Xbox One designers discuss the console’s architecture

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 02:50 GMT By Naren Hooson

In the wake of Microsoft’s Xbox One announcement, a group of technical specialists, hosted by Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb, dissected the hardware and software capabilities of the upcoming console.

As reported earlier and courtesy of Gamasutra, the panel included:
Todd Holmdahl – Corp. Vice President, IEB Hardware,
Nick Baker – Distinguished Engineer, Console Architecture,
Boyd Multerer – Director of Development
Dan Greenawalt – Creative Director Turn 10 Studios

The main emphasis was on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service which will offset the processing load of the console’s five billion local transistors. “There are a growing number of transistors in the cloud that you can move the loads onto,” says Boyd Multerer. “So over time, your box gets more powerful. We move loads into the cloud to free up resources on the box.”

There will be over 300,000 Microsoft servers dedicated to the Xbox One in the Microsort data centers, with room to expand on that.

The cloud also allows developers to offset computations for certain rendering, engine physics and AI.

The Kinect 2.0 sensor, which will come packaged with the main console and is apparently integral to functionality – to the point the console will not work without it being attached, has been overhauled and will accommodate up to six bodies instead of the previous two. It will also include face recognition and be able to monitor biometrics including heartbeat as well as “tell when the player is lying.”

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Software will include the Xbox OS as well as a Windows kernel, with a third system in place to allow instant switching between these. This will also be made possible with the 8GB of RAM.

Not stopping there, the panel went into the idea of “dynamic” achievements touched on in the press conference. This would focus on player base interests, with an “arrow to the knee” achievement for Skyrim given as an example.

Holmdahl also went on to talk about inviting app devlopers to use the Xbox One platform.

The broadcast will be available for replay later on here.