here nor there.

Tech has improved, and games have got larger but not in terms of content. What you have is more uncompressed audio more than anything else.

If all Microsoft wants to do is not leave some people on the base console behind for a year or two, then there is nothing that stops them from coding for the least common denominator then upscaling. It would not be hard, it would be hardly be the end of the world early doors.

Most games are also not CPU bound i.e. over 95% of the games that we see are mainly GPU bound if not more. So that brings me to the question as to why they would want to move early? The only incentive for them to jump out of the gate first is to have some advantage as the first mover. There would be nothing else for them to benefit from because they already have tech that takes advantage of 4K TV's, and launching a year after Sony would not be the best thing for them. It would not be the end of the world as people seem to imagine because they have a base and a good amount of games that they can rely on to sell a system. If they continue growing that, they will always have something that they can fall back on, and that is something that has to start at this E3.

I also do not get the thinking that Sony has a head up. Microsoft went for what was an established way of thinking mainly lifting their Xbox 360 model to the Xbox One especially with the ESRAM, but with the Xbox One X, they not only looked at how their development teams were working on games, but other developers out there and coming out with a console that had customization that lent itself to what were the current development trends and in collaboration with developers (something that other companies rarely seem to do). Sony is doing one thing in the development arena, but Microsoft is no slouch either in how they view the development side of things, and if this is to continue, combined with their software capability, their investment in things like Havok.

Sometimes, in all this noise, all this is something that is forgotten. As I said, all they need to worry about right now is expanding their first party, second party and have a clutch of first and second party games that can be of the highest quality. Hopefully they have a few games that can blow people off the park this E3.
 

Fijiandoce

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#26
Tech has improved, and games have got larger but not in terms of content. What you have is more uncompressed audio more than anything else.
Not too sure what your source is, but textures are the biggest contributor... and arguably, sound and textures are considered assets since neither are conjured up out of no where. The respective teams need to actually create the sounds the game uses - every sound, and every texture. This takes time, a long time.

This was being raised in terms of games, and the ability of Microsoft to produce AAA games. It is neither here nor there.

If all Microsoft wants to do is not leave some people on the base console behind for a year or two, then there is nothing that stops them from coding for the least common denominator then upscaling. It would not be hard, it would be hardly be the end of the world early doors.
I'm not too sure where you are going with this...

Is MS targeting a AAA title for this gen, or are they targeting one for next-gen?

The Destiny team have put out quite a bit about how cross-platform held them back. Destiny 2 sucking is another thing entirely.

Most games are also not CPU bound i.e. over 95% of the games that we see are mainly GPU bound if not more. So that brings me to the question as to why they would want to move early?
Again, not too sure how many times it needs to be said, but if you want to discuss hardware, make a thread for it...

I also do not get the thinking that Sony has a head up. Microsoft went for what was an established way of thinking mainly lifting their Xbox 360 model to the Xbox One especially with the ESRAM, but with the Xbox One X, they not only looked at how their development teams were working on games, but other developers out there and coming out with a console that had customization
Obviously, MS's API is a black box, but it has been implied that MS map the esRAM to the GDDR5. Essentially saving dev time - see driver magic in post above.

Also, in regard to console customization, see post above with regard to coding specifics.
 

acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#27
Not too sure what your source is, but textures are the biggest contributor... and arguably, sound and textures are considered assets since neither are conjured up out of no where. The respective teams need to actually create the sounds the game uses - every sound, and every texture. This takes time, a long time.


I'm not too sure where you are going with this...

Is MS targeting a AAA title for this gen, or are they targeting one for next-gen?

The Destiny team have put out quite a bit about how cross-platform held them back. Destiny 2 sucking is another thing entirely.


Again, not too sure how many times it needs to be said, but if you want to discuss hardware, make a thread for it...


Obviously, MS's API is a black box, but it has been implied that MS map the esRAM to the GDDR5. Essentially saving dev time - see driver magic in post above.

Also, in regard to console customization, see post above with regard to coding specifics.
I simply compared what game sizes were last generation between the Xbox 360 and playstation 3. Textures got better, but the gap in graphics was not there most of the generation. So what was the differentiating factor if not uncompressed audio? Developers on both platforms were still re-using textures, something that still happens because it is far easier.

2) This generation is now in year 5, I would think it has a minimum of two years to go, and with the mid gen refresh, maybe three more years. There is nothing that stops Microsoft from putting out a new AAA game this generation, which is what is being disputed. I pointed out to The Coalition who took what? 3 years? It can be done. If anything, The Coalition could have taken over a new project if MS saw fit after the launch of Gears of War 4 (not set in that universe) and that project could essentially launch this generation. There is a rumor that they (MS) are working on games like Perfect Dark, some JRPG rumored to be Blue Dragon 2.........all these could launch this generation, so what are we essentially debating or even arguing? Bungie only has one game out this generation and the Forza Developer is said to be working on something new....all these projects are not being earmarked for the next console, and it would take someone brave to go on and make that prediction.

3) Bungie has gone to shit. Even Destiny 1 was not good.

4) Essentially some of us have been saying this ever since there was a deep dive to Scorpio. That Microsoft does take care of a lot of things, and even then, if you went back to the debates, there was a lot of blow back from among others, yourself. These consoles as currently constructed are good enough, and they will be good enough even going into next gen because games are mainly GPU based. If the opposite were true then you might have a case. In addition to this, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that stops Microsoft supporting these consoles for an extra year or two before phasing out the base console and focusing on the Xbox One X and the new generation, and there is nothing that would stop PC based developers from embracing that strategy because a lot of PC gamers still lag in terms of tech and they are always catered towards.
 

acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#28
By the way, to the people that say that a new team would be working on a title that targets the next gen, this is the line of reasoning, and it is somewhat farfetched. Let us say that it takes them a year on two to flesh out ideas and start production, what are they coding for? Do they have a target spec that they are looking towards two years out?
 

Fijiandoce

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#29
These consoles as currently constructed are good enough, and they will be good enough even going into next gen because games are mainly GPU based.
Unity (a launch window title) was CPU bound. Fallout is CPU bound. Witcher is CPU bound when you are in villages/cities. The Batman game from last-gen was CPU bound. etc. etc. You don't know the relative load distribution on these systems because more often then not, they run at 30fps.

Warframe Devs have stated they are CPU bound too, and so has Bungie with Destiny (garbage title as Destiny may be, the team don't lack for technical competence). Killzone Devs have also implied CPU issues in their GDC slides etc. etc.

I'll end with this:

A Jaguar core can retire ~2 instructions per clock (as can be read here).
Ryzen is thought to be in the region of ~8.

It seems small, and the numbers are small, but this difference is amplified by the fact this happens billions of times a second. In like for like situations, Ryzen can be anywhere from 200% to 1000% more efficient - obviously the upper limit representing more the absolute best case, and dependant on the workload run.

EDIT:
Tracked down the Batman title. It was Arkham City:
 
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acryllicaltair

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Feb 24, 2010
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#30
I'll end with this:

A Jaguar core can retire ~2 instructions per clock (as can be read here).
Ryzen is thought to be in the region of ~8.

It seems small, and the numbers are small, but this difference is amplified by the fact this happens billions of times a second. In like for like situations, Ryzen can be anywhere from 200% to 1000% more efficient - obviously the upper limit representing more the absolute best case, and dependant on the workload run.
In three years time, 90% of all PC hardware will still not be Ryzen because people do not upgrade on PC's as fast as some over here who are gamers would imagine. There are people that do not upgrade their phones every three years either.

In short, you will still have developers putting games out on PC whose benchmarks are still lower than current gen consoles. That would be the benchmark. I have always said this, and will continue to say it '' the problem with the hardcore gamer is that he thinks that everything revolves around him when the reality is that the casual gamer has more influence on the gaming market and how developers structure their commodity.''

I would love to have a console that has a top end CPU and a top end GPU and Samsung's HBM DRAM. The economic side of it would not make sense because there would be no demand good enough to justify a loss on the unit. So what people will not consume, they will not produce, and what developers will not prioritize using, they need no invest more than is necessary. Sony and Microsoft did not make a mistake in their choice of CPU this generation despite complaints from some quarters on this site and online from the hardcore gamer. They made a choice to go with something that they thought would be adequate for this generation, and they have not been proven wrong. Microsoft fearing not to take a risk that might not pan out chose to go with ESRAM and a RAM type that was readily available which cost them, and that is something that they have rectified with the XB1X.

They would have to at the very beginning think about what do they want the console to cost, and what can they fit in for that cost. If history is anything to go by, they would be looking at $400-450. What is going to be affordable at that price point at that time? What do they need to invest in R&D, and cutting off retail mark up, what are they bringing home? How fast can they bring manufacturing costs down? All these things come into play.

So maybe we get a vastly better CPU next gen, maybe we get HBM and maybe MS thinks out of the box again and comes with solutions that make their console more efficient and easier to develop for. Maybe all of this happens. If it does, it is up to them to figure out, especially early doors how everything is going to work. As for guys that want to complain about better CPU, it has not been something that has been 'required' this generation. Even games that have needed to draw a lot from the CPU like Assassins Creed are quality without a lot of issues being seen.

So instead of throwing a spanner in the works as is the norm with this place, why not wait and see how everything pans out? That is what I always do, that is what I have always advocated for. At the start of this generation, there were people that threw their toys out of the pram when they realized multimedia was a strong point, not even games that were more plentiful on the XB1 early on could convince them. When the Scorpio was delayed and eventually shown, there were complaints despite it being vastly better than anything else in the market. When Phil Spencer came out an said that they have plans to improve on the offering of games and that some of these things take time, you had some people laughing that it was some type of PR being put out. Now we see guys instead of complimenting them for going out and trying to put up a new studio, laughing it off almost mocking the fact that they may not be able to put up a new game this generation. I wonder what the reaction would be if Sony put up a new studio targeting AAA games.

As for me, I will wait because that is what I have done most of this generation. I have seen God of War come out, and going by history anticipate that we might see one more quality title this year at the very best maybe two from Sony. I anticipate that we might see two top titles from MS towards holiday season. So, yeah, both have not done great this generation, but I can live with that and the fact that Microsoft is doing something to try and remedy the current deficiency in games, especially action and action adventure titles. But as we sit here, where are the shooters from Sony, and when is Polyphony Digital going to put out a game that rivals Forza in terms of physics and AI? These are the underworld that people in this forum do not and will not discuss.
 
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