What to Expect in Xbox Next

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console (Xbox Next in Redmond parlance) might still be more than a year away, but details about the product are starting to leak. According to reports, Xbox Next will feature three 64-bit IBM microprocessors, a next-generation ATI Technologies graphics chip and Longhorn-based graphics libraries, 256MB to 512MB of RAM, and a DVD or Blu-ray drive. The most important feature of Xbox Next, however, is its delivery schedule. For Microsoft to be successful with this release, the company must ship the console before Sony launches its eagerly awaited PlayStation 3, now expected in 2006. Also, Microsoft is reportedly wrestling with how to make Xbox Next compatible with the first generation of Xbox titles, given the changes to the underlying platform. Heads up, Microsoft: If Xbox Next doesn't run first-generation Xbox games, you might as well just pack it up and go home

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