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The Next-Gen Odd Couple 249

Posted by Zonk
from the they're-kooky dept.
1up.com is running a lengthy piece talking to Microsoft VP J. Allard and Sony Computers of America President Kaz Hirai about what exactly the 'next generation' of consoles are about. The article is informative and varied, with talk about Xbox Live, the launch of the Xbox and PSX, and what past efforts from Sony and Microsoft will mean as the newest front in the console war heats up. From the article: "OPM: What are the benefits of being first to market, much like the Dreamcast was? What are the pitfalls? JA: Good question. I'd say one of the pitfalls from a competitive point of view is that you don't know what the other guys are doing, and to be frank, the guys over at Sony have been very good at not telling anyone what they're doing. It's tough to tell where they're going with the PS3. The other tough thing is that you're under the microscope [when you're first]. [Sony] shows two movies and a product that you can't touch behind a piece of glass, and that's what you get to write about on them."
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The Next-Gen Odd Couple

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  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @09:58AM (#14263603) Journal
    There hasn't been a proper next generation since the Sega Saturn. Everything else has just been an incremental improvement in graphics and storage. The XBox 360 has all these fantastic specs on paper, but in practice, you'll see the same games, with the same sound, the same online capabilities and the same premise but with a few more polygons and a higher resolution. All very nice, I'm sure, but hardly a revolution in gaming.
    • Saturn was not "next generation". They intended the machine to be a 2d powerhouse with CD media. They didn't even integrate 3d features until they saw what they were up against with Sony and even then they just threw some stuff on the original 2d board. Ever open up a Saturn? Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuugly.

      • Easily discredited. Sega clearly planned on using the Hitachi processor in the saturn for basic 3D, witness Virtua Racing for the Genesis (it's got a 20mhz hitatchi in it that slaves the main Genesis processor). And it's patently absurd to imagine Sega would design a console they couldn't port their arcade hit Virtua Fighter to. It is true Sega underestimated Sony's console and rushed to deal with it. Still, you've got to remember that console games had traditionally lagged _way_ behind the arcades. It was
    • I agree that launch titles for the XBox 360 are hardly impressive. However the way microsoft integrates online gaming (xbox live) is very well done, and personally i think is where gaming is going. Now they just need good games.

      On the PS3 we can only speculate, but it save to assume that it performs in the same league as the 360. The only thing I have seen is that their launch titles are more innovative and/or look more attractive to me. But sony doesn't understand or breathe online gaming as MS does...

      Als
      • I think (could be entirely wrong) that there is an equal number of casual gamers at who consoles are often pushed as the gaming solution (vs a gaming PC) who aren't at all interested in Online play - especially if it costs extra or worse is an ongoing monthly fee.

        Let's just say I'm not about to pay $10+ a month for MMORPGs on my PC, I certainly don't want to pay $50+ a year to MS for the priviledge to pay some other company $10+ a month to do the same. And I'm certainly not going to pay $10+ a month so I ca
      • by IdleTime (561841) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:57AM (#14264570) Journal
        However the way microsoft integrates online gaming (xbox live) is very well done, and personally i think is where gaming is going. Now they just need good games.
        I think this is not correct. On-line gaming is HUGE for you hardcore gamers, but on and off gamers like me don't have the skill or time necessary to get a good online experience. What fun is it to enter an online session just to be killed 5 seconds after you entered? Not much...

        I personally prefer to play games with friends in real life. We all have about the same skill level and we can drink and interact in ways you can't online. Ofcourse, if you are a hardcore gamer, you probably don't have too many real life friends since you spend most of your free time online playing games.

        Until I can enter online games and only play with people on or about the same skill level as I have, online gaming to me is worthless and just a HUGE waste of money.

        If I could go online with my friends and then have a session with only us in it, that would be interesting.

        I wanted to pick up an XBOX 360 just to see what the hype is alll about, but i have no interest in buying on Ebay and so far i haven't found a place where I can go and pick up one, so I'm going to drop XBOX 360 alltogether, no matter how good it is due to the fact it's nearly impossible to go to a store and buy one. Horrible, horrible marketing MS, SONY - are you listening? I'll pick up a PS3 with games and stuff as soon as it is available for pickup in stores.
        • What fun is it to enter an online session just to be killed 5 seconds after you entered? Not much...

          This has been considered and dealt with. PGR3 apparrently has an online mode where drivers are rated based on their skill. You go online, and it will automatically match you with other drivers of similar skill. I'm not sure if other games have or plan to have this kind of capability, but I think it is pretty cool, and I hope other game houses implement that kind of feature. It seems like it would work well fo
    • "There hasn't been a proper next generation since the Sega Saturn."

      Yeah... how many bits is the 360 anyway? Bits as a performance measurement sort of went away with the PS2 generation. Nintendo's last try at it was with the N64, but I have no idea how many bits Gamecube is.
      • Yeah... how many bits is the 360 anyway?

        "How many bits" is WHICH PART of the console, you mean? Do you mean the CPU word size? Or the width of the memory address bus? Or the color depth of the GPU? Sample depth of the audio DSP?

        Or, as seems to have been the tradition in the industry since the TurboGrafx-16, do you just add them all together so you can call it a 768-bit computer?
    • by mausmalone (594185) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:57AM (#14264042) Homepage Journal
      If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times ... it all depends on what you do with the hardware.

      Guessing by your wording, you know what I'm talking about when I talk about the Revolution controller. Just how radically different it is from the current paradigm ensures that there will be great changes in gameplay coming from the Revolution. This is something that I'm looking forward to.

      But does the X-Box 360's lack of "innovative" (i.e. trend-bucking) hardware necessarily mean that it won't lead to innovative gameplay that wasn't previously possible? Think about how powerful that CPU is. What kinds of things could be done with physics on it? What could you do with AI? Look at the large (for a console) ammount of memory. How large can levels get? How could you ever fill all that up? Look at the powerful GPU. What can you draw now that you couldn't before? Are there game concepts that people were looking at before that were simply impossible because previous consoles couldn't draw the output?

      So, while the hardware is nothing earth-shaking or radically different, it opens up possibilities to developers that simply weren't available on the original X-Box. We just have to hope that (a) developers take advantage of the hardware in that way, and (b) we gamers actually buy the innovative games to support the trend.
      • AI and physics isn't really a limitation of the processor, its a limitation of the developers. It takes a lot of research to get convincing AI and physics, and most developers aren't spending (wasting) their time on that. Most of them spend their time on graphics, because they think, if it doesn't look good, people won't buy it. There's no reason why we couldn't have had advanced AI on the last generation, but developers aren't interested in providing this.
        • AI and physics isn't really a limitation of the processor, its a limitation of the developers.

          To do them well, you actually need both. Academics don't typically run fluid modeling simulations on Apple II's, after all; they use massive, powerful computer systems that cost more than your house. The more processing power you have, the better your physics simulation can be.

          Absolutely agree though that in the current gaming market, the bottleneck is developer time. Anyone who wants to make a game that will se
    • by dmouritsendk (321667) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:29AM (#14264308)
      I mean, because of their new 3D input device, the gameplay will be vastly different . Like, in nintendo's teaser video where you saw a dude using it to control a sword, as if he was holding the sword in his own hand swinging away.

      Check out the vid here if u haven't: http://zdmedia.vo.llnwd.net/o1/1UP/revolution_cont _tgs05_quick.zip [llnwd.net]

      No console have ever offered this kinda gameplay before, so i think its fair to call it revolutionary.

    • by jcnnghm (538570) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:29AM (#14264310)
      Incremental improvements in graphics and storage, or steps toward immersion. I have a 360, and thus far I am pretty impressed.

      Take Call of Duty. Just looking at it, at first glance, it doesn't seem a whole lot better (Toshiba 27" standard def set circa 2003) than say Brothers in Arms on the original Xbox. Then when you actually play it, it has something most other WWII games lack, a sense of immersion. The particle effects really help with this. The battlefield is chaotic, grenades and bullets kick up snow, dirt, mud, and the smoke grenades are wonderful. The friendly NPC's talk, constantly. Sometimes everything else is just so loud, you can't really make out what they are saying. The surround sound is used to great effect to bring you onto the battlefield. It feels like a battle, not a group of polygons shooting at some other polygons.

      There are also tons of characters on screen. I remember a Medal of Honor for the Xbox, the opening was a very well done and immersive D-Day invasion, with stuff going on all around you. Hardly any enemies, and only lasted a minute or two. Call of Duty feels like that all the way through, except while the enviroment is active with particle effects and explosions, there are also 15-30 enemies in front of you, and a bunch of Allies fighting beside you. In most WWII games it has inevitably felt like you were one man taking on the entire German army. Call of Duty has you pinned as a member of a unit.

      A friend of mine came over after I got my 360 to check it out. We've been playing games together since the NES. Fired up Call of Duty, he took the first level. The vehicle he was in was attacked, he looks, and over the hill in front of him comes, I'd say 35 or so enemies, in formation. His response, holy shit, it's the whole German army. Throws a grenade, then attempts to shoot all of them with his rifle. He's dead a few seconds later. Eventually he realized he should throw a smoke grenade, then retreat to where the rest of the friendlies are and fight from cover. In short, a hell of a lot more immersive than the last generation.

      This generation should be about parallel processing are way toward immersion. Hopefully some developer will come along and realize that graphically, this generation should be an incremental upgrade (whatever you can do with that fancy new GPU). The focus should be on using these multi-core processors to up the ante in physics and AI processing, and adding a bunch of characters to the screen. GTA isn't much of a city with 4 cars and 6 people on the streets. Multiply both of those numbers by 20-40 and we may start to have something truly next generation.
    • Saying something or someone is of the "next generation" doesn't imply they are in any way revolutionary or even superior. It simply implies that they are descended from some older source.

      In this sense it's completely appropriate to categorize consoles in terms of "generations". Of course in the video game business you are at least (usually) assured of improvements, if only incremental and of a non-revolutionary nature with each new generation, while the term when used in other contexts may not have such

  • by walshy007 (906710) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:02AM (#14263636)
    it seems to me the general public don't want anything new and interesting in gaming, all we see is rehashes of old genres, which while tried and true, bring very little new to the table the nintendo revolution on the otherhand could bring a lot new to the table, if they play their cards right. Although I fear, no matter what happens, sony and microsoft teenagers may never get rid of the anti-nintendo stigma that has been around for quite some time.
    • Yeah, I find that Nintendo GC is the best system currently. You can get one for $100, and games and accessories are cheap. It's probably the best for people who aren't hardcore. They have that giant green A button, which you hit 95% of the time. the other buttons are easily accessible from the "home" button. You always know what button you are pressing, because they all have a different fell. I think this helps a lot when you are trying to learn new controls to new games.
      • I agree. I bought a Gamecube for my son for Christmas. The Cube was $70 (used) and I got six games for under $100 (only one game was over $20 and one was buy 2 get 1 free). There are tons of new $20 games at Wal-Mart or used games at EB from $15. Even Best Buy has a lot of new games for $29. The really big-name games are more expensive, such as most new Mario games going for $59, but that's the standard price for most games on other consoles.

        Considering that the next gen games are supposed to cost more to d
        • Yeah, used games are nice. I got Metriod Prime at EB for 12 $CDN. It's an amazing game. There's a lot of really good games for really cheap. Walmart has a whole bin of games for 18$. Even unused older games go for around $30. Zelda and mario sunshine are good examples. When you can get the system and six games for less than the price of just the system from the other guys, you're going to be having much more fun.
      • I love making fun of my Playstation playing friends when we sit down to play a GCN game. They sit, staring at the menus totally confused. Eventually they break down and ask "what do I press?" I laugh at them, tell them to look at the controller, and take a wild guess.

        And then they still don't get it. So that's when I say, in a "no-duh" voice "try the giant fucking green one" And then "How do I go back" is met with "If green went forward, what color do you think brings you back?" "What?"
        • Yeah PS really messes with my brain. Where is the Circle button again? what about triangle and X? Which button do I press is right. Maybe they think this way because they are used to PS, where they really do have no idea which button they are supposed to press at the menus.
          • Actually, each game licenser (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) specifies menu rules, and those menu rules may even change from region to region. For example, on the PS2, X selects and Square goes back. On the PS2 in Japan, Circle selects and X goes back. I understand that my friends don't understand the gamecube controller because they're simply soooo aclimated to the PS2, not because they're dumb.
        • When the N64 and Playstation were first out, I went to a store to check them out. The Nintendo controller felt good in my hand, and it was very easy to remember the yellow button control options: they're cardinal direction!

          On to the Playstation, I didn't like the feel of the controller at first, but what drove me nuts were the labelling of the buttons! Square, circle, X, triangle. Yeah, real intuitive there, Sony!
    • by garcia (6573)
      Although I fear, no matter what happens, sony and microsoft teenagers may never get rid of the anti-nintendo stigma that has been around for quite some time.

      Being a "Sony Adult" and watching the random offerings of Nintendo over recent years, I can't find a single shred of evidence that will make me believe that I should move away from the PS3 for the Revolution.

      Everyone says, "well it looks like the Revolution could do interesting things" but based on MY experience and knowledge it's going to be a whole sl
      • Why aren't we applying that same standard to the PS3 or the 360? I swear, rationality goes out the window when consoles are the topic.

        Personally, I intend to buy none of the "next gen" consoles until their first price drop, giving my wallet a breath of air and a chance for the consoles and developers to prove themselves. At this point, it's kind of ridiculous how fanboyish people are about consoles that aren't available.

      • Perhaps you think games like Mario Sunshine and Mario Strikers are for children without realizing that they're two of the best games on any platform in many years. Just because nearly everybody says that Nintendo only makes kids games doesn't mean it's true.
        • those guys are losing out. are they the same people who say "I'm not seeing a film unless it's got an adult rating!", or are they just ignorant hypocrites?

          personally, I didn't think Resident Evil 4 was too childish, but take Super Smash Bros Melee - cartoonish graphics and no blood, but the greatest fighting gameplay ever, especially with more than 2 players.
        • Yes, Mario Sunshine and Mario Strikers are for children. There is nothing wrong with adults enjoying a children's game (same as movies --- I thought Madagascar was a hoot!), but I play games for the story and atmosphere, and I'd much rather have something like Xenosaga than Mario RPG.
      • "Being a "Sony Adult" and watching the random offerings of Nintendo over recent years, I can't find a single shred of evidence that will make me believe that I should move away from the PS3 for the Revolution."

        Apart from the fact that Sony is the rootkit/spyware company, and it is a risk to let their products anywhere near your house?

        "Everyone says, "well it looks like the Revolution could do interesting things" but based on MY experience and knowledge it's going to be a whole slew of cartoonish and

        • Apart from the fact that Sony is the rootkit/spyware company, and it is a risk to let their products anywhere near your house?

          Uhh, it's a game console. The only spyware that Sony could possibly put on me is what games I play and if I happened to be on the Internet playing them. If I did hook it up to the Internet to play the games they'd know all of that anyway. I don't see your point.

          There are lots of "gory games for teens who want to be adults" available for the GameCube, you know. Maybe Nintendo creat
          • "Uhh, it's a game console. The only spyware that Sony could possibly put on me is what games I play and if I happened to be on the Internet playing them. If I did hook it up to the Internet to play the games they'd know all of that anyway. I don't see your point."

            Sony will do the DRM thing on PS3. And besides, if you buy something from Sony, you are supporting their DRM efforts. And you never know what they might do next... They could already now be planning something big for the PS3, like the digital e

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:32AM (#14264337) Homepage
        Why does cartoon = childish? Southpark is a cartoon, but I wouldn't want my kids watching it. Just because they don't try to make the games look like real life, doesn't mean they are childish. It just means they are going for a different effect. If they wanted them to look real, then they would. Truth is, games that look too real end up immersing you less because you stop using your imagination. Maybe if you have no imagination, then it doesn't matter. Just because mario doesn't have a gun, doesn't mean he's childish. Does violence=adult? what exactly defines and adult game, and what make nintendo's games non adult?
        • Nintendo games aren't South Park. Nintendo games have childish stories and themes as well, not just childish graphics. That's what turns people off --- you only want to save the goddamn princess so many times. THe fast-twitch set stays with Nintendo, despite the lame stories and environments, for the great gameplay, but not everyone plays a game just for the mechanics of the game.
          • But saving the princess is not a childish endeavour. Kids don't even like girls, and think they are icky. They'd rather sling mud at the girl, than save her. Look at all the action movies out there. They are all about getting the girl.
        • Just because mario doesn't have a gun, doesn't mean he's childish.

          Doesn't mean he isn't either. The argument is getting tired. Sure a handful of games, Mario, Zelda, whatever. But its nearly the entire lineup. Cartoon does not equal childish, sure. But were I to go through the Nintendo lineup game by game and list the basic premise of each, you do pick up a certain pattern. I don't really fault them for this. The games are fun. But yes, many of them are simplistic and childish. Don't be so defensive abou

      • but I'm more interested in REAL REVOLUTION.

        Perhaps you should be looking elsewhere then. Maybe not so much at video games. The revolution may be televised, but I doubt it will be released for any of the consoles.

  • Odd Threesome? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:02AM (#14263639) Homepage
    I think we should really be looking at the third player in the next gen of consoles. Sure XBox 360 and PS3 look to have really fast hardware, and look really pretty, but the Revolution actually looks like it will be doing something new and interesting. After reading about how the new King Kong game being put down by it's own developers for being not so good on the 360 unless you have a flashy new TV, as few people do, It's beginning to become apparent that maybe graphics won't matter all that much in the next generation. With the last 7 generations of consoles, we've seen graphics get noticable better every time. I'm not sure people will notice or care that much about the graphics this time. Most people still have a standard TV, and probably won't be able to tell the difference. Instead, I see many people, looking for something fun, which Nintendo has always provided. Not to mention that the Revo will be around 1/2 the price of the PS3 or the Xbox 360.
    • I think you're right, but the interview is from a Playstation magazine so I'm not surprised that the Rev wasn't mentioned.

      I suspect XBox and Playstation mags will ignore the Revolution as part of the console battle. They don't want to tip everybody off that something interesting is going on elsewhere. It'll be ok for a PS magazine to mention XBox 360 because the two consoles are essentially twins. There's almost no point in buying both.
  • what exactly the 'next generation' of consoles are about.

    They're about making apple embarassed to have dumped bridges with IBM. triple core 3.2GHz G5... take that!
    • I want a cell PC. Sure it will be rooted to hell and back and swear allegiance to the Sony flag at every bootup BUT 8 cores. Holy fucking shit. Instant mainframe. Oh and also rumoured that Linux does run on it. Sure sure like my current old dual P3 most of the cores would idle but it would give you a serious epenis to wag around on irc.

      I just find it hilarious that it is the old boring IBM that is making all the upcoming consoles while AMD and Intel are churning out boring old desktop and server cpu's. Yaw

    • They're about making apple embarassed to have dumped bridges with IBM. triple core 3.2GHz G5... take that!

      It's apparently a triple-core G5 ... with the out-of-order execution machinery removed.

      While that might acceptable for a game machine (game developers are probably willing to hand-optimize stuff, spend significant amounts of time tuning, stick to special-purpose libraries for most of the heavy lifting, etc), it's likely to be much less impressive when used as a normal computer running typical code.

      Doh!
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:08AM (#14263673)
    Stop trying to make them an all in one box that will do everything from play games to media center to feeding the cat. All in one boxes teh suxxor, as the young 'uns say today, not to mention a single point of failure and all that jazz.
    • Actually, my cat has built-in audio and force feedback capabilities that make playing a game progressively harder the longer I delay feeding it.. So feeding the cat is already tightly integrated into my gaming experience!

      I hear the new Cat 720 will provide even more immersive add-on difficulty while gaming..!

    • Yes but they have to spend all that cash on powerful hardware, high capacity disk readers, and network capibility anyway just so people can play games. Not to mention Hi-Def etc. If they have to build in 98% of what is required for an "all in one" device they might as well throw in the software to be able to do things like watch movies on it since they are 99% of the way there anyway.

      IIRC many people I knew that purchased the PS2 didn't own DVD players at the time. The inital cost seemed expensive but if yo

    • Well, you know the old saying ... Jack of all trades, master of none.
      • Well, you know the old saying ... Jack of all trades, master of none.

        I do know the old saying, but I'm not really sure how it applies. Are you suggesting that the ability to play MP3's over a network DETRACTS from a console's ability to play games somehow?
        • It doesn't, but compared to a set-top box designed around playing networked media, the X-Box 360 is fairly weak. Compared to a real DVD player, the X-Box and PS2 are pretty weak. It may be convenient for people to have an all-in-one console, but one has to expect to lose features when compared to having multiple components in your entertainment center.

          I was more implying that since the meda center aspects are usually an afterthought (and, no, I haven't had a chance to evaluate the X-Box 360 in person, s
    • Well, Media Center extender is one of the major reasons I'm considering the Xbox 360. My living room will look a lot nicer with the sleek xbox 360, and my MCPC moved into the home office. I'll hang tight though until the hd-dvd Xboxes are released, and more good games are available, but the extra features you deride really do differentiate the console from others.
  • Duh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bullfish (858648) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:10AM (#14263689)
    The next gen consoles are about getting the console gamer to the on-line money trough through a drm locked down metered revenue stream.

    Really, a lot of the ooo's and ah's with the consoles have more to do with their on-line abilities, supposedly better graphics (jury is in lockdown) and such that PC gamers have used for ages. The difference is that they can get the console gamers (which outnumber PC gamers) to fork over a lot more in on-line fees than PC players will tolerate. Plus, a lot of console gamers don't even know where to begin when it comes to modding their consoles to bypass their schemes.

    The PC also has more options when it comes to free gaming on-line. A lot suck, but a lot are very good. Yes, the graphics on the new consoles will be better once the developers get the hang of programming for them, but gameplay is another matter.

    Frankly, the new consoles have a bigger upside for the manufacturer's as a vehicle for metered gaming than they do for the gamer in terms of better games.
  • by mikapc (664262) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:14AM (#14263711)
    I haven't noticed anything revolutionary with this new xbox 360. If anything you might call it evolutionary with enhanced graphics but aside from that the games don't appear to be any different from the long line of games that preceded them.
  • what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:14AM (#14263714)
    "supposedly better graphics (jury is in lockdown)"

    I dare you to take a 360 and hook it up to ANY tv with a native resolution of 720p, 1080i, or 1080p (the new Sony SXRDs for example). The image quality of a 360 is breathtaking when it is used correctly.

    When you play a 360 on a regular TV the image has to be squished and makes it look horrendous. This console just isn't made for a non-widescreen non-HD tv.
    • But what percentage of people own HD TVs? What percentage of people who play video games own HD TVs? The target market of a game console is probably mostly males, from the ages of 10 - 30. Of those who still live with their parents, many may have HD TVs, but probably don't have access to it to play video games all that often since the parents paid for the TV and probably want to use it. They are stuck using the old standard TV to play the video games. I think that many of the parents still have the atti
    • Re:what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chrismcdirty (677039) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:27AM (#14263782) Homepage
      True. But 90% of the US does not have an HDTV. And I'm sure even less have one that supports 720p (my 4:3 ratio HDTV only has support for 480p and 1080i). It's in the way that it's promoted where everything breaks down. The stores make it seem, and likely tell consumers, it will look that good on any TV.
      • There is no question the market penetration of HDTV's is lacking. This console will last at least 4 or 5 years, and by then (due to new legislation in the US) you will see HDTVs become increasingly popular. I have found many people that have bought one just for the 360 - these NextGen consoles will create a mini boom in sales.

        My point was that it is ridiculous to compare the graphics of the 360 to Xbox1 and say the "Jury is Out". The graphical differences are nothing short of astounding for a televisi
      • Re:what? (Score:3, Informative)

        by hollismb (817357)
        The XBOX 360, while mative 720p, will also convert the video signal to 1080i, so even those with tvs that don't support 720p can still play in High Definition. FYI.
      • The only thing worse than statistics is statistics pulled out of thin air. http://www.simmtester.com/page/news/shownews.asp? n um=8484 [simmtester.com] Last year, 17% of US households had HDTV capable TVs. This is expected to increase to 22% this year. And exceed 55% by 2008. Given the lifetime of a console, it seems that it is better to have HDTV capabilities now than to wait for the next-next gen.
    • by ceeam (39911)
      Q: What advantages consoles _had_ over PC?
      A: Being inexpensive and being identical.
    • by garcia (6573)
      I dare you to take a 360 and hook it up to ANY tv with a native resolution of 720p, 1080i, or 1080p (the new Sony SXRDs for example). The image quality of a 360 is breathtaking when it is used correctly.

      I saw the XBox 360 on display at several stores throughout the holiday shopping season. Honestly? I can't say I'm impressed. The leap between the PS1 and the PS2 was far greater than what I can see between the XBox 360 and the current generation of consoles on the market.

      Anyway, gameplay is much more impo
    • ... and it was probably a dumb move on Microsoft's part. Why focus right now on HD to the exclusion of regular TV? Most people have regular TVs.

      Had we hit the upper limit of "how good graphics can get" on a regular TV? Well, when I play PS2 or XBox games, I'm not confusing them for live-action broadcasts. Further, when I'm watching regular TV, I'm usually not that bothered by the idea that "it doesn't look real enough".

      So what's HD other than a buzzword? I don't have an HDTV, so is Microsoft sending

    • Really? I was looking at the games, and noticing how still thin wires tend to appear and disappear and go jagged as you move around (in MSR) and the guns in Line of Fire 2 (sorry if I've got the game names wrong) also have nasty jaggies along their edges.

      Yes, it's nice the resolution is high, but as far as I'm concerned, if you get evil jaggies, you are worse than the dreamcast was, which while tending to be a little low on polygon count didn't have a jaggie problem.
    • I dare you to take a 360 and hook it up to ANY tv with a native resolution of 720p, 1080i, or 1080p

      You're right on the first two resolutions, but not on the third.

      The Xbox 360 hardware doesn't support 1080p --- its highest progressive mode is 720, whereas at 1080 it supports interlaced only. In contrast, the PS3 is categorically stated as supporting 1080p in its hardware. [<but insert vapourware alert here>]

      Of course, this doesn't currently mean much in practice, except to those interested in spec w
    • Others have stated the problem with the HD strategy. Most people don't have them. Yes, for the most part HD look far superior to SD (except for upconverted old shows which suffer). Until you can buy a 42 inch HD set for about 500 bucks, penetration is going to be low compared to SD.

      If you look at the life of these consoles (about five years), I suspect HD is not going to be much of a factor in this generation. Nintendo may not have been that dumb in not deploying HD this generation. The games have to look g
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:35AM (#14263837)
    is a live subscription a broadband service, or do you need a broadband connection in the first place?

    just interested, either way I'm getting the Revolution. I don't buy MS or Sony products, partly because I hate those two companies' practices but mainly because they just don't make products that I'm at all interested in. the Revolution is the only console that offers something genuinely new, plus I like Nintendo games.

    plus it's the cheapest and my gamecube games and controllers will still work (for "conventional" games). I don't know how the internet connection will compare but that isn't important to me since I don't think my home connection would be up to standards.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:36AM (#14263848) Journal
    on the other, you have a U.S.-based company whose fortune was made off operating systems for the PC and whose number of years in the videogame industry can be counted on a single hand.

    I am sorry? Exactly when was did MS get involved with flight simulator (first a non-ms game but now firmly owned by ms) vs Sony involvement with games? I spot it as MS being almost a full decade earlier. In 1982 MS licensed the program from sublogic to be released on the IBM-PC (before it had been on all the other platforms of the day but NOT that new fangled thingy). The playstation doesn't make an entry until 1994. (Oh and it even seems that MS flight simulator as it would become known was no fluke but actually commisioned by Bill Gates himself wich would explain why such an odd product would keep being developed)

    Or do PC games not count as video games? When an article doesn't even do basic research how worthy can the rest of it be?

    So for your info. MS has for a very long time had a game division for its operating platform and continues to do so. Sony wich became a game player much later in live also has a big PC division, almost all of its MMO titles for one. MS of course already had experience with the ancestor of live, MSN chat and similar software. Sony of course did not. MS was late to the internet and the whole online idea but not as late as sony so it is no wonder that the x-box was the first console to have a large online component.

    Argh I am bored with this. Game journalists should be shot.

  • What the next gen means? Easy - more/much_more expensive to produce games = more "suit" decisions, less variety, fewer titles, more "cool" factor, less fun factor. Same shit basically as happened with PC gaming (if you remember early-mid 90's and today).
  • by Generic Guy (678542) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:40AM (#14263884)

    I was just reading a blurb in Game Informer magazine, about some 'patented' process Sony is working on with PS3 to undercut the used game market. Something to do with tying your game disc to your specific console. This and the reported Blu-Ray DRM which can disable your machine makes the Sony rootkit fiasco look tame by comparison.

    Microsoft has been moving full steam ahead with Xbox Live, offering downloads for sale right into your 360's hard drive. I think it is both interesting and embarassing for MS that one of the most engaging Xbox 360 titles is a $5 download called Geometry Wars. But again, this is about locking in your customers, so you can nickel and dime them to death. I find it ironic that Microsoft touts media freedom with the 360, but you need a pricey MCE2005 PC setup to use it and it still doesn't support xvid nor divx MP4 videos.

    If this is what they are offering customers this time around, I'm much more interested in seeing what Nintendo has to offer.

  • by RoLi (141856) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @10:41AM (#14263898)
    The paragraph that makes it obvious that Sony understands the console market is:

    When we launch a PS3 online service, we certainly want to take advantage of the PS3, the technology it brings, and offer a great online experience for PS3 users, but at the same time, we want to make sure we bring along the huge install base of PS2 users and the install base of PSP users and have them be able to take part in the online experience as well.

    Sony understands that they make the money in the games, not the hardware. If many of the 100 million PS2 owners don't need "next generation", fine for Sony - and fine for the game developers, they will continue to make and sell PS2 games for several years.

    Microsoft on the other hand, sells the XBox like they sell MS Office: In very short periods, they try to upgrade as many users as possible to the "newest" version.

    That's just wrong: First, many console users don't want to upgrade so often. 4 years for the XBox is pretty short. And if you bought your XBox last year because of Halo2, will you upgrade just after one year?

    Second, the more hardware Microsoft sells, the more losses they make. So IF they ever want to break even (or - gasp - even make a profit), they somehow have to pay for the hardware losses by higher game-prices or tricking more people into paying monthly fees.

    But in the end, I think XBox360 will make as much losses as XBox1. I seriously doubt that XBox360 will ever make money for Microsoft.

  • Probably not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:10AM (#14264152)
    "But in the end, I think XBox360 will make as much losses as XBox1. I seriously doubt that XBox360 will ever make money for Microsoft."

    360 is currently averaging 3.9 games/console sold. Add in the monthly revenue from Xbox Live and the controllers and you have a great business going.

    Microsoft is an industry leader for a reason, they know how to sell a product. The Xbox1 was just a last ditch attempt to gain some market penetration setting up the 360.
    • I seriously doubt the average will remain that high for long. Right now the people that have bought the console are the early adopter crowd who naturally are more into gaming than a typical console buyer and will get more games.

      I'd like to know if this isn't just normal behavior in the first months of any console launch but I suspect it'll be difficult to find numbers for comparison.

      If the rate remains as high even a few months later when there are already millions of Xbox360s sold, MS have definitely done
  • by wild_berry (448019) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:11AM (#14264163) Journal
    "We can't wait to get people's feedback"

    Like the class-action suit about your overheating power bricks? :P

    These words from Allard, repeated throughout this gutsy interview, are the proof that the limited availability is more about public beta testing than production shortages, the hype machine or any thing else.

    (Also: Allard was on form with his 'I'm so excited I could *POP*' attitude.)
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @11:24AM (#14264271)
    PS2 was first and dominated that last gen market, but then, Sony had taken over the market with the PSOne long before MS decides to enter the fray.

    Its about games, pure and simple. Xbox failed simply because there were not enough exclusive titles, and not any gaming franchises established to help drive console sales. I never bought an Xbox because I could get the same titles for my PS2. What few exclusive titles for the Xbox, like Halo, eventually made it to PC.

    Micosoft is setting up the XBox360 for the same fall. The problem know is that many "new" Xbox360 games will also see Xbox and PS2 versions. Not just are there no exclusive titles, but these titles are not even respecting console generations, being downgraded to sell on previous generation consoles.

    Again, why would I buy an Xbox360 when, for the time being, many of the popular titles will be released for the PS2 as well.

    I am a gamer that prefers gameplay over style and graphics. If a game is fun to play and entertaining for a long time, I could care less if the 3D graphics are not cinematic quality. I won't pay $400 to play a $40 game I could get for a system I already own.

    If MS thinks that by getting there first is going to make the Xbox360 shine, then they will loose once again to gain market share. Without exclusive titles, and allowing game developers to release games for other platforms AND older generations, Microsoft is doing nothing to spur sales of Xbox360 hardware.

    Sony has a number of platform specific titles that don't exist on any other platform, and I am sure when the PS3 is released, they won't be releasing the same games for the PS2. This is still why the PS3 will outsell the Xbox360, because MS inisist on whoring themselves and their game developers to anyone willing to buy a license, rather then forcing stronger commitments from game developers for exclusive titles.
    • Google wasn't the first search engine, Lexus wasn't the first luxury car make, and iPod wasn't the first MP3 player. But who owns those markets now? I don't think many folks think of Lycos, Ford, or Creative first for search, luxury cars, or music players. The whole idea that the winner is the one who gets there first with the most may work in war, but I'm skeptical about it's use as a business best practice. In the longer term of the technology game, say more than 6 months, better often wins. (I'm aware of
  • Forget personality conflicts. Interracial couples are old hat. Cross-religion? Easy. PC vs Mac? Getting more interoperable all the time.

    He's an X-box guy. She's a Playstation girl. Can they reconcile their differences, or are they doomed to an early breakup? Find out in our 6-part reality series...
  • ...then I guess I won't be buying one, because I have *zero* interest in playing games online. Effectively, I'd be paying 50 quid for a game that I would never play half of - no thanks! Unless they sell cut-down versions of the game without the online component for half the price... but somehow, I doubt that'll be happening.

    Is "Online! Online! Online!" Allard's version of a Ballmer rant? And why's he always 'J' Allard? Does he have an embarrassing first name?

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