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Games Entertainment

Microsoft Game Console 252

Posted by justin++
from the rumour-mill dept.
Nukelear writes "MS will be releasing a gaming console in Fall of 2000. The box will be running Intel OR AMD chips (not yet decided) and NV10 graphics. The full story is here." Note that it hasn't been confirmed yet, however. Assuming it's true, it means MS is going up against (primarily) three companies with well established brands - Nintendo, Sega, and Sony. Even if MS is MS, it still sounds like they would be up for some stiff competition...
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Microsoft Game Console

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  • Hrm, I don't know about this from what it sounds like there just making a striped down PC optimized for games. I doubt it will be very compelling on a technical side. The GeForce kicks ass, but so do the custom chips in the DreamCast and the PSX2.

    Also, Micro$~1 will not be building these boxes themselves. The reason game boxes are so cheap is because hardware makes eat the cost. Sony lost almost $100 on each playstation it sold at launch. This is the problem that 3do had. There boxes were made by third party's, instead of 3do itself. they cost far to much, so the market was very limited.

    This Microsoft box is going to be going for at least $100 more then the Sega, and at the same price point as the Sony (although I don't know much about Sony's release date the price will be $300 at launch). I'm pretty sure that the PSX2 will have much more CPU power though.

    So basically what Microsoft is promoting will be underpowerd (even less then current top of the line PCs, by a little bit. A new console should be at least 1 year ahead of PCs), and probably undersupported. Microsoft does a lot of things, and doesn't really follow through on all of them

    Gamers aren't stupid, Microsoft isn't a 'sexy' company like Sony or Nintendo (or even Sega, rrr, I was a Super Nintendo zealot :) I just don't see this succeeding.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Historically, MicroSqiush has made some very fine hardware (starting with the Z80 softcard, which let you run CP/M on your Apple II.)

    Now, if their foray into gaming console means that they're going to leave their crap software business, then I say more power to 'em!

    Of course, if they just want to re-do wince for gamin consoles, Sony and Nintendo are going to mop up the floor with them.

    Game consoles don't suck, so I don't expect any tolerance in that market for a new player who doesn't care about quality.

    -jcr
  • and you have your history wrong. the Genesis kicked the SNES's ass for a long time, and Sony owns most of the market right now (esp in japan)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Have I offended your poor little AC's ears? Anonymous Coward is certanly one of the most annoying posters, as far as I know
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Actually, I don't think Microsoft will have much of an impact in the game market, where there already strong competitors who aren't going to just roll over and die.

    The only markets that Microsoft has done well in is the OS and Office app markets. Sure, Microsoft has some presence in other places, but they certainly don't 'dominate'. A lot of Microsoft initiatives die, remember how ActiveX was going to take over the web? Direct3d? Chrome? The only time that Microsoft can succeed is when there competition rolls over and dies, or just gets bought up. And I don't think MS will really try very hard on this one.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I resent Microsoft sticking their hands in the honey pot but I really doubt they have any idea what they're doing. Console gaming differs significantly from PC gaming in that when Jack and Joe American go out and buy their console they want it to work out of the box, without downloading all sorts of patches.

    Console gaming is also more or less a Japanese-based industry. In the situation that Microsoft can turn out a powerful console and a strong first-party line-up (Which I doubt, but that could just be Linux snobbery kicking in) they still have the problem that Japanese companies make games for Japanese gamers -- Microsoft is not as big a name in the East, if I recall. There just might not be enough American/Canadian developers for Microsoft to lean on for third-party support.

    There are also some technical issues. I mean, an Intel chip? I'm going to guess it'll be a P2/P3 type architecture -- which is barely (If at all) different from the x86 architecture (I think there are small differences, but I could be wrong). I suppose including nVidia's GeForce will balance this out, but it could also significantly raise the price point (Remember what price did to the NeoGeo and Saturn?).

    And one last thing -- Microsoft partnered with Sega for the Dreamcast, as I'm sure you know. Now, the Dreamcast looks to be a huge success -- and after playing Power Stone, I really regret not having one on preorder -- but Sega has a nice track record of failures like the Sega-CD, 32X, and Saturn. Like I said, the Dreamcast looks like a success -- but mostly because of its marketing, price point, and lack of "next generation" competition within the next year. I really doubt Microsoft learned much of anything from this partnership, except under which conditions to release a console.

    All of you fellow console gamers out there who are declaring the death of video games as we know them: I wouldn't worry about it. Microsoft may have managed to dominate in a market with which they're fairly familiar, but that doesn't mean they can just charge into such a fiercely competitive and fundamentally different one and expect everyone to bow and scrape.

    --SA

  • Mmmmh one thing is sure, should anything like that come out, backward compatibility is all but guaranteed.

    I've never tried running, say, Baldur's Gate without a HD to store the 600+ MB cache, but I don't really think it'd be as enjoyable...
  • Over the years that gameing systems have been made popular there have come and gone many systems. Very few have the staying power. Ex. Nintindo, Sony, and Saga. But there have been many other good systems. 3DO and the Jaguar are examples. Both where in terms of hardware way above the rest at the time. But both systems failed. Becouse hardware isn't the reason they failed we must look to something else. I belive two reason these systems failed and why any Microsoft system would two. Number one, hype. No one can deny that good hype can help see a system. Sony, and Nintindo have this down pat. I don't belive that Microsoft could match this. Second the software the games. Well I don't know about you but I know that I sure don't want any Blue screen of death in my video games. Pluse just how many really good games have ever come out of Mircosoft. For these two reasons I belive any system made by Mircosoft will fail.
  • although I'm sure microsoft would tell you diffrently...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • The last thing I would want on a console is an MS OS. I don't want to have games crashing every fifteen minutes. "A fatal exception error has occured. Blitz2001.exe will be forced to shut down."
  • I can't see this as being anything but vaporware. From the other sites I've been reading on this, it's sounds as if X-Box (the system we're all talking about here) is just one of many console ideas Microsoft has come up with for possible introduction into the home. I doubt they could release something that directly competes with Dreamcast when they are partnering with Sega. Thus, it seems this is one of those set top, do everything, boxes that will never see the light of day. Anyone recall that Pippin box that Apple and Bandai were going to bring out a year or two ago? I'll bet $50 that X-Box turns out to be a similar product, that will unfortunatly have a similar demise.

    With that said, let's look at the flip side of this...if this thing does come out, do you think Microsoft is actually gonna be able to compete with Sega, Sony and Nintendo? I doubut it. First of all, where are the games? What 3rd party developers are going to write for the system? I don't care how much money MS has, they aren't gonna take away Square from Sony, or Mario from Nintendo, or all those arcade games away from Sega. But hey, I guess it's not that bad, at least there will be a really good console version of Age of Empires! ;)
  • Philips has tried their hand in the game console market before with the CD-I. It was pretty much a failure. But hey, I still love my Philips CD-R. :)


    ...
  • Microsoft has been saying for some years that it intends to move everyone to Windows NT eventually, phasing out the Win 9x series. But NT isn't a good gaming platform (still on DirectX 2.0, aren't they?)

    I have to wonder if this is part of a move to make NT more of a pure business system (PHBs *like* it when a system won't play games.) Maybe not, but I don't doubt supporting legacy games is one of the more difficult aspects of combining '9x and NT, given the horrible tricks games are inclined to use for speed.
  • If they incorporate this with webTV.. this could be awesome...sad but awesome
  • I did notice that they weren't actually making (designing and manufacturing) the hardware, but they are attaching their name to a hardware product. To business-types (or half-breeds like me) that is "entering the hardware field". Especially if they will market it in connection to their established brands.

    --Flam
  • sorry to reply to you twice, but

    I'd rather install a game on the hard drive then dig up a CD, and considering that a CD is going to be much slower then the hard drive, it makes it faster to (much faster).

    man there are lots of loosers in the gaming world
    I think your one of them... show me a game you've writen...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • woops, I ment to say dreamcast, the saturn uses two SH2's I think (or maybe sh3s)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • If Microsoft is gonna run CE on this box, the performance of the games will take a hit. Plus will its geForce drivers take full advantage of the card.
  • I agree. I'm glad to see Microsoft concentrating on its strngths (writing games).
  • You may be amused to find out the makers of Microsoft Bob moved on to make Half-Life...

    I got into a flamewar with some of them regarding their dropping of the console from the main interface. They made it a command line option, but at least, they didn't penalize players who wanted a console (as was the initial plan). Not that I'm claiming credit for their change of heart... :)
  • You see, the PSX2 will have a DVD drive and the ability to attach a modem. And it'll be available for around £250. Well cheaper than most pc's today.

    The sega dreamcast (which has been out in Japan since spring) is being released in 3 days. It costs $200, has a modified cd-rom drive which holds more data, and it will have an optional 56k modem.

    And BSD has already been ported [slashdot.org] to the dreamcast
    ...

  • I've seen the controllers, they replaced A, B and C buttons with CTRL, ALT and DELETE.
  • You have to remember that poly numbers don't really mean that much...the polys they are talking about are probably microscopic with no textures etc etc, and nobody is going to make a game using only polys like that.
  • by webslacker (15723) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @06:22PM (#1701583)
    Talk about using your friends as stepping stools... development on this must've began while they were working on Dreamcast with Sega!
  • Seeing as how the Sega Dreamcast runs on top of Windows CE, wouldn't this be Microsoft second console so to speak? According to Sega, they chose Windows CE becuase it was easy to program for and port PC games to....that may answer the question "Will anyone write for it?"
  • While Microsoft may not be able to innovate in the console market, for most people, the bottom line is what games does it have. I would bet that if you ask your average game player why they have either N64 of PlayStation exclusively, they're going to say "because it has X game and the other one doesn't".

    Pressuming all of the technology is basically similar (not like NES 8-bit vs. Playstation), I think people will just go where the games are. There are several things Microsoft could do with its huge amount of money to lure developers (such as was suggested earlier, not taking royalties on games (at least not _yet_)).

    As for Sega, I think this is simply going to be their third failure in a row (the first two being SegaCD and Saturn (and wasn't there some kind of extension to the Genesis that was just abandoned after a couple of months when the Saturn came out?)). They seem to jump into the market a year earlier than the other guys with a new product and before Sega can get enough games to take over the older generation, a new, better system is released. Dreamcast games look better than N64 and Playstation, but they don't look so good that I absolutely have to buy one. I suspect in another year, something will be released that I feel I absolutely have to buy. This very well could be the MS system. The console system is completely proprietory, anyway, so why not go with MS. When I want to play a game, I just want it to work. I don't want to figure out all of the new damned hardware I have to buy everytime I want to play a game. Having a closed console unit makes this very simple. But my computer can still run Linux.
  • As much as I do not care for the OS' from MS...I would love to see what kind of console they would make.
  • Microsoft's entry into the console market is about more than a PC company entering the console market. This is the first signs of a fundamental change in the way people will compute and who will get to deliver the machines consumers will use to compute with. What we're seeing is the beginning of the final separation between consumer level computers and workstation level computers. Why is this happening? Because of the increases in capabilities at the lower end of the market, aka consumer level, Microsoft, if not the entire U.S. PC industry, can no longer ignore the console market because if they do now they will give away control of the consumer level computer market to companies like Sony and Nintendo. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but in the near future. So what is really going in isn't so much about a company entering a new market but a company having to create a presence to ensure future market share. Basically what you're seeing is the "VCR"ization of the consumer level computer. (I'm not using "PC" because that has too many preconceived notions attached to it) People talk like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are putting out machines but the reality of the situation is that they are simply backers of different platforms. Yes, Nintendo too. The "Dolphin" is not a single machine but a development platform that is upgradable like a PC. As a matter of fact, Nintendo's "Dolphin" isn't even supposed to have a DVD drive, Panasonic's is. What this means is that the next round of battles should be looked at in the context of situations like Beta Vs. VHS, not Sony Vs. Microsoft Vs. Nintendo. And it is precisely because of this reason that all you guys out there who thinks Sony will be king of the hill in the next round should think twice. Sony has always chosen to go with their own proprietary platforms and have paid dearly for it. It's already common knowledge that thanks to internal squabbling Sony has already decided to kill the PSX2's ability to play back DVD movies, the very feature which would have pretty much sealed the PSX2's acceptance as the next VCR. Thnaks to this rather unsound business decision, there is a clear possibility that PSX2 may become Sony's next Beta and this time it's going to cost Sony a lot more than anything that Beta did. Especially with so much of Sony's operating profits tied to the PSX product line, a less than spectacular performance out of PSX2 may prove fatal to the corporation as a whole. Already the industry insider buzz is that Nintendo is the one to watch for the next round. And now with Microsoft possibly in the races, the next round may prove to be a close battle between Nintendo and Microsoft. Where is Sega in all this? Please. Sega who? They may not even be in the console business two years from now. (Their arcade devision I'm sure will continue to do well) All in all, I'm sure it will be a very interesting next few years in deed. pita pita pumpkin eata.
  • never again. never again. no, no, no. The very concept of one of these devices making it into my home disgusts me. Nope, not going to happen.
  • I would have thought microsoft would have figured out they can't do well in this arena. They are using overly expensive hardware with far too much heat for a game console, and if microsoft writes the games for it initially, everyone knows microsoft can't do games. They can do an Office Suite, and they can do a '(crappy) OS, but aside from Flight Simulator, most Microsoft Games flop (Fury comes to mind, a cheap terminal Velocity rip-off)
  • Is it just me, or does this smack of everything MS has tried to do, promote a shoddy imitation of a quality product in hopes people will buy it based on the MS name. While a 500Mhz K7 with a GeForce256 chipset would fly, it just seems to me another futile attempt to make a quick buck. *sigh*

  • If you read the article, you'd know that this console _will_ be running a Microsoft OS. A modified version of Windows CE.
  • Apple makes a combination HDTV/VCR/game console/internet access
    device/satellite receiver/etc. that you only have to connect three cables to at
    an affordable price, and it comes it various colors to match your interior
    decor. It sells well in educational, computer novice, and Sega-fan markets,
    but everyone else blows it off as not being a serious computer.



    And people bitch that the combo doesn't have a flappy drive, "Only apple will make a one-button remote control!"

    CY
  • Well, this box may not even have a hard drive, and since Microsoft is designing it, they may make it difficult to replace the OS.

    But if you just want it for a gaming machine, why even bother to install linux? if you dislike microsoft, why not just get an n64? or one of those new fangled psx2's (acutaly the development platform runs linux, so there may be some bits of linux underlying the games :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I really want Microsoft to start producing these things. Regardless if they contain Intel or AMD processors. I want them to compete with Sun about Java. I want them to pick up the bat and try to swing at Unix vendors. You people must think I am insane for saying this. And here is yet another oxymoron, I want them to do all this because I detest the bare thought of Microsoft. Think about it. What does Microsoft produce? Citedly robust and cheap and featuristic server operating systems, ALONGSIDE with force feedback joysticks and Interactive Barney(TM). This for sure makes it sound like they are the ACME of computing, since they do manufacture items used specifically for leisure and not for system dependent datastructures. I would love to see yet another worthless product in their arsenal, because soon people would realise that they are in fact manufacturing nothing but useless products. And there is another aspect. I want them to step on as many toes as they can, and preferably with large companies, because this will eventually bring them to consolidate against Microsoft and finish them off once and for all. This will of course take time, but I know it can be done. I know it will BE done. And therefor I pleed all with all the joy in my heart to Microsoft that they succeed with launching this zoo product into the market. Sincerely, Alex
  • by LL (20038) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @07:27PM (#1701598)
    The issue comes down to who gets to control the standards for interfacing to your future digital TV (I beleive analog transmission is due to be phased out by 2004?) and thus eye-ball time (if stories of teenage 40 hour/week watching TV is true). By aggressively pushing the brand awareness, alternative choices don't even get a look-in, especially if you can default to your content site. Selling hardware is not profitable, but claiming a slice of the on-going revenue stream for services is. By defining and thus controling the OS standards, they can get advanced notice of future applications and thus breathing space to put a foot into high growth areas before others catch on. Time to market is a killer advantage which is worth a fortune if you can establish leadership in a game category (witness Quake, C&C, etc).

    Now the technical question (considering this is SlashDot) is should the x86 family really suitable as a media processor compared with alternatives such as Sony Emotion Engine or SH4? Would the component count be low and cheap enough to support broadband, ASDL or even wireless? And would the Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers be taking this lying down?

    LL
  • And your wrong. The game market can only support about two systems. every 'generational' leap has produced two running systems, (except when the NES was the only game in town).

    There were plenty of boxes at the beginning of the 16-bit era, and several at the start of the 'Next-generation' era (I don't want to say 32-bit because the N64 is, well 64 bit)

    First the SNES and sega's genesis, the turbo-grafix16 didn't get anywhere. Recently there have really only been the N64 and the PSX. The Sega Saturn, the 3do, Atari Jaguar and whatever else, just died in the water.

    I really don't think this box from Microsoft will make much of an impact, despite there success as an OS vendor, they are actually a pretty inept company.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Well, I think games companies will since the porting effort from their existing Windows titles will be minimal. Some points though:

    * PC owners might get some games which don't rely on installing GBs of stuff to your drive;

    * MS will have a hard time imposing development control over a Wintel-based games console in the same way that Sony and Nintendo do now (i.e. special licenses, compulsary %age of profits from all games etc.);

    * Nintendo don't exactly have a sqeaky-clean track record towards consumers either...
  • Much more stable. much prettyer to :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I guess you're saying I don't know all the facts, then. The Dreamcast is going to do extremely well...among those who either spend frivlously or don't really know the video game market. Sega has just had too many mistakes in the past, and it's going to be a while before they can win back the real gamers. Casual and first-time gamers will be able to enjoy the system, I'm sure, and more power to them. But I, for one, am not going to be able to play the Dreamcast without remembering such items as the 32x, Sega CD, and the Saturn.
  • Actually most companies already do lose money on the console hardware, because, like you said, they make it up easy on game royalties. However, the only threat I can see MS posing is one of undercutting: Since they are so much larger than their possible future competitors, they can much more afford to have major losses on system and game prices in the first year or so of a console until the prices for the games/console come down. Although Nintendo, Sony, and Sega can afford to undercut each other somewhat, they just can't do it in the big way that MS could.
  • Microsoft's entry into the console market is about more than a PC company entering the console market. This is the first signs of a fundamental change in the way people will compute and who will get to deliver the machines consumers will use to compute with. What we're seeing is the beginning of the final separation between consumer level computers and workstation level computers.

    Why is this happening? Because of the increases in capabilities at the lower end of the market, aka consumer level. Microsoft, if not the entire U.S. PC industry, can no longer ignore the console market because if they do now they will give away control of the consumer level computer market to companies like Sony and Nintendo. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but in the near future. So what is really going in isn't so much about a company entering a new market but a company having to create a presence to ensure future market share. Basically what you're seeing is the "VCR"ization of the consumer level computer. (I'm not using "PC" because that has too many preconceived notions attached to it)

    People talk like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are putting out machines but the reality of the situation is that they are simply backers of different platforms. Yes, Nintendo too. The "Dolphin" is not a single machine but a development platform that is upgradable like a PC. As a matter of fact, Nintendo's "Dolphin" isn't even supposed to have a DVD drive, Panasonic's is. What this means is that the next round of battles should be looked at in the context of situations like Beta Vs. VHS, not Sony Vs. Microsoft Vs. Nintendo.

    And it is precisely because of this reason that all you guys out there who thinks Sony will be king of the hill in the next round should think twice. Sony has always chosen to go with their own proprietary platforms and have paid dearly for it. It's already common knowledge that thanks to internal squabbling Sony has already decided to kill the PSX2's ability to play back DVD movies, the very feature which would have pretty much sealed the PSX2's acceptance as the next VCR. Thanks to this rather unsound business decision, there is a clear possibility that PSX2 may become Sony's next Beta and this time it's going to cost Sony a lot more than anything that Beta did. Especially with so much of Sony's operating profits tied to the PSX product line, a less than spectacular performance out of PSX2 may prove fatal to the corporation as a whole.

    Already the industry insider buzz is that Nintendo is the one to watch for the next round. And now with Microsoft possibly in the races, the next round may prove to be a close battle between Nintendo and Microsoft. Where is Sega in all this? Please. Sega who? They may not even be in the console business two years from now. (Their arcade devision I'm sure will continue to do well)

    All in all, I'm sure it will be a very interesting next few years in deed.

    pita pita pumpkin eata.
  • IF this is indeed true:

    a) NV10 (aka GeForce256) in fall 2000? Wouldn't that be a bit lame? (GeForce512 maybe)

    b) What does Sega think of this? I mean they partner with M$ (BAD idea) and now M$ falls into their back. After all they own the OS so they can modify it in any way they want so Sega will always be number 2 after M$ (wasn't that the point Carmack made when Apple tried to find out which standard to follow in the 3d arena and made DirectX an option?)

    c) I can still remeber articles where Bill himself said that consoles have no future and will be swallowed by HomePCs. 180 degree turnaround?

    d) Maybe this "OR AMD" is a message to Intel ("stop supporting Linux so much or we'll cut your throat!") ?

    e) Who wants to buy a console by a company that has a proven track record of crappy products?

    Just my 2.

  • History backs you up on this, if one looks at Apple's Pippen console. By the time it made it out, it's 75Mhz PPC603 and whatever minimal memory it had didn't look that appealing to game developers.

    A game console has to have a pretty considerable shelf life, and a 500Mhz PII/K7 is going not look very appealing in 18 months. Sure you could play Quake 3, but there not going to be a large incentive there for the PC game houses who will be chasing the 1.5 Ghz chips and god knows what video and sound cards.
    --
  • A low power K7 at 1Ghz alone will cost more than the whole PSX2 at that time. Maybe a year later....
  • Yep, CD-I.. I knew that could only be a failure. But times have changed and now this kind of stuff seems to be the future. Weird.
  • I doubt they could release something that directly competes with Dreamcast when they are partnering with Sega.

    Why not? They had no problem with working on the next version of Windows (which was basically a rewrite) while they were "partnered" with IBM on OS/2...
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • Nintendo is just the Microsoft of consoles. They make incredibly shoddy systems and then slap 'Nintendo!' on it... heard of this ploy before? I'd much rather support Sony or escpecialy Sega --NetGhost
  • I think people are being silly about this ;) The only problem that I could see is AMD taking intel's place and becoming another Microsoft style chip manufacturer :( We need both companies to be on fairly equal ground, thats when we'll see the fastest innovation! --NetGhost
  • Barring some miracle in game technology in this new supposed game console, they're gonna get stomped. Nintendo (who make Microsoft look developer friendly) will dominate this market for a long time to come, I've seen the pattern for years...

    • Sega releases new product first, blasts the hype.
    • Nintendo releases late, but the product is so much better that everyone buys it regardless of wether they bought the other system.
  • Thats the real question! If it has no hard drive then 'No' current games will run on it. Oh, but if it does run all the old games.... I'm hucking my MS box of evil out the window and picking up a G4 :) --NetGhost
  • They licensed the software to Sega, its theirs, so they could use it. But it will flop. It'll be too late to market, and frankly, the game console users don't give a flying fuck about the latest from redmond, its the latest from Sega, Sony, and Nintndo, that will make a difference.
  • Yes. Use a logitech for godsakes. :-)

    Actuallt I have an intellimouse (rarely used though, since i made "the switch") And hey, as long as the penguin is bigger than the MS logo, you're good to go.
  • But at the same time, the PSX and N64 are most certainly obsolete, but there are many games being actively developed for both. Just because hardware isn't the best out there doesn't mean it isn't usable; having a stable and adequate hardware base is much more important for console game developers than having a constantly-shifting but cutting-edge hardware base. Look at the kind of stuff that's being done on the PSX now that the developers have had a chance to figure out a lot of the neat tricks...
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • Didn't Microsoft participated in the design of the MSX computer a few years (eons) ago?
  • Wow.. as a result of no-one replying to posts I'm going to have to post my own post (figure that one). This is all about controlling IP. Microsoft has taken a look at the console market and seen the reflection test on playstations, the hardware problems on Nintendo (solved by the CD64.. aint that a beast peice of hardware?!) and they have said "my, we really could possie up some portalled applications onto people's tv screens with that". The result is rather astounding. Microsoft could stand to make massive amounts of money off a proprietry web tv that they control with obscurity. Hell, they probably could copyright all the schematics and circuit boards as "trade secrets". Maybe they will make sooo much money that they will leave the PC market. Shock, a PC market without Microsoft, will we survive? Microsoft sure would do well in an environment where users have no intelligence and no way of obtaining it (without breaking Microsoft's "trade secrets" acts). Perhaps Microsoft truely has left behind the third party developer.. or maybe the developer has left Microsoft behind. The home PC (or web tv) market has always been a confusing one. If anyone can break into it, it will be Microsoft (or some other huge proprietry company who is willing to take full control over the user). I say, let em have it. Who want's to develop for a web tv anyways? We can all live long and free on linux and open software, whilst Microsoft grows fat on the fool and his money.. or am I being to harsh on the Mom and Pop mentality?
  • I don't know about anyone else, but I think "Microsoft" hardware tends to be pretty good (since it's all subcontracted out)

    Okay, apart from that sodding Barney Actimate thing. I'm thinking about buying one of those just so I can set fire to it.



  • Remember how at one time IBM and Micros~1 were humping each other's legs trying to make OS/2 the server that everyone would use, and then making WinNT to destroy their former friend and burn another bridge? Hrmm... Microsoft has a new friend. Sega is gonna go through a bit of hell on this one. making a deal with Goliath, showing him your world, and watching Goliath attempt to take it over.

    I used to be a hardcore nintendo lover, but then they got this hard-line attitude about emulation, and everything related to it, being illegal. Same with Sony. May those bastards rot in lawyer hell for what they're doing to bleem. Sega actually ASKED steve snake (of KGen emulator fame) if they could use his emulator in a Genesis compilation CD for the PC. no matter what I used to think about Sega, they are my one shining ray of hope in this black "intellectual property" tar pit that the console world has become.

    My advice to sega: ditch windows CE... it's a hunk of poo anyways. Use Linux or *BSD, or hurd, or whatever tweaks your knob... as long as microsoft can't screw you over anymore then they already are going to. Sega needs to survive more than any other console company, because they have proved (at least to me) that they still have a soul left.

  • That's just another trick of Microsoft to gain control of people's mind when they are still young. After 2 years playing with this thing, you will have no other choice but buying Microsoft Products and saying "Bill Gates is good".
  • Makes you wonder what kind of stupid idiot PHB would enter into any kind of agreement with MS.
    HAve they ever signed a contract with somebody that they didn't try to screw one way or another?
    I guess some people never learn.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dreamcast's primary OS is NOT CE. It also uses a customized Sega OS. Besides, the 2 or 3 games that use CE all have some sort of outstanding flaw. Hopefully Microsoft doesn't fool us all and release a 'Pippin for the new millennium'...*shudder* I'll just stick with the people that know what they're doing, thank you.
  • What do you do, when the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) appears? After all, it's Micro$oft...
  • Ambrosia Software [ambrosiasw.com]

    is known for excellent, stable games.

  • Actually, I don't think Microsoft will have much of an impact in the game market, where there already strong competitors who aren?t going to just roll over and die.

    That's part of my point. They won't roll over and die, but will make better/faster/cheaper consoles to compete with the others. :-)

    Bottom line is; we win.


    And I don?t think MS will really try very hard on this one.

    Well.. we'll just have to wait and see.
  • Now, as far as I know, TVs can only display a resolution of 640x480 (with the exception of HDTV and such) and all the current console games take this into account, designing the games to look good at that, or often even lowers res. But computer games are designed to display on a much smaller, much higher res screen, and when they're inflated to fill a TV screen at a much lower res, won't they look like crap?
  • We need both companies to be on fairly equal ground, thats when we'll see the fastest innovation!

    Yes! .. and a deal like this could be a step in the right direction towards just that.
  • I've never seen a game console blue screen.....

    Imagine, you're taking a turn on your third lap and wham.... BSOD.
  • Actually MS Mice are manufactured by Logitech :)

    -Erik-
  • Microsoft doesn't control "everything" in computers. They still are struggling to control the business world, and Wall Street is 100% SUN Microsystems...
  • Surely the launch title ought to be a port of xbill?
    --
  • They might actually be good at making beer, or some other form of alcohol. I figure they're marketing department had to be wasted to think this one up.

    I wonder if Microsoft Beer 1.0 will be an irish stout. I'd buy a bottle, then set it next to a real bottle of Guinness and watch them fight to the death.

  • Check out
    http://www.next-generation.com/jsmid/news/7540.h tml


    "According to sources quoted in the article, Microsoft has kept quiet about X-Box so as not to affect the launch of partner Sega's Dreamcast, which can also use Windows CE technology, but it will be released in Fall 2000 for under $300. The article speculates that based on Microsoft's history and business strategies, the machine will probably be an open platform, like the PC, allowing anyone to develop for it without having to become a Microsoft licensee. It is also possible that X-Box games will run on PCs without further modification. "

    Basically a dumbed down PC. Really.
  • Its gona be fast enough to emulate a PSX1 100%

    Actually, no.

    The PSX2's sound subsystem will contain the same processor as the PSX CPU. Hence, rather than emulate the processor, it'll just use the one it has.

    It's a pity that Sony have counted out trying to outperform the PSX1 the way Bleem! does (intercepting 3D API calls and running them through Direct3D, for higher resolution than a PS1 could muster).
    --
  • "Click on OK to terminate, click on CANCEL to debug."

  • Microsoft sees their pc software market shrinking down to primarily having games, they know the biggest money is in console games, so they need to get into that market. The only problem is the competition, Microsoft will not be able to bully their way into the console market as long as Sony is still king.




  • Basically, I think that this console will be marketed on the basis of a fast connection. That's the one advantage that the other consoles don't, and can't, have.

    Hmmm.... This isn't entirely factual. The US Dreamcast is shipping with a 56K modem that is swappable for future upgrades including ethernet for cable modems/DSL connections. I don't see home connections getting much faster than this in the next couple of years. PSX2 isn't announced to ship with any modem but will likely feature similar modularity allowing for multiple types of connectivity.

    There are aspects of the M$ rumor that are pretty revolutionary for the console market. It scares me that it's coming from Redmond. Given Microsoft's track record, the already f*cked up world of console gaming is going to get a whole lot wackier.

    And on the Linux front, rumors of PSX2 Linux SDKs abound. And possibly a slimmed-down Linux kernel running as the PSX2 OS?! Interesting times indeed...

  • While I do agree WRT the speed issue, I still have to dig up my CD for 2/3's of the Win9x games I own now. I'm not seeing any real difference between the 2 systems here.



  • by dvdbn (50422)
    gives me one more reason to buy a $99 playstation :)
  • Hopefully this thing will be killed before it stinks up the marketplace like Divx did. Three points:

    By fall of 2000, the Sega Dreamcast will have been out a year, the Nintendo64 and new Dolphin box will have built some momentum and Sony's follow-on PlayStation2 will be hitting its stride with complete backward compatibility with thousands of games. Any one of these consoles (especially, and probably, Sony's) could wipe the floor with X-Box because of market momentum, consumer loyalty and brand awareness alone.

    Console videogame OSs are also rock-solid stable (CE is an option, not the core, on Dreamcast), and they already run on workstation-level chips with equally brawny graphics co-processors, both of which are often 64-bit or better, and god knows how fast they'll be a year from now. (With apologies to all you open-source folks, this stability is because, at least in this case, each of these companies maintains tight, proprietary control over their hardware-software sets.) M$ can call it a game console till they're blue in the face, but if the hardware and software guts are hardly different than a crappy eMachines box, it won't be stable enough for the pre-teen kids and soccer moms who will have to run it.

    As for the "may have other functions" line, my guess is this might be a play for set-top cable tuning. If that's the case, it's worth nothing that WindowsCE may not yet be a qualified real-time operating system, which it would have to be. CE is shipping on some set-top boxes today, but only as middleware, because that industry set up a consortium to keep all boxes open-source specifically to checkmate M$. And if M$ tries to position X-Box as some kind of "embrace and extend" advance, expect the $hit to hit the fan. M$ (or Dell or whoever) can build all the set-top tuners they want, but if they stray from the Open Cable specs, no cable system will buy them, not even the ones M$ invests in.


  • these were exactly my thoughts, and here I was wondering what the heck Iwas missing when people were talking about Dreamcast ports going to be made easier for the PC.


  • by slim (1652)
    From what I've heard there are only a few games
    for the dreamcast that actually use Windows CE, and those are pretty unknown crappy ones
    too.


    Um, Sega Rally 2 is a WinCE title.

    But you're right - developers get to choose between Sega's own OS, or WinCE.

    Attracting 3rd party developers is crucial to the success of a console (Sony wooed PS developers by providing excellent high-level APIs early on). Dreamcast developers would generally choose the Sega OS if they were developing directly for Dreamcast; WinCE if they were porting from an existing PC title.

    I hear WinCE is a bit of a resource hog (RAM mostly), so I guess if you were embarking on a multi-platform release (e.g. a Tomb Raider) for PC/DC/N64/PS, you'd keep cross-platform issues in mind from an early stage and develop for the Sega OS.
    --
  • An ineteresting consequence of this move may be that SDKs for game consoles may shoot down in price. Remember what actually makes the money for companies like Nintendo, Sega and Sony is the royalties they make from the sales of the games. If Microsoft jumped into the industry they would probably use their standard tactics of undercutting the competition where it hurts *them*.

    This gives a result that MS enters the market and loses money on the hardware (not like they can't afford to). They give away their SDK and don't ask royalties for games. Game developers will swamp to this banner as they get to make more money for themselves, and still undercut the game prices on the other consoles. Sony and co have to do the same to remain competitive, but as they are already losing money on their consoles that are already out there, they stand a lot more to lose. Also it becomes a competition of who can afford the most loss. In that kind of race, my money is on Microsoft.

    John Wiltshire
  • Microsoft tryed to get into the game console market before. Sega's Dreamcast is supposed to be running WindowsCE.
    But the truth is different. Microsoft could not deliver CE on time for the Dreamcast's launch here in Japan. In reality, all the big game makers have written their own OSs for their games. Much faster, more reliable. Because of this delay, the Dreamcast has basically failed here in Japan and Sega is in a really dangerous state financially.
    My only proof would be that virtually no games have been ported from Dreamcast to PC. Though that been the basic idea behind using WindowsCE and DirectX on the Dreamcast.
    With PCs becoming so cheap, I see no sense in creating a game console with x86 compatible chip and PC architecture. Better buy a cheap PC.

  • by D4MO (78537) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @08:43PM (#1701666)
    The whole idea of integration between television and computer has been around for quite a while now and is happening, albeit slowly.

    You see, the PSX2 will have a DVD drive and the ability to attach a modem. And it'll be available for around £250. Well cheaper than most pc's today.

    So..kids will use this to surf the net and play interactive games..... they will not be using a large PC and not using windows.....The PSX2 will eventually become a PC with added periphials....Microsoft could be fucked.

    What I want to know is how Microsoft intend to compete with Sony who substitute the hardware costs with game licencing.

    Intel will not sell the x386 chips at a loss so MS can dominate a market, and neither will any 3-D board manufacturer. And since MS cannot control the hardware, they cannot control the software that runs on it, nor make any money licencing games (They don't on a PC.)

    It's one this distributing IE over the net and CD's everywhere to crush Netscape when the actual costs are are tiny compared to hardware manufacturing and distribution costs.

    The only thing going for it is the fact that the games can be a lot cheaper as the will not have to pay licencing fees to sony and saga. By the sheer fact that the could be a high volume of cheap games very, very quickly could mean that this console will get a lot more shelf space in the games stores.

    Games volume and quantity (and quality) dictate console success. Not poly-fill-rate.


    A linux console anyone?
  • it just seems to me another futile attempt to make a quick buck. *sigh*

    While many here disapprove of Microsoft's business practices, I'd hardly call their attempts to make money "futile". They seem to be quite good at that part. It would be nice to see them do as well in developing the product they're so good at selling people. ;)

    --
    This isn't the post you're looking for. Move along.
  • Hmm.. Last time an app crashed and dumped core it didnt bring all my other processes to a halt untill I hit return or bring the machine down...
  • hmmmm lets see if they can match nintendo, sony and sega's brand names in the console market..... nope. Can't bully your way into this market megalosoft..... sony, nintendo and sega already control it and if you take wince away from sega they just might use a stripped down version of BeOS instead.....
  • Microsoft is letting WebTV drift off into no-where for a reason!!

    They know the cheap (free?) PC is destroying most of the market for the standalone WebTV unit.

    WebTV's only (limited) future is in integrated SatTV, Cable and HDTV boxes, like the new unit from Dish Network which aims to be WebTV, Dish Reciever and TiVo in one box.


  • well, the sega dreamcast at Toys R Us was locked Hard. The only thing I can attribute to that would be the CE logo on the front.
  • YOU have trust in MS, May i ask WHY?
  • How much you wanna bet the only games for it will be Minesweeper and Solitaire? (:
  • by carlfish (7229) <cmiller@pastiche.org> on Sunday September 05, 1999 @09:14PM (#1701694) Homepage Journal
    The entirety of Microsoft's success has been based on its ability to use its Operating System monopoly to lever its way into the market until its product matures into the defacto standard.

    The problem Microsoft will face is that it'll be in an entirely alien position. Sony, Sega and Nintendo are not small-fry software startups waiting to be crushed by the Microsoft juggernaut. Nor are they lumbering giants past their use-by dates. Between them they've owned the console market for about as long as MS have owned the PC market, and they don't seem to be showing too many signs of vulnerability.

    Microsoft's OS monopoly will be meaningless in this market. Sure, they could stick CE on it, and make it do email and web-browsing, but in the end, a gaming console is about the games, and the OS is just the screen you get when you've got no CD/cartridge in the slot.

    On the other hand, if they fix it so that their console games will also run on a Wintel PC with a 3d card and DirectX, then that'll get the developers on board pretty sharply. This is something that console manufacturers could never do, because every PC version of their game that sold would be a reason not to buy the console. But for MS, it's just moving from one of their products over to another.

    So the big, and very interesting question is how Microsoft is going to adjust to being the small fish in a big pond, and what cards they're going to play to drain some of the water.

    Charles
  • The mice aren't bad but them joysticks they make just feel shoddy.

    Anyway on the console front I think they'll have a hard job competing against the likes of Playstations and N64's and whatever SEGA call their console. Because although Microsoft are a recognised name in the PC world, I don't see their name getting them anywhere in the console world. It'll take a lot of marketing for them to even get a small share of this market.
    --
  • A "cheap" pc won't play your latest games. Will Microsoft's console be any different?
  • by TheInternet (35082) on Monday September 06, 1999 @12:00AM (#1701711) Homepage Journal
    I'm just gonna lose it if I hear one more post like this. For some reason, people (even some Slashdotters) are eternally blind to the real problem with Microsoft. And it sure as hell ain't marketing. Of course they're not killing people. But you have to realize the significance of Microsoft controlling computers. Computers are at the heart of our world. Everything revolves around them. They are information source, entertainment sources, gateways to communication. Computers and design are my passion. They are what I want to do with some significant part of my life. To have a single company walk up and dictate what that will look like is frightening. People hardly realize what Microsoft is trying to control -- personal computers, household appliances, cable access, internet access, press/media, games, web servers, web browsers, document management. You name it. The problem is, too many people see computers as merely and industry -- purely dollars, which is SO frustrating to me. For me, computers are a canvas. They are what I use to create artwork in many forms -- design, programming, websites. The equivalent of Windows taking over everything for me, is the equivalent of somebody telling me "you can no longer use the color red in your artwork." That's the significance. Do you really want somebody to dictate to you how to write software, how to create artwork, how to access information? I sure as hell don't. But it's apathetic people like you that are going to allow it to. Just because it's not literally life and death, doesn't mean it's not worth fighting for. Our society holds the arts at a very high value as well. - Scott
    ------
    Scott Stevenson
  • by Farrax (83670) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @06:32PM (#1701716)
    What are the chances that the cable companies are going to support this little box? Pretty high, I'd say. The console is truely the only popular and accepted form of set-top, and MS realizes this. Given their obsession with set-tops, this move was a nobrainer.

    But, as the first poster said, I'll keep my computer. This doesn't look to be a killer thing hardware-wise; at least, nothing that you couldn't get for the PC. And knowing MS, this thing will run like a PC, none of the traditional advantages of a console. A thought; it might also have the advantage of a PC, the ability to run Linux.

    Basically, I think that this console will be marketed on the basis of a fast connection. That's the one advantage that the other consoles don't, and can't, have. Well, that and the GeForce.
  • by slim (1652) <john.hartnup@net> on Sunday September 05, 1999 @09:28PM (#1701733) Homepage
    I'd imagine an MS console would look like this: an X86-descendant CPU, a 3D accelerator, a swish sound card, USB, presumably all built into a single board. Peripherals (controllers, lightguns, mouse, modem etc) would be USB or similar. There would be a DVD-ROM drive on board. We already know it'll run something akin to WinCE.

    But let's take a look at the only Next-Gen console currently available -- the Dreamcast. As well as upping graphic/sound/CPU performace, Sega have *innovated* in several areas.

    The VMU (visual memory unit), for example, is a stroke of genius -- it's like a PS memory card, but it slots into your controller, and gives you an LCD screen which a game can use for whatever it likes (speedo, stuff the other player shouldn't see, etc).

    That's clever -- but the VMU also works as a standalone mini-gameboy-type-thing, into which you load software via the Dreamcast.

    That would be enough to convince me that Sega are having good ideas; but there's more -- the VMU's connector is the same shape as its socket, so you can plug two VMUs together for two-player pocket shenanigans.

    That's just an example of innovation in consoles. I can imagine Sony doing similarly clever stuff with the PS2 if I could guess what, I'd be earning a whole lot more than I do now.

    I really can't imagine MS doing anything that imaginative. They are doomed to imitate.
    Still, the public might fall for it.... they usually seem to.
    --
  • It makes absolutely no sense (to me anyway) to make a hardware game platform when the market has three huge players there already. The Dreamcast is running CE already so what's the niche there? Sony and Nintendo are planning some amazing graphics horsepower consoles in the next 12-18 months. MS should be targeting WebTV. It has enough of a consumer base to create a market, but isn't big enough to have real power in the computer world. Will it be good for everyone to have MS dominate another market? no. Will it be good to get more people online, newbies or otherwise? yes.

    -Barry
  • by [null] (4156) on Sunday September 05, 1999 @06:48PM (#1701783)
    Consequences of Microsoft making a game console:
    • When your character dies, instead of "Game Over" the screen is the Blue Screen of Death.
    • Your VCR will start accepting only Windows-compatable tapes.
    • Everyone has to get MSNBC to download software updates to the console over the Vertical Blanking Interval. (This of course takes 6 straight hours of watching MSNBC.)
    • TVs have to meet Windows Hardware Compatability tests and be on the Hardware Compatability List.
    • All MS game consoles will have more RAM and storage than your current machine, and will have expansion ports for more (and of course the ports are all proprietary).
    • One word: WebTV.
    • Records your TV watching preferences and sends them back to Redmond for analysis. Microsoft buys the Nielsens.
    • Games display ads for MSN, Win2k, etc. either full screen or as subtle references.
    • MS would make it illegal to use Game Genies and such, and would attempt to harm/kill anyone attempting to modify the system by strobing the picture and causing seizures.
    • Dramatic increase in sales of TVs and replacement parts as the tubes and projection screens suffer burn-in and wearing out of the blue phosphors from constant Blue Screens of Death.
    • Apple makes a combination HDTV/VCR/game console/internet access device/satellite receiver/etc. that you only have to connect three cables to at an affordable price, and it comes it various colors to match your interior decor. It sells well in educational, computer novice, and Sega-fan markets, but everyone else blows it off as not being a serious computer.
    • And of course, once it is available, someone makes an effort to port Linux, *BSD, etc. to it.
    I made my attempt at humor. If you're someone famous and you liked it, drop me a note.
  • From the miniscule amount of information available on it in the article, it seems like this thing is basically a PC with only a processor, motherboard, 3d video card, memory, game controller interface, and some variant of Windows CE stored in ROM or Flash. Whatever it really is, it doesn't sound any more powerful than any current PC available today.

    I would be willing to bet that part of the advantage Microsoft will be trying to use here is to make this box run all of the current PC games for Windows. If this is true, it means it would already have a wide range of available games -- even before this thing is released! Microsoft would not have to commission more programmers to write games for it, as the PC industry would already be doing this. Basically, Microsoft is creating a box that would bring PC games into the console game market. If this were not true, I am not sure how Microsoft would ever expect this thing to become popular, as there would be a lack of games because everybody would be programming for Dreamcast and Playstation 2.

    Either way, I am kind of surprised something like this hasn't been done before, as it seems relatively simple to do. I just wonder what a BSOD would look like on this thing...

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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