Kotaku has learned from an unnamed source that Microsoft's next console will feature a Blu-ray optical drive and some kind of anti-used game system. Details surrounding this little interesting nugget is virtually nonexistent -- even the source wasn't sure how Microsoft planned to implement such a system. One theory is that games will be initially tied and registered to one Xbox Live account. When sold off or passed to friends and siblings, these games would either be unplayable, or have a locked multiplayer component.
This aspect of Microsoft's upcoming console should be music to the ears of publishers and developers who loathe the second-hand gaming market. Publishers like EA are already trying to squash used-game sales by locking the multiplayer component, and forcing those secondary consumers into purchasing a "pass" to gain access. Banning used games entirely would likely break the gaming market given that a large chunk of consumers rely on the cheaper price points to build their library.
The news follows Tuesday's report that the Xbox 720 will contain an "Oban" SoC featuring a PowerPC-based 32-nm processor core(s) and an ATI "Southern Islands" GPU core. Later reports clarified that the GPU aspect would be of the 6000 series -- something skin to the Radeon HD 6670 -- which supports DirectX 11, multi-display output, 3D and 1080p HD output. Raw graphics processing power is expected to be 6 times that of the current console, and yield 20-percent greater performance than the upcoming Nintendo Wii U.
Meanwhile, unnamed sources are reporting that Nintendo's upcoming Wii U console could achieve roughly twice the processing and graphical potential of Microsoft’s current generation Xbox 360. The unnamed source is actually a developer who is currently working on a Wii U title. Naturally, he/she wants to remain anonymous due to NDA restrictions. Unfortunately, this performance is less than what the studio expected.
"I've heard [a project designer] complain it's underpowered compared to what Nintendo announced, resulting in people having to de-scale their plans," the source added.
So here's what we have so far: the Xbox 720 will reportedly be six times as powerful as the current 360 unit, and 20-percent greater in performance power than the Wii U. Nintendo's "underpowered" Wii U, on the other hand, is supposedly twice as powerful as the Xbox 360. Based on those numbers, Nintendo will fall behind again once the Xbox 720 makes its debut towards the end of 2013.