Forums - Microsoft Discussion - Epic: disc-free Xbox 720 would have a dramatic advantage, but But solid-state game carts would be prohibitive economically

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When rumours broke last week that the next generation Xbox would dump the disc drive, many scoffed. Among those who didn't is Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, custodian of the industry-leading Unreal Engine business. Sweeney feels an Xbox 720 that exclusively utilises solid state game storage would roundly trounce an Xbox 720 that sticks to discs - providing, that is, Microsoft can swallow the costs.

"You see that spinning optical media has about 250 milliseconds of latency," he toldGamesIndustry International at GDC. "If you want to get some bits from somewhere else on the disc, you have to wait a quarter of a second for the little mechanical elements to move the head around so they can read it.

"A hard-disc is about 20 times faster than that, and a solid state drive is tens of thousands of times faster. It's basically the speed of electrons that limits the solid state drive."

Lower latency allows game engines to handle larger environments more elegantly. "One of the major things a game needs to do in a world with a large environment and lots of graphical resources is continually go out and pull new textures and sounds and 3D models from different places in the storage media. So solid state drives have a really dramatic advantage from that point of view.

"It would certainly be desirable for the working storage to be solid state or some other extremely fast medium," he concluded. "But that's a completely separate question from distribution media. Solid state drive costs are fairly expensive."

A solid state machine would need to accompany a robust downloadable gaming service, as shipping games on solid state drives would be "terribly prohibitive economically". Microsoft might also retain discs but enforce installs to an internal solid state drive.

"There are lots of ways to get a game onto optimal media for playing the game," Sweeney explained. "If you look at decoupling the distribution media, whether it's internet or storage from the streaming medium (which is used during gameplay), you see far more flexibility than just in current console games. If all you have is a spinning drive, you just have to go out, load a resource, and wait for a drive to go out and do its mechanical work."

Wondering where you've heard the name "Sweeney" before? Well, there's this opera about a barber and some pies. Also, Sweeney thinks Xbox 720 needs to be at least three times as powerful as Xbox 360. For more (yet more!) in that vein, check out http://www.oxm.co.uk/35017/features/xbox-360-2-what-epic-wants/">our feature on what Epic wants from Microsoft's next console.



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If MS doesn't use a disc drive in their next Xbox, they might as well not release it, it will bomb and fail so bad. Hell i know i wouldnt buy one if it didn't have a disc drive.

I think its a well known fact that Sweeney is a huge fan of all digital media.

 

What?! I can't hear you over all this awsome! - Pyrrhon (Kid Icarus:Uprising)

Final Ultimate Legendary Earth Power Super Max Justice Future Miracle Dream Beautiful Galaxy Big Bang Little Bang Sunrise Starlight Infinite Fabulous Totally Final Wonderful Arrow...FIRE! - Wonder-Red (The Wonderful101)

 

Tim Sweeney?? who the hell is that?

where is Cliffy?

I only want to here what Cliffy has to say when Epic is talked about

... Dammit

=P

zero129 said:
If MS doesn't use a disc drive in their next Xbox, they might as well not release it, it will bomb and fail so bad. Hell i know i wouldnt buy one if it didn't have a disc drive.


Why?

dvd/bluray players are cheap. What does it gain you?

I'd prefer SD card type games as their far more durable, easier to store, faster, and can be tossed into a small box next to the system to hold every game vs large case holders.



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superchunk said:
zero129 said:
If MS doesn't use a disc drive in their next Xbox, they might as well not release it, it will bomb and fail so bad. Hell i know i wouldnt buy one if it didn't have a disc drive.


Why?

dvd/bluray players are cheap. What does it gain you?

I'd prefer SD card type games as their far more durable, easier to store, faster, and can be tossed into a small box next to the system to hold every game vs large case holders.

This. They are saying replace the disc drive with a solid state device, not remove the ability to buy games at retail or anything like that. The only loss of this method is using your Xbox as a dvd/blu-ray player, but let's face it. Everyone who wants/needs one of those players HAS to have at least 1 or 5 already laying around for those tasks.



Solid state drive technology for console games just isn't there. 8 gigs is expensive enough and I'd rather not see games held back next gen by space. Once 50 gigs gets cheap enough then I think a switch can happen, but that's 10+ years off.

superchunk said:
zero129 said:
If MS doesn't use a disc drive in their next Xbox, they might as well not release it, it will bomb and fail so bad. Hell i know i wouldnt buy one if it didn't have a disc drive.


Why?

dvd/bluray players are cheap. What does it gain you?

I'd prefer SD card type games as their far more durable, easier to store, faster, and can be tossed into a small box next to the system to hold every game vs large case holders.

1/4 of a second.

~8 frames

X megabytes of saved RAM.



Tease.

Yeah, I dont know. Maybe they would have a bluray drive for movies and a solid state drive for games? But I dont know lol.

Yay!!!

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superchunk said:
zero129 said:
If MS doesn't use a disc drive in their next Xbox, they might as well not release it, it will bomb and fail so bad. Hell i know i wouldnt buy one if it didn't have a disc drive.


Why?

dvd/bluray players are cheap. What does it gain you?

I'd prefer SD card type games as their far more durable, easier to store, faster, and can be tossed into a small box next to the system to hold every game vs large case holders.

 

Hey, I seem to remember a storage medium games used to utilized that was far more durable, easier to store, faster, and can be tossed into a small box next to the system to hold every game, but then gaming companies got rid of them in favor of trendy optical discs.  It's been so long though that I can't quite put my finger on what they were called again.

Hmmm.... gotta think about this for a bit... BRB.

 

*does some serious thinking while taking a nice dump*

 

 

OH YEAH.... NOW I REMEMBER!!!

 

 CARTRIDGES!!!!!!

Everything old is new again lol!



On 2/24/13, MB1025 said:
You know I was always wondering why no one ever used the dollar sign for $ony, but then I realized they have no money so it would be pointless.