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January 23, 2013

It's Not the Xbox 720, Yet is Pretty Powerful

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Remember when the newest iPad came out and everyone was kind of perplexed for a while to find out that it wasn't the iPad 3 or the iPad Neo or anything like that, but it was just the iPad? Well it looks like Microsoft (News - Alert), according to the always-popular anonymous tipster close to the project, reportedly has plans to do something similar for its foray into next-gen gaming, When the company’s new system comes out, it won't be the Xbox 720 or the Xbox 360 2, but rather just the Xbox.

The new Xbox however is also said to be a whole lot more powerful than previous devices, serving not just as a game device in its own right but also as a central hub for a number of separate gaming devices like the X-Surface, a gaming tablet with a seven inch display. The X-Surface in turn is set to serve as Microsoft's way into the portable gaming market, offering up the ability to access games, music and video hubs on the new Xbox, but having neither apps nor a desktop of its own. Word from the source indicates that the tablet is powerful enough to play demos running the Unreal Engine 3 at 60 frames per second, which is no mean feat.

Additionally, the early word about the new Xbox itself seems to highlight that the processor will be a hefty eight-core model that will run at 1.9 GHz. This is a slight step up from earlier reports that had it at 1.6 GHz. Graphics meanwhile will be provided by an 800 MHz GPU, and in what may have been the biggest surprise, the new Xbox ran a custom E3 demo of "Watch Dogs" at 55 to 60 frames per second on just five of its eight cores running at 100 percent. That's an impressive benchmark by any reckoning, especially in light of the fact that the "Watch Dogs" demo ran on a high-end gaming PC at just last year's E3. Changes in the controller though aren't likely, as reports indicate that developers have been using Xbox 360 controllers in their work. You can expect some cosmetic changes as two separate design teams have been working on them feverishly.

Naturally, this is an unnamed source, so taking the information in question with a grain of salt is a prudent move. However given that a lot of this information has already been leaked—some of it has been around for months in one form or another—it's a safe bet that the final product should look something like this and come with at least something close to that name. This is going to represent a pretty substantial push in terms of sheer gaming capability, and getting a look at the launch titles is likely to be an experience on par with any we've ever seen.

Considering the comparative dearth of titles set for release in 2013 some had thought that a new system launch was likely at this year's E3, which is now a little under five months out. With a holiday shopping season following closely behind E3, seeing the stuff showing up at E3 hit the market is also a fair bet. This may well be the year that we change our consoles over from Xbox 360 back to Xbox.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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