Rumor: Xbox 720 Enhances Xbox 360 Games via 'Forwards Compatibility'

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Xbox fansite Xbox Evolved claims that Microsoft is "testing the waters" with "forward-compatible" games for the next generation of Xbox hardware, commonly referred to as the Xbox 720.

The report states that in addition to being backwards compatible with all Xbox 360 games, the Xbox 720 will enhance select Xbox 360 releases with improved draw distance, better speed, additional functionality with the new controller, and possibly new features, such as Xbox 720-only downloadable content.

Xbox Evolved compares the jump to playing Crysis on a mid-range PC, then updating the video card for better performance. The site adds that it has a solid history of reporting on new Xbox hardware, as it was the first to report that the Xbox 360 would have an optional hard drive, unlike the original Xbox which packed a hard drive in each unit.

According to the site, developers will need to implement forwards compatibility in their upcoming titles, providing the hypothetical Gears of War 3 as an example, but these tools aren't yet available as the Xbox 720's specifications are not yet finalized. Several industry figures have predicted that the next generation of consoles will arrive by 2012.

The site offered no details on backwards compatibility, leaving it unclear if the Xbox 720 will use software or hardware-based emulation to play Xbox 360 games. The Xbox 360 utilizes a specially-coded software emulator to play original Xbox games and bump up their resolution, though only certain titles are compatible.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 15, 2008 9:36 AM

    Smart move. The hardware design of both the 360 and the PS3 is solid enough that they can easily just scale up the performance of both and keep the same architecture (and thus run the same executables). Nothing can possibly go wrong!

    • reply
      October 15, 2008 9:39 AM

      I actually like this idea. Being able to play all of your old games at a higher resolution or with higher texture quality etc.. would be great. It is always nice to load up an old PC game that used to bring your PC to your knees but now is outdated and be able to crank everything up.

      Full BC is very nice as well.

    • reply
      October 15, 2008 9:44 AM

      I don't see anything even hinting at keeping the same architecture. I doubt they're going to limit themselves in any way just for the sake of slightly better backwards compatibility.

    • reply
      October 15, 2008 9:48 AM

      the new xbox wont use the same architecture, powerpc is out, so at most they could keep the same graphics manufacturer

      • reply
        October 15, 2008 10:08 AM

        I wouldn't write off PowerPC just yet.

        In any case, if they used a different CPU architecture, it would be a small download with some recompiled binaries. That is, if the new CPU wasn't fast enough to emulate the old one.

        The way things are going, the new consoles will definitely use some kind of Cell/stream processor setup to handle most things.

    • reply
      October 15, 2008 2:26 PM

      Yeah, there won't be any of that PS3 having PS2 hardware in the next generation.

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