Report: Next-Gen Xbox to Use AMD Chipsets, Preventing Backwards Compatibility

Published 1 year ago by

Xbox 720 AMD Backwards Compatibility

With the past year seeing rumors regarding Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox shift increasingly from speculative to credible, as much seems to have been revealed about what the console might restrict gamers from doing as it has about new innovations — about new designs, new ideas and new gameplay experiences.

Consider backwards compatibility.

Many reports have suggested that the next Xbox could prevent the playing of used games; the past week has seen an online firestorm ignite over a Microsoft executive’s always-online internet comments. And now a new report has surfaced claiming that the upcoming console will implement a version of AMD chipsets which, while bringing its power on par with the PlayStation 4′s, will preclude any compatibility with Xbox 360 discs.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s next console will be built around AMD’s “system-on-a-chip” architecture: a combination of graphics chips merged with the much lauded “Jaguar” CPU currently being implemented into the PlayStation 4.

Owing to Jaguar’s x86 format, a staple of the modern PC, Microsoft will essentially be incorporating a chipset so divergent from the Xbox 360′s Power PC technology that the Xbox 720 won’t be able to run its predecessor’s discs. Any nostalgia treks back into Halo 4 or BioShock: Infinite would have to be done digitally, via emulation or cloud streaming. However, as Sony revealed with its similarly-backwards-incompatible PlayStation 4 — which isn’t setting its initial sights beyond delivering PS1 and PS2 games through the cloud or the PS4 storefront — both methods still appear to be somewhat limited.

Microsoft’s ostensible solution for backwards compatibility might not be an overly creative one — but it is outside the box, so to speak.

Xbox 720 Backwards Compatibility

Next-Gen Xbox Concept

The latest AMD chipset report arrived just a day after veteran tech blogger Paul Thurrot dropped a host of alleged details regarding Microsoft’s Xbox 720 agenda. Amid claims of a May 21st reveal, November release, $500 price (or $300 with a subscription), and the notorious always-on-Internet requirement was Thrrout’s assertion that Microsoft will release a $100 version of the Xbox 360, codenamed “Stingray,” alongside its new system.

By comparison, the cheapest Xbox 360 model available today — a standalone 4GB unit — is $200. Granted, declining demand for the 360 once the Xbox 720 arrives would ebb its retail value further. But if Stingray isn’t just developed as a cheaper alternative — if it’s slimmer, lighter, (sexier?) and yet holds the hard-drive space of the average gamer’s current library (say, 50-100 GB; though we’re hoping Microsoft would confirm that through actual market research)  — it might obviate some of the hassles many would associate with keeping two generations of a console connected to the same setup.

Naturally, though, spending $100 wouldn’t be among them.

Ranters, how important will backwards compatibility be for you when purchasing a next-generation console? Are Microsoft and Sony simply the victims of rapidly evolving technology, or could both have taken greater measures to develop software-flexible hardware?


Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Bloomberg

TAGS: Microsoft, Xbox 360, Xbox One


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  1. I believe the mistake went on Sony’s part with the new set of PS3′s coming out. When I heard that the new design wouldn’t allow you to play PS2′s games…I was bummed out because that means I wouldn’t be able to play FFX or KH1 or 2. I feel it was a terrible business tactic and hearing the possibly of Sony having cloud gaming allowing me to play these games makes it better, but only by a little. I feel like they’re trying to milk as much as they want, but that’s what a business is there to do: to make a profit. Do I think they should have gone a different route…..yes, but again, that’s their decision to make and only they will be the ones to face the consequences, both Sony and Microsoft alike.

  2. Rumours are like ass holes, everyone has them, but they all stink.

  3. Hopefully they just go with emulation like they did with the 360.

  4. Couldn’t Microsoft just install a secondary chip, which doesn’t need to be expensive or state of the art, but can support backwards compatibility? Or would that idea just be too simple for them?

    I for one have literally over 100 Xbox 360 games, meaning that I have spent (mostly they were at full retail price) nearly, if not more than, £4000 on games alone, not counting DLC or arcade games.

    After all of that, now they tell me that I might as well have a pile of shiny Frisbees. I really hope this rumour is false or I may seriously consider taking up PC gaming.

    • If you take up PC gaming aren’t you just turning your games in shiny frisbees yourself anyway?

    • I honestly doubt it’s simple. If backwards compatibility was easy and cheap to have there is no way Sony or Microsoft would pass on them. They’re very well aware of how popular the concept is even if it’s not being utilized that much. Consoles are so specifically built that any significant difference in system architecture from one generation to the next can make it difficult or even impossible to cross over without a significant investment that increases the cost of the new console. With each generation it becomes more and more difficult.

      Neither of them are likely too worried about it since the PS3 already showed that a company can end up dropping BackComp in their system and still go on to be plenty successful. People were in a small uproar over it when Sony made the announcement that new PS3 consoles would no longer play older games and then within a very short span of time everyone got over it. What they’re both likely banking on is the idea of cloud gaming or software emulation while having people purchase the titles through their online accounts and simply owning digital copies that will not have the difficulty of doing BackComp through hardware.

      Personally I mostly PC game and just pick up consoles for the games they have which PC’s don’t get versions of.

    • Your games won’t stop working when the 720 comes out you know. Just play them on your 360. They will be no more frisbee than they already are. I see it as a non issue, I’m not dropping all that cash on a new system to play old games anyway.

      • I’m keeping my 360 and getting the new 720. I have over 50 360 games and if they will not work on the 720 I just keeping my 360 and enjoying them both, Just no big deal for me.
        Just think that it is ok to make a new box that will not playing old discs.

  5. You know, if stingray only has 20-50gb hard drive that will equlate to like maybe 5 downloaded games. Also once this pricy toy hits the markets, people will be complaining about how pricy it is, just like how they complain the wii u is too expensive right now.

    • Games tend to be about 1 to 2 GB. So you should be able to hold 20 to 25 games.

  6. Use your old system to play the old games. Problem solved.

    • Sorry my old consoles(or ad console here) doesn’t work anymore. Problem resurfaced. lol

      I’ve had to emulate most of my much older console games like Parasite Eve 2 to my computer in order to keep playing them because of old consoles not working anymore.

      Only console that I have still works perfectly is N64. Thing was build to LAST a fallout lol.

  7. Who cares? We all quit playing our old games 6 months into a new system anyway!!! Plus if its that important to ya, just keep your 360. I say load it with power to push the new games, no sense sacrificing power for something we use for a six months to a year!

  8. I don’t see why Microsoft is having such a difficult time with this. Why NOT allow backwards compatability? Why not have the owned games from the 360 registered to the XboxLive profile and then allow for a download to the new system once it’s purchased and registered in the same name? Why not develop an emulator that will allow the 360 software to engage? There are so many levels of possibility here and I think, more and more, that Microsoft is simply trying to grap hold of as much money as they can, at the literal expense of their faithful consumers. Find a way, Microsoft! You are among the elite software and hardware developers in the world! Surely you can figure somethign this “little” out for those who invest both time and money into your ventures!

  9. Aaaand this just killed any consideration I had to buy a next-gen console.

  10. So all the people that complain about backwards compatibility already have an xbox 360 , which they use to play x box 360 games
    So here is a totally crazy idea…keep the xbox 360?
    problem solved…stop whinging :)

  11. I’m ok with no backwards compatibility, if it means a cheaper console. Otherwise, doesn’t really bother me, my son will have my ps3 so I guess I’ll be in my son’s room when I play old games lol

  12. Is this why Xbox is having their games on demand sales? I just bought a couple of games for pretty cheap to bad these games are going to be obsolete next gen.
    Wait. What about my arcade games, they better not take away my arcade games. I hope they make sure I can re-download my arcade games onto the next Xbox.

  13. If this, and no used games are true, I won’t be buying any “next-gen” console. Other than a steam box. Or just playing on my PC.

  14. Has everyone become stupid? Why not play your old games on your 360? I’m sorry but I’m not spending all that money on a new console to play old games.

    Complain about something worthwhile like that idiotic “always online” thing that’s been rumored.

  15. Not backwards compatible? No big loss there. I have kept hold of older systems before, and I have no issue doing it again. I mean really, I have an older Xbox dedicated to just Mass Effect saves, its an older 10 gig, and I saw no reason to re-download all my old saves and DLC. Ill have 3 systems on my shelf. No Different from having my PS,PS2,Xbox,360. Not being BC will only feed my laziness(lol). But the “always on” crap is a deal breaker. If Microsoft does that, PS4 here I come.

  16. I don’t know why people get so worked up over backwards compatibility, honestly who cares?

  17. Do people seriously buy new consoles to play OLD games I will be keeping my 360 and one of my ps3′s for just the reason of playing old games (gotta get my mass effect and uncharted fix) but that’s not a deal breaker for me for next gen I don’t buy next gen to play old gen games I buy next gen to play next gen games. Because honestly trading in your system for new one is only going to give you like 30 bucks at most so why waist it.

    • waste*

  18. i already have a 360 so ill just play my old 360 games that way. its no problem for me. would be more convenient to have a cure all system for this by the 720 playing them all but i really kind of expected there to not be backwards comp bc the tech would be so far advanced that to try to get the older games to physically (as in actual disc) to run it wouldnt be worth the extra effort bc it most likely would break something more important on down the road. i was sure that would happen on both the next PS and Xbox. the always online crap tho…yeah i might just be buying a ps4.

  19. To be honest I’m really biased towards the situation of always online because I have been a XBL member since 2006 and ever since I always been online. So I don’t see this as a problem, only times I ever been disconnected was during a power outage (Which means everything was off), when my router was broken which only happened once, and during Xbox server maintenance which happens not that often. I understand other peoples reasons but as for me it is not really an issue.

    What I’m concerned about is my DLC I have tons of it games,pictures, movies, and I wish this can all be carried over. An since it is not backwards compatible I guess it wont be. I sort of don’t like the hassle of going through the closet blowing off dust looking for power cords and then reaching all the way back for outlets. I just want that convenience of just having it in my next Xbox and we are not in a cartridge or CD-ROM era anymore. My crap is digital and I can not see why is it so hard to transfer it over.

  20. Honestly, I appreciate backwards compatibility, but I don’t mind if new consoles don’t have it. I have my old systems. I can still play on them.

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