Xbox pull confirmed at retail and by publishers

Leaked info points towards complete withdrawal

Posted by Staff
SPOnG has received emails that indicate a complete withdrawal of Xbox hardware in the coming months, with claims surfacing today of a total end to generation one Xbox production.

According to senior sources within publishing, retailers are being instructed not to list Xbox hardware in their next catalogue publications. “They are telling us that they have reached their targets and want to clear the way for the next machine,” we were told, with our source speaking under terms of anonymity. “It’s reached the point where the amount of money they lose per unit, combined with the fact that they might well eat into their own [Xbox 360] market share, means that continuing the run is just not feasible.”

Of course the big question remains of exactly how many Xbox hardware units are still available. “There are only two million units left and no more will be produced,” continued our source. “There are 400,000 allocated for the whole of the European territory. After that there will be no more. It was confirmed to me that Microsoft has no plans to manufacture the original Xbox once the new console hits the market.”

However, Microsoft has indicated to key retailers that it plans to having around a million Xbox 360 hardware units available in time for Christmas of 2005, as reported by MCV last week and recently confirmed to SPOnG.

Microsoft’s official line on the matter is that the Xbox supply situation will improve, offering a six week wait-and-see window to retailers. Some cynics may argue that six weeks brings the welcome distraction of a 360-powered E3 show in Los Angeles. The Windows giant also claimed that manufacture of the original Xbox unit continues, although this end-of-cycle production run is likely to comprise the two million figure offered by our source today.

We will bring you updates on this story if anything changes.
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Comments

Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 39.
LUPOS 31 Mar 2005 17:28
20/39
MichiyoYoshiku wrote:
You sir are an Idiot.

You are all Idiots

the people that write here are idiots

and I hate all of you.

I'm spending my time elsewhere.


:'( <--- single tear

________
Ditto 31 Mar 2005 17:46
21/39
LUPOS wrote:

:'( <--- single tear


LOL.

We're just as sceptical as anyone else, but logic dictates that if M$ are gearing up for a release at the end of the year they need to think about discontinuing Xbox.
more comments below our sponsor's message
tyrion 31 Mar 2005 18:03
22/39
LUPOS wrote:
:'( <--- single tear

I always knew you were a soft-hearted bastard, LUPOS, but that's a bit too much! :-) <-- No tears
fluffstardx 31 Mar 2005 19:28
23/39
I always thought the idiot was the person who came on a site and took everything not confirmed by a major company as lies. Like the existence of DS mooted 6 months ago...

From what's been said in EDGE this month, the compiling software for Cell isn't finished yet, and the idea of having 4 times as many cores as the PS2 has caused many a coronary. Heck, they're having a hard time setting up a compiler from C, and that IS a big setback. Even making performance rating tools, essential to companies wanting to ensure maximum use of the power given to them, has proven difficult.

The biggest problem MS now is selling any of those final units at all; after all, everyone's hearing about this "next gen" and thinking they should wait for that...
kid_77 31 Mar 2005 19:55
24/39
MichiyoYoshiku wrote:
I'm spending my time elsewhere.


Ditto 1 Apr 2005 09:04
25/39
Ha ha ha!

I think that kid should be given the title

"Graphic God"

and

"Tag Master"

You're the only person on the forums to be able express what we're all thinking through a purely visual medium!
kid_77 1 Apr 2005 09:28
26/39
I wish I had the talent to create that from scratch! I can only claim glory for the engraving

:)
Elysium 4 Apr 2005 04:42
27/39
Firstly, it seems obvious to me that this can mean only one thing... Assuming that the facts in this story are correct, it is absolute confirmation of backward compatability between the next gen xbox and current gen titles. Really, are microsoft about to alienate millions of customers to save money in the short term? If years of MS watching haven't taught you anything, it should have shown that MS strategies extend far into the future. They own emulation software they can (and probably have) modified to emulate x86 code on the new RISC architecture, and have a highly evolved Hardware Abstraction Layer, being the DirectX API, which greatly simplifies the emulation.

tyrion wrote:

They got into a bad deal with NVIDIA and got shafted! They've lost backwards compatibility due to that deal and their falling out with NVIDIA.


Oh really? Please explain to me how this prevents backward compatibility? I'm a windows programmer with years of experience with the MS tools, and I find your comment laughable at best. FUD at worst. Have you never played games on windows and marvelled at its ability to display them on any video card, without the game having been written specifically for that card? It's called Hardware Abstraction and is the reason xbox gamers are far more likely to get backward compatibility than the poor playstation crowd.
neocarrillo 4 Apr 2005 05:11
28/39
"Oh really? Please explain to me how this prevents backward compatibility? I'm a windows programmer with years of experience with the MS tools, and I find your comment laughable at best. FUD at worst. Have you never played games on windows and marvelled at its ability to display them on any video card, without the game having been written specifically for that card? It's called Hardware Abstraction and is the reason xbox gamers are far more likely to get backward compatibility than the poor playstation crowd."

Well that's good that your a programmer but the fact is that the reason microsoft can't do the backwards compatibility is because nvidia put a code on the chip and until they give microsoft and ati that code they can't do it. Since nvidia is now with sony they won't give the code up.
Also as for your "poor playstation crowd" comment, your most likely saying that cause your a windows programmer and are kissing microsoft's ass. Anyway if xbox 360 was gonna have backwards compatibility they would have said so by now, like sony and nintendo did.
tyrion 4 Apr 2005 09:09
29/39
Elysium wrote:
tyrion wrote:

They got into a bad deal with NVIDIA and got shafted! They've lost backwards compatibility due to that deal and their falling out with NVIDIA.


Oh really? Please explain to me how this prevents backward compatibility? I'm a windows programmer with years of experience with the MS tools, and I find your comment laughable at best. FUD at worst. Have you never played games on windows and marvelled at its ability to display them on any video card, without the game having been written specifically for that card? It's called Hardware Abstraction and is the reason xbox gamers are far more likely to get backward compatibility than the poor playstation crowd.

As a windows graphical programmer, you'll know all about NVIDIA's Cg Language then? You'll know that it is fully supported in the XBox's GPU? You'll know that it was developed before the shader languages in DirextX9 or OpenGl? You'll know all about the way abstraction layers slow down graphics programming? You'll know that games programming is all about getting the last ounce of speed out of the hardware? And of course, you'll know that there is no need to use hardware abstraction on a fixed hardware platform? Of course you will!

The facts are;

Cg is inherently faster than DX9 shaders on NVIDIA hardware.

Games programmers always go for the fast option.

Cg is NVIDIA proprietary.

Many XBox games were programmed using Cg shaders.

NVIDIA is pissed off at Microsoft.

Please add those facts up and come to a different conclusion than the one I made above.
Ditto 4 Apr 2005 09:25
30/39
Games programming on consoles is different to that on Windows anyway, you have to tie your game more to the hardware and actually worry about registers and the like (at least traditionally).

There's no way that Microsoft can keep backwards compatibility without angering nVidia in some way. It could try and emulate cg, however nVidia would probably come after them all guns blazing.

Personally, I don't think the evil giant will need backwards compatibility to succeed next generation.
Damien Knight 4 Apr 2005 16:49
31/39
The only thing I really want to know is X-box 360 going to be "backwards compatible." I invest to much money into soft ware to just throw it away. I mean what if I can't get another X-box if the one I own right now breaks down? So I'm stuck with useless software? If Microsoft makes "360" backwards compatible I will buy it. If not? I'll just wait a year or so. I know Sony is going to make the Ps3 back wards compatible, and so is Nintendo (first time ever for the company). That right there is a for sure that I will invest into thier next systems. I really dont care if "360" can wash the dishes... It needs to be "backwards compatible." Thats if they want my money. Even though there are rumors running around about Halo 3 being there at launch.... that still wont get me in line for the System. Heck, not even Sakaguchi's company Mystwalker is going to get me to budge. It needs to be back wards compatible. It just needs too..... If they dont they are going to leave me feeling like I do with the Sony Hard drive..... I feel like I bought a hunk of metal.
LUPOS 4 Apr 2005 17:04
32/39
Damien Knight wrote:
It needs to be back wards compatible. It just needs too....



I'm sorry but this is just silly. First off its a totaly different situation from the sony hard drive, that is a case of not creatign software for a perferal (spelling?!). This is you worrying abotu the chance that maybe your xbox will break. "oh no i wont be able to buy another xbox!!!" yes you will... and it will cost liek 20-50 bucks, just liek a dream cast or n64 does now. Only the hard core nut jobs like us tend to actually keep everysystme they ever owned layign around... the average consumer either passes it down to a younger generation (sibblings and cousins) or trades it in when they buy the new system. If you really liek playign xbox1 games so much, hope they dotn make it backwards compatible... if your average 14-18 year old knows his old games wotn work ont he new system he is far mroe likely to trade them in along with the system to get the new one. Which woudl deluge your local EB with used to games to buy for crazy lwo prices.

so...
backward compatible = old games are harder to find and cost more, but systems will be plentifull

not backwars compatible = old games will be more easily found and much cheaper, and there will still probably be a ton of used to systems to buy as well.

Just because sosny has started this ten year life cycle nonsens doent mean its the best methode int he world. I can still buya regular nes for liek 10 dollars and there are no shortage of those around.

The only real perk i can see in the grand scheme of things to backwards compatibility is that if there are a ton of old systems made available via trad ins but no that many games it woudl encourage peopel to go back and pick up a second xbox to mod... woudl be a boon for the mod community... halo:ce hackers, DOA skiners, plus you coudl pick up the equivalent of a media center pc for like 50 bucks plus the price of mechwarrior to soft mod it! (which is painfully abundunt due to the free give away with live!)

but thats just my two cents.
_________________

Damien Knight 5 Apr 2005 00:53
33/39
LUPOS wrote:
Damien Knight wrote:
It needs to be back wards compatible. It just needs too....



I'm sorry but this is just silly. First off its a totaly different situation from the sony hard drive, that is a case of not creatign software for a perferal (spelling?!). This is you worrying abotu the chance that maybe your xbox will break. "oh no i wont be able to buy another xbox!!!" yes you will... and it will cost liek 20-50 bucks, just liek a dream cast or n64 does now. Only the hard core nut jobs like us tend to actually keep everysystme they ever owned layign around... the average consumer either passes it down to a younger generation (sibblings and cousins) or trades it in when they buy the new system. If you really liek playign xbox1 games so much, hope they dotn make it backwards compatible... if your average 14-18 year old knows his old games wotn work ont he new system he is far mroe likely to trade them in along with the system to get the new one. Which woudl deluge your local EB with used to games to buy for crazy lwo prices.

so...
backward compatible = old games are harder to find and cost more, but systems will be plentifull

not backwars compatible = old games will be more easily found and much cheaper, and there will still probably be a ton of used to systems to buy as well.

Just because sosny has started this ten year life cycle nonsens doent mean its the best methode int he world. I can still buya regular nes for liek 10 dollars and there are no shortage of those around.

The only real perk i can see in the grand scheme of things to backwards compatibility is that if there are a ton of old systems made available via trad ins but no that many games it woudl encourage peopel to go back and pick up a second xbox to mod... woudl be a boon for the mod community... halo:ce hackers, DOA skiners, plus you coudl pick up the equivalent of a media center pc for like 50 bucks plus the price of mechwarrior to soft mod it! (which is painfully abundunt due to the free give away with live!)

but thats just my two cents.
_________________

Damien Knight 5 Apr 2005 01:12
34/39
LUPOS wrote:
Damien Knight wrote:
It needs to be back wards compatible. It just needs too....



I'm sorry but this is just silly? Silly? You want to know what silly is? I spend about $600 bucks a month to play games. I have every single system out right now, and then some. You want to know what silly is? Silly is having to be forced to buy a new system only to play one or two games that intrest you (me). I bought a Dual screen so I could play Kingdom Hearts, chain of memories...I bought a Game cube back when Capcom first announced they were working on a remake of Resident Evil exclusive for the Nintendo Game cube. I bought an X-box because I wanted to play Shen Mue two.... Now I have more than Six thousand dollars in soft ware, and it would be nice to have the option of playing older games on my current consoles. For me thats what made the Ps2 so appealing. Its just if your a hard core gamer its getting pretty damn expensive. If you can live with the five year cycle nonsense then more power to you, but I can't afford it, not at this rate. I barely make it as it is.... Personally I think that Microsoft is pushing it. I'm perfectly happy with my current consoles. I would'nt even think of upgrading for at least another year or two. I'm quite happy that Sony is going to a longer life span... I know it'll let me focus on software instead of being pushed into a new system launch ever five years....(isn't it only been four years for the x-box? It launched in Novermber of 2001 right?) Lets take last month for instance. This is supposed to be the worst months for gaming period, but last month the lauched at least 5 awesome titles, and then there was the Psp launch... thats alot of freaking money.... If they don't make the system backwards compatible Its pretty simple. I wont buy it. I refuse to. Its just getting waaaaaay to crazy! If you can afford it than by all means more power to ya! I know I cant. This is coming from a person who all his friends and relatives think is video game obsessive. I'd have to bow out. It would just get to the point where I would have to pick on system and stay with it. If I had to make a choice... right here right now it would be the Sony Ps3. Its going to be backwards compatibel, and Square Enix makes Final fantasy, and so far all the main games are on Sony's console. I'll stay with them. period!
Elysium 5 Apr 2005 02:34
35/39
tyrion wrote:

As a windows graphical programmer, you'll know all about NVIDIA's Cg Language then? You'll know that it is fully supported in the XBox's GPU? You'll know that it was developed before the shader languages in DirextX9 or OpenGl? You'll know all about the way abstraction layers slow down graphics programming? You'll know that games programming is all about getting the last ounce of speed out of the hardware? And of course, you'll know that there is no need to use hardware abstraction on a fixed hardware platform? Of course you will!


Are you finished your arrogant and ill-informed rant? Good... now, let me correct you on a few ASSUMPTIONS you've made in there. XBox runs a cut-down version of windows, with all the game related API's fully intact. They have not re-architected DirectX to remove the hardware abstraction, as you have guessed they may do. The very fact that programmers use DirectX API's is a layer of abstraction from the hardware... are you suggesting that programmers are writing, assembly-style, into video registers to get the desired performance benefits? Come on... in my experience a short development cycle is of far more importance to project managers than squeezing every last ounce of power from a machine that has an abundance of power compared to its rivals. There may be a very small minority of developers who have done as you suggest, but even then emulation can handle that too.
tyrion wrote:

The facts are;

Cg is inherently faster than DX9 shaders on NVIDIA hardware.

What's your point? The more powerful hardware on the next gen xbox will be more than capable of running this code at a speed comparable to the current gen.
tyrion wrote:

Games programmers always go for the fast option.

When power is in abundance as it is with the XBox console, time to market will win out every time. Maybe you're confusing the situation with the PS2, where developers are forced to resort to low level hardware trickery to compete with XBox and Gamecube. How long was GT4 in development again?
tyrion wrote:

Cg is NVIDIA proprietary.

It may have been developed by NVidia, but it is far from proprietry. Cg is in fact well documented with an open source compiler released by NVidia itself! It has been developed as a hardware agnostic solution and will in fact compile for a number of competing hardware products. If Microsoft were forced to emulate the Cg language, I don't think they would have much trouble...
tyrion wrote:

Many XBox games were programmed using Cg shaders.

As i've said, MS will have very little trouble emulating Cg on the new hardware, given the abundance of resources freely available.
tyrion wrote:

NVIDIA is pissed off at Microsoft.

Please add those facts up and come to a different conclusion than the one I made above.

I've still come to the same conclusion regarding emulation, and in fact i've come to another conclusion also! You're just another MS hater who will do and say anything to sway opinion in your favour. Those who can maintain an objective opinion will have no trouble seeing right through you. As always, time will tell, with very little time to wait before we will have full details on the exact capabilities of the next gen machine. Let's just see what happens shall we, with the most insightful opinion having boasting rights...
tyrion 5 Apr 2005 10:12
36/39
Elysium wrote:
Are you finished your arrogant and ill-informed rant? Good... now, let me correct you on a few ASSUMPTIONS you've made in there. XBox runs a cut-down version of windows, with all the game related API's fully intact. They have not re-architected DirectX to remove the hardware abstraction, as you have guessed they may do. The very fact that programmers use DirectX API's is a layer of abstraction from the hardware... are you suggesting that programmers are writing, assembly-style, into video registers to get the desired performance benefits? Come on... in my experience a short development cycle is of far more importance to project managers than squeezing every last ounce of power from a machine that has an abundance of power compared to its rivals. There may be a very small minority of developers who have done as you suggest, but even then emulation can handle that too.

Please, you haven't even heard me rant! :-)

The cut down windows make no difference. I mentioned DX9 (the game-related APIs) and I never suggested that the XBox's version of DX was not hardware abstracted.

What I am saying is that, yes games programmers write assembly, they write in the closest to the metal language they can find in the inner loops of their games.

I don't mean to demean your experience, but have you ever written console games? I freely admit I have not, but I have worked at a games developer in a peripheral role. I know those guys spend as much time "on the hardware" as they do in Visual C++.

The XBox has not got that much more power than its rivals. It has a 733 MHz PIII as its CPU and a GeForce 3.5 as its GPU. There is still opportunity to speed things up by using a less abstracted language like assembler and Cg.

Elysium wrote:
tyrion wrote:

Cg is inherently faster than DX9 shaders on NVIDIA hardware.

What's your point? The more powerful hardware on the next gen xbox will be more than capable of running this code at a speed comparable to the current gen.

The point is that coders will use Cg before DX9 due to its speed.

Elysium wrote:
tyrion wrote:

Games programmers always go for the fast option.

When power is in abundance as it is with the XBox console, time to market will win out every time. Maybe you're confusing the situation with the PS2, where developers are forced to resort to low level hardware trickery to compete with XBox and Gamecube. How long was GT4 in development again?

As far as performance goes the XBox and PS2 have comparable "same ball park" CPUs. There is always a need to squeeze more power when dealing with games. The variable nature of PC programming makes this difficult, but on a fixed platform like a console, developers will hit the hardware when they need to.

Elysium wrote:
tyrion wrote:

Cg is NVIDIA proprietary.

It may have been developed by NVidia, but it is far from proprietry. Cg is in fact well documented with an open source compiler released by NVidia itself! It has been developed as a hardware agnostic solution and will in fact compile for a number of competing hardware products. If Microsoft were forced to emulate the Cg language, I don't think they would have much trouble...

The open source compiler NVIDIA released was only the front end "parsing" routines, if I remember rightly, not the back end "compiling" routines that make GPU-specific code. However that is not the problem, MS and ATI would have to interpret the NVIDIA-specific code that is embedded in all the current XBox games. Emulate the NVIDIA hardware, if you like, which is not an easy job, nor are they likely to get any help from NVIDIA in doing so.

Elysium wrote:
I've still come to the same conclusion regarding emulation, and in fact i've come to another conclusion also! You're just another MS hater who will do and say anything to sway opinion in your favour. Those who can maintain an objective opinion will have no trouble seeing right through you. As always, time will tell, with very little time to wait before we will have full details on the exact capabilities of the next gen machine. Let's just see what happens shall we, with the most insightful opinion having boasting rights...


I may not like MS, but I try to believe I an intelectually honest enough to look at things without too much bias. I am not "another MS hater" and I surely will not "say anything to sway opinion in [my] favour". I presented the facts above in a clear and concise way. I apologise if my use of the word "shafted" made it sound like a rant, but I was trying to get my point across. If you read other postings I have made, you will see that I have tried to keep an objective opinion in all my writing.

Also, emulation is not a universal panacea, it takes much more power to emulate code than to run it natively. It wasn't until the PII or PIII era that PCs could emulate the Amiga at a decent speed, and that was a 7 MHz 68000. It also takes an intimate knowledge of the hardware being emulated, which NVIDIA are unlikely to help MS and ATI obtain.

I agree with you that we will soon find out, from the horse's mouth, exactly what the capabilities of the new XBox will be, I agree to waiting until then before saying anything definite. I will be impressed if Microsoft pull off the backwards compatible thing, I will take my hat off to them in fact. However, I will not "boast" if my opinions turn out to be facts and they can't pull it off, I just don't believe in being petty like that.
Ditto 5 Apr 2005 10:24
37/39
A look at Codemaster's site confirms what tyrion was saying:

Codemasters wrote:

There is one more language that is good to know in the games industry and that is Assembly (ASM). Assembly language is the language of the machines microprocessor, or CPU. For PCs, this is generally Intel assembly language (known as x86). However, consoles tend to use different varieties of CPU (e.g. PS2 has a MIPS CPU, Nintendo GameCube has a PowerPC CPU, and XBox, has a Pentium III CPU).

Assembly language is the lowest level you can program at, and gives you maximum control of the CPU, allowing you to write the fastest possible code. Nowadays, most of the code (99%) in games is written in C or C++, but very occasionally in very speed critical sections, assembly code is used, and so this is a useful skill to have. It’s a different style of programming to high level languages, and it is more difficult, but once you have learnt one CPU assembly language, the skills are easily transferable to other CPU assembly languages.

http://www.codemasters.co.uk/careers/programmer.php
LUPOS 5 Apr 2005 12:33
38/39
quote=Damien Knight]
I'm sorry but this is just silly? Silly? You want to know what silly is? I spend about $600 bucks a month to play games.


im not calling you insane amoutn of games silly, im envious if anything, i wish i had thetime to make that many purchases worth while, i own probably just over 20 xbox games and there are probabably at least 5-10 i have never beat.

What im callign silly is your assumption that all the software you own will some how b4ecome worthless at the tiem of the nextbox's release.
hell i can go on ebay right now and buy a used 3d0 for like 30$.. how many people actually ownded those? by the time your xbox breaks there are going to still be tons of them available for purchase do to the deluge at used game retailers. SO... in the unlikely event that your xbox breaks in the near future you can still buya new one or get it fixed (especailly since MS will have to give one year worth of waranty to all the peopel who will still buy new ones this year). Or... if it break in liek 2 years you will be able to pick one up relatively cheapley. The only real downer to not havign backwards compatability is havign to have the extra system cluttering up your shelf. But seeing has you spend so much money on games i would imagine you are the collecting type who wasnt planning on trading in the old one anyway, i know i will still have my xbox for as long as the thing keeps running.
_____________-
Damien Knight 5 Apr 2005 15:12
39/39
LUPOS wrote:
quote=Damien Knight]
I'm sorry but this is just silly? Silly? You want to know what silly is? I spend about $600 bucks a month to play games.


"im not calling you insane amoutn of games silly, im envious if anything, i wish i had thetime to make that many purchases worth while, i own probably just over 20 xbox games and there are probabably at least 5-10 i have never beat. "

This brings up another sad note. Okay so why should I spend fifty bucks on game launching for the X-box. I've been wanting to expand my game collection 'cause I do like my X-box alot. I own 27 games for it right now, but knowing that the system is going to be cancelled.... I dont think I'll be buying any new games for the system. I think its just better to buy them down the road when they're used and cheaper! Oh, and I do have close to 30 games I haven't beat yet, but I leave those games for when I'm bored. I've had Kingdom hearts for two years now, and I just beat it the other day, and I can't say enough about that game. Awesome!, but then thats to be expected from Square Enix..

"What im callign silly is your assumption that all the software you own will some how b4ecome worthless at the tiem of the nextbox's release."-

I know what you're saying, and in a lot of ways your right, BUT I just don't like being forced to upgrade into a whole other system. I used to hate that about Nintendo......Your also right about having the clutter on the entertainment system. RIght now I have my surround sound, My vcr, my dvd, My Ps2, X-box, Game Cube, Dream Cast, and Nintendo 64 hooked up. Its pretty damn ugly... Now I have to contend with next gen consoles? Its not fair if you ask me. I Guess I could get rid of the 64 since I don't really play it all that much anymore. Still what if Sony, and Nintendo were'nt making there systems "backwards compatible"? Then that would suck even more. I think I'm just getting fed up with the whole thing. I'm pretty much dead set on what I say. If the X-box isn't back wards compatible then I wont get it for while. I know one thing though. I will be at Ps3 and Revolution's launch. Just the way it is man.
.....And yeah dude I do collect systems, but thats pretty much expected when your Hard core.
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