Many years ago (in 2015), I told you about my Xbox 360 development kit, based on a Power Mac G5. And I finally managed to make it work.
Let’s summarize the story. We are in 2003 and Microsoft plans to release its Xbox 360 console in 2005. It is based on a new PowerPC processor (the Xenon, derived from the Cell but that’s another story) and an AMD graphics card. And initially, to provide test machines to the developers, Microsoft has an issue: the processor does not exist yet. The solution, quite pragmatic, to solve the problem while waiting for the first prototypes of consoles consists in using the most common mainstream PowerPC platform: a Macintosh.
These PowerMac G5s used by Microsoft for Xbos 360 development couldn’t really be used for anything but running Mac OS X, since the Xbox 360 development software and operating system had all been wiped. As luck would have it, though, this software was released on the internet last year, including the Xenon OS. It also includes an early version of the Xbox 360 dashboard.
An absolutely fascinating piece of history.
If these CPUs interest anyone out there, there’s a great book _The Race for a New Game Machine_ about the development of the PowerPC chips used in box the Xbox 360 and PS3. It’s a fantastic inside story from the IBM chip design group who did both CPUs. It’s inspired by the classic book _Soul of a New Machine_ and it shows in the quality of the storytelling.
Do recent Xbox 360 games/apps still use Power Mac G5s as the dev kit or does MS use modified consoles instead? Speaking as some who still uses an Xbox 360.