GDC wrap up: Microsoft

Microsoft have been working like ‘bees’ so to speak on their next unit, code named Xenon, for three years now. Some 1,000 engineers have input their services to the hardware while Microsoft has ensured developers have what they need to get the games out for this years launch. So what are some of the specifics?

-One Terraflop of Data. (?) The GameCube is capable of some 10 and a half Giga Flops. So 100 times that performance of the GameCube or thereabouts.
-Developers will have access to kits to bridge the difference in development of old and new consoles and increase efficiency.
-Games will utilise the Unreal Engine 3 by Epic.
-Xbox Live will utilise gamer cards, matching people with similar skills, interests and talent for better and more interesting competition.
-It is unsure yet if Microsoft will persue backward compatibility. It was widely believed that Nintendo would not, but now the tides have turned, Microsoft may be pressured into the situation.
-New images were shown for the first time presenting a vastly improved user interface.

Microsoft is on track to launch it’s second console to the market by the end of the year. Is it a poorly judged headstart in the race, or a well planned out strategy. More will be known at E3.