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MS will pay Nvidia, allowing Xbox 360 to emulate Xbox games

Discussion in 'ATI' started by Guest, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest


    NVIDIA tech licensed for Xbox 360 backward compatibility

    Rob Fahey 12:27 16/06/2005
    Deal will allow Xbox 360 to run Xbox titles, but tinkering with software is
    still needed

    Microsoft has signed a deal with NVIDIA to license the company's technology
    in order to enable backwards compatibility in the Xbox 360, which uses an
    ATI graphics chipset that isn't natively compatible with Xbox titles.

    The question of how to get Xbox 360 - which uses a radically different
    architecture to the Xbox - to play Xbox titles has been a major problem for
    Microsoft, and it's rumoured that backwards compatibility wasn't actually
    part of the original specification of the console.

    Indeed, it wasn't even confirmed that the system would be able to play Xbox
    games until E3 this year, when Microsoft announced that "best-selling" Xbox
    titles would work on the Xbox 360 - a curious piece of double-speak which
    the software giant refused to clarify fully.

    Following the announcement, sources close to the company indicated that a
    form of recompilation (known as "transcompilation") would be required to
    make Xbox games work on the 360, with the resulting patched executables
    being shipped on the system's hard drive for certain popular games, and
    patched versions of other games gradually being added over the Xbox Live

    Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz at the time, Microsoft Xbox PR manager Michael
    Wolf denied that games would need to be recompiled, and assured us that the
    company had no intention of charging for updates to the backward
    compatibility service. However, he refused to answer further questions about
    how the process will work.

    Now a report on US website 1up confirms that Microsoft has in fact licensed
    parts of NVIDIA's technology from the Xbox to allow it to emulate the
    chipset in Xbox 360, a deal which will see Microsoft continuing to make
    payments to NVIDIA for several years.

    The company apparently plans to emulate the Xbox' Intel CPU on the 360's
    multiple IBM PowerPC cores, and will now be able to emulate the NVIDIA chip
    to some extent on the ATI graphics chip in the 360 - but it would appear
    that many games will still not work without some modification.

    Patches for some popular games - or "emulation profiles" - will ship on the
    Xbox hard drive, and those games will as a result work out of the box.
    Microsoft is expected to work to get emulation working for other games over
    time, and will distribute further emulation profiles over the Xbox Live

    What's not clear is how users without Xbox Live access - around 90 per cent
    of users on the current generation Xbox, for reference - will be able to
    update those profiles, and whether Microsoft will ever get the full range of
    Xbox software working on the new console.

    Wolf declined to answer the first of those questions when we put it to him
    last month, but was more positive on the second issue, telling us that "our
    goal is to make ALL Xbox games play on Xbox 360, and at launch we'll have a
    selection of the top selling that will be tested and confirmed to work."



    Nvidia Licenses Xbox Tech. for BC
    To achieve backwards compatibility, Microsoft strikes deal.
    by Patrick Klepek, 06/14/2005

    78.00 of 86 users recommended this story.
    Microsoft and Nvidia currently have a license agreement for Nvidia-related
    technologies for use in the Xbox 360 in order to achieve backwards
    compatibility with Xbox, 1UP.com learned today. The original Xbox was
    engineered with an Nvidia-developed GPU, whereas Xbox 360 utilizes a new ATI
    GPU, which has proven problematic in coming up with an easy solution for
    backwards compatibility.

    Nvidia confirmed the existence of a licensing agreement for Nvidia-related
    technologies to 1UP.com, but would not enter into specifics. According to
    the agreement, Microsoft will make payments to Nvidia over several years.
    Unfortunately, Microsoft is keeping quiet on the subject. "We have no
    further announcements on backwards compatibility at this time," said an
    official Microsoft spokesperson.

    Microsoft has been investigating the feasibility of backwards compatibility
    for around eight months now, said a source close to the project, and signed
    the deal with Nvidia about five months ago.

    Last week, ATI European Developer Relations Manager Richard Huddy provided
    the first hint in an interview with Bit-Tech. "Emulating the CPU [of the
    original Xbox] isn't really a difficult task. They have three 3GHz cores, so
    emulating one 733MHz chip is pretty easy," he said. "The real bottlenecks in
    the emulation are GPU calls - calls made specifically by games to the Nvidia
    hardware in a certain way."

    In order to overcome the problem of games calling upon chip specific
    features within the Nvidia hardware, Microsoft needed to emulate the Xbox's
    GPU. Without an official agreement with Nvidia, however, Microsoft would
    have to reverse engineer the technology, which would have been a "legal
    nightmare" for the company, said our source.

    Stay tuned to 1UP.com for the latest on Microsoft's progress on
    incorporating backwards compatibility into their next-generation hardware.
    Guest, Jun 16, 2005
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