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XBox (Games) Media Television

HD Really The Future of Gaming? 71

Posted by Zonk
from the high-def-doesn't-mean-good-game dept.
Eurogamer.com has an editorial discussing the "HD Future", as revealed in the Microsoft Keynote at GDC. In the article, author Kristan Reed argues that while the crispness of the HD Living Room would be welcome, "using it as a hook to hang next gen console gaming on is misleading to say the least, and there are more than a few barriers to entry for the masses."
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HD Really The Future of Gaming?

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  • I am sure that in the next generation of gaming systems, there will be HD options offered by Microsoft and Sony. Has anyone heard anything from Nintendo for their next system? As we all know, they stress games instead of hardware but the Gamecube currently supports HD.
    • Re:next gen (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mausmalone (594185) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @01:54PM (#11967536) Homepage Journal
      One of the semi-confirmed rumors about the Revolution is that it will have a DVI/VGA port directly on the back of the system for connecting monitors. I think it's safe to assume then that they will at least support progressive display in all games. I believe, though, that 1080i or 720p HDTV gaming will be the standard on all 3 consoles.
      • Well, being that in the US (the current largest gaming market) all TV sets will be required by law to include HDTV capabilities starting in 2006, and the Xbox2 is most likely coming out this fall...it sounds like perfect timing to me. Most people are going to be buying new televisions over the next couple years, and getting a new console to show it off will definitely be a selling point. I do agree that all 3 systems will most likely have the same standards for HD resolutions though. And it's not a surprise
      • Re:next gen (Score:2, Interesting)

        by gameboyhippo (827141)
        I'm not so sure I would like a DVI port. I'd rather use the HiDef cables (can't remember if they are composit or component). I already have my mythTV box plugged into my single HDMI port.

        I guess I haven't found any DVI splitters at any of my local shops, but I've found HDTV splitters at Wally World.
    • The Gamecube *did* stress HD. The new GC systems do not have the HD port. See "http://www.lik-sang.com/news.php?artc=3466" Which is a real shame...because it looks *really* good in progressive scan mode.
      • Re:next gen (Score:3, Funny)

        by real_smiff (611054)
        god. nintendo (who i love btw) has a history of doing this. they removed all the high quality outputs (rgb, s-video) from the later SNES and left you with a choice of Composite... or RF. whoopee. In the UK, we typically get shafted even worse, with more outputs dropped for no apparent reason (or saving a few pence on the connector?). Maybe kids poke the wrong things in the wrong holes, and more is less. i dunno.
      • I'll second that.

        I recently bought a big screen hdtv and the Gamecube games didn't look that great on it. Luckily I have an older Gamecube with the digital connector so I picked up a composite cable and its a night and day difference. Almost all Gamecube games support progressive scan and they are MUCH clearer and brighter with the composite/progressive hookup than the regular RBG. My wife said it was like she had just put her contacts in, it's that much of an improvement in the picture quality.

        Its a s
        • I also agree that the progressive scan games look a whole lot better. I notice it more on a big TV than on a small TV. Unfortunately my big TV presumes that any progressive signal is in widescreen format so some of my games get stretched. I'm used to it now for Mario games but some racing games look too weird. And I'm playing RE4 in non-progressive mode (however it still looks damn good).

          So, my hope for the future is that more games support 16:9 format. I know I'm in the minority but I'm keeping hope
    • I think they'd go for the HD.
  • by mausmalone (594185) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @01:51PM (#11967496) Homepage Journal
    What MS is counting on is that consumers will believe that somehow, even though they don't have an HDTV, the HD capabilities of the X-Box 2 will make it display a higher quality picture on their regular TV.

    While it almost certainly will look better on a regular TV than an X-Box, HD is not the reason. On the plus side, though, mandating HDTV support in all games is a positive step towards forward-compatability. It will ensure that the console will work well with TV's that come out even a decade down the road.

    I still don't understand what all the huge fuss is about though. Was this a surprise to anyone at all? Does anyone think that the PS3 and Revolution won't also have HDTV support in every game? It only makes sense to support the technology as, in 6 years when these consoles are really hitting their mainstream, there's a strong possibility that HDTV will become more of a mainstream technology.
    • Well this article really misses Microsoft's point. They called it the "HD era", but if you really listen to the keynote about where they are trying to go - it isn't just about HD. It is about user customizable content, broadband connected games, consistent experience around games, and a common development platform for both Windows and Xbox. I just think the name was a really bad one. They shouldn't have called it the HD era because that is misleading. However, full HDTV support really is a good thing t
      • So basically, this is an article about a poorly chosen marketing slogan? :-P

        I did pay attention to the MS presentation on the XBox 2 and a lot of the concepts seemed good. Their intense restrictions and (seemingly) rigid standardization makes me afraid that there could be an adverse effect on developers. I think they may rebel against the rules and end up doing stupid shit... but that probably depends more on how the rules are enforced, not how strict they are.
    • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @02:10PM (#11967753)
      > What MS is counting on is that consumers will believe that somehow, even though they don't have an HDTV, the HD capabilities of the X-Box 2 will make it display a higher quality picture on their regular TV.

      I disagree. What MS is counting on is that in a few short years, maybe as soon as 2 years, you'll have to look for old non-HD TV's when you go to buy.

      HD gaming and programming will fuel HDTV purchases, and HDTV purchases will fuel HD game purchases, etc etc.

      It's a zeitgeist.. right now most non-HD TV owners don't know what they're missing. That will change quite soon.
      • It's a zeitgeist.. right now most non-HD TV owners don't know what they're missing. That will change quite soon.

        Or, like me, they know exactly what they're missing and find the cost of moving to HDTV still too high. Not only the extra expense of a HD television, but the extra cost of subscribing to HD channels on my cable system. For all of 16 channels of actual HD content that are available to me right now? Meh, not worth it.

        Once there's more content, including a final, single standard for HD DVD's,

      • How can non-HD users not know what they're missing? Everywhere from electronics stores to Sams Clubs have spent massive amounts of floorspace on HDTV demos. Just about any store that sells TVs has one of these displays running as loud and bright as possible all throughout the day. Everyone has seen what HDTV has to offer, and they've seen it on the most impressive setups the store can muster.

        I know it is strage to people who are concerned with superior image/sound quality, but many people simply do not
  • Why is HD a barrier? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    HDTV is drastically cheaper that it was even 2 years ago. I can walk in to Wal-Mart and buy a 30" diagonal wide screen direct-view Sanyo set WITH BUILT IN HD TUNER for $699. This set supports all the HDTV standard resolutions (yes, including 720p). It also has built-in stereo and speakers. Not the same as a 5.1 or 7.1 system, but that can always be added. In another 6 months to a year, as more people replace their older NTSC sets, the price should drop even more. Sorry, I just don't see the problem here.
    • $700 for a television? I'd call that a barrier. Consoles are supposed to be cheap.

      I really hope that MS/Sony/Nintendo put DVI or VGA outputs on their next consoles that allow me to connect a standard PC monitor.
      I live in the UK and HDTVs here just aren't happening, and I think it's likely they won't for some time. Letting people connect up a £120 19-inch monitor and actually see the game ought to sell more consoles than using a regular TV and getting sniped by distant enemies rendered invisible by th
      • I believe I heard that Nintendo's Revolution *will* be able to connect to computer monitors, but unfortunately I cannot remember where... it was one of the pieces of information that came out around last E3. Can anyone confirm this?
        • Thanks for the info! A quick google indicates a Nintendo engineer made this claim back in mid-2004. I hope they stick to it, and that the other consoles do the same.

      • Some nintendo exec confirmed ages ago that you could connect a computer monitor to the revolution. Haven't heard about any MS or sony confirmations/denials though.
    • Spend USD$700 at Wal*Mart? For a low-income family (you know... the type who would shop at Wal-Mart) that's a 1990 Honda Civic for your wife to stop asking you to drive her to Wal*Mart.

      (yes it is [ebay.com])
    • You can get an equally sized tv for less than a quarter of that price, thats the problem
    • Or I can buy a perfectly good 25" analog set for $159. Digital is nice. Real nice - I've got an HDTV tuner for my PC. In another couple of years, digital/HD will be competitive with analog. People do in fact want digital HDTV, but most aren't willing to pay much more for it. Especially when their existing setup works just fine. Most people only replace their TVs when the existing set breaks. On the other hand, people willing to shell out $300 for the latest in gaming are already much more like to hav
      • The only reason I'm not willing to buy HD is because there is almost no HD content. If all DVD movies were available in HD, an HD screen would be much more appealing to me. If all video games support HD, that will give me another reason.
  • No Surprises (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alaren (682568) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @02:02PM (#11967643)

    "...using it as a hook to hang next gen console gaming on is misleading to say the least, and there are more than a few barriers to entry for the masses."

    Does this really surprise anyone? It had been interesting to watch, over the last 20+ years, what sometimes gets called the "digital divide." For those unfamiliar, this describes the phenomenon of "haves" and "have nots" from a technological standpoint.

    But (more on-topic) there is also a real growing chasm between "enthusiasts" or "fanatics" (depending on which side you're on) and regular users. How many motherboards come with optical audio outputs now? How many users actually use them? Online gaming is discussed as an enormous phenomenon (and it is certainly not small) but broadband penetration is still significantly less than 50% in the U.S.A. and many other first-world countries. HDTV is also still under 50% penetration by a pretty good chunk (can't remember the exact number ATM). Surround sound, well, I have no idea but I don't know a lot of people with surround sound, either--even people who could easily afford a setup.

    I do not think this is because technology is outstripping our ability to understand or afford it... rather, I think technology in games and in other areas is outstripping our ability to care. As an avid gamer but also the father of two young children, I find myself with a tremendous backlog of games and consequently less and less motivation to upgrade until I absolutely have to. I don't own an HDTV and have no plans to purchase one in the next three or maybe five years. I still use standard stereo sound on decent speakers and I'm fine. I could probably afford a little better, but...

    Well, I'll stop before I ramble too much, but I think we're starting to see the very beginnings of what folks at Nintendo and elsewhere have been saying for a while. There will come a point, probably sooner rather than later, when existing technology will be "good" enough that dangling new technology will no longer be sufficient reason for making purchases.

    That's not a prophecy of doom, by the way. More a prophecy of change in the air. We'll see...

    • That is the same thing that John Romero said in pre launch Daikatana hype. Now he is making PocketPC games.
      I think that content is king, but I also think that the since of wonder at new technologies on the part of our community is justified. That is to say we ain't see nothing yet.
    • How many motherboards come with optical audio outputs now? How many users actually use them?

      How many people who have optical audio speakers have been annoyed when their DVDs would not play any sound, due to a stupid and short-sighted copy protection scheme? I would happily pay $20 or $30 more to go completely optical, but having a stupid limitation like that totally breaks the deal.

      Here are the questions that I ask about new tech:
      1) What can it allow me to do that I cannot do now?
      2) What will it stop

    • I went to the big Microsoft talk at the GDC and my understanding was that Bill was going to solve the whole "digital divide" issue by buying us all HDTVs.

      Or did I miss something?
  • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @02:04PM (#11967676)

    For console gaming, yes.

    Next article please.

    TFA bemoaning the sporadic HD support in current generation consoles, bringing up PC gaming, etc. seems like it is just trolling for an excuse to pick on MS. Yes HD is the future of TV, so of course it's the future of console gaming. And console gamers everywhere will joyously welcome all the HD gaming to come.

    What's the point of this article anyway?
    • They're responding to the GDC keynote by J Allard, who was saying that HD was basically the most important innovation/lure for NG consoles. They were disagreeing, pretty cogently I thought. If you read the article carefully, you'll see that the author a) owns a HD tv (which is pretty amazing in the UK) and b) is enthusiastic about how good it looks.

      Hell, here's a quote from the end of the article "While you have to applaud Microsoft for trying to push on with forward-looking, boundary-breaking ideas that
  • a bit obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro (861135)
    HD will be the future of consoles , as it will be the future of TV.
    The question is not if , it is when.
    Tv standerds will contiune to improve and pixel counts will push ever updward ,
    Now that These standerds are making the way to the market it is clear that we will see them in games (many have suported HDTV since 2000 or so iirc ).
    I expect normal standerds to hang on for a good while longer though
  • Somewhere in the closet I have an old PlayStation One packed neatly in its original box. Game makers' fundamental strategy is to get the consumers to keep buying the "latest and grandest" so they can sustain the industry. Their marketing scheme dictates that they constantly talk about that "illusive future game super console" or else people will find other brands or other forms of entertainment.

    Always remember, the marketing mantra of any consumer hardware industry is: "Talk up a storm about the 'mysti

  • Innovation happens elswhere. It's been said a thousand times, but Microsoft won't know what business it will need to be in until that business is already two years past them and they adopt it.

    Sun and IBM are much bigger risk takers, right now, which is amazing for how big and relatively old these companies are. HP took a big risk too, but...the execution is leaving something to be desired.

    If IBM takes off with the theories about IBM-branded Linux desktops, and Sun has a compatible Java Desktop System (L
  • 420p is Enhansed Definition and 4:3 (although it is somtimes streched for 16:9)
    720p and 1080i are HD

    and nothing the writers ignorance more ...
    it has also been stated (through gamespy articles) that ALL xbox2 games will support 720p ...
    as opposed to the ~31/532 listed on hdgames.net of the current xbox generation
    • The author ignoring this fact destroys a huge part of his argument. MS stated pretty clearly that 720p was what they were talking about as a minimum for the "HD era", not 480p. It seems like a third of the silly article is spent arguing that earlier systems supported 480p too. That's not what MS is talking about. And honestly, I don't think they are claiming to be the first to do HD anyway - the point is to make it the standard for gaming, not to invent it.

      (Bizarrely, the author seems to actually recognize
  • The fact of the matter is that most people don't have an HDTV. That doesn't mean they're not gamers it means they're not yet ready to shell out the cash for one. I'd tend to agree with them. It's good that MS is including all there titles with HD for the xbox but to go on the assumption that the majority of consumers have one is just foolish.
  • And I've never had a console.

    I've been playing in 1280x1024 since 2001, when I got a Gateway computer with a TNT2 in it and a 17" monitor.

    1280x720 is 720p HDTV, with 389,120 pixels less than 1280x1024, a relatively common PC resolution.

    Ergo, HD console gaming isn't a big novelty, it's just catching up to what you can do with a PC or a Mac.
  • by willynate (804952)

    Having worked at Ulimate Electronics for awhile (before it went bankrupt), I've encountered most of the common questions/confusions regarding HDTV. Despite the fact the FCC is still hammering away at moving towards all digital signals by end of 2006, for the most part the general public is quite clueless about HDTV and digital television in general.

    Alot of people I encountered believed that digital cable is HDTV. In realty, the compression used for digital cable usually makes the picture even crappier tha

  • Why did microsoft disable HD on XBOX for PAL?
    Why did sony disable HD support in PAL releases of games?

    Given the various standards involved, I seriously doubt that it was techincal (i.e. "these games require extra coding to work on PAL HDTVs" that we cant afford to do). Especially in the case of the XBOX (where it should be up to the game maker to decide if they want to invest the $$$ to make their game HDTV aware in PAL regions)
  • According to this article [gamespy.com] the next-gen Xbox lacks the next-gen optical media meant for HDTV (Blu-ray/HD-DVD). Even though the next-gen Xbox can support 720p/1080i for the output, it seems a bit odd that MS put emphasis on the 'HD era' as the Xbox 1 already supports 720p/1080i for some games though not obligatory.
  • Low quality article (Score:2, Informative)

    by vmardian (321592)
    The article was supposed to be about the case for HD and the case against HD, but it spent most of its time talking about lack of (good) HD support on current generation hardware and software. What a waste of time.

    The article also claims that mass market HD is 5 to 10 years away. 10 years???? I don't think so. Lots of companies in Japan are already working with Super HDTV (SHDTV) with 3840 x 2160 resolution.

    The author doesn't even acknowledge the fact that developers can very simply support multiple reso
  • Bring it On! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Grygonos (848602)
    I say bring it on.. let HD become the standard. Ever since I picked up by 57" hitatchi with 720p/480p/1080i support, I have been blown away by playing Soul Calibur 2 in 720p (although in 4:3 which is strange) and NBA2K3 in 720p is just gorgeous. Tekken 5 for the PS2 supports something around 520p (don't remember) and it too, is beauty in motion. The advent of HDTV could really help console makers pull moderately commited PC gamers off the desktops and onto the consoles. Granted the price of HDTV is not

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