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XBox (Games) Businesses

Xbox 2 to Release in Fall of This Year 765

Posted by Zonk
from the that-was-quick dept.
GamesIndustry.biz has the news that the Xbox 2 will be launched sometime in late fall of this year. With EA games already working on Xbox 2 titles and rumors of a name for the console in circulation, it looks like the first of the next-gen consoles will be here soon. From the article: "Many have expressed concern that Microsoft is forcing the next generation of console hardware too early, and that the current generation still has much to achieve. The most famous example of this came from then Nintendo of Europe MD David Gosen speaking at an ELSPA summit in London last October, where he lambasted Microsoft for pushing a next generation machine to market in 2005, and even went so far as to question Microsoft's motivation as profit." Additionally, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has Balmer saying that they will "blow by Sony" with their next console.
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Xbox 2 to Release in Fall of This Year

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  • Um, duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VE3ECM (818278) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:06PM (#11669492)
    "...and even went so far as to question Microsoft's motivation as profit.

    Uh, hello? What other motivation does a for-profit business ultimately have?

    Stupidest. Comment. Ever.

    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by oGMo (379) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:09PM (#11669527)
      Additionally, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has Balmer saying that they will "blow by Sony" with their next console.

      Gotta love Microsoft. Looks like they're really pushing for success with this one by following in the footsteps of Sega.

      Go Xboxcast.

      • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rico_Suave (147634) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:12PM (#11669572)
        Except Microsoft has far more money than Sega. Sony won't be able to bury them with "Emotion Engine 65 bazillion polygon" bullshit marketing they way they did with Sega.
        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ZephyrXero (750822) <zephyrxeroNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:22PM (#11669715) Homepage Journal
          I still to this day find Dreamcast's hardware to be superior to the PS2.
        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by oGMo (379)

          These two are non-sequitur. I don't disagree with your first point; Microsoft won't give up that easy. They're too prideful.

          But money doesn't buy a successful console. Sony already has the hype engine going strong: multiple super multi-core ultra-fast CPUs in the PS3! Whether this lives up to claims or not, hype is hype. Sony has a lot of things going for them; 2 successful consoles, lots of game houses, features (backward compatibility etc.), and this time they're trying to add hardware superiority

        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:3, Funny)

          by identity0 (77976)
          Except Microsoft has far more money than Sega. Sony won't be able to bury them with "Emotion Engine 65 bazillion polygon" bullshit marketing they way they did with Sega.

          Well, a geek can dream, can't he? Maybe if we pray *really* hard...
        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Yakko (4996)
          That doesn't really matter, as I for one don't look forward to having only sports games and FPSs available, so I'll buy the other guys' systems.

          It's all about the games, most of which, unfortunately, suck more than they don't.
      • I totally thought "Sega" when I read this article. They are going to market real early with their console and a lot of people will be like "Let's wait for PS3." If Sony can bring the PS3 onto the market on schedule, it could be real bad for Microsoft. The way I see it, Sony doesn't even have to beat MS to market, they just can't afford to not meet their announced schedule.

        Oh, and if MS is late with the XBox 2, that could hurt them I think. I think a lot of the console market has to do with number of titles
    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SteveX (5640) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:10PM (#11669545) Homepage
      I think the quote (although badly written) was saying that Nintendo was speculating that their motivation might be something other than profit.

      Although whatever their motivation (beating the other guys to market, driving the competition out of business, etc), it ultimately comes down to profit.
      • Re:Um, duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ridgelift (228977) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:42PM (#11669972)
        Well if you guys would read the article, you'd see the parent comment was correct:

        "..lambasted Microsoft for pushing a next generation machine to market in 2005, and even went so far as to question Microsoft's motivation as profit.
        "In every cycle, some manufacturer not profiting from the current cycle is eager to kick-start the next one," he said at the time."


        Yep. Stupidest. Comment. Ever.

        Although I've never been a fan of Microsoft, even I hope they do well in the console market. It means cheap hardware for me to hack, and I don't care if it comes from Sony, Microsoft or maybe McDonalds someday.
      • Re:Um, duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Renaissance 2K (773059) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:57PM (#11670144)

        Post people in the industry recognize the three directions that the three main console producers seem to be pushing.

        Nintendo is out to take gaming in new directions, changing the way people interact with their games and reaching out to a larger user base. Hence, the DS with its dual screens, the GBA with its universal audience, and the revolutionary controllers it seems to introduce with every console generation.

        Sony wants game console synonymous with entertainments systems, and wants every high-end home theater system hooked up with a PlayStation. If you need proof of this, just look at the PSX (the media center, not the original PlayStation that often used those initials as a code name).

        Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to have entered the gaming industry because they recognized it as a profitable venture. Without turning this into a flame war, just sit the PS2, the Cube, and the Xbox side-by-side. The PS2 is a sleek, slim, well-designed piece of electronics. The Gamecube is a tiny, uninvasive "toy" that screames accessibility.

        The Xbox is a fridge.

        Honestly, the "ideals" behind the Xbox are already obsolete. In the days of Media Center PC's, a game console based on PC hardware and running Windows CE is no longer impressive. Xbox Next seems to be sidestepping the "budget PC" architecture, with all this hooplah over Cell processors and next-generation gaming. But still... Microsoft's mission statement remains unchanged, and their values are equally static.

        If they do release it in 2005, they have less than 10 months to come up with a Halo-calibre killer app, or they're going to be laughed out of the industry.

        First does not always equal success. Dreamcast, anyone?

        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Have Blue (616) on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:28PM (#11670555) Homepage
          All the companies are looking for profit- you've just listed 2 out of the 3 methods they are using to obtain this. Microsoft's "hook" is online play- the console was designed around Live from the start, with the hard disk and the built-in Ethernet port and the headset slot (does anyone really use memory cards with Xboxes?) on the controllers. There's a very good chance Xbox 2 will have digital media and possibly PVR functionality as well, to play for the same "home media" market as Sony is. Nintendo is still content to make devices that play games and nothing else.
        • Killer App is Halo 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Halcyon-X (217968)
          MS claimed Halo 2 was programmed with the XBox 2 in mind [teamxbox.com], and that the true Halo 2 experience will be on the XBox 2. So there you have it, assuming you want to buy and play that game all over again and you want to buy the XBox 2 to do it.
    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MasterOfUniverse (812371) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:13PM (#11669592)
      I think what he meant is that thier motivation by releasing xbox 2 early might not be profit, but to get more marketshare at loss. Kinda like how they are doing with xbox1. Ofcourse thier long term goal is profit, but he is talking about short term goal of starting the next gen so early.
    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Detritus (11846) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:15PM (#11669612) Homepage
      Power and control. Microsoft has shown that it is willing to give up short-term profits in order to dominate a market. They only start turning the screws after the competition has been destroyed.
      • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 8tim8 (623968) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:45PM (#11670004) Journal
        Power and control. Microsoft has shown that it is willing to give up short-term profits in order to dominate a market. They only start turning the screws after the competition has been destroyed.

        I agree with you, but I don't think that will work so well in the console market. Even if they deliver backwards compatibility in their next gen console, the playing field is much more open than in the OS market. Even if they win with this next round of consoles and start screwing everyone (including 3rd party devs) over, with the following gen Sony (and I guarantee you Sony will still be around) can appeal to those same 3rd party devs and have a good shot.

        Don't forget, unlike with Windows OS, every new generation requires the customer buy a completely new set of hardware, and unless they deliver backwards compatibility there's not that much reason for a customer to stick with the XBox unless the customer actually likes the product. MS won't have the lock-in they have in the OS market.

        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kisrael (134664) *
          Don't forget, unlike with Windows OS, every new generation requires the customer buy a completely new set of hardware,
          Technically true, and there's a certain % of the market who will get a new OS and slap it on old hardware, but for the most part, people buy the OS w/ their machine and never upgrade.
          and unless they deliver backwards compatibility there's not that much reason for a customer to stick with the XBox unless the customer actually likes the product. MS won't have the lock-in they have in the OS
    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DrWho520 (655973) on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:23PM (#11670487) Journal
      You may think it is stupid, but as a gamer and a consumer, I like to think the company making my game system and writing my games is in it for more than just profit. Yes, I know it is naive, but for the sake of the exercise, bear with me.

      Microsoft is a software company looking to create marketshare in a new venue. They are also trying to set up a trojan horse for their MCE initiative.

      Sony is a hardware company that is producing cheap razors so they can sell the hell out of the blades. The blades being games, memory sticks and new media formats. Where someone may feel like a brick, Sony is the proverbial wall. Oh yeah, do not forget the media center addition of PS2 (was it PStwo?)

      Nintendo, on the other hand, has always professed themselves a gaming company who builds hardware and writes software with the express goal of gaming. This comment from a Nintendo Exec is far from stupid. It is actually very astute. It simultaneously communicates their coporate stance and blasts a competitor for engaging in practices that are harmful to the industry. Quite elegant, actually. Of course, I am probably a fan boy for saying that.

      The point is, Nintendo has a niche market carved out, and to be in that niche, they have to appear as the gaming company who is in it for the gamers. They are the Apple of the gaming environment. Of course, DS is a trojan horse for Revolution if you believe Reggie Fils-Aime-Whatever-His-Name-Is-With-A-Hyphen and others have been saying. That and the licensing of PalmOS present some inplication for the DS that make things...interesting. But that is my time!
    • Personally (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:54PM (#11670895) Homepage
      I'd tend to suspect-- and if this news is true suspect even more-- Microsoft's goal with the XBox2 very much isn't profit. I mean, the "maybe it's profit" bit in the article is still a stupid comment, you're right. But I think the comment's wrong.

      The thing is Microsoft seems very willing to do things for motivations other than profit. All of Microsoft's divisions except Server, OS and Office are consistent and heavy money losers. The XBox has been no exception. Microsoft doesn't really seem to ever show signs of minding this. If it's for purposes of expansion, no amount of money wasted seems to be too great.

      Now, mind you, Microsoft insists they do very much intend to make a profit on the XBox 2. They claim this has been the goal all along, lose money on the XBox, make it back on the XBox2. But as I said, I'd question this. Here's why.

      The chief reason the XBox has been such a money loser seems to be the cost of the console. Microsoft went out and bought a bunch of relatively expensive commodity PC components from off-the-shelf companies to build the XBox from, and the result seems to have been a console so expensive to manufacture that no realistic amount of game license sales that a single consumer might generate could recoup the loss from selling them that XBox. All signs are Microsoft has learned at least some lesson from the XBox that they will be applying on the XBox 2. Leaked information so far indicates that Microsoft has dropped the hard drive and will be contracting to more traditional video game console contractors-- like IBM-- rather than trying to buy PC components (important because IBM, since they're geared for contracting, will be able to lower their prices over time, whereas PC vendors, since they're geared for bulk, if anything raise prices over time-- because who, for example, makes 8GB hard drives anymore?). This by itself would indicate Microsoft is finally in a position to start making money-- though they'd have to make an awful lot to recoup the billions in losses from the XBox 1-- since they seem to be taking steps to manufacture a console that isn't sold at a large loss.

      But I think Microsoft has given indication they aren't going to be taking advantage of that position. The problem is the release date. Microsoft has been very explicit that they intend to beat the PS3 and N5 to market-- and if this article is right, they'll be beating it to market by a LOT. But they probably realize at some level that whether they do that or not, they're going to have to retain the technical lead. Microsoft's entire strategy this generation has been based almost entirely on having the best hardware and attracting developers and users through that. They can't change strategies that quickly; surrendering the technical lead to Sony means potentially surrendering a huge chunk of their fanbase from this generation at the same time, if Sony shows even a hint of competence in marketing. This presents a problem. With the XBox, Microsoft had the advantage of two years to tinker with their hardware and let technology improve after the PS2 was released. With the XBox 2, Microsoft will be giving (or expect to be giving) Sony as much of an extra year to prepare their console, plus they'll have to overcome Sony's crazy vector processing ways (which were enough the PS2 was able to almost keep pace with the XBox and Gamecube when programmed by experts, despite being two years older). This would mean that they would have to design the box to be [i]so[/i] powerful that PPC or no, Hard drive or no, it's going to be sold at a loss.

      If I'm right about this, and Microsoft does continue selling the XBox 2 at a loss anywhere near the scale of the XBox-- this seems to mean Microsoft simply doesn't, and never has, cared about profit with the XBox, their "it'll make money eventually" profits aside. Microsoft can sell at some loss and still make a profit, of course, technically, maybe, but the chances of this are so shaky it shows profit isn't actually a goal-- just a nice
  • Dreamcast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:07PM (#11669493) Homepage Journal
    Remeber when Sega thought it would be a good idea to get a head start on the next-gen console race?

    Wanna bet that Sony will once again win with their incredible "wait until we have a good machine" plan?
    • The Xbox 2 is going to be a good system though. Microsoft is going to implement some of their new technology in it, just like they did when they came out with the original Xbox. Keep in mind, these are the guys that came out with the whole .NET framework and created the world's most-used operating system. I see nothing but good things ahead.
      • Re:Dreamcast (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:24PM (#11669732) Homepage Journal
        The Xbox 2 is going to be a good system though.

        The Dreamcast wasn't a bad system. But Sony then released a better system: backwards compatible, better controllers, plays DVDs, etc.

        1. Wait and see what the competition releases.
        2. One-up them.
        3. Profit!

        Microsoft attempted that strategy the first time around, but focused on system stats as their definition of "better". Their original controller was a nightmare (and how long did they deny it? Now it's a collector's item, despite their repeated claims that it was perfect), you had to pay extra to unlock the built-in features (Sony did that too, but quickly realised the error of their ways, and by the time of the north american launch, DVD playing was standard out of the box).

        Of the current gen, none are utter crap. The Xbox does have slightly better graphics, if you're looking real close, and the Cube has a bunch of lil' gems of games. But since they're in a pissing contest, I think Sony's strategy will get them ahead again.

        On the whole, aside from the backroom exclusivity deals, the console wars are good for us gamers, they're trying damn hard to get the best hardware they can, and so devellopers get a good base on which to devellop (hopefully) good games.
        • Re:Dreamcast (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ivan256 (17499) * on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:01PM (#11670202)
          ...the console wars are good for us gamers...

          Yes, for now.

          If, and let's hope that's a big if... If Microsoft wins and ends up with vast marketshare compared to it's competitors (like Sony has now), you'll see their real strategy kick in. Do you really want Microsoft software/hardware/formats/DRM as the technology interface between you and content providers? Do you want the console market to stagnate like the office application/web browser/operating system market has since they started dominating those markets?

          Given Microsoft's history with how they've used a dominant market position in the past, there won't be an Xbox2 connected to my television no matter how good it is, lest we end up with a decade of video game technology stagnation.
        • Re:Dreamcast (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Politburo (640618)
          better controllers

          Putting aside the fact that "better controllers" is a subjective item...

          The DC controller is vastly superior to the PS. Triggers that are actually triggers are your friend. Putting analog functionality into a button.. did anyone play test this 'feature'? It's fucking maddening. The PS controller is a bit small for me, and since the analog sticks were hacked on, they are obviously mis-placed. I was also never able to get the 'feel' of the sticks. I can move to the extremes without proble
    • I'm still bitter about this, and refuse to buy any sony gaming product.
    • Re:Dreamcast (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grazzy (56382) <grazzy@@@quake...swe...net> on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:16PM (#11669628) Homepage Journal
      With some diffrences. MS has billions of money to dump into development of games, they can easily use their resources to fund a couple of years loss on the console - which Sega couldn't.

      When the PS3 arrives 1 year later, the Xbox 2 will be (much?) cheaper, have a nice line of games, a larger base of players etc. Sure, the PS3 will have slightly better specs, but what will you pick when you're presented with the choice between a 699 machine and a 349 machine? Where everything else (eventually) points to the 349-machine..

      • Re:Dreamcast (Score:5, Interesting)

        by shoptroll (544006) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:24PM (#11669736)
        I have never seen a $350+ machine make it in this market.

        I don't care how good Sony is, $700 price tag for a machine is suicide... Neo Geo anyone? I don't think your scenario is going to be the case...

        Your scenario also presumes that XBox 2 is going to have a nice line of games... In order for that to work, M$ needs to squeeze Halo 3 and Halo 4 out of Bungie within a year in order to see any success.

        Sorry, but when a single title causes your system to significantly increase profits, it really makes me wonder what the system is really being propped up on. Knock Halo out of the equation and honestly, what is XBox left with?
      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:28PM (#11669803) Homepage Journal
        When the PS3 arrives 1 year later, the Xbox 2 will be (much?) cheaper, have a nice line of games, a larger base of players etc. Sure, the PS3 will have slightly better specs, but what will you pick when you're presented with the choice between a 699 machine and a 349 machine? Where everything else (eventually) points to the 349-machine..

        Replace "PS3" with "PS2" and "Xbox2" with "Dreamcast", and we're 5 years all over again.

        The DC was cheaper, had a bigger base of games, and yet, here we are, a few years later, and Sega's hardware division is history. Not that MS would ever stop, but their strategy has been tried before, and I don't think the result will be any different.
    • Re:Dreamcast (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The-Bus (138060) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:40PM (#11669954)
      Well, Sega had some major issues with the Dreamcast. (The "Edge" here is Xbox vs. PS3).

      First off, it was NOT a DVD player. The PS2 arrived at a critical time where a lot of younger folk still had not had a DVD player and you couldn't get many DVD players under the $100-150 range. So, presto, you buy a $249 console (or whatever it was), and now you've got a DVD player as well. Edge: Slightly Sony. The PS2 might have next-gen DVD media, but who has the hardware to support it? Unless next-gen displays come down to earth levels ($1,000-$4,000) no one will care to adopt this. See, for example, SACD.

      Second, by the time the Dreamcast was out in the US, the PS2 was only a month or two away from being released in Japan. Had Sega really hit the market a year before, they could've gobbled up a lot of market share from the aging, ailing N64 and PS1. But when "9-9-99" hit everyone had seen the PS2 videos and knew what was around the corner. Edge: Unknown. This all has to do with expectations. In 1999, everyone knew the PS2 would be insane. Will the PS3 be "insane" compared to the Xbox 2? We'll know this year.

      Third, the Dreamcast had no backwards compatibility (to what? the Sega CD?). The PS2 did, so automatically you had a very nice, large game library to play with. Edge: Unknown. Sony, I assume, will have PS1 and PS2 compatability in the PS3. The jury is still out on Xbox 2 having backwards compatibility.

      Fourth, EA did not have EA Sports on the Dreamcast. You couldn't play Madden or NBA Live. Now, for most people here, these are non-titles. But a very very large amount of people play these, and face it, Sega didn't have it. If EA continues with Microsoft, the Xbox 2 will have a market advantage come this fall. If you want to play the cool sports games, you need to get the Xbox 2, or settle with the slower version on the PS2. Edge: Microsoft.

      I don't think it's plausible that Sony will go the way of Nintendo or Sega. At the same time, I can't see Microsoft getting out of the home gaming market. What IS interesting is the issue of piracy. It greatly affected the Dreamcast and the Xbox, neither did well. But (until recently), that was not the case with the PS2, nor the case with Gamecube. So it doesn't seem to be a primary effect on market position.

      I think it is realistic to say that Nintendo will NOT be getting the top spot and will be a No. 2 or No. 3 competitor.

      So, no, I would not place any bets on Sony being guaranteed to win. I'm not biased either, I have both systems (and got them both well after release).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft blow? That's nothing new.
  • XBox 2 specs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BobWeiner (83404) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:08PM (#11669514) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know what the specs are on the upcoming XBox 2? Any truth to the rumor that it will employ G5 processors?

    • PowerPC 970MX (Score:5, Informative)

      by Seoulstriker (748895) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:11PM (#11669565)
      Derivatives of the PowerPC 970 are being used in the Xbox Next and Project Revolution, Nintendo's successor to the GameCube. A sister processor will also be in Sony's PlayStation 3 system. IBM is currently developing the 970MP, which is due out in the 3rd quarter of 2005, and is code-named "Antares". The PowerPC 970MP is said to be a dual-core processor that can scale up to 3.5GHz. This chip should start at 90nm and then graduate to the 65nm process.
      • Re:PowerPC 970MX (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alatesystems (51331) <(moc.daotgniklat) (ta) (sirhc)> on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:27PM (#11669783) Homepage Journal
        However, the Nintendo Revolution will not have DirectX, unless something has changed that I didn't know about. The X in Xbox came from DirectX, the abstraction language that almost all windows game programmers use(with the exception of games from id that use OpenGL).

        The whole point behind the xbox was for it to be a "console for the developers". It lets people who are used to writing PC games, which includes most studios, to begin writing games immediately for a new console with a minimal learning curve.

        From what I understand, the PS2 is INSANELY hard to write software for, and I imagine the gamecube and the forthcoming revolution are/will be the same.

        Microsoft really has done a good thing for once by making a device that just plays games and basing it off of a common abstraction layer.

        With all that said, if it isn't compatible with my current games, I'm definitely going to hold off buying it until I see what the cell processor infrastructure has to offer. Why buy a console that can't play all my games until I can compare the Xbox Next, the PS3, and the Nintendo Revolution.
        • Re:PowerPC 970MX (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kagato (116051) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:59PM (#11670168)
          DirectX is a factor, but it's not as clear cut as you think. The next generation of consoles will gets it's speed from having multiple processors. This is because we've essentially hit the wall for processor speed. If we'd kept pace with the jumps in CPU speeds we had in the 90's we'd be up to a 8-10Ghz CPU by now.

          That being said, directX is not going to address the fact that writing code that actually takes advantage of the multiple CPU's is not easy. Even seasoned developers find this kind of programming hard. You have to deal with a whole range of bugs that aren't a factor with single CPU aware programs. This is has been covered by slashdot a number of times. As the common PC moves towards SMP developers (Java, C++, .Net, etc.) will have to take a hard look at how they are doing things.

          While it is true, the XBox is easier to program than Playstation, it should be noted that the success of the Playstation was because Sony provided a well crafted SDK and development platform. It was reported that the Playstation was much easier to write for compared to Nintendo and Sega at the time.

          To sum up, your plan of waiting and seeing is a good idea. And I think it's the plan that Sony is counting on.
  • Blow by Sony? Hahaha (Score:3, Informative)

    by Xoknit (181837) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:08PM (#11669519)
    The PS3, according to official statements, will have as much PPC cores as the XBox2.. But will also have 32 SIMD cores.

    Come on Steve who are you kidding. Even a monkey can see that you will be pwned.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:09PM (#11669532)
    Okay so far:

    Halo 2 released
    Doom 3 released
    Red Sox win World Series
    Hurd reaches milestone
    Now, Xbox2 releasing in November

    Has global warming started to cool down hell already?

  • Not too Early? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KrackHouse (628313)
    If the rumors are true and we've reached the point of diminishing returns as far as better graphics are concerned then maybe MS is making a smart move here. Xbox 2 graphics are going to be fast enough to support High-def resolutions (1920x1080 & 1280X720) so it should be fairly future proof.

    At this point, if the PS3 is late and/or the Cell chip is hard to write fast code for then the MS early mover advantage could be really bad news for Sony. Of course I think Open Source games will be the kill
    • Re:Not too Early? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adam31 (817930)
      At this point, if the PS3 is late and/or the Cell chip is hard to write fast code for then the MS early mover advantage could be really bad news for Sony.

      The problem with the 'early mover advantage' is that it really only applies to games, not consoles. The real motivation for being an early adopter to a next-gen console is to play the sickest game 3v4R.

      But the comments from EA, that "next generation Xbox titles would ship alongside current generation offerings later this year" implies that whatever gam

  • by eggoeater (704775) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:12PM (#11669571) Journal
    YBox
  • by shoptroll (544006) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:12PM (#11669574)
    Well... The PS2 is starting to show its age, but its still not dead yet, with companies still putting titles on the market for it.

    Gamecube hasn't even hit a ripe age yet.

    Let's all remember that the reason M$ is really putting a new console out is to sweep under the rug the original Xbox's poor performance in the areana.

    In all honesty, Sony can wait a while to get the PS3 out. Which it looks like they're planning on doing.

    Nintendo hasn't said anything, but I'm going to guess they'll wait a little longer as well.

    Anyone care to remind Redmond of the Tortoise vs. the Hare story?
    • Xbox exceeded in many ways where many others have failed.

      Show me this "poor performance" you speak of and then maybe i'll listen to you.

    • What I am curious about is whether the XBox 2 will have backward compatibility. Sony has guaranteed backward compatibility in the PS3 all the way back to the PS1. Nintendo initially promised backward compatibility in their next console, though they seem to be retreating on this promise lately. Microsoft meanwhile has not said anything solid but has publicly downplayed the importance of backward compatibility in the XBox 2 when it has come up. Plus what we know about the hardware of each console means it wou
  • by goombah99 (560566)
    So it looks like Macintosh is going to be the premier game computer in the future. LAready we are seeing that when games are optimized for ppc they beat the best intel boxes. The problem is not paltform performance but optimzation of ppc and availability of the games in ppc format.

    xbox is going to solve both of those. Of course they will still need grpahics card optimization and that will be different on Xbox and Macintosh. But clearly the largest obstacles to mac dominance of the gaming world are be

    • here's a link [barefeats.com]to a site reviewing mac verus PC perfomrance on the latest machines. They find that on games optimized for PPC the PPC is better but without optimization the PPC is about half as fast as the best Athalon system available.

      http://www.barefeats.com/mac2pc.html

    • by j-turkey (187775) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:57PM (#11670148) Homepage
      So it looks like Macintosh is going to be the premier game computer in the future...But clearly the largest obstacles to mac dominance of the gaming world are being removed...

      This may be true in a Macintosh fan's wettest dreams. Superior hardware has almost nothing to do with viability as a gaming platform. It's all about market share. Go back to 1986, when the Amiga was the big thing. It had graphic and sound capability beyond any other home PC for it's time. It was not, however, the premier gaming platform becuase there simply wasn't enough market share for every game developer to start making Amiga games. 90% of the games on the shelf were for "MS-DOS". It will take far more than the Xbox's use of PPC chips for the Mac to be a viable gaming platform for any but the most successful and widely distributed games (let alone a dominant gaming platform).

      Furthermore, the fact that the xbox ran on wintel hardware didn't mean that the xbox games were easily portable. They ran on a special version of DirectX that was incompatible with Windows DirectX. Games like Halo, which were ported to Windows were ported by third parties, and the backend was a ground-up port. It wasn't just a simple recompile.

      The marketshare dictates other issues as well. For example, most peripherals are developed with Wintel in mind (not because Wintel is a technically better or worse platform...it has nothing to do with that -- it's all market share). So when nVidia or ATI crank out their latest graphics card, they have Wintel in mind. The Mac is sort of an afterthought and it tends to show in pricing. Apple went the extra mile by using open standards for their hardware, but you're still paying a premium for Macintosh verisons of Wintel hardware. It's not because they require many hardware tweeks to work -- the hardware is essentially identical. It's becuase the company has to expend the same amount on driver development and support, and the returns are limited. They'd rather stay competitive in the larger market (Wintel) than have to make the Wintel users subsidize the Mac development and support -- hence the premium on Mac graphics cards.

      If you're buying a PC and honestly intend to use it with gaming in mind -- the Macintosh is probably the wrong PC for you. Forget about your allegiances for a second and just look at the software that's out there. I had to face this same issue when I finally ditched my Amiga in 1996. Maybe in 10 years, things could change, but buying a Mac today with the thought-in-mind that it's going to be a dominant (or even viable) gaming platform within its lifetime does not seem realistic to me. I strongly disagree with your statement that this removes the largest obstacle -- or really had anything to do with why Macintoshes aren't dominant gaming platforms.

    • by Creepy (93888)
      Nah - you've got some key issues missing - my guess is that Microsoft [will/has] port[ed] DirectX to PPC, but they would NEVER release it on mac, and they also probably ported Windows CE to it, so you'd have an entirely different set of APIs and graphics calls. They may have taking advantage of the PPC's ability to work in either little or big endian modes (though only in some models - the 970 doesn't, but Sony's Cell, which is supposed to be similar to the one MS uses, does). Since all the APIs are still
  • Ballmer quote:
    "The graphics, what it can do, the way things look, huge innovation... What is 'Halo 2?' It's the greatest video game ever written."

    "...And furthermore, we fully expect Halo 3 to be the most innovative game ever written!"

  • Ballmer bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:14PM (#11669604) Homepage Journal
    Why do people buy one game console over another? As we say around here, 'Duh, it's the games.' ... Partly they're great games because they have great graphics, they have great processing, they have great this, they've got great that, but it's about getting great games. [...] What is 'Halo 2?' It's the greatest video game ever written.

    I'm sorry, no.
    Graphics are nice, but gameplay is what counts. And Halo 2 is just another multiplayer FPS.

    I still replay Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphoy of the Night about once a year, and every few months I get an urge to replay Rez intensly for a couple of weeks.
    The graphics were an important part of the initial experience, but they are just eye candy, and they get old fast. Why would I still play old games when the new ones have the better graphics? Gameplay? That's right.
    • by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:46PM (#11670788)
      What is 'Halo 2?' It's the greatest video game ever written.

      Sam and Max called, Mr. Ballmer, and the little bunny said to go fuck yourself.

    • Re:Ballmer bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pilkul (667659) on Monday February 14, 2005 @04:04PM (#11671010)
      But gameplay-wise, Rez is just a simple on-rails shooter, and its delayed targeting system is IMHO even a step backwards from traditional instant shooting. Time Crisis 2 and the original SNES Starfox are superior to Rez, gameplay-wise. The only reason to play Rez is for the visuals and sound effects.

      And try to imagine Castlevania: SOTN without the wonderful flowing sprite artwork of Alucard. Imagine if he was just a colored square. Would the game really be as enjoyable?

      This is not to bash Rez and SOTN; they are very fine games that achieve what they're trying to do. What I'm saying is that a game is an organic experience, and you can't isolate out one element like "gameplay" and say that's all that matters. You're right that graphics for the sake of bland "realism" (like in too many FPSes) are usually not worthwhile; but visuals that are fresh, original and inspiring (like those of Rez) and that work together with the gameplay to create an atmosphere (like SOTN) can be what makes a game worth playing.

  • by Joshua53077 (849570) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:17PM (#11669634)
    When the original Xbox came out, I rushed out to buy it. Unfortunatley, my console had a lot of quality control problems including scratching my games and then refusing to play them. I had heard a number of reports of similar problems but when I called tech support, they would not admit that there were design defects or manufacturing defects. They did fix it but it was an annoying ordeal that I should not have gone through (I was without the console for quite some time). Hopefully this time, they have all the bugs worked out.
  • by deft (253558) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:17PM (#11669643) Homepage
    Who here cares if the last thing can still be used? We yearn for the next graphics card when we know damn well the last one we had will probably be just fine... because we love the cutting edge stuff. Thats part of being a tech geek.

    So now someone wants to put out something better, and we're all supposed to say no! Too early.... let me play with this one longer?

    Bah, those who want to play with PS2 and XBox can do so, but I'm going to take a bet that if this is that much better, people will buy it...if not, it will die.

    But retraining new tech for the sake of keeping old tech around? Thats counter-slashdot... and the same argument applies if it was Sony or Microsoft, although I'd also sneak a side bet in that if it was Sony, it would be a good thing... but its Microsoft, and people love to hate them.
  • Did previous consoles use a PPC architecture? Why are the XB2 and PS3 using them?
  • It's understandable for MS to want to transition to a new console quickly, with the success of Halo 2 and the Xbox currently having quite a "cool" image it's probably the best time to do it. And at the same time they can get rid of the costly hardware they make a loss on and the piracy issue. Still at least removing the hard drive that makes it harder for Tecmo to start suing its fans for enjoying modding their games...

    I think Nintendo especially have a lot to offer on the GameCube this year, with RE4, Zel
  • by Surye (580125)
    A bit off topic... but PPC? I keep hearing they'll be using a PPC arch. Correct me if I'm wrong, but 1) Microsoft is not experienced with the PPC arch (okay, MS Works for Mac does not count, nor IE, I mean on the whole), nor is the majority of the gaming industry. Do we really need a waiting period for everyone to brush up on PPC? And how is this in MS's best interest as ease of porting to _their_ operating system becomes further difficult.
    • Re:PPC? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by soft_guy (534437)
      How about NT 4.x for PowerPC?

      Also, there is this new thing called a compiler. It lets you write computer code in a "high level language" and then translates it for you into assembly language for whatever chip you are targetting.

  • by bizitch (546406) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:26PM (#11669763) Homepage
    Ok - the Xbox2 is out in November - Does that mean modchips and hacks in time for Christmas?!?!
  • by sterno (16320) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:30PM (#11669822) Homepage
    I think it was the head of Nintendo that pointed this out, but when it comes to consoles, it's really about the games. If the next incarnation of GTA runs on a PS3, then a PS3 is what I will own. I don't particularly like Halo, because I find shooters work much better on PC's. So what's to draw me to their system?

    Think of it this way: what can the XBox 2 possibly offer me that's new? Sure they can up the graphics performance, hard drive space, etc, but it's really just making it an evolutionary step better than the current system. Furthermore, if raw performance was a big deal, they'd already dominate the market because the XBox outperforms and has more features than the PS2. Hell, even for existing XBox owners the decision will require some thought seeing as old games won't play on the new system (as far as I know).

    On the other hand, the PS3 will be backward compatible, add significant processing power, and quite likely add some new features like having a hard drive and output for HD. Those features, of course, already exist on an XBox, but this means people fixated on hardware performance should be turning to PS3 as the better system. So barring some major manufacturing glitches, delays, etc, I see no reason to think the PS3 will be losing market share to the XBox 2.

  • by Zemrec (158984) on Monday February 14, 2005 @02:46PM (#11670022)
    Am I the only one rolling eyes over this? I just can't get excited about new consoles. I currently own all the current consoles, and feel guilty as I hardly use them now.

    About the only things that could seem like a major upgrade to me would be improved resolution by requiring an HDTV (not likely to happen), and cheap but effective VR gear like in Sci-Fi (really not likely to happen anytime soon.)

    I mean, come on, all the current game systems have many of the same games on them now with little to distinguish them visually and aurally.

    Same goes for PC games, really. All FPSers follow the exact same formula, and dispite all the graphical glory possible with Geforce 6800 Ultras and Athlon64 FXs and their ilk, they all boil down to trying to imagine yourself in a virtual world when all you see and experience is coming from the monitor in front of you and the speakers nearby.

    Why isn't there true VR yet? A FPSer that utilized immersive, full-body experience would be amazing!

    Instead, we just get new super-marketed hype machines that push more polygons than the last models so the eye-candy is sweeter, but otherwise they're the same old thing all over.

    I will admit I enjoy many of the games available for the current systems and they weren't possible before them, but I think the real next generation should be a VR gaming system.

    (Yes I know the Virtual-Boy was a flop, but that was Nintendo's mistake in releasing "VR" too early on too inadaquate hardware)
  • by superultra (670002) on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:13PM (#11670360) Homepage
    I assmaned - er, assistant managed - at a major EB during the launch of the Dreamcast, the PS2, the Xbox, and the Gamecube. That means that, at least in the geographical area of our store, I knew more about the people buying these systems than Ballmer, the EB President, or any of Sony's focus groups.

    It's not all about the games. The Playstation2 launched with zero great games and I do mean zero. You have no idea how many times gamers would walk in our store during the first 3-5 months after the PS2 launch and just stare at the PS2 wall blankly, as if a great game would suddenly materialize on the shelf before their very eyes. SSX did ok, and so did Madden. But otherwise, the launch was dismal. It was such a game wasteland for the PS2 that people thought Onimusha was the best game since Super Mario. To make it worse, there was not only a shortage of systems, there was a shortage of memory cards. Logistically, the PS2 launch was a failure.

    Yet, even before the good stuff starting showing up, it was clear that the PS2 was a better system seller than the Xbox. Was it the backwards compatibility? Nope. Most people who bought the PS2 would buy one or two PS1 games, come in two weeks later, and bitch about the crappiness of PS1 games on the PS2 and never buy another. DVD playback probably had something to do with it. GTA3? No - by then (Christmas) it was already clear that the PS2 was doing far better than the Xbox and GC combined.

    It was merely that it was named the Playstation. In the end, it was brand, not games. I wish - I really wish - that it were the games that mattered. But in the end, it's not. What's sad is that with the beginning of the XBox, I saw this "it's all about the games stupid" philosophy in the Xbox coporate guard. The good news is that I think XBox2 will do better (and therefore provider better competition for Sony - always good). The bad news? I think the new guys in charge of Xbox know/learned that it's all about the brand stupid.

    Further proof? Cf. Sega, who's last 5-7 years, from Dreamcast to 2K sports, has been a battle against brand.

    Good games making a system, and bad games breaking it, is a myth. In the end, brand is almost all that matters (And maybe DVD playback).
  • by DwarfGoanna (447841) on Monday February 14, 2005 @03:24PM (#11670509)
    Dear Steve, Bill, and friends,


    When you guys first threw your weight into the console game arena, I have to admit I was worried. I was afraid you would do the same thing to it that you've done to the web browser, the personal computer, and well...everything else you've touched. That is, bury anything interesting or innovative under a huge pile of blood money. It really has ruined those things, and made you guys even bigger and wealthier. But it also pissed some people off. Some smart and innovative people, like the folks at Apple, the screaming millions of Linux contributers, the phoenix that was Netscape and is now Mozilla/FF/Thunderbird. You've inspired huge communities of people to do some great things.


    And they're starting to nip at your heels, aren't they?


    Back to video games. Well, Sony is Sony. Think the installed base of Atari without the complacency. They are fully aware that you'll devour them if they slip up, so they are trying like hell not to. I would say they've done a good job so far. Nintendo has taken a different tack (though they are still beating you everywhere but here). While people denigrate them for being a "kiddy" platform, they forget that we have such a huge market for games now partly because of the success of the NES with us when we were kids.


    Your foray into gaming has ensured we have a top dog (maybe an alpha Aibo?) that stays quick on its feet, and guaranteed Big N will be around for at least another 20 years. I couldn't be happier with that. Please, feel free to remain the limburger cheese of the console business. Continue to turn people like me off with your one hit wonder lineup of games. Fight hard for you status as the console people buy after they already have one of the others. And don't hesitate to milk your installed base for whatever (subscriptions, DRM, feature creep) you can.


    Thanks,


    Dwarfgoanna

Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so. -- Josh Billings

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