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Xbox 360 Launch to Face Several Hurdles 428

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-will-I-afford-another-console dept.
JamesO writes "Microsoft's J Allard has said that the Xbox 360 will be released in differing versions over the next five years. "It's something we're not ready to announce yet," he said. "I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all [approach] over the next five-year horizon." Relatedly JamesO writes "Microsoft is saying that anywhere up to 40 games could be released for the Xbox 360 during its launch period, but which of those will make or break the console's launch? Pro-G choose their ten most important Xbox 360 launch games. Not the ten best launch games, but the most important for the success of the Xbox 360."
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Xbox 360 Launch to Face Several Hurdles

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  • Backflip (Score:5, Funny)

    by bugmenotus (907674) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:24AM (#13328066)
    So it seems Microsoft has done a complete 180 on previous statements? How ironic!
  • Skip TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by kirkb (158552) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:29AM (#13328081) Homepage
    10: Kameo: Elements of Power
    9: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    8: Ridge Racer 6
    7: N3: Ninety-Nine Nights
    6: Dead or Alive 4
    5: Call of Duty 2
    4: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
    3: Project Gotham Racing 3
    2: Madden NFL 06
    1: Perfect Dark Zero
    • Re:Skip TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kusanagi374 (776658) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:44AM (#13328149)
      I don't know about you, but for me that list seems HIGHLY biased to the american market. Why the hell would the rest of the world worry that much about a NFL game to justify it being the SECOND PLACE on that list??

      Same goes to Perfect Dark Zero being the top game on that list... Well, I surely love FPS, as most americans and europeans. But what about the asian market? That list is way too "western world"-focused IMO. And we all know what is the whole point behind Xbox 360: take over Playstation's home market.
      • Re:Skip TFA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Babbster (107076) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {bbabnoraa}> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:14AM (#13328432) Homepage
        I don't know about you, but for me that list seems HIGHLY biased to the american market. Why the hell would the rest of the world worry that much about a NFL game to justify it being the SECOND PLACE on that list??

        I suspect the reasoning is that Madden, every year, is either the #1 or #2 top-selling game in the US market, if not the world. That seems pretty important, whether or not the Japanese like the game.

        Oh, and in case you weren't aware, the US gaming market is much larger than that in either Japan or Europe. All the talk about how Japanese consumption defines the success of a console is based on a) the fact that every console designed and/or produced by a US company since the Nintendo has sucked compared to its competitors and b) just plain old fallacy. For example, the Saturn, a console made by a Japanese company, did pretty well in Japan yet tanked everywhere else. The end result of that was creating a situation where Sega ran out of money to compete.

        It might ALSO be worth noting that the list is generated based on the US launch titles. There are titles being developed that, so far, are only planned for release in Japan. There are Japanese RPGs, soccer games and others being developed specifically for Japanese Xbox 360 customers.

        Short version: Your criticism is based on little but thin air.

        • The last time I looked at a map, there's a little part of the world that is not part of either the US or Japan. You have to look closely, but it's there.

          (Incidentely I would place a large amount of money on the Gridiron game not being even close to the top in the international market. It'd sell close to nothing everywhere else other than America. I'm not even sure that it's sold here in Australia, at least I haven't seen it in shops or heard of it outside forums such as Slashdot.)
        • Re:Skip TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:31AM (#13330091)
          Oh, and in case you weren't aware, the US gaming market is much larger than that in either Japan or Europe.

          CESA industry sales figures for Japanese publishers/manufacturers from last year:

          Year - Software / Hardware : Total
          2004 - $4.28 billion / $4.03 billion : $8.31 billion

          And by region:

          Year - Japan/Overseas : Total
          2004 - $3.06 billion / $5.16 billion : $8.22 billion

          The total North American video game market had $9.9 billion in sales over the same period.

          Now, you can say that $9.9 billion in sales is more than three times $3.06 billion, but a couple things:

          a) $3.06 billion is still no small chunk of change

          b) That's in a country with half the population and about 1/20 the land mass (meaning distribution and marketing is much, much cheaper)

          c) That's just one country, vs. Canada/US/Mexico for North American market numbers

          d) $5 billion worth of Japanese software/hardware was sold overseas, meaning a large chunk of that North American market number is made up of Japanese games and systems

          e) The total Japanese game industry is nearly the same size as the North American game industry in total dollar sales (in 2003, it was actually larger).

          For example, the Saturn, a console made by a Japanese company, did pretty well in Japan yet tanked everywhere else. The end result of that was creating a situation where Sega ran out of money to compete.

          And the same thing would have happened to Microsoft - with a successful console in the US and Europe but not Japan - if they did not have billions of dollars from their operating system business to rely on. They have lost billions on the Xbox. Part of the reason for that is approximately 33% of the sales they envisioned never materialized, because the system tanked so hard in Japan. They literally have only two of the three markets they thought they would.

          I think you're underestimating the importance of Japan to the overall video game market. No system can be a financial success these days without being successful in Japan, in addition to the other markets. Japan is a huge cash cow - it is a much more profitable market than either the US or Europe, which are both nightmares of marketing and distribution for various reasons (different languages, long distances, political borders, cultures, etc.).

      • Re:Skip TFA (Score:3, Informative)

        by syates21 (78378)
        Well, according to this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] Madden 2005 was one of only 9 games to sell more than 1 million copies on the Xbox, so yeah I guess it's pretty important to them. It's even more important now that it's the only NFL game in town, and there won't be a competitive (better?) ESPN NFL game to compete with it.

        Also, even in the PS2 world, the Madden has the next 3 top sellers after the GTA series and GT3. So, yes I would say they are quite justified ranking it highly in the article.

        How many multi-milli
    • Re:Skip TFA (Score:5, Funny)

      by Burning1 (204959) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:01AM (#13328211) Homepage
      Is it me, or are all of those sequels?
      • Kameo and Ninety-Nine Nights are not sequels.
      • Re:Skip TFA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kusanagi374 (776658) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:05AM (#13328223)
        Kameo and Ninety-Nine Nights are the only ones that aren't sequels. The rest, on the other hand...

        It seems that the market is fucked up in such a way that the only thing companies can come with are SEQUELS. Same happened for the PS2, and now it's going to happen for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
        • Re:Skip TFA (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rm999 (775449)
          Perhaps this isn't relevant to the list, but not all sequels are unoriginal. Some notable examples I can think of:

          Super Mario Brothers 2
          Grand Theft Auto 3
          Duke Nukem 3D

          Of course, for each of these, there are 1000 sequels with nothing at all new. Can anyone think of any other games for this list? I am sure there are plenty more.
          • Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen 4,5,6 (as advanced from 1,2,3).
          • Re:Skip TFA (Score:5, Informative)

            by Bobartig (61456) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:55AM (#13328382) Homepage
            Super Mario Brothers 2 wasn't really a sequel to SMB. Nintendo took a game called Doki Doki Panic, which had a completely separate cast of characters, and its own story, redrew all the characters to be from the mario world, and released it in the US as Super Mario Brothers 2. I mean, can we really call this a sequel when its just a completely different game with a Super Mario name tag slapped on it?

            Then in a bizarre twist, they released the american version of the japanese game as Super Mario USA (since the japanese already had a Super Mario Brothers 2, in a game that was very similar to the first title, and has been released several times in various forms on US carts as "Lost Levels")

            Despite the wierdities of its sordid past, SMB 2 is still a great game!
        • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @08:33AM (#13329300) Homepage
          It's hard to hype an original title before launch. Street Fighter 360 makes for better press than Famu Street Brawler 360. Once the system is near the shelves and they're ready to get in-depth we should see more of the original titles.

  • Okay, that's it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_skywise (189793) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:29AM (#13328082)
    Who wants to buy my preorder?!

    I put a down payment for an XBox 360 under the assumption that WHAT THEY HYPED was what would be in the unit. Not some pie in the sky, it'll have HiDef DVD next year and then the year after that we'll introduce XBOX360 3.0 which, as you all know, is when Microsoft gets it right so hooo-baby, get your preorders in for that one, and oh sorry about that built-in wireless router but that was too expensive.

    I completely and totally understand that some features may change from preorder to launch. But all of this hype now about different consoles and such and I'm ready to just drop the whole thing until they actually ink the final shipping product features.

    Fool me once, shame one you... fool me twice...

    One things for sure, it'll be a LONG time before I preorder any Microsoft game system again.

    • Oh dear. I seem to be drowing in the crocodile tears of the whiners and the overreactors. And me without a life raft.

      Everything that MS ANNOUNCED would be in the system is still in the system. If you were so dumb as to bite on hype from random "gaming press" sources, well, why is it MS's fault that you don't know any better?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        As a game developer working on console titles this means madness on our side. I decided to go work exclusivly for console titles because once you leave all the compability issues of PC-based games behind, you never want to look back.

        Consoles are supposed to be closed systems - with a "write code once and run on every console" philosophy. The changes or revisions to consoles in the past were mostly minor changes to the bios and the run-time-libs ensured that the same code written previously still worked. Th
    • ... and can you believe those bastards at Alienware, every time I plan to put down an order, they hoodwink me again and release the "fastest computer in the world". It's almost like they're trying to offer the most up-to-date technology as it's released to the public. I can NEVER seem to figure out when they're going to release the final spec gaming system, it's driving me crazy.
    • by Vandil X (636030) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:51AM (#13328525)
      Seems to me that Microsoft would prefer that you refresh your X-Box 360 each year with a new $200 purchase to get the latest technology.

      I wonder if they'll have lifecycles on the older X-Box 360s and, over the next 2-3 years, kill Live support for the earlier generations of X-Box 360s that lack hardware of the most recent ones.
    • by Tim Browse (9263) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:25AM (#13328619)
      I put a down payment for an XBox 360 under the assumption that WHAT THEY HYPED was what would be in the unit.

      Then you, sir, are a muppet.

      Sorry, but there it is.

      (Were you not around to see the PS2 demo videos? Surely no-one would take a console launch at face value after that!)

    • by doublem (118724) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @07:05AM (#13329014) Homepage Journal
      under the assumption that WHAT THEY HYPED was what would be in the unit

      LOL!

      Oh, stop, you're killing me!

      Hoooo! That's a good one.

      Please see the list of "Features" that Widows Longhorn, now Windows Vista was going to have at launch.

      Every time they pushed back the release date, they dropped a few features.

      The first claims for what Longhorn would have constituted an operating system that would trample Linux and MAC OS X into dust. Those features have dropped off one by one over the years. It's now clear that Windows Vista will be little more than XP with a few cosmetic changes and tighter security.

      This is standard Microsoft behavior though. Look at all their product releases. Look at the pre-release press. Announcing Vaporware and pumped up lists of features is a common practice for them, as a way to stifle or destroy the competition.

  • Hell for consumers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Unsus (901072)
    I would be pissed off if I bought version 1 of the X-Box, and then find out that X Game 001 only works on version 4 and above because it requires a HD. If games are compatible across all versions, I think this would still make consumers less willing to buy the X-Box. Why would I buy an X-Box now when version 2 with HDTV could be out in two more months?
    • by Morgon (27979) <jmy AT morgontech DOT com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:49AM (#13328164) Homepage
      The thing that you should remember, though, is that the hard drive is a confirmed (both in specs and photos) to be a removeable piece. Just because the system might not ship with a HD doesn't mean it's an inferior system, it just allows the purchaser to buy what size they want, and what price they can afford.

      What I don't like is that games will be programmed to 'potentially not use the HD', which means that some incredibly content may or may not be available because of all of the contingencies with creating essentially two underlying versions of each game.

      For example, a game like Fable, already plenty of things were ripped out of the game at the last minute -- if they had to spend extra safeguards to make sure that people without HDs get a comparable experience -- which doesn't sound like a lot of programming code in theory, but in practice, would that cause more functionality to require removal?

    • by jlarocco (851450)

      Not only that, but one of the big benefits of console systems is that it usually simplifies things. On the computer, I have to check a game's memory, CPU, and video card requirements before I can buy it. For the PS2, I just have to look in the PS2 section.

      Granted, it's not rocket science, but if they're going to radically change the hardware, maybe they should just release a new system.

      And I can't say I envy the MS tech support people. "But it said XBOX 360", "Oh, sorry sir, that game is for XBOX 3

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:33AM (#13328097)
    The whole concept that drives consoles is that they are easy to use. You see the Xbox logo, you know you can play it. This idea has obviously degraded some with the online movement (not everyone will be able to play online), but this is taking it too far. When I buy a game system, there should be no compatibilty question. That's what my PC is for.

    The average parent isn't going to know what to pick for their kid, and faced with a choice they might just turn around and pick up a console they know will be able to support any game on the system.

    More experienced/older gamers might look at the inferior versions of the system as worthless, and will simply wait until the maxed out system comes down to a reasonable price. A good analogy would be with computers. The average slashdotter isn't going to go buy a celeron notebook (lets go with plain old celeron, when they sucked) when there are vastly superior Pentium M notebooks available. They will wait for the better system's price to come down. Maybe not such a great analogy, but hopefully it gets the point across.
  • Hardware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spacejock (727523) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:34AM (#13328103) Homepage
    It's a good idea to revamp the console over its lifetime, but it's not really a selling point for people buying the first generation. Either you get games which push the hardware now, but will work better on future, unreleased hardware (sounds like PC gaming). Or you get future games which work only on future revisions of the console, and are unplayable on the current generation. (sounds like PC gaming). Alternatively, you get generic titles which will work on the lowest common system. (ditto)

    MS Flight sim is an example from the PC world. When first released, there's no hardware which can render smooth frame rates with all settings maxed out. As the hardware improves over time, the visuals can be pushed higher and higher until... the next version comes out and we start all over.
    • Re:Hardware (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZosX (517789) <zosxavius@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:39AM (#13328341) Homepage
      Time and time again has shown that developers will not support addons or upgrades to a console. I don't possibly see how fragmenting your market is a good thing. The abysmal PS/2 hard drive sales should be a good indicator of how willing the public is to spend money on upgrading their console. For reference of history, look at the Sega CD, the 32X, the light gun, ROB the robot, and a whole slew of other useless failed addons. I will say that network adapters for the PS/2 have done fairly well though, but very few games actually require the hard drive, with FFXI being a notable exception. FFIX's population is about 2 million by the way. Good for a MMORPG, terrible for a blockbuster console game. How many did FFVII sell worldwide? 5? 6 million?

      If you were a developer what market would you choose? The market that your game will run on the most consoles (base 360) or the market that is likely just a small fraction of the overall maximum market?

      Your comparison the PC world is completely absurd in that PCs are constantly upgraded and evolving whereas the typical console is a single target that never moves. It is an awful lot easier to make a game for one console with fixed specs than the hundreds and thousands of possible PC hardware configurations. It should be no secret that most PC games these days are RTS, first person shooters, a few RPGs here and there and of course, the simulator. Not much variety to be found. A great deal of developer shops have fallen quite recently due to poor sales in the PC market. Most kids these days seem to prefer the TV versus the monitor and I hate to say it, but I would imagine that a large number of computer game players are also software pirates given the ease of downloading an ISO and mounting it with the convieniently free daemon tools, whereas on the console you have to mod the console or pay to have someone do it for you and that is really out of the grasp of a lot of people.

      I don't honestly think that Microsoft is choosing a good plan here. It is better to have a unified market than one that is potentially fractured. If you make a console that much better than the original and manage to convince a foolish developer to produce games that only run on the newer console, then why bother at all when instead you could have just waited a few years and released a whole new console with a slew of upgrades? Oh wait. That is precisely what they do now.

      If there were a market for upgradeable consoles, it would have surely materialized by now. I think that the average gamer cares far less about the platform and a great deal more about the actual games themselves. IF you want to win a console race you need a lot of killer apps like GTA3 and the first Xbox had about 3 triple A titles and that just isn't going to cut it.
      • Re:Hardware (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tim Browse (9263) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:34AM (#13328643)

        Time and time again has shown that developers will not support addons or upgrades to a console.

        Yes, and this is true even of simple things like special controllers. The steering wheel controller is a case in point. I can't ever remember a driving game that supported a wheel controller well. It's usually easier to drive with the standard controller - the wheel is just frustrating.

        The reason of course, is that the developers don't spend much time on supporting steering wheel controllers, because less than 1% (figure off the top of my head, but am pretty sure it's accurate) of the market has one of these controllers...so why bother? You can spend the time making the driving experience with the standard controller much better, because that's what everyone has.

        It's a bit like making a game that you can only play with Xbox Live. You've instantly cut your market down to 10% of what it could have been.

      • Re:Hardware (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrXym (126579)
        Some add ons have been moderately successful - dance mats, the eye toy, those bongo drums for the GC. Not earth shatteringly successful, but enough to carve a niche for themselves.

        Personally though, I don't see how a next gen console can do with an HD, unless it is a cynical marketing ploy to sell more memory cards. The fact is that without a HD, the console is useless for multimedia (convergence - what's that?), games load slower without caching, and you can't download extras or firmware updates from the i

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:35AM (#13328107)
    Until there are games and the final hardware version is released, I think I am just going to stick with my PS2 for at least another couple years until the HD-DVD/Bluray and platform wars are decided.
  • No hard drive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrshowtime (562809) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:35AM (#13328109)
    No hard drive will seriously take away one of the advantagest the Xbox2 will have against the PS3, which also is planning on not having a hard drive. The hd comes standard on the current xbox, removing it now will only confuse the consumer base Also MS does NOT need to upgrade the optical drive at a later date to an HD DVD drive, unless the cost is as cheap a dvd drive. Why does Microsoft think that their plan of offering three to five different versions of the xbox will do anything but segment their own market is beyond me. Sony has always made on system and then figured out ways to shrink everything over a few years and then make money off of that hardware.
    • The 360 will almost certainly include the hard drive at launch. Remember, it is detachable, so what Allard is doing is making sure you can still play games when the hard drive isn't attached. He's also saying that sometime in the next five years, they may or may not sell a version of the 360 without the HD included.
      • The 360 will almost certainly include the hard drive at launch.

        You ALMOST have it right in that the 360 will CERTAINLY include the hard drive at launch. It's been confirmed. I'm wondering how many times Allard and company have to confirm it before people accept it.

        People seem to have been so brainwashed by the speculation (not hype by MS, but wild-ass guesses by "industry analysts) over the last two years that nothing can get through the mental blocks anymore.

        Allard's comments about potentially shipping an Xbox 360 sans HD are for the future, going after people who wait for price breaks and a more full game catalog before buying (like me, as a matter of fact). Hence, he wants developers to code for the possibility that a hard drive won't be on the system. That means that they have to optimize save files so that memory cards can be used (none of that "take a snapshot of memory" nonsense as Bioware did with Knights of the Old Republic). It means that they may have to include an if/then statement regarding hard drive caching and make sure that their game runs acceptably with nothing but the optical drive. What it DOESN'T mean is that the Xbox 360 is coming out with no hard drive, nor does it mean that developers have to release multiple versions of their games for compatibility purposes.

        The worst-case scenario is that a few early games may absolutely require the hard drive to run. Of course, early adopters will [interestingly] not have any worries about this since they will already have the hard drive, and the hard drives will be available to anyone who wants one. This isn't an N64 situation where extra memory was required for some games and it wasn't included with the console - that's at least certain at the beginning, and possibly (Allard was trying not to rule anything out) for the life of the device.

        Most of the above, by the way, wasn't aimed at the parent but to the doomsayers elsewhere in this discussion.

        • If they have to write games as if a hard drive wasn't there, you loose at lot of the advantages of the hard drive.

          Sure KotoR saves took up loads of space, but at least the game let you save anytime. Hard drives let you get away from the irritating save points, unless of course you can't rely on the hard drive being there.

          And how is content download going to work? No more extra level, patches or bonus content on Live? If you can't rely on a hard drvie, where do you keep this stuff? The memomry card?

          • Sure KotoR saves took up loads of space, but at least the game let you save anytime. Hard drives let you get away from the irritating save points, unless of course you can't rely on the hard drive being there.

            A game doesn't need to have save points if it doesn't have a hard drive. KOTOR had a limited number of items available, they could all be held in inventory, there were a limited number of NPCs, static maps, virtually no randomness in encounters, etc. - this means that all the variables were finite (

  • The article failed to mention the two main setbacks. First, they based the OS off of Longhorn. Second, they want to ship every console with a copy of Duke Nukem Forever.
    • The article failed to mention the two main setbacks. First, they based the OS off of Longhorn. Second, they want to ship every console with a copy of Duke Nukem Forever.

      I know you were joking here, but actually the Xbox 360 OS is based off the Xbox1 OS which is based on Windows 2000, which is based on Windows NT which is based on OS/2 which has Unix code which has SCO code.

      Oh, and Longhorn is definitely coming next year... sure, they remove 95% of the features meant to be there, but I guess I just rui
  • Taking a cue from their competition (Nintendo), Microsoft announced that we can help them overcome these hurdles by repeatedly pressing A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B as fast as possible.
    • Taking a cue from their competition (Nintendo), Microsoft announced that we can help them overcome these hurdles by repeatedly pressing A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B as fast as possible.

      Two additions: a) Press the Up button when at the hurdle, as to avoid it. Just pressing A-B-A-B would have you ramming into the hurdle full speed (if I know Microsoft right, that's what they would have done anyway). b) Use a marble and run it over the A and B buttons. Tactic of champions.
  • by SoulMaster (717007) * on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:42AM (#13328145)
    1. XBox 360 95- Way better than the Xbox, but you have to take it apart and rebuild it monthly. Optional "Plus Pack" to add themes.

    2. XBox 360 98- Plug and Play joystics added (sort of). Though it crashed less, its not really that much different than XBox 360 95 but everyone thinks they want it.

    3. XBox 360 CE- This is the portable version, Duh!

    4. XBox 360 98SE- Exactly the same as XBox 360 98, but it costs more, and M$ says it's better so people think they want it more. Also included, a Weezer Video.

    5. XBox 360 ME- This version crashes almost as much as the XBox 360 95, but it has built-in backups for when it corrupts, so you've got that going for you.

    6. XBox 360 XP- Much better than all previous versions, but the EU and SEC will make Microsoft remove the browser, which is full of bugs... The linux community will absolutely hate the XBox 360 XP, even though it really isn't all that bad, if you know how to secure it, which is a serious pain in the ass.

    7. XBox 360 Vista- This version will totally rip-off all other 3rd Generation consoles, and is the whole reason they have the tiered release plan anyway...
    • by Anubis350 (772791) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:19AM (#13328274)
      don't forget:

      Xbox NT - stable, briefly ported to ps3 and gamecube but no games made for ports or for itself for that matter

      Xbox NT4.0 - more stable, though not nearly as stable as Xbox haxxor linux, most games still won't run

      Xbox 2000 - Only useful/useable version of Xbox. Games run, Xbox stable, unfortunately doomed to be retired in favor of flashy chrome looking, resource eating Xbox XP.

      fly karma fly. Go free!
  • What if Microsoft's plan is to give every single Xbox 360.v1 owner a coupon for a free HD-DVD drive by mail? It could make sense, economically, if the difference in cost between the HD-DVD changes enough over the course of two years. Two years from this Christmas, then, Microsoft launches the Xbox 360.v2 with the HD-DVD drive and all Xbox 360.v1 owners are told that they can send in a copy of the bottom of their Xbox to receive their free HD-DVD drive upgrade. It could save a lot of money I think, and not c
  • by FidelCatsro (861135) <[fidelcatsro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @01:57AM (#13328196) Journal
    The Mega CD , the 32X , jaguar CD ...
    We all remember how successful extensions to your console are(Though the jaguar CD was a great add on , it was expensive and the console was struggling at the time anyway ) .

    MS in an attempted to create an extendable console .... By which i mean more money via add ons ,are making a fatal mistake here "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
    People like consoles because they are simple to use
    They certainly don't want to waste much money on upgrades for it and to start having to worry about requirements ... well maybe one small add on you can get away with (Though nintendo were quite lucky with the N64 RAM pack , not that it didn't have a few problems itself) , change the disc format and you are nearly guaranteed to have limited success if not damage done to your market.

    "I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all [approach] over the next five-year horizon."
    People like consoles in a One size fits all ,they are like comfortable track suit trousers that you can slip into of a night , pig out on a massive pizza and remain calm in the knowledge you wont need to undo a button as time goes on .
    • by trmj (579410)
      This is exactly why Nintendo is still around. They have never tried selling revisions of their hardware boynd the standard versioning of the system (see gameboy). Even when they did, like with the gameboy camera and printer, they were wildly successful because Nintendo knows how to do gaming right.

      Sony and Microsoft are both failing horribly at this game and will soon be pushed out of the market by their own profit whoring.

      This is like the wal-mart issue: the international megacorporations (Sony, Microsoft)
  • by garagekubrick (121058) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:01AM (#13328209) Homepage
    Why buy now when later I'll be able to get an HD-DVD compatible mode. Why bother when the hard drive is being removed from the equation and will cost extra as an addon, thereby limiting developers' use of its potential, thereby removing the outstanding feature of the original Xbox.

    I got to see the Xbox 360 in closed doors demos at E3 this year, and I have to say despite the ringing hype endorsement of the PS3 over a prerendered demo (Killzone) which everyone on the floor as developers could name who created it - the Xbox 360 really did blow me away technically and the games were impressive looking and desirable - especially the new EA sports iterations (not to say anything of their gameplay and the company's lack of innovation).

    But this latest news really puts me off bothering to pick one up soon. I recently had a ton of games stolen and went to eBay to load up on games I lost in the theft that were out of print. When it came time to find all the titles for the Xbox, there were very, very few I even wanted to bother replacing.

    The current lineup, Call of Duty 2 excepted (which looked exceptional at E3 running in a limited capacity), does nothing to make me jones for Xbox 360. It still is a box dedicated towards dumbed down PC games played on a television. For now, I'll wait and see if an HD-DVD model ever comes out. I'll pick up a PS3 and use it as my Blu-Ray player.
  • Round 1 (this year):
    One model with hard drive, one without. (360HD and 360).

    Round 2 (next year, one week before Sony launch):
    One model with HD-DVD and HD, one model with HD-DVD and no HD (360 HDDHD and 360 HDD).
    360 HD and 360 reduce in price (1/2 cost of PS3), still offered.
    Halo 3 re-issued on HD-DVD media with added content.

    Round 3 (year after Sony launch)
    New model with improved graphics performance to pass Sony, hard drive and no hard drive models - 720 HDDHD and 720 HDD.
    360 HDDHD and 360 HDD reduced in
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:16AM (#13328265)
    10) Relies on someone going back in time to a point when Rare made a good game.

    9) Built to convince PC RPG gamers to switch to a console.

    8) Kills two birds with one stone, great arcade racer and greater Japanese interest in console.

    7) Makes sure that second bird is really dead and not just faking it.

    6) The first lesson of Breast Physics dictates the pull of the console is proportional to the bounce of your fighter.

    5) Because the WWII genre is just so fresh.

    4) "Ubi-quitous" stealth action game.

    3) To draw people tired of the license grind.

    2) It's the only way to have football on when there's no football on.

    1) Make that two games that rely going back in time and... loop detected!
  • You know so far... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:18AM (#13328271)
    I think MS and Sony might have a tougher time than they think this time out. I hear a lot of 12-13 year olds saying "Xbox 2 is gonna be l33t!" or "I so need a PS3 when it comes out." but I spend a lot of time at a nearby game store talking to the guys that work there and from the sound of things, it's gamers that have the cash to burn on new systems that are saying things like, "The only one I know I'll get is the Revolution." and "I'm sick of all the bullshit hype."

    So yeah, hey Sony and MS: fire your marketing departments and put the money towards game development. Everyone already knows that your next gen shit is coming, shut up about it and give us games that make it a worthwhile purchase.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:32AM (#13328314)
    Fact: XBox 360 will not ship with HD-DVD drive.

    Theory: After the PS3 is released (heck, while they are developing PS3 launch titles) game developers will scream to Microsoft they need the storage space HD-DVD offers to port the mammoth games they have just developed over to the XBox (and even then they may have a to cut and/or heavily compress some content to fit in the smaller space the HD-DVD format offers).

    How can anyone really doubt this will not be true? How can anyone even hold a moment of doubt that at the very least a 2nd model with an HD-DVD drive will be released, and some game in the future (probably from EA) will require it? The only reason you are seeing Madden is that they will have another version next year anyway and this one will get the engine kinks worked out.

    I think the only real surprise going forward would be Microsoft deciding to go with Blu-Ray instead of HD-DVD. But I just don't think they could swallow thier pride enough to do so, they are driven to be seen as the market leader.
    • Can you think of a game that uses more than 6 GB now? There is not and will not be a game during the next generation that will require more than 9 GBs. Should in the unlikely event a game discover a use for more than 9 GBs, there is always the always appreciated multi disc shuffle.

      In the last 6 years, I have seen little to no increase in storage demand from my games. For instance I'll use the ever bloated RPG genre, specifically Bioware's line as an example:

      (Full Installs)
      Baldur's Gate 1 (circa 1
      • The Bard's Tale: 7.36 GB

        There was also a special dual-layered, dual-sided DVD edition of
        Wing Commander IV included with some Creative DVD decoders. About
        18 gigabytes worth of data, which could be massaged into installing
        on harddrive. The regular installation wasn't that big, though, but
        WC4DVD is the largest PC game I know of.
      • So here's the deal - look at the figures you give, and imagine the timeline of storage medium beside them.

        Basically what is happening is that games run into the storage limit of the tme and sit there, lothe to exceed the limit of a single disc (but doing it anyway from time to time). Only Doom 3 I think had the audactiy to require as many floppies as an OS install, and I think that also came in a CD version.

        Think of all the HD cutscenes game makers will want to include, along with hi-res models. Now they
      • Games *already* come with compressed data.
      • by RoLi (141856)

        Baldur's Gate 1 (circa 1998): 500 megabytes
        Baldur's Gate 2 (circa 2000): 1.2 gigs
        NeverWinter Nights (Circa 2002): 2.1 gigs
        Knights of the Old Republic (2003): 4.0 gigs
        2005: 8 GB
        2007: 16 GB
        2009: 32 GB
        2011: 64 GB
        2013: 128 GB

        The PS3 is released in 2006, so it will be 7 years old in 2013, which is reasonable for a console's lifetime. (Except for Microsoft's, which life only 4 years)

    • by Keeper (56691)
      How can anyone really doubt this will not be true?

      A full install of Myst IV comes to 7gb. Myst games have always pushed the storage boundary, and even THEY can't fill up dual layer DVD. And you think that a DVD just won't cut it? What kind of crack are you smoking?

      If, by some miracle some company produces more than 9gb of content for their game, it isn't exactly difficult to put it onto a second disc (recall FFVII). As long as the disc doesn't have to be swapped every 3 hours it isn't a big deal.

      I thin
  • An Idea! (Score:5, Funny)

    by 10Ghz (453478) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @02:36AM (#13328323)
    Instead of offering the console in several different versions, why not let the people customize it by themselves? Want a HD with the console? Buy one and add it in! Want better optical-drive? Replace the one that came with the system with a better one! The user could also add better CPU and more RAM to the system.

    Since these consoles would be more personal than the identical model they have sold in the past, we need a new name for these consoles. I suggest a "Personal Console", or "PC" for short.
  • JamesO writes "Microsoft's J Allard has said that the Xbox 360 will be released in differing versions over the next five years.

    If you don't like the first one, stick around, give us a chance to make a better one, but lets do the traditional announcement to lock the market into 'wait-and-see' for the next 5 years. Problem is, does this work on gamers?

    "It's something we're not ready to announce yet," he said. "I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all [approach] over the next five-year horizon."

    I am not actuall
  • by shadexiii (723888) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:21AM (#13328452)
    Everyone seems shocked by this, but it all makes perfect sense. First Microsoft breaks the hardware apart a bit, and makes you buy it piecemeal. That's to get the consumer comfortable with a new way of buying consoles. When the third generation XBox comes out, it will be a lot easier for Microsoft to start selling the system's OS (and upgrades/revisions...of course....) seperately as well. I can already imagine the lines we'd be fed.

    "By selling the system hardware and software seperately, we are allowing the system a much longer lifespan, so you don't have to buy a new console every year! Instead, you can just buy the hardware and software upgrades and have a "brand new" system!"

    This isn't that different from the DVD playback "add-on" for the original XBox. Microsoft's merely seeing how far they can take it one generation at a time.
  • Did you notice... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vo0k (760020) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @03:38AM (#13328497) Journal
    ...that ALL of the "first ten" are SEQUELS?
    Not a single new, original idea?

    Microsoft tried to avoid calling it "XBOX 2" at all cost. But it is just that. A 2nd grade sequel to XBOX, with more fireworks and special effects, most of which you've seen already, and nothing to really enjoy.
  • ....judging from the summary saying that the XBox 360 will be released in different verions over the next few years, why should I worry about buying one until say.. 2008 or 2009? If TFS (The FSCKING summary) is accurate in any way, shape, or form, what's the point of buying this next-gen console? Just on an assumption (Mod as flamebait or troll for this comment as you please) based upon this poorly written summary, I could just wait until the Xbox 360 is emulated before I decide whether or nto to buy the ac
  • Good heavens (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doubleyewdee (633486) <wd@te[ ]inesis.org ['lek' in gap]> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @04:49AM (#13328682) Homepage
    I read through the comments here and saw a lot of very confused people saying very confused things. After reading TFA here's what I gleaned:

    - Microsoft is making sure game-developers treat the HD as optional.
    - Seeing as the HD is optional, those who do not want the functionality will be offered the opportunity to purchase the console at a lower price.
    - Microsoft may offer an HD-DVD drive in the Xbox 360 in later revisions (SPECULATION: to drive sales in the latecomer camp who are intrigued by the added bonus of playing HD-DVD content.)

    Now here's what wasn't stated, but what I believe:
    - Consoles are loss leaders for the major manufacturers. It is not desireable to sell hardware repeatedly at a loss. So what? Microsoft isn't going to encourage people to re-buy something that actually costs them money. Instead they will push for software titles to work on every Xbox 360 so that the maximum number of consumers can pay them licensing fees.
    - Microsoft is going to (at minimum) STROGNLY encourage all software vendors not to code to the hard drive or the HD-DVD drive (when it arrives). While such coding may occur (FFXI will almost surely require a hard drive) it will not be the norm. They want the Xbox you bought on launch day without the HD to continue to get them licensing money through your continued purchase of software (see above).
    - Confusingly, while many people replace the 's' in Microsoft with a '$', they accuse the same company whose success is so obvious of being incompetent at selling things. Whatever you want to argue about Microsoft, it is hard to argue that they are bad at making money. To that end, please re-read the above two points. They will not restrict their income artificially.
    - Consumers LIKE new hardware revs. How many folks bought that cute miniature PS2? Enough to show that a re-rev of hardware (with different functionality) can be accepted by users. There's also the wild success of the Gameboy Advance (and SP) to this end. Did all your peripherals work with the SP? No. How many people still 'upgraded' from the Advance to the SP? Lots! It offered a compelling reason to upgrade, without breaking backwards compatibility for what matters (the games).

    My conclusion: I'll buy an Xbox 360 on launch day because my lust for a new console is high, and because I am confident that the 360 I buy will work with games released until the Xbox 1080 (or whatever). If you do not believe that games will work then you are welcome to wait it out. A lot of people I know hesitated on huying an Xbox because it was a "second class" console to them. Then they ended up buying one because it had a few compelling games that were "must play" to them. If you don't want the 360 at launch then don't buy one, but don't be too shocked if there is comeplling (to you) content released that is Xbox exclusive and you end up wanting one in the end.

    (Hint: Ninja Gaiden is not Halo, Forza is not Halo, do not reply to this with smarmy comments about Halo being the only popular exclusive game for the Xbox because it isn't, unless you want the standard "anti Microsoft" Slashdot karma over being factually correct.)
    • Re:Good heavens (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darren Winsper (136155) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @05:34AM (#13328781) Homepage
      "Consoles are loss leaders for the major manufacturers."
      Really? Nintendo never sold the Gamecube for a loss and Sony only take a loss in the first few shipments. Yup, sounds like a loss leader to me. Oh, wait...

      "Consumers LIKE new hardware revs."
      No, they don't. At best they're apathetic, at worst they worry it'll make the revision they own obsolete.
      "How many folks bought that cute miniature PS2?"
      I'd say it's pretty certain that very few people who had a working PS2 bought the miniature PS2.
  • I'm an old school gamer - I was around when the Atari 2600 was first introduced into the market (although my parents couldn't afford one). I have seen many console launches to this day, believe you me. Yes, we'll never see the kind of technological leap in graphics and processing power as we saw going from the Sega Genesis/SuperNintendo era to the Sony PlayStation/Sega Saturn (mentioning the 3DO would only confuse things), I still love reading about the first wave of games that will usher in the new gaming
  • Don't get me wrong I love the original XBOX, and I don't often say that about something MS makes. This, however, is stupid. If I wanted a piece of kit to upgrade and tinker with, I'd get a PC!

    The beauty of the console is that if it says "XBOX" on the cover then I know it will run on my XBOX.

    I don't have to answer questions like "do I have enough disk space?" "Do I have the right graphics card?" "Do I have the right optical drive" etc.

    Drop a game in and play.

    Several versions o
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @07:42AM (#13329111)
    ... and those who don't get it yet:

    It only needs one game -- next-gen Madden. That alone will trump all else, sell systems in droves, and will do so worldwide (because apparently you people have chosen to ignore the fact that Madden outsells even FIFA wordlwide). Madden will drive or break the launch. If it's there, it's a hit. If it's not, there could be trouble...

    You don't believe me? Wander in to a Best Buy or Gamestop right now and hang around. Watch the kids and adults my age come in. Watch them come in, not even browse, go straight for the Madden box, buy, and leave. Watch kids wander in, pick up the Madden box, struggle with trying to decide to blow their hard-earned cash on it when they maybe can't even afford, AND STILL PICK IT UP EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    There are no more-devoted game series fans out there. They all buy largely the same game EVERY SINGLE YEAR and play it to death, and a next-gen leap will only garner even more attention and sales than normal. And believe me, EA will roll out Der Hypen Machine for it in full force, so everyone will know when Madden launches.

    People call in sick to work the day they know Madden launches. Peopel rearrange life schedules aroudn Madden launching so they hae plenty of time to go buy it and then play. Yes, it's that big.

    Madden alone will make or break the 360 launch. because believe me, nobody cares about Perfect Dark...

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