Microsoft is ready to wage the next console war. According to Xbox marketing chief Yusef Mehdi, the Xbox One is now in mass production, and the company's expecting to ship millions and millions of consoles this holiday season. Pre-orders are already sold out. But before the company put the assembly lines into motion, Microsoft made one last tweak, bumping the Xbox One CPU's clockspeed from 1.6GHz to 1.75GHz. Speaking at the Citi Global Technology Conference, Medhi said the CPU boost is on top of the graphics performance improvement that the Xbox received in early August. "The system is really going to shine," he told analysts.
"The system is really going to shine."
Technically, Microsoft had never publicly revealed the original speed of the AMD-built processor, and it's hard to say how significant a 150MHz increase might be. Also, that particular spec doesn't mean much in isolation: modern processors change their clockspeed in real time depending on how much heat their heatsinks and fans can dissipate. If the Xbox One's CPU can only reach 1.75GHz for a moment before it has to cool down again, that might not be much of a feat. But looking at the bigger picture, one where both Xbox and PlayStation have been working behind the scenes on last minute announcements and tweaks, it's clear that there's a lot riding on convincing early adopters that these consoles are potent, capable machines.
In addition to the console's improved tech spec (and Microsoft's belief that the size of each console generation will continue to increase), Mehdi fielded a question about whether the Xbox One, which can double as a cable box for Time Warner Cable customers, could fundmentally change the economics of live TV. Unfortunately, Mehdi's replies weren't promising:
Nothing has significantly changed. We don’t comment a lot on the relations that we have with the cable companies. We've got mutually beneficial relations with them. But like Xbox One, we’re not changing that dynamic a lot; we’re going to continue to work to be great distributors of their content.
"Over time, we think we can create new opportunities with the interactivity but that’s probably further down the line," said Mehdi.