Microsoft sending out ‘Xbox 2’ development kits consisting of modified Apple G5 systems

“It appears that Microsoft, which launched Xbox in late 2001 after Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo’s GameCube consoles, will be the first company to unleash its next-generation home console. The tentatively codenamed ‘Xbox 2,’ set to receive a name revision before its release because Microsoft doesn’t want consumers to assume it’s inferior to PlayStation 3 based on end numerals, hasn’t yet been given an official release date. But just because Microsoft isn’t yet talking doesn’t mean developers working on early ‘Xbox 2’ development setups are so keen to keep quiet,” IGN reports.

“The ‘Xbox 2’ will use PowerPC based architecture similar to the chipset powering Apple’s G5 computers. That being the case, Microsoft’s early ‘Xbox 2’ development kits have been little more than modified Apple G5 systems pre-packed with ‘Xbox 2’ emulation software. ‘I heard [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs found it pretty ironic and funny that Microsoft has been shipping Apple systems to developers,’ one studio source joked to IGN on the subject,” IGN reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft must really be serious about the gaming market if they’re actually willing to use superior hardware with powerful CPUs for a change.


  1. I doubt that. Even if the games are PPC binaries, the lack of Microsoft APIs prevents them from being played on Macs or ported to Macs easily. Developers may create emulators, but the performance penalty won’t make the games as good. I hope that there will be open source version of Microsoft APIs. Those and games in PPC binaries should perform fantastically.

  2. Wasn’t there an article a few months back about a Microsoft employee being fired because he ciculated a picture of a skid of G5’s that was shipped to Microsoft?

    I guess now we know why…interesting.

  3. much as I hate to say it, XBox IS superior to PS2 and light years ahead of Gamecube. But then again, if I could get a version of Halo for PS2 (and a better controller to go with it) I probably wouldn’t bother with XBox either…

  4. I think Microsoft were perfectly entitled to fire that guy. I mean it’s a shame that they did, but he’s an employee taking unauthorised photos on site and publishing them with the intention of embarrassing his employer. I don’t think he intended it to be more than mildly embarrassing, but it was still a little foolish not to have at least done it discreetly and anonymously !

  5. How much money is the Xbox2 going to sell for? If it’s less than a grand someone either needs to call apple on pricing or check the actual hardware used?

    If MS starts shipping PowerPC chips for a quarter of what apple is then something is going to have to happen. Yes Apple is a hardware company, Yes you buy apple because it’s a well put together product but no one should get a three time markup.

  6. It seems unlike;y that the G5 in an XBox will be as fast as the G5s shipping in Macs at that time.

    They may of course be as fast as the chips in eMacs or iMacs, but that should just make ’em cheaper because IBM will be churning out more chips. Economies of scale and all that.

    So Microsoft’s G5 XBox will have a side effect of making with Macs cheaper or Apple’s margins even bigger.

  7. I would suspect the chip will not be as fast simply because, as we now know, the things run very hot. The smaller the physical chip, the hotter it runs. It will ovbiously be specially designed for the XBox. It will have absolutely nothing to do with the Apple G5 or how it will affect in $$ the cost of manufacturing Apple’s chips.

  8. Rob Enderle told me that he was one of the freakin’ advisors for MS on this behemoth and denied that they were switching architectures.

    In other words, every one wants this to be backwards compatible (emu or not)..but specifically Enderle said they weren’t going to the IBM architecture.

  9. “How much money is the Xbox2 going to sell for? If it’s less than a grand someone either needs to call apple on pricing or check the actual hardware used?”

    Or Microsoft could price it at $300 (for starters) and take a loss on it. Like they’ve been doing for years with the current XBox…

    Must be nice to have that kind of financial flexiblity…can anyone imagine a $0.50 per song WinTunes service? Yikes!

  10. 1) Just because the NextGen X-Box is going to have a PPC chip with an architecture similar to the G5 does not mean that it will be a 970 series chip.
    2) Increased production volume by IBM should lower costs per unit for everybody if the chip is fabbed by IBM.
    3) The guy fired for posting the G5’s being delivered to Microsoftopoly was an employee of UPS working under a contract with MS.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.