Next Microsoft Xbox to use three 64-bit G5 microprocessors like those in Apple’s Power Mac G5

“Microsoft has quietly circulated the specifications for its next-generation Xbox video-game console, indicating how the company plans to carry on its war against dominant player Sony,” Dean Takahashi reports for The Mercury News. “The new Xbox reflects some tough lessons learned in the current console battle, in which Sony has outsold Microsoft 5 to 1. The Xbox has put Microsoft on the map with a generation of gamers. But it has also been a money loser, albeit a relatively small one for a company with $53 billion in cash.”

“Microsoft launched its Xbox console 20 months after the PlayStation 2 debut. By the time Microsoft sold 1.5 million consoles, Sony had sold more than 20 million PlayStations. To date, Microsoft has sold 13.7 million Xboxes, while Sony has sold more than 70 million,” Takahashi reports.

For gamers, the new Xbox will be impressive, giving them the ability to play fast-action, realistic 3-D games on a high-definition TV set. Microsoft’s emissaries have told industry developers and publishers that the next Xbox will be ready to launch in fall 2005 with the following specifications:


  1. “��Three IBM-designed 64-bit microprocessors. The combined power of these chips means the Xbox Next will have more computing power than most personal computers. “

    Most personal computers now. By the time MS releases the new XBox, that will hardly be true anymore. Not to mention w/ 3 CPUs it will likely cost as much, if not more, than a personal computer.

    Well if MS buys a bunch of PPCs from IBM, that should bring the average cost of the processors down so maybe the PowerMacs will have a nice price drop then.

  2. Yeah, it’s nice that M$ is using the G5 and all, but I hope that the Xbox bombs big-time.

    If game developers are coding for DirectX, they are getting the entire Wintel market, plus the Xbox market. However, if they are coding for the (standard) OpenGL, they can easily port to the PlayStation and (more importantly) the Mac. Hell, porting an OpenGL app to the Mac is virtually a slam-dunk.

  3. The fact that they’re coding the games on G5’s and are going to be using parallel power chips means that there will be loads of games for Macs. A lot of gamers will need G5’s/G6’s. This is good news for Apple.

  4. Flash memory is too expensive (the current argument with the iPod mini)…unless they plan on using the Cornice storage device, that may keep the price competitive. I’d say they are expecting to lose money upfront in the long haul to lure gamers with it’s sheer performance to switch to XBox. It’s not going to happen. Backwark compatibility was Sony’s selling point. They will stick with “old faithful” for that reason and just upgrade to the latest Playstation and still be able to play the old games. Unless they have a rabbit in the top hat that I am not seeing.

  5. This is old, old news. Want new news?

    Here’s the Slashdot thread:

    … and the story in that link:

    Apparently, the Xbox Next SDK has been released for dual-G5s running a custom WinNT kernel.

    Don’t get too excted — that doesn’t mean that they’re developing games for OS X. Just because these games are going to run on IBM PowerPC-family processors doesn’t mean they’ll run in OS X … if it did, then every game developed for Windows should run in every Linux distro that runs on Intel CPUs (by the same logic).

    But NT running on a G5 is interesting in and of itself….

  6. If sales are low because of no backward compatibility I would imagine they could use all of that PPC power to emulate the Xbox for the old games even though the resolution and screen size wouldn’t be as good as the new Next Box games. The real problem is finding enough buyers with a HDTV. If they have to wait for the North American widescreen TV market to saturate first they will loose money big time.

  7. Linux hackers rejoice! Three-G5 Linux machines ought to fly. If it uses bluetooth for the controller, I might get one to run Linux. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” />

  8. 1) As an earlier post noted, the increased volume of production should lower the unit cost of PPC chips, which should help lower unit costs.
    2) By the time the X-Box is released Apple will probably have migrated the ProMacs to the next generation of PPC chip, based on the Power5 Server Chip (the 970 series “G5” is based upon the Power4 design).
    3) If you are an investor in IBM you will have to smile, as IBM Microelectonics is making a major move to become a real player in the CPU market. Having Sony, Microsoft, and Apple using PPC chips is a gret thing.
    4) This should make the LINUX hackers happy as TerraSoft already makes a version of LINUX (Yellow Dog) for PPC.

  9. A long, long time ago back when the PowerPC platform was still relatively new, Microsoft had announced (and eventually scrapped) a PPC version of NT. They probably just dug around through their trash and pulled out what they had been working on, made a few modifications for the G5 and voila there’s their new SDK. Someone in the SlashDot forum (linked to in an above post) mentioned it as well and even supplied a URL –

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