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A new patent filing has unloaded a bevy of new information on Nintendo's mysterious NX console, giving a new perspective on what Nintendo is cooking up for the future. The patent, which was filed in February and just released, describes Nintendo's filing as a "Stationary Game Apparatus, Game Apparatus, Game System, Recording Medium and Speed Control Method".
What we know so far is that the NX won't have a disc drive, that it sports two NAND flash memory banks as well as a primary hard-disk for storage, a processor, and its very own Wii U-like wireless display controller. Rather than relying on Blu-ray discs the console will instead rely on SD memory cards, which herald a nostalgic transition back to the cartridge medium which most of us grew up on. Only instead of the 128MB SNES cards of our youth, the NX will need at least 32-64GB SD cards to keep up with today's demanding games. It's likely that the system will also be buffered by digital games and apps via Nintendo's eShop.
According to the filing, the NX includes "a processor, a first memory, a second memory, an internal HDD (Hard Disk Drive), an image output unit , a communication unit, a wireless communication unit, a power supply unit, an HDD connection unit, a card slot, and a wireless display controller".
A new slim Xbox One model is rumored to be part of Microsoft's planned barrage of new hardware for October, including the Surface Pro 4, Lumia 940/940 XL and Band 2.
According to rumors the compact Xbox One, coined as the Xbox On Mini, is able to hit the smaller form factor by nixing the Blu-ray drive altogether and shaving off a considerable chunk of space--about 1/3 of the current massive VCR-sized monstrosity. This will turn the Xbox One Mini into a digital-only machine, and the excising of the drive will also lead to a nice price drop to boot.
News of a slim Xbox One circulated as far back as October of last year when AMD shrunk the console's 28nm APU to a smaller, cheaper and more efficient 20nm factor. The 20nm APU, which is 1.9 times more dense than the previous model, could lead to speeds up to 30% faster with 25% less power draw.
Microsoft is quite happy with the addition of Xbox One backward compatibility able to support Xbox 360 games, but the company may not just stop there. When asked by someone on Twitter about backward compatibility so Xbox One gamers could play original Xbox titles, here is what Xbox chief Phil Spencer said:
@HadleeSimons I don't think it's silly. I ask the BC team this question a lot. Need to finish 360 BC for now.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) August 19, 2015
Current Xbox One Preview Program members are able to test out Xbox 360 games, with a public rollout expected in November. Looking ahead, all Xbox 360 games with Gold titles will automatically be playable on the Xbox One.
Sony plans to release a Star Wars Battlefront PlayStation 4 bundle that will launch on November 17, with pre-orders starting soon.
The custom bundle includes a customized PS4 console and DualShock 4 wireless controller. The PS4 has a Darth Vader image and Star Wars logo, and the controller features Darth Vader's chest panel and Star Wars logo on the touchpad. Gamers will receive the Star Wars Battlefront Delux Edition and downloads for the following games: Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars Bounty Hunter and Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter.
Sony also will release the Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars 500GB bundle, featuring the PlayStation 4 Limited Edition, copy of Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Edition, and will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart. In addition to the console, controller and games, will also include Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Boba Fett figurines and the Rise Against the Empire Play Set piece.
To capitalise on the upcoming release of 'The Force Awakens', 'Star Wars Battlefront' and 'Disney Infinity 3.0', Sony PlayStation and Disney have teamed up to release two limited edition Darth Vader themed PS4 console bundles, with a specially designed lid and controller, along with some other 'Star Wars' goodies.
To be released in November worldwide, the console will be available in two bundles; both with the 500GB console version and a download voucher for four classic remastered 'Star Wars' titles including the Super Nintendo 'Super Star Wars', the PS2 'Racer Revenge', 'Jedi Starfighter' and 'Star Wars Bounty Hunter', and your choice of physical copies of 'Disney Infinity 3.0' or 'Star Wars: Battlefront".
It looks like the current generation consoles are selling quite well, with the Xbox One and PS4 sales being "close to" 50% ahead of where the PS3 and Xbox 360 sales were at the same time in their lifespan.
The news is coming from NPD Group's recent study into the current generation consoles, 21 months after they launched. A Microsoft spokesperson told IGN: "Xbox One and Xbox Live continued to see strong sales and engagement in July, with Xbox One sales in the U.S. up 44 percent over July 2014 and active global Xbox Live users (Xbox One and Xbox 360) up 22 percent".
Not only that, but game hardware sales also grew by 2% from June to July. NPD Group also said that the best-selling game in July was a surprise: LEGO: Jurassic World.
The Sony PlayStation 4 has sold more than 25 million units across the world since launch, and the Microsoft Xbox One is still looking for ways to close the sales gap. However, Xbox chief Phil Spencer understands what it will take to try and close the gap, even if the Xbox One can't topple the PS4.
"Honestly, I think it's about growing Xbox. Sony's had great success with PlayStation, they've earned that success over multiple decades of building a great product. Kudos to them for their market position. All I can do is focus on Xbox, and I love that," Spencer told Eurogamer.
The PS4 has a healthy sales lead over the Xbox One, but Spencer is looking at the entire Xbox gaming ecosystem instead of Xbox One vs. PS4 sales.
Video game studios try to deliver a great gaming experience, especially for multiplayer gamers, though must walk a fine-line. There has been more always-online functionality included in even more games, but many gamers don't necessarily like it - not surprisingly, some gamers interested in Need for Speed weren't happy to hear the news.
"We've been pretty big with Autolog throughout the years and, as we know, it's a really powerful feature," said Marcus Nilsson, executive producer of Need for Speed, in a statement published in the Official Xbox Magazine. "This time around we're going to give it more of a human voice. It will treat your friend's play as if it is part of the narrative experience."
The game studio is quite excited about including a new automatic image sharing system, which also benefits from always-online:
Xbox Game Preview is Microsoft's own spin-off of Steam's early access, a program that lets preview members beta test unreleased Xbox One games for a fee. Although the Xbox early access initiative was originally for indie games, Microsoft has since revealed it will use the program's community-driven approach to help develop and test its own first-party exclusives.
"First party will be using Game Preview for our games," Microsoft's head of publishing Shannon Loftis told GameInformer. "It's not 100 percent. It's very much developer choice, but it is definitely an option."
"We are curating that program very much with an eye for making sure that the games are high-quality games. A lot of the issues we've seen with the folks that tried this sort of service earlier are things that we've been able to learn from," Loftis says, nodding toward Steam's cluttered Early Access platform. "There is a little bit of extrapolation that the gamer has to make in order to guess that the end product is good. So far, nothing has backfired as far as gamer reception, but we are being very cautious."
Xbox chief Phil Spencer is excited about Microsoft's decision to support Xbox One backward compatibility, saying it provides a "valuable" way to keep gamers engaged.
Since Microsoft must emulate each Xbox 360 game to make it playable for the Xbox One, receiving publisher support is critical. It's a great sales and marketing campaign, allowing players the opportunity to catch up on previously-released games if they haven't already played them - and allow those of you with an Xbox 360 game library, the chance to play select titles one more time.
"We're having great conversations with all the publishers about backward compatibility," Spencer recently told GameSpot. "It's really been a good time for something like backwards compatibility to come around, because so many of the publishers have built more service-based games where they're able to find a business opportunity in the longevity of games."