E3 2013: Was Microsoft Using PCs with Nvidia GPUs to Demo Xbox One Games at E3?

E3 2013: Was Microsoft Using PCs with Nvidia GPUs to Demo Xbox One Games at E3?

Every time a new console is unveiled people wonder  if the manufacturer is actually demonstrating its games with the actual DevKits or with PCs running roughly similar hardware, or maybe not even the same hardware at all.

Looks like this time around Microsoft has been caught red-handed. Things started to sound fishy when veteran game journalist Julian Rignall tweeted about a mysterious crash of an Xbox One game he was playing. The machine, that didn’t really seem to be an Xbox One at all, crashed to Windows 7.

Of course that’s really not enough evidence to assume that Microsoft “gearboxed” our valiant E3 attendees, or at least it wasn’t, until actual pictures of the open demo cabinets started appearing on the net. You can see one below and one at the bottom of this post.

Microsoft Gearbox (1)Picture from NeoGaf

If you click on the picture to enlarge it and squint, you can see quite clearly that the cabinet contained a lovely PC that conveniently enough had a transparent side panel, showing what seems to be a Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 video card.

Now, the architecture of the Xbox One isn’t that terribly different from that of a PC, so this doesn’t really mean that the console won’t be able to run the games showcased in the same way or even better, but that’s besides the point. We already knew that this kind of practice is nothing too new, so this isn’t excessively surprising.

What is surprising, though, is that Microsoft didn’t even use PCs running AMD video cards, considering that the graphics hardware included in the Xbox One is manufactured by AMD. In addition to that, according to an analysis by Digital Foundry the Xbox One’s GPU has a processing power of 1.2 teraflops, while the GTX 680 is a $450 high-end GPU that sports 2.5 teraflops under its black hood. That’s quite a difference in horsepower right there, and it raises a question: have we seen any Xbox One games actually running…on a Xbox One at E3?

Of course, while the pictures that are floating around could be considered conclusive evidence by many, we really can’t hold a courtproof case with just this kind of material, so I’m going to chalk it as a rumor, but it’s a bit of a sneaky, evil one. Naughty Microsoft….

Microsoft Gearbox (2)Picture from NeoGaf