Microsoft has reportedly taped out a next-gen chip for its upcoming Xbox 720 console.
According to SemiAccurate, the processor – which has apparently been dubbed Oban – is powered by PowerPC architecture.
However, MSNerd claims the mystery chip is based on ARM architecture, while HardOCP believes Oban may feature an AMD x86 core.
“[Yes], the chip itself is a little bit grey in areas,” tech guru Charlie Demerjian acknowledged on SemiAccurate.
“[Yet], it is definitely an ATI GPU which lends itself towards the backwards compatible option. IBM is also involved, so eDRAM is very likely, something our sources are all confirming.”
Demerjian – who estimated the next-gen console would likely launch in late spring or early summer of 2013 – also noted that Microsoft was being “quite mum” on its plans for the 720 at this point.
“Normally, a game takes ~2 years to write from scratch, so you get devs in the loop early, especially on new hardware… [So either] the launch is later than Q2/2013, or the developer’s job will be different this time.
“By that, I mean backwards compatibility, so you write for the XBox 360 and add features for the Next, or that you are forced to write generalized Metro stuff to a black box.”
Demerjian, an Atari veteran, noted that with luck, it would be a 100% superset of XBox 360 features, which would make life much easier for devs.
“If Microsoft decides to try and leverage the failed Wince/Windows Phone Whateveritisthisweek by making the XBox Next run the same VM/middleware, I can see a developer revolt and slews of lowest common denominator software packing the virtual shelves.
“[Fortunately], at this point in time, the software ecosystem seems like it is going to be much more interesting than the hardware,” he added.