The GPU core clock has been increased, and Microsoft will likely bring back Family Sharing.
Over the weekend, rumors surfaced that the final version of Microsoft's Xbox One will have different hardware specs than what was shown during E3 2013. The console will supposedly see an increase in Radeon GPU core clock speed and installed RAM, bumping the amount up to 12 GB from 8 GB. This latter rumor has since been dismissed by sources close to the console development, reporting that the models are still locked at the lower amount (dev kits have 12 GB).
"The way the RAM is set out in the machine, Microsoft realized they could be more efficient in its use without sacrificing the amount set aside for OS operation. They immediately reacted," an unnamed source told The Examiner. "Physical RAM won't be upped in time for November release as it was too late even during initial reveal, but developers are saying, in terms of efficiency of the RAM and the reported yield problems, Microsoft have made some snappy breakthroughs."
But even if Microsoft decided to cram 12 GB of RAM into the console, it wouldn't be beneficial to current projects, as developers have been creating games and applications based on the current list of specs. However the increase would help the development of games 2014 and beyond "when taking second screen gaming into consideration".
Respawn Entertainment may have been the developer lobbying the push for more RAM in the Xbox One. The studio supposedly said the 5 GB of GDDR3 RAM set aside for gaming was already causing issues in its upcoming blockbuster title Titanfall, but the console's cloud computing aspect makes up for that.
As for the GPU core clock increase, the source said it was in direct response to the PlayStation 4. In fact, it was planned long before the console was revealed in May, as the Xbox One team has been "reacting to Sony ever since the first leaks of both systems." News of the GPU clock bump has been revealed only to first parties who in turn "actively spread disinformation to 3rd parties just before reveal to prevent leaks."
Sources told The Examiner that Microsoft is asking for developer feedback on changes they would want to see on the hardware level. Meanwhile, Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten hinted to IGN that the company may bring back a few features that were cut over the whole DRM controversy. The interview arrives after fans launched a petition asking Microsoft to reverse their Xbox One policies.
"This was to be the future of entertainment," the petition says. "A new wave of gaming where you could buy games digitally, then trade, share or sell those digital licenses. Essentially, it was Steam for Xbox. But consumers were uninformed, and railed against it, and it was taken away because Sony took advantage of consumers' uncertainty. We want this back. It can't be all or nothing, there must be a compromise."
Whitten admitted that Microsoft needs to talk more, to get people to understand what the Xbox One is. "The thing that’s really gratifying is that people are excited about the types of features that are possible, and it’s sort of shame on us that we haven’t done as good of a job as we can to make people feel like that’s where we’re headed," he said.
When asked about bringing the Family Sharing feature back to Xbox One, he said that if it's something that people are really excited about and want, then Microsoft will see to it that it finds the right way to bring the feature back.
"We believe really strongly in how you build a great experience on Xbox One for me as an individual, but also for my family," he said. "Family Sharing is a great example of how you do that with content. I think you’re going to see us, both with examples like that and with other things, keep pushing on how that’s something great."