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CNN's Game Over On The 360 442

Posted by Zonk
from the oblivion-is-the-killer-app dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNN's Chris Morris has taken a look at Microsoft's new system. He calls the system 'good, but not great' in a fairly lengthy, well thought out piece. The article also has an amusing gallery of rejected prototype designs." From the article: "Admittedly, tastes vary - so you could easily find a game out this month that's a 'must have' for you. (We'll have a closer look at the launch games early next week.) But if you're looking for something that's ground breaking and sets the trend for the system (as 'Halo' did with the original Xbox), you're not going to find it."
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CNN's Game Over On The 360

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  • Oooof.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aicrules (819392) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:26PM (#14056541)
    that's gotta hurt. I expect that's probably the last Microsoft product that CNN gets their hands on early for review.
  • Simple Differences (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FortKnox (169099) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:29PM (#14056571) Homepage Journal
    X-Box isn't about cracking the best graphics or anything like that... its all about X-Box live and the multiplay capability.
    Sony is still working strong on delivering the prettiest stuff. Nintendo is going for revolutionary technology (just look at the controller!).

    The odd man out in this situation is Sony. Nintendo is taking a big chance which will (IMHO) cash them into tons of entertainment centers this upcoming year. X-Box has replayability simply due to the fact that you can play the same game over and over online and get a new experience everytime. Sony is just standing still. They either need to make some reliable online play a la Microsoft, go for something revolutionary a la nintendo, or they may be sitting in third place this time next year...
  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) <<shadow.wrought> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:34PM (#14056623) Homepage Journal
    With so many of the new 360s having HDs, and HDs being necessary for emulation, does anyone have any ideas about virus' getting spread through the Xbox Live system? Maybe it simply can't happen, but I can't help but think that Xbox sales would suffer substantially if Live were ever poisoned. While nothing has happen with the Xbox, I'd think that the advent of a new technology would perhaps open the door that much farther.
  • by PyroPunk (545300) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:38PM (#14056666) Homepage
    X-Box isn't about cracking the best graphics or anything like that... its all about X-Box live and the multiplay capability.

    I couldn't tell from the article, but it almost sounded like part of setting up the machine is creating an XBox-Live account. Is that right? Here's the part I'm referring to

    When you first turn on your Xbox 360 and take care of initial set-up (choosing a language, time zone, etc.), you're prompted to either set up or transfer an Xbox Live account. Doing so is an easy, painless process that takes no more than 10 or 15 minutes. (You'll also need to set up an Xbox Live/Microsoft Passport account if you don't have one already).

    I currently own an XBox and a PS2 and plan on eventually upgrading to the newer consoles, but I have never been interested in online play. I don't enjoy it, which is what turned me off of Final Fantasy XI, because it seemed like it was only geared to playing online. I would hope it's not something you have to do to be able to use the machine.
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:39PM (#14056680) Homepage
    When will Microsoft drop the price on the original XBox?
  • Another Take (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deinhard (644412) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:42PM (#14056718)
    The title of this [yahoo.com] New York Post article - Don't Buy the Xbox 360 - pretty much sums up that paper's attitude toward the system. It's another interesting read.
  • by StarBeamAlpha (852142) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:42PM (#14056725)
    Who cares out the next gen consoles, good games for the current consoles are being released like crazy so they can release before the new console wars if you haven't been noticing.
  • Re:What?? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:43PM (#14056727)
    Nope.. and game developers are not used to coding SMP friendly software. There's a reason Doom 3 runs like crap on my dual xeon (with htt on it acts like 4 cpus..) I've found that i MUST disable htt to play games.
  • Wha? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:46PM (#14056759) Journal
    "After the endless jokes about the size and heft of the original Xbox, Microsoft got it right. ...About the only thing that detracts from the visual appeal is the machine's enormous power brick. Fortunately, it's a bit easier to hide that."

    What does weight have anything to do with the quality of the original Xbox?

    They made the PSU external for the 360, now reviewers are complaining about that. I personally could care less if the damn Xbox weighed 10 lbs as long as it does what its supposed to do.

    And the article says "it's probably worth waiting a bit."
    Why? Will prices drop after the holiday season from $300/$400?



    On a seperate note: This article doesn't mention it, but others have said that MS may switch from a 90nm mfg process for the CPU to 65nm. I understand how this benefits MS, but nobody has explained how/if it'll benefit the consumer.

    Would it be better to wait for a 65nm cpu core since it should use less energy and generate less heat? Since it'll be a rev2 or rev3 design, I assume they'll have worked out any first run hardware issues.

  • by Endymion (12816) <slashdot...org@@@thoughtnoise...net> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:49PM (#14056793) Homepage Journal
    The controller? Meh.

    It's all about being able to download NES/SNES/N64 games onto it. Such a huge library... it should only take seconds to download most old games, too. They are realy small by today's standards...
  • by popo (107611) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:50PM (#14056798) Homepage

    The 360 has a disastrous lack of solid launch titles. Nothing is revolutionary.

    They have no Halo.

    They have no Elderscrolls.

    They're left with Perfect Dark Zero (which at this point, being so close to launch and seeing no hype, we can only assume will be underwhelming), and Project Gotham (which most people already know will look stunning and be collecting dust within a week).

    This is something of a disaster for MSFT, but not in anyway unpredictable. As someone who has worked closely with Microsoft for the last 10 years I've grown to understand how they make decisions: Its all about platform extension and repeat revenue streams. Very, very little thought tends to go in to creativity, design and consumer appeal. Microsofties tend to scoff at those things, holding instead to the belief that a superior business model leads to a superior product line. (What they forget is that they are now in the entertainment business and people could give a crap about their business model.)

    More unfortunate for MSFT is the fact that Oblivion, one of their biggest system-sellers (if not *the* biggest) will be released for PC months before 360. Anyone who followed the Morrowind release knows why this is a big deal: The PC version was better supported, and had an enormous user community creating free (and amazingly good) mods for the game. That history, combined with the earlier release will cut deeply into the initial appeal for the 360.

    I'll probably get a 360 -- next Xmas -- when there are some games to play.

  • by TheWorkz (866187) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:54PM (#14056834)
    I would have to say that the launch titles are ok/good and probably worth it for anyone who can afford it. I will be getting mine, but I have disposable money and already an HDTV. Why would microsoft waste a huge launch title like Halo 3, when they really need to save that one for the launch of the PS3! Come the PS3/Revolution Launch, Prices will drop, and they will drop the biggest title Halo 3 then. Its going to Hurt Sony!
  • by Some Random Username (873177) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:57PM (#14056862) Journal
    Online gaming would never work without a central system like xbox live. I mean, look at the PC. Nobody ever plays PC games online. Why? Because PCs don't have xbox live. They just let each game do their online thing however they want. Obviously nobody wants that, but sony is doing it just like the PC anyways.
  • Re:Halo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timster (32400) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @05:59PM (#14056889)
    For the same reason every other "groundbreaking" first-person shooter is called "groundbreaking" -- the state of video game criticism is atrocious.
  • Online is the Key (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:14PM (#14057048)
    If Microsoft wants to Beat Sony and dominate, they are going to have to capitalize on the online play. The orginal xbox was a good first step, with the 360 they really have to step up. I don't see this happening. I was a PC gamer than went over to xbox live, and I can tell you there are problems, fairly big problems. The first problem is how things are run. PC games typically have servers, you don't just connect to what ever PC has the best connection or whatever. In xbox live you are essientially running a non-dedicated server on a 700mhz Machine with an MX video card. Whuptidoo. This is why games are usually limited to 8 players or less. Some games function ok with 16-24, but those are rare, and never more that that. I want to play with 32, 64, 128 other people damnit. Not this 8 player BS. Sure The 360 will be more powerfull, but its the same exact non-scaling problem. So it will be better, but in the long run who knows.
          Also with local hosts, and non-dedicated servers you get the infamous Halo standby cheats etc... Whenever a player on a team is also the server you can bet there this will be a problem. The cheating has to be minimaized to a reasonable level or people will just not play.
          MMO, get them! Get them now! Sure it might take some kind of keyboard/mouse add-on, but you got smart people at Microsoft, figure it out! I don't just mean Final Fantasy XXI or whatever it is called. #1 Sony already has that... big deal. They had it awhile ago. To my knowlege it is only popular in like Korea etc.. Get some World of Warcraft, some City of Heros/Villens, hell you got a Marvel Licence, use it!
          Anyway I had another point about online play but I cannot remember it right now. BUt online play is especially important at the beginning as MOST people do not have a HDTV, and while it would be nice MOST are not going to shell out the 2000-4000 dollars to get one. Thus all you graphical enhancments mean nothing, so you have to provide something else, and that something else is new features and equivelient online play as PC.
          I know for myself I am thinking of going back to PC rather than 360, it just seems to make more sense. I am on wait on fence mode right now, so something better happen in the next 6 Months to a year or you will lose people like me.
  • Re:Core Gamer? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cvas (150274) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:15PM (#14057060)
    You've pretty much summed up my feelings with the new consoles, but I wanted to add one thing, because it is a factor for me with the 360. I bought an original X-Box the week it launched and I loved it. What I have now though is a very large doorstop. I didn't find out about the defect in the early optical drives until mine was out of warranty and I wasn't about to pay the ridiculous amount MS was asking to fix it*. So tack on "waiting to see what they screwed up in the initial run" to my reasons for not getting one right away.

    *To anyone who is going to suggest remedies to replace the drive/find a use for the X-Box, thank you, but I'm aware of most of them I just stopped caring.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:36PM (#14057296) Homepage
    The XBox was quite paranoid about refusing to run "unsigned" code. Unless Microsoft's really dumb, the hard-drive-resident emulator programs will similarly refuse to run if they've been modified (and thus no longer match Microsoft's cryptographic key). So a virus could probably only effect modchippers. Here's what makes me more curious:

    The XBox backwards compatibility is handled by a series of small emulator programs installed on the hard drive, and distributed by Microsoft either on CD or over XBox Live (your choice).

    I cannot help but wonder, how long until someone manages to make some kind of pseudo-VMware program that allows you to run the XBox 360's XBox emulators on a Macintosh, or a Playstation 3? I'd probably be willing to modchip my PS3 if it meant I could play KOTOR :)
  • Re:Core Gamer? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot&monkelectric,com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:41PM (#14057352)
    Has nintendo every released a defective console? Has Microsoft? Remeber the dead CDROMS in most xbox v1.0 systems ... I have one at my house if you've forgotten.
  • My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ActionAL (260721) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:49PM (#14057418)
    I've played on the XBOX360 and I can say that the graphics are not as phenomenal as one would expect from a next-generation system.

    The graphics are about the same as a modern day computer game with the latest graphics card and cpu.

    When I was playing the XBOX360, I realized there's nothing really that cool about this next-gen system. A point the CNN article talks about. It really isn't that innovative. It's just the same games, made prettier.

    There's only so much you can do to the graphics, until the gamer realizes hey this is the same thing! Except I paid a whole lot more money!

    Playing the XBOX360 made me realize, the innovation of something like Nintendo's Revolution controller may be a greater leap in gaming than Microsoft and Sony. You could end up using the Revolution's controller as a lightsaber, a gun, a tennis racket, a baseball bat, a steering wheel (use your imagination), you can really revolutionize the interaction between the user and the game simply by changing the controller like Nintendo has done. And that thought makes me drool at how more fun games will be.

    Otherwise there's no difference in me just going and buying Call of Duty 2 and playing it on my home PC.
  • Re:Core Gamer? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @06:57PM (#14057511)
    I don't know about you, but the Sony rootkit has managed to turn me off completely to the PS3. I'm not going to make the mistake of believing that the general public would feel the same way, but I can't understand why anyone who reads /. would even consider sending money to Sony.

    Right, that holds water.

    You seem to think MS can be trusted to treat you any better? Sony's blunder is just dumb. MS plots this type of think while you sleep...day in and day out.

    This is from the recent Wired article on the rootkit debacle: [wired.com] 'Microsoft I can understand. The company is a fan of invasive copy protection -- it's being built into the next version of Windows. Microsoft is trying to work with media companies like Sony, hoping Windows becomes the media-distribution channel of choice. And Microsoft is known for watching out for its business interests at the expense of those of its customers.'

    Your ire should be 100 times larger over MS....yet you don't mention them - hmmm...MS troll smell?
  • Re:Halo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:17PM (#14058227)
    I agree, launch games are important but not THAT important, especially when you're first out of the gate (next-gen wise).

    I can only think of the NES, SNES, and N64 as systems that had launch games that justified the system purchase. (MARIO!)

    I'm buying the 360, and a couple launch games, but I'm not getting the system for just the launch games. I'm also getting the system for all the great upcoming games over the next 4/5/6 years. Plus, I have a HD TV, and it's nice to have a system designed for it.
  • Re:Halo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clontzman (325677) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:30PM (#14058883) Homepage
    Agreed. It's funny how many people turn into market analysts when it comes to a product they're trying to diss. Was it successful? Yes, enough to sell 20+M consoles, dozens of millions of games and spawn a sequel. Did it make a profit for MS? Apparently they made enough money that they didn't abandon the market altogether.

    But who cares? There are some great games and a cool online service, which is all I care about as a gamer.
  • Re:Beware the Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Friday November 18, 2005 @09:20AM (#14061798) Homepage
    ### What they should be doing is upping the poly counts on SD resolutions as much as possible to make it look better

    Polycount won't help, with normal mapping you can already do extremly detailed looking creatures without using that much polygons at all. What games are laking graphical wise these days are three things in my eyes:

    1) proper lighting, shadows are still the sharp ugly ones which we already had in the day of Starfox on the SNES, that just isn't very realistic, HDR helps quite a bit, but what is needed is some kind of realtime radiosity to get away from that odd-computer graphics look

    2) motion, stil frames these days often look a lot better then the thing in motion, for the simple reason that animation is still a huge problem, motion capturing works fine for cutscenes, but in dynamic scenes it just doesn't look very good to always see the same prerecorded animation, beside from that it often is simply the wrong animation (classic example would be a player character walking against the wall, simply wouldn't work in reallife that way). Some kind of adaptive animation system is needed here, something that not only plays a prerecorded motion, but more or less simulates the human body.

    3) information density, again not really a rendering thing, but what I mean with that is that the amount of 'information' that is presented in a game is nowwhere near reality. If I look around in a real room I might find shelfs full of books, all of which readable, cabinets full of cloths, all of them wearable, computers full of files, all of them browsable. In a game on the other side I might be able to find a table, a chair and a shelf with a few empty boxes, if there ever is a book in a game, I am happy when I can read a few pages of it, if at all. Same is true for games that play outside, GTA might give you a whole city, but each house is nothing more then a textured box, you can't walk into most of them, people that walk around on the streets are generated completly random and neither have goal or purpose. Sure, an artist probally will never close this information gap, but ProjectGutenberg might be able to fill the books with text and some kind of fractal algorithm should be able to build a wide varity of houses and rooms that are explorable, Elite did that a two decades ago and presented the player with a whole universe to explore, while it wasn't the most detailed universe, todays hardware should be able to accomplish quite a bit more.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine

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