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Xbox One is designed to be always-on for 10 years

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#1 BajiRav

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 14:56

Eurogamer / Digital Foundry

 

I thought of changing the title "always-on" to "Switched on" for clarity but decided against it. Please RTFA, it's not always on internet connection.

 

 

Inside sources at Microsoft have spoken to Digital Foundry about why the Xbox One hardware is so large, and what the tangible benefits of the larger footprint are for the user.

Our information suggests the Xbox One design is based on an ambitious brief, essentially impossible to test in anything resembling real-life conditions, and so the company played it safe, putting unit reliability first. A highly placed source says that the console has been designed with a ten-year lifecycle in mind and that it is designed to be switched on for that entire period.

What's more, during that time it needs to operate almost silently in order to earn its place in the living room. It's a unique hardware challenge, and so the company opted for a large design where heat dissipation comes first. Microsoft's engineers are also aware that the company's reputation for quality hardware is still in the balance after the Red Ring of Death Xbox 360 build quality fiasco, which cost the company over a billion dollars.

The net result is a relatively voluminous piece of console hardware, which may take up a fair amount of room in the lounge but has tangible benefits for gamers to make up for its imposing presence.

Microsoft has not released any official specifications on the dimensions of the final box, but extrapolating from the sizes of known components (principally the USB port), Xbox One is approximately 34x26x8cm - more set-top box than console, and noticeably larger than the launch version of the Xbox 360.

Despite the near-final hardware present at E3, the conditions made it impossible for the any kind of audio testing to be carried out on-site, but developers working with the hardware tell us that in its idle and low-activity states, the unit is entirely silent and you can barely feel any heat being output from the unit's vents.

Indeed, we're told by one development source that prototype versions of the hardware - which use the same chassis as the final retail unit - didn't have working power lights, and that it was almost impossible to tell whether the console was in operation or not unless it was hooked up to a display. It's a claim we're looking forward to testing when we're hands-on with the console.

 

Interesting tidbit

 

 

In an internal post-mortem of the Xbox 360 that helped shape the direction of Xbox One, one of the key problems Microsoft engineers wanted to address was the lack of immediacy in current-gen console gameplay, where even the most family-friendly titles can take up to three minutes to load. A key plus point mobile games hold over console is the speed with which casual users can play, and it's an advantage that next-gen console is going to have trouble competing with.

...

It's an approach that PS4 also utilises, but our Microsoft sources genuinely believe that the TV integration elements set it apart, and that once you have experienced what it's capable of you can never go back. Instant restart is a key feature, but in the here and now we can't help remaining unconvinced about the focus on the TV integration elements of the Xbox One operating system.




#2 Defiantly

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:02

I actually like the 10yr life cycle point.  It's not like investing in a device that is useless after a year. ...makes me feel better about getting it.



#3 vetneufuse

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:10

I would love to know what happens after they stop supporting it completely... heck I still play my SNES and it was from the early 90's! and original xbox is still going well



#4 ViperAFK

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:15

Well considering it has automatic low power suspend modes this isn't exactly unexpected that it can safely be "on" all the time (consoles are just being brought up to modern standards when it comes to power saving states). In suspend mode the unit isn't doing much of anything that would decrease its life, but it is good to see they are committed to a long life cycle for the device.



#5 OP BajiRav

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:16

I would love to know what happens after they stop supporting it completely... heck I still play my SNES and it was from the early 90's! and original xbox is still going well

why would this be different assuming the hardware survives?



#6 Skiver

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:32

Nice article, I know people have given this a lot of stick over it's size but I went through 3 or 4 360's (thankfully all within MS's grace period) so I'm glad they are trying to ensure this doesn't happen again. Of course there will be the odd failure here and there, stuff happens but at least they have tried.

 

Without trying to turn this into a which console is best type thing AGAIN, I wonder how the PS4 will cope. It wasn't as widely documented but the PS3 did have it's issues, my brother is actually on his 4th console and I believe it was believed to be heat issues as the cause. The PS4 is smaller still so I would assume it's either going to be incredibly loud or more prone to heat issues if not stored in a well ventilated place.



#7 +MikeChipshop

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:38

Great article, although i would consider changing the thread title. Even though it's accurate you know some numpty isn't going to read the article and start throwing their whining self around :p



#8 Dinggus

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 15:47

I would love to know what happens after they stop supporting it completely... heck I still play my SNES and it was from the early 90's! and original xbox is still going well

 

I threw my xbox away in 2009 once I realized how old the graphics were.



#9 vetneufuse

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 16:05

I threw my xbox away in 2009 once I realized how old the graphics were.

Good for you? Some of us like to play old games.. you know when graphics don't matter, game play does...


why would this be different assuming the hardware survives?

What if it requires servers to be on at Microsoft? that's the point... MS shuts servers down, system stops working... my question is, what happens when MS says they are turning any servers off that it used, can you still play offline games at that point



#10 ahhell

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 16:20

I threw my xbox away in 2009 once I realized how old the graphics were.

 

Ok then.



#11 red.

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 16:25

Good for you? Some of us like to play old games.. you know when graphics don't matter, game play does...


What if it requires servers to be on at Microsoft? that's the point... MS shuts servers down, system stops working... my question is, what happens when MS says they are turning any servers off that it used, can you still play offline games at that point

 

I think you might be getting confused about the mention of 'always-on'. It's talking about being always on in terms of power (as in constantly running in full/low power mode) rather than anything being connected to the internet all of the time.



#12 Roger H.

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 16:36

Good for you? Some of us like to play old games.. you know when graphics don't matter, game play does...

What if it requires servers to be on at Microsoft? that's the point... MS shuts servers down, system stops working... my question is, what happens when MS says they are turning any servers off that it used, can you still play offline games at that point


I get what you are saying but this is a different ideal... then again I don't think the servers will ever get "shut down" in the typical sense. Xbox Live is now part of Windows Azure which is where their "300,000" servers number came from. Windows Azure, is like Amazon S3 and since people are needing more and more "cloud" servers I figured they'll be adding more data centers rather than getting smaller. Lots of businesses rely on Windows Azure servers to manage their networks and enterprise so shutting that down would be the end of Microsoft :p

 

Still though, glad the are all mixed in now though. Xbox Live can and should only get better as a result.



#13 OP BajiRav

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 16:39

What if it requires servers to be on at Microsoft? that's the point... MS shuts servers down, system stops working... my question is, what happens when MS says they are turning any servers off that it used, can you still play offline games at that point

Guess you didn't read?

 

 

I thought of changing the title "always-on" to "Switched on" for clarity but decided against it. Please RTFA, it's not always on internet connection.



#14 Rigby

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 16:41

why would this be different assuming the hardware survives?

 

Trouble is an optical disc based system with hot running graphics chips will never last as long as the old cartridge based consoles. I dug my Atari 2600 out of storage a while back and it still works perfectly; made in 1977 and been sitting boxed up in a storage building for years. It also doesn't rely on online services which can be turned off any time the company decides to discontinue it.



#15 George P

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:40

I don't mind if the size has grown a bit, it's not a mobile device, it's meant to sit in one place by your TV and just work.  So taking any possible heat and noise issues into consideration from their experience on the 360 RRoD is welcomed.   In all honestly though, it's not that much bigger than the original 360 is it?  Do we even have official dimensions for it or are people just guessing?  It could very well look bigger in pictures and then turn out to be not that much bigger in person.