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For the last few months, gamers and tech enthusiasts alike have been eagerly expecting announcements from both Microsoft and Sony regarding their next-generation consoles. Following months of speculation and some hints at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, an analyst is predicting the price and hardware specifications of both the next-generation Xbox and the PlayStation 4.

Colin Sebastian, analyst from Baird Equity Research, a company that attempts to predict announcements from companies in order to help investors make informed decisions, is predicting that the Xbox 720, as well as the PlayStation 4, will be priced between $350 and $400, along the lines of both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 when they were released several years ago, before steadily declining in price.

Moreover, Baird Equity Research is also expecting the next-generation game consoles to include “off-the-shelf high-end PC hardware”, such as top of the line Intel processors. According to the analyst, this changeover will blur the line between PC and console gaming, making sure that all major titles only need to be programmed for one architecture. This is a contrast from current-generation consoles which feature an architecture that’s vastly different from the one featured on traditional PCs, and therefore currently require developers to program their games for completely different architectures:

Moreover, a PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon: for one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology.

SONY DSC

For Microsoft specifically, building an Intel chip into the next Xbox will allow the company to integrate some enhanced version of Windows 8 into its console, achieving its long-term goal of building Windows into all of its main devices.

Sebastian predicts that new console models will finally be announced this June at the yearly E3 conference, which brings together console makers, game developers and gaming enthusiasts alike. The release of the PlayStation 4 will follow later this year, in October, and the Xbox 720 one month later, just in time for the holiday season.

This is bound to be an exciting year for gamers. After years of speculation, these new consoles should deliver the next-generation hardware needed to bring console gaming up to a new level.

(Source: GamesIndustryInternational)

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