Rumor: All Xbox 360 launch games to be single-threaded? [UPDATED]

Source: Tech news and rumor site Theinquirer.net.The official story: Microsoft declined to comment. What we heard: When it was unveiled on May 12, the Xbox 360 was touted as having some the burliest hardware of any console yet. Though the PlayStation 3 trumped it statwise just days later, the 360...

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Source: Tech news and rumor site Theinquirer.net.

The official story: Microsoft declined to comment.

What we heard: When it was unveiled on May 12, the Xbox 360 was touted as having some the burliest hardware of any console yet. Though the PlayStation 3 trumped it statwise just days later, the 360 still has plenty of processing horsepower under the hood. Specifically, its custom-designed IBM processor has three processing cores, each capable of handling two threads, or two separate applications. But while the grand total of six threads gives the 360 a lot of processing power, it also makes programming for the console hard, because developers will have to manage resources between all the processes.

Well, according to a rumor that surfaced this week, developers rushing to have their games ready by November 22 came up with a novel shortcut to evade the pitfalls of multiple threads--just avoid multiple threads altogether. According to the Inquirer, a unidentified Microsoft presenter at the Fall Processor Forum let slip that "the first generation of Xbox titles, all of them, are single threaded." The author doesn't identify the speaker in the article, most of which is devoted to kvetching about the quality of 360 games. However, just hours later, the same author published a more in-depth article about a multicore presentation given by Microsoft software architect Herb Sutter. Since no other Microsoft speaker presented at the FPF's six sessions, it is likely that Sutter said it. It would also jibe with the subject of his presentation--which, according to the Inquirer, was about the "poor state" of multithreading software for multiprocessor cores.

But is it true? Historically, the launch lineups of games for each console don't take advantage of the hardware, simply because they don't know how to fully exploit the new platform--just compare Halo's graphics to Halo 2's. Combine that precedent with Microsoft's down-to-the-wire push to have games on shelves by November 22, and single-threaded games become a distinct possibility.

[UPDATE] Well, over the weekend, eagle-eyed reader Mike Scott pointed out that in GameSpot's October 27 video Q&A with the designers of Condemned, one developer said the studio is using the Xbox 360's second thread to give opponents improved artificial intelligence. Since Sega said the game will go on sale alongside the Xbox 360 on November 22nd, it turns out the Inquirer was wrong.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus, apparently.

Discussion

286 comments
NannyOgg
NannyOgg

And who cares about line breaks in their comments instead of one large paragraph. I mean... nevermind! :P

NannyOgg
NannyOgg

Hail to AsuraDeath! You nailed it just there. I didn't bother to read the complete thread because it tired me. I stumbled over your comment (Posted 11/02/2005 4:06pm ) and yes, we play games because we play games. Who cares how many cores the game uses, how many colors it shows, how many sound effects it sports or how many naked chicks pose in it - if we like it we play it! One of the best games I have EVER played is Abe's Oddysee because it was fun - not because it was multithreaded (which it obviously isn't) or was fancy coded. It had style and humor and it worked. Simple as that. Nowadays I play Guild Wars which runs fine on DX8 cards and I used to be a HW geek. I'm a developer now and couldn't be bothered how good the graphics are or the music is in a game - if it sucks it sucks. Let's see which console will bring some great moments! /Michael, gamer & developer, 36.

EmperorSamoth
EmperorSamoth

No big Surprise there guys. Just give developers six to twelve months to figure this whole thing out.

eric_k43606
eric_k43606

From what I've seen the Xbox 360 and PS3 are going to be phenomonal systems. I'm going with the Xbox because of the release date, current Gamecube releases aren't exciting me. I also figure that any great PS3 games will eventualy be availiable for the PSP (toned down, but still good). If Xbox 360 is only using 1 thread i'm even more excited. I can't wait to see the potential!!

Leopard911
Leopard911

PS3!!!!! PS3!!!!!! PS3!!!!!! Microsoft can kiss my @$$ ( ! )

AsuraDeath
AsuraDeath

I cant beleive I just read through most of this. It is true that this gaming fandom has gone into the toilet. Does everybody have to be a nitpicking fanboy these days? Realy, I buy consoles to play games. I will get 360. I will get the release titles regardless of if they were rushed or if they are "single threaded". BECOUSE I PLAY GAMES. Thats all that matters, all this other tripe makes us look like idiots to other indusrtys. Do you see fans on movie sites slamming the latest hollywood movie becouse its special effects are only runing on a single thread? No. Get over it. Grow up. Go OUTSIDE. Do something, just shut up. Robert Allan, Gamer, age 25.

donniedarkowitz
donniedarkowitz

Actually turns out Thor doesn't pay attention to the his own website's developer interviews! HAHAHA!!!

SmileyPyramid
SmileyPyramid

also, even PDZ is using the 3 cores, in fact all games using the latest havok engine for x360, since it's multithreaded. and even DOA4 is using the 3 cores, Itagaki said his team was already playing with the 3 cores as soon as they received the devkit.

Oemenia
Oemenia

CoD 2 is using all three cores as well.

cg7879
cg7879

I don't know many gamers, whether they are "causual" or "hard core" that are really going to care much about how many threads a given game uses. The main focus will, or at least should, be on gameplay. If it plays great, who cares how many processor threads the game uses? Ok, I'd much rather play a great-looking game at 40 FPS as opposed to 20 or 30 but great gameplay is still great gameplay. Doesn't matter how many threads the game uses or what platform it's on. Case in point: Resident Evil 4. Excellent gameplay and awesome graphics. Orginially available on, seemingly to most, the almighty XBOX? Nope. PS2? Wrong. It was the GameCube. Way to go Nintendo. /end semi-rant *climbs down from soapbox and fades away*

Guitarpony
Guitarpony

I just played the xbox 360 and sorry to say guys I was not drop my pants and roll over impressed. The graphics looked good don't get me wrong but the game demos did not do anything for me. Call of Duty played just like the original, it just seemed a little clearer visually (not as dark}. I mean I am just a game player like you guys but I think I will wait to see what the competition has to offer before shelling out my money. verdict: undecided

xcrack360
xcrack360

I think that MS has A good strategy. because ween the "PS3 come out the 360 will then start to use it's full POWER! And maybe one of the game's to show that full power will be "HALO3". For SN that would be like gating shot in the leg.(meaning slowing down the momentum that it wants to start)

Extra_Life
Extra_Life

I don't think anyone can really complain about this news unless the games that are to be released are poor, which we won't know until the machine's release. Of course, there are likely to be good and bad games released on day one, but this is true for all new console releases, and has little bearing on how much power of the machine is utilised. Looking at this positively, think of the advances that are to be made when the 360 fully gets into its stride. It has been noted that the next generation of consoles are likely to be around longer than the last, so in all honesty it can only be a good thing that developers will learn to utilise more power from the machine as the years go on, rather than show us the maximum capabilities of the console shortly after its release.

nave686
nave686

I think that even if you have multiple launch titles only utilizing a single thread your still going to have amazing graphics and even more amazing AI. Plus, if you think that some single-string launch titles look good on the 360, just think about games that will have time to develop their multi-string codes. I don't think the PS3 will be able to rival it.

TSX990
TSX990

W00t. Big surprise. 360 has the capalities, but PS3 is still better in my humble and un-biased opinion.

bizsumpark182
bizsumpark182

The xbox 360 games will not be as impressive as everyone is thinking they will me. Niether will the PS3's. Its just a fact that we never see what a system really can do until at least a year into its life.

BallGame
BallGame

I actually really hope this is true. Will mean that future games will be that much better!

Ozosil
Ozosil

Thats how it usually is, as time goes on games are going to look a hell of alot better. I mean Imagine DOOM3 on Xbox on release!! they had the hardware.... Of corse im still getting an xbox360!

L10nH3ArT
L10nH3ArT

Well guys, first of all this is a rumor and I except it would be alot nicer if the developers worked with more than one core just because it would allow alot nicer and stable framerate than currently. Mainly I'm talking about Madden 2006, when GS noted that the rate slows when more people are on the field at one time. P.S Personally I would prefer developers to give me my bang for my buck, 1 thread or not. Because even though graphics are great and all, gameplay should be the focus. ...And with the exception of Halo, most all launch games are pretty bad. I'm saying this with both the PS2 and Xbox in mind.

NeoNder
NeoNder

All I have to say is 1) Some of the launch games (Elder Scrolls, Condemned) look damn good in my opinion, so if they're only running 1 thread, then I can't wait to see multithreaded games, even though 2) likely most graphics are run on the graphics hardware, with minimal use of the central processor for actual graphics calculations. Usually the CPU is used for AI, physics, and in some cases, sound. Oh, and 3) they said that the launch release of games may not be "multi-threaded", not "multi-cored". While there may be no difference, you have to consider the semantics of what was said. The Call of Duty 2 developers did say that they are using multiple cores, not neccessarily multiple threads on each core. But like I said, that's largely semantics. In any case, I'll be getting an Xbox 360 at launch, assuming I can find one (since I was a dullard and didn't pre-order one).

mikeyts
mikeyts

Havok has stated that the 7 launch window games which are using their physic engine will also use their HydraCore

wackl
wackl

Ok, this is just plain wrong, the developers of condemed said that they are using at least one other core for the AI in that game, and that microsoft had given them middleware for multiple threading. THIS WAS IN THE DEVELOPER INTERVIEW VIDEO FOR CONDEMNED ON THIS SITE!!!!

Homestarmy1
Homestarmy1

Most likely the games at lauch are going to just look like really good first gen games. It really doesnt bother me a whole lot. I'm sure in due time the system will be all it is cracked up to be. The competition that it has with the PS3, really I see none because well I'm not a playstation fan so I've made my "next gen decision." Have you???

KeyserSauce
KeyserSauce

I can't really see a problem. The game-demos we have seen so far has been gorgeous, accomplished using one thread. The future's so bright i got to wear shades.

Gemini_Chief
Gemini_Chief

I get bored of people going on and on. Microsoft has created an amazing, powerful & beautiful machine capable of much more than current consoles, It will push gaming forward. Most of you expect to be blown away from day one & tho some of you may not be I sure was. The games look amazing! Single thread or not, they will be good & beside, if they are only single look at what the future may hold. Whether you buy a 360 or that kitchen knife holder that Sony is bringing out, it will be next-gen & only one of those two are making any kind of effort now!!!

Carlosbenitez
Carlosbenitez

We will just wait and see what each system can truly do

wiafs02
wiafs02

i read GOW is running on one thread.well i dont know how that game will look like on 2 or more threads.the xbox 360 got some power.i'm still getting the xbox360 even if dev use 2 threads.games look next gen to me already eventhough they can improve on it 3x better.xbox360 games already look better than current gen.look at nba live and 2k6,GOW,Condemned,Fifa 06 etc

ghsacidman
ghsacidman

The games are still going to be fun, so who cares. I've been waiting for a new Perfect Dark for years, so I could care less how many threads it uses!!! I also watched the Call of Duty 2 dev. interview, and they did say multi-thread. Games never use all of the hardware at first anyway, which just means that they are going to get better over time. Bottom Line, who cares how many threads they are using.

Kwzy
Kwzy

I will discard my old xb and start to save money to my future PS3 console. I just don't trust in Microsoft's platform....

Kwzy
Kwzy

I will discard my old x-box and start to save money to my future PS3 console. I just dont trust in microsoft's platform....

Kwzy
Kwzy

I will discard my old x-box and start to save money to my future PS3 console. I just dont trust in microsoft's platform....

Kwzy
Kwzy

Microsoft has disapointed me again!!! i do not believe in this 360 platform. I will discard my old x-box and start to save money to my future PS3 console

fristson
fristson

iam with you dude. show me the game play and then ill give respect. rendering in real time is cool but have it moving and then spin it. See how much lag the thing feeds.

bwgamer
bwgamer

To be honest I'm not expecting much out of the 1st generation games. Of course there will be better graphics than the current systems, but history can tell you that all 1st generation games look the worst and that's expected. But out of all the 1st generation games there are a few surprises. A perfect example of that was Ico for the PS2. Now that was an incredibly beautiful game! It was sad that they only made one, there should have been at least one sequel. One thread two threat....whatever....I'm just looking for the surprise that will give us a glimpse of the power and future of these great systems!

bean23
bean23

I actually hope this is true, as it means that games developed later for the X360 should look even better than those being shown thus far.

nahton35
nahton35

Puts tons of pressure on developers to get their damn games ready. They're probably popping caffeine pills every hour just to get them done. But besides that, everyone who is getting a 360 on November 22nd really isn't going to care too much, now will they?

IXON
IXON

just because its might be only the one core for the launch titles doesnt matter because the games will still look great and the 360 still has the horsepower with only one thread this hasnt put me off buying just look at the screen shots and vids of the launch titles just remember when the xbox was released the graphics were great now they are crisp

rudedog28
rudedog28

Are launch games for the xbox 360 only using a single thread? A better question would be who cares? Even using a single thread the 360 still has exponentially more processing power than any console on the market today. I dont really see the point to this discussion.

rudedog28
rudedog28

Are launch games for the xbox 360 only using a single thread? A better question would be who cares? Even using a single thread the 360 still has exponentially more processing power than any console on the market today. I dont really see the point to this discussion.

paintballace3
paintballace3

The two systems have been put to the test and actually the 360 won that battle.But, Gamespot seems to lean towards sony than anyhting else, but they so have good info somtimes.

nufaust
nufaust

all this fuss because "theinquirer.net"(which has one the worst history of credibility ) ran an article and microsoft refused to comment on the issue (even many devs specifically said otherwise)??? "Ps3 trumped Xbox 360"???What's happening to gamespot, where is the high standarts of journalism that we usually expect from them, where is the objectivity?

qelgrun
qelgrun

If the fact that the Xbox 360 game you're playing *might* only be using 1 core is enough to stop you enjoying it then you probably shouldn't be playing games in the first place as it sounds like you have bigger issues.

luc11044
luc11044

After owning 3 deffective Playstation 2s, I'm ready to move to the 360 with no hesitation. At least Microsoft's hardware is dependable.

plightstar
plightstar

Im sure I read somewhere that Elder Scrolls 4 uses the other cores to process some of the physics and other parts of the game.

hotel77
hotel77

They said single threaded not, "using a single core." Each CPU can handle up to 2 threads, but there are 3 cpu's. 2 threads each is a total of 6 threads, but this article doesn't specify if they are using each core with single threads only, or literally only 1 core of the 3 is working in single threaded mode. 1 of those cores at 3.2 ghz is still slower than even a 2ghz x86, especially with the small cache and shared resources. Having looked a the pics of the current 360 games, I find it hard to believe that's supported on only 1 thread on 1 core of the CPU. More than likely, they are meaning that all 3 cores are being used, however only 1 thread on each core is being utilized. 1 thread on each CPU would still technically be single-threaded, because each CPU is only handling 1 *single* thread. With this theory, saying the the games being launched are only using about 1/6th of the potential would be incorrect. 2 threads instead of 1 does not give you a 100% increase in performance, but it can give you anywhere from 25% to 50%. 3 threads instead of six does not actually mean 50% performance. Saying the Xbox CPU is only going to be running between 70% and 80% of what it can actually handle, would be, I believe, in the ballpark.. This is is still quite significant, especially when you consider that previous consoles have been running at 100% at launch, and look at how much they improve over the years. I expect the 2nd generation xbox 360 games to look much much better than these first generation games, even more of a leap than in previous consoles.

omnivore75
omnivore75

The fact is no console has ever reached anywhere near it's true potential at release. Think about the games that came out when the PS one released and then think about the games being released on PS one at the end of it's life cycle. Same for PS2 and XBOX. It takes time for developers to learn how to squeeze the most out of a new piece of hardware. I already preordered my 360 and I will enjoy that until PS3 comes out and then I will pre order it, and if it proves to be what it looks to be and if Sony gets real about broadband gaming like Microsoft has done with live then maybe I will decide to sell the 360 and stick with my PSP and the PS3 since Sony has the must have exclusives and with all the multiplatform games coming out also the PS3 will probably be enough for anyone to buy games for I believe but until the time comes I will go on doing what I have always done and thats adopt the new hardware as soon as it comes out because for me playing the very best games available at the time will always be what it's all about for me.

Lambo
Lambo

Cores and threads are two different things. Each core can process two threads of information at a time. Right now most developers are probably only using one thread per core because of their unfamiliarity with the system. And for all you Sony fanboys,I won

jasonpwilson1
jasonpwilson1

I am sorry but If the Xbox 360 looks this good now I can't wait to see second and third generation titles (Halo 3)!!! Xbox 360 is all the gaming power I will need for a long wile (5 years or so). Sony is really trying hard to play down the 360 but that to me just shows they are worried about Xboxes potential. Probably because Sony has been loosing so much money the last 4 years wile Microsoft is braking profit records for the past 3 years. Also Microsoft has really hit a homerun with "Xbox Live"! The success and hype has been a winner in every possible way, wile Sony has really flopped with Sony online and has almost no chance in catching up. Xbox 360 will be the "Must Have" next generation online console "Bar none!"

jasonpwilson1
jasonpwilson1

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