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Games Entertainment

Xbox, GameCube Dates Set For Early November 261

ackthpt writes "According to this Yahoo/Reuters article Nintendo will rollout the GameCube (~$199) on Nov. 5, with Microsoft's Xbox ($299) following on Nov. 8th. Just in time for the season of giving. Sony's PS2 ($299) will still be in the hunt. Is there enough of a market for all three? With Microsoft planning to spend $500 million in advertising, over 18 months, expect them to make a serious attempt to be a survivor when the dust settles, unlike Sega, which has given up selling game machines to focus on titles."
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Xbox, GameCube Dates Set For Early November

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @05:37PM (#218265)
    Seriously - It's taken years for Direct3D to basically adopt OpenGL with different names for the same functions.

    *ahem* Except OpenGL doesn't handle sound, keyboard, mouse, joystick, or force-feedback. But yeah, aside from that, they're just the same.

  • Lately I haven't had any trouble finding Playstation 2's in stores, and I'm not even interested in buying one. I have yet to ever see one in a store like Best Buy, but places like Funcoland, Target and Wal-Mart seem to always have at least one.

    I always have better luck going to the more unusual game sellers, it seems like everyone else just knows about Best Buy and Babbages.
  • Yeah, I see. It's a ripoff of the chromey old Silicon Graphics logo.
  • if a hardware company embeds Linux and makes changes to kernel then yes, they have to release the changes under the GPL. however 99% of all value-add is in drivers and application-level software, not in changes to the kernel. as you probably know, drivers and applications can be whatever license they want to be so this isn't a limiting factor in the decision to use Linux. sure the kernel is GPL, but all of the value-add can be closed source.

    Actually, a significant portion of kernel changes can be made closed-source as well, due to Linus's agreement to permit closed-source kernel modules. Not that there is much incentive to keep such things closed-source -- the value-add, as said, is almost always in the applications -- but it's possible.

  • Your proprietary toasting software is an application, and you have every bit as much right to keep the algorithm private as Loki has to keep to themselves the source to their Quake 3 port. The Linux kernel's modified GPL requires only code statically linked to the kernel to be licensed under GPL-compatible terms; applications and kernel modules are entirely exempt.
  • Nonsense. The real tech explosion isn't in gaming consoles or desktops -- it's in embedded systems, which happens to be one of the few areas (along with web servers and the like) where free software is absolutely dominating over Microsoft's offerings, and where Sony, Nintendo and EA aren't even players.

    Thus, no matter what happens with game consoles, free software isn't going away soon.

  • Hey, it's not about what powers my toaster, it's about what pays my bills.

    I work for an embedded Linux company []. It pays the bills quite nicely, and I get to write (and port, and bugfix) free software all day. WooHOO!

  • The advantages of open source apply here not to the end user of the embedded product, but to the folks developing that product -- permitting them increased flexibility in OS vendors, and lots of Other Good Stuff which eventually trickles down to the consumer in terms of more choice and lower prices.
  • Dell and IBM don't really compete in the home market, their bread and butter is corporate sales and what home market they get is gravy. (Dell sells a lot of home systems in Texas, for obvious reasons, but I doubt they do elsewhere). Compaq does, but there's not a whole lot of love there anymore. PCs are a small part of HP's business. Gateway might see some loss.

    M$ sees the end of the constant upgrade cycle for consumers. I just built my in-laws a box that'll last them 6-8 years, and which can be component upgraded if for some reason they find an 800 Athlon or 256 MB to be insufficient for logging into the mainframe at my mother-in-law's employer. They'll never have to upgrade past 98SE for the life of that box. Hell, the box I'm typing this on at work runs *95*. After 2000/XP, M$ had better find another cash cow.

    XBox is currently the #1 contender, and .NET is waiting in the wings.

    Don Negro

  • costco has pallet fulls, Best Buy has a plethora, even during christmas Target had them.

  • Actually, you are incorrect. Both Sony and Nintendo have incorporated in the United States. Therefore, they are free to give as much money as they want to Georgy and company as long as the money was earned in the US and funneled in from Japan.
  • Your argument is illogical.

    PC-DOS in 1981 was what you bought when you got a new computer.

    The only other alternative was CP/M-86 which sold for $175. Is that what you wish to compare Windows 2000 pricing with?

    Or would you rather compare pricing to Microsoft Xenix? I couldn't find data on Xenix, except that a Tandy computer using a MC68000 running Xenix around that time period was $5,000. I imagine the OS was probably $500 or so, considering later pricing by SCO for similar product.

  • You'll be happy to note that the OS costs about the same as a CPU in a computer, actually slightly less.

    Mass production costs may be dissimilar, but then so is after-sale product support which favors the CPU that nobody ever calls about.

    It seems even by your own criteria that you disagree with your assertions.
  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @08:32PM (#218278)
    Well actually given in 1981 PC-DOS cost $60 when purchased with an IBM PC, and today Windows 2000 costs around $125 when purchased with a PC...

    The prices are basically equivalent when factoring in inflation.
  • SSX is awesome. So is sky oddysee. Gauntlet Dark legends is also cool. I am also getting a gamecube, but I think you're a troll as far as the ps2 goes.

  • by Vermifax ( 3687 )
    The nes was sold at a loss so was the snes.

  • by dieman ( 4814 )
    Sony has been rumored to lower prices for the xbox event. I expect them to include the ethernet/modem adaptor as part of the package. "Yeah, it uses aol too, the xbox doesn't"
  • After MS had run DR-DOS out of town, MS raised the wholesale price of MS-DOS from $6 to $24 within 6 months.

    As for your economies of scale thing, I think you need to take a look at MS' pre-tax profit margins over the past 15 years. You'll see that their pre-tax profit margins have gone up, not down. This would mean that their unit costs are dropping or their prices are raising (or some combination of the two). You are absolutely right about the prices of business software over the past 6 years--prices have come down. However, that would indicate that Microsoft's unit costs have dropped even further!

    If you don't believe that Microsoft is selling the XBox as a loss leader, you're fooling yourself. Microsoft has already admitted they will be selling the hardware at a small loss. Their licensing fees are *much* more reasonable than Sony's, so they aren't intending to make it up with software. This indicates they are doing it to gain market share, after which the ratio of unit prices to unit costs will rise so that MS makes a profit.

    Now, IMHO, none of this is really bad per se. It's the work of a free economy. However, such behaviour must be kept in check in order to prevent monopolies. In that case, the original poster is quite right to be afraid of a potential monopoly for MS in this arena.
  • You do realize that what MS is doing is not illegal, right? I mean, unless they are determined to be using predatory pricing for their product, it's not illegal for a company that has a monopoly in one area to introduce a new product in another area as a loss leader. And, $299 for a product where most competitors are =$199 is not predatory pricing.

    This is not "like microsoft begining to sell its own computer". It *is* microsoft beginning to sell its own computer. However, there's nothing illegal with this. In order for it to be illegal, MS must have predatory pricing, or must wield its first monopoly in such a manner as to extend its monopoly into a new arena. The DoJ had a case concerning Windows (MS' existing monopoly) and IE (MS's predatory pricing and use of Windows to extend its monopoly to browsers). It wouldn't stand a chance on this one. At least, not yet.
  • How is this informative exactly? DirectX handles that stuff yes, but Direct3D is the topic, and it only does 3d, which guess what, is what OpenGL is for. wow, way to go mods!
  • What a pile of utter crap. The video cards aren't "sharing" system resources with Windows : They're self contained computers by themselves (pretty much), and any modern PC can push commands to the video card faster than it can process them.

    The point is..MS is just peicing together stuff and not really developing their own HW

    This "point" is silly. MS has been the primary driving force behind the rapid acceleration in video technology (it started with 3dfx' Glide actually which pretty much kicked the market into gear). I'm going to presume your post was a troll. Why am I feeding the trolls?

  • Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, PlayStation 2's are still sadly VERY hard to find in a retail store. I've checked CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, Electronics Boutique, KB Toys, and several other places--I've never seen any PS2's on display for sale even now. At least for me, the only way I can get one is to order it online. :-(

    My guess is that Microsoft may have as many as 1 million consoles available for sale within a few weeks of its November 8, 2001 launch date. This will avoid the shortages that has plagued Sony since the PS2 shipped in the first place.
  • And zero PS2 consoles available to play them on...

    You are so correct.

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I've checked CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, Electronics Boutique, Toys 'R Us, and KB Toys--NONE of them have PlayStation 2 machines stocked on the floor. The only way you can get one is to order it online. :-(

    If both Microsoft and Nintendo can have 800,000-1,000,000 units of their respective game consoles for sale within two weeks after their November launch dates, this could hit Sony especially hard, unless Sony is willing to sacrifice the Japanese and European markets and do nothing but build PS2's for the US market and have 3-4 million PS2's available for sale by November 1, 2001 in order to blunt the introduction of GameCube and Xbox.
  • Having tried both Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 controllers, I think the DC controller feels too unwieldly (no thanks to having to fit both Rumble Pack and the VMU unit) and the PS2 controller--while otherwise excellent--feels a bit too small to be useful.

    You forget that Microsoft's excellent Usability Lab was heavily used to Xbox development, so as a result you get a controller that comfortably fits into your hand without feeling oversized like the DC controller.
  • by RayChuang ( 10181 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @05:04PM (#218289)
    Yes, but what has been publicly shown so far in regards to Xbox is absolutely stunning, to say the least.

    I think what Microsoft has in its favor is the fact that if you can write Windows 2000 programs and write for the DirectX 8.0x API, you're already most of the way there to writing an Xbox game. And Microsoft has sent out several thousand Xbox development kits to just about every major game manufacturer in the world, including most of the important game manufacturers in Japan.

    One thing that Microsoft did with Xbox was to use its excellent Usability Lab to come up with an excellent design for its machine. MS even bothered to develop two different game controllers, one for larger hands in the Western world and one for smaller hands in Asia.

    Microsoft also has the advantage that both EA Sports and Sega are going to release Xbox games. This will mean competition for sports games and that means we'll have top-notch quality sports games on Xbox.
  • Maybe the Xbox will fail like the XFL...jk

    (lame I know)
  • I sort of expect a Linux site to naysay the Xbox merely because of the Microsoft logo but you guys are complete jackasses. For some reason slashdot at large thinks that people will only buy a single console and that there are 50 people who do indeed buy consoles and if you sell your console to all of these people your competitors will go out of business. There are MILLIONS of fucking people in the scope of the console market and they all buy different systems for different reasons. There is lots and lots of room for multiple consoles in someone's house, they're fairly small in fact. How many of you have a Dreamcast sitting next to a PSX or PS2? I would bet plenty of you do. The market is large and one console won't dominate simply because it has a particular logo on it. Microsoft is no more evil than Nintendo; ask the UltraHLE folk or all the developers that tried to produce NES games but had cart quantities tightly controlled by Nintendo.
    Merely on their technical merits the GC and Xbox are badass boxes. As always the games available for particular consoles will spell victory or defeat. Nintendo has Pokemon which is still immensely popular and alone can garner nearly a million console purchases. Microsoft is going to be competing more with the PS2 in terms of audience than the Nintendo which has always and probably always will be aimed toward the sub-14 crowd. Besides Pokemon Nintendo has their various other franchises like Donkey Kong and Mario, they've been at this for a very long time. Microsoft is still looking mostly for ports of PC titles or spin-offs of PC titles. Alot of kids with a fair amount of purchasing power are going to strip GameCubes off the shelves because of Nintendo's franchises and Nintendo Power which always manages to hype up their new boxes. Microsoft's going to have a marketing advantage and alot more exposure to the general populace. Time and games will tell if Microsoft is going to stand a chance against Sony and the PS2. Ken Kusagi(sp) is pretty hardcore about the Playstation as it's his baby. I don't know if the Xbox's manager is quite as commited as he is. Oh yeah, don't forget all that Japan is cuckoo for cocoa puffs and game consoles. Nintendo's got an enormous user base there and Microsoft doesn't (w/ respect to gaming).
  • Game consoles aren't marketed towards poor college students, they're marketing to people who've got a job and thus money to spend (or theory goes). The 60$ price tag on console games is driven by the market's reluctance to go without said console game(s).
  • Nintendo targets a younger audience, one that likes "cute" games and doesn't need a DVD player or internet access. With the lower price, the GameCube will also appeal to parents who are buying a system for their kids when the kids don't need to buy NFL 2K2 or Perfect Dark.

    Which is exactly why I, as a parent, am planning to give my money to Nintendo this Christmas. My kids are right square in the middle of Nintendo's target demographic.

    Also, as an adult gamer, I tend to prefer the Nintendo titles anyway. Mario has been good since the very first Super Mario Bros. hit the arcades. Nintendo's games are cutesy, sure. But a lot of them have a fair amount of depth to them, and for the most part they're just plain fun to play. I don't need a bazillion different titles of mediocre quality, just a few good ones.

  • Given the specification of the X-Box, there isn't much that it couldn't do to satisfy the needs of Joe Normal in Consumerland, particularly with a few choice hardware add-ons.

    With it's low price, Microsoft name and 500 million in advertising behind it, couldn't it replace the PC in the majority of homes in the next few years? Then everybody in the world will be using a Microsoft-controlled hardware platform, obviously running Microsoft-controlled software, and the die-hards who insist on a "real" computer will be so far and few between as to not really count.

    As for Linux ports to the X-Box, who says there won't be some restrictive licensing that makes such a move illegal? Or clever hardware that makes the box shut down if the monthly Microsoft licence fee isn't paid?

    I mean, why is Microsoft getting into hardware all of a sudden? The last time they did that was with the Microsoft Mouse, a move needed to make mice more readily available and their GUI more practical. When these guys build hardware I'm suspicious that they are trying to manipulate the software market!

  • Actually, as much as you'd like to think that, no console maker makes money on the box itself. They all make money off software designed for it. Sony and Nintendo all lose money on the hardware.

    Yes, but MS is probably losing more than any of the others. Early reports are that MS will lose about $150/box. I'd also heard that licencing fees for XBox games were a lot lower than those for PS2 and Game Cube; I don't know if this is true, though.

    When MS plans to LOSE 3-4 BILLION DOLLARS, you know there's something up their sleeves. Dumping is their strategy; don't be fooled.


  • considering Microsoft's past history of NOT RAISING PRICES once they've attained a monopoly situation

    This is untrue. MS has raised prices, both relative to the cost of the entire system and in absolute dollars. Or are you going to tell me that MS DOS 2.0 cost the same as Windows 2000 in both constant and inflated dollars?

    Before you consider that an absurd comparison, compare the cost of hard drive space or CPU speed or graphics cards over time. Somehow it's expected that the hard drives and CPUs get cheaper as they do more, but the OS doesn't?

    MS has raised prices as they've gained a monopoly, and only an apologist or someone who is completely ignorant of economics couldn't see that.


  • Oh, and there's more, too.

    There are TWO groups of people who MS can screw, game developers and end users. Say MS doesn't raise the end-user cost much as they get monopoly position in the console industry. They can still drastically raise the license fees they charge game developers. And, in classic MS fashion, they can just deliver a clone of the game developer's best title (or hire away their best programmers) if the developer tells them to piss off.


  • Well actually given in 1981 PC-DOS cost $60 when purchased with an IBM PC, and today Windows 2000 costs around $125 when purchased with a PC...

    The prices are basically equivalent when factoring in inflation.

    You're figuring at the bundling cost. Figure at the stand-alone cost, instead. MS gives a price break with bundling to ensure that no one else can get a toe in the door.


  • ...and as I've mentioned elsewhere, this does not take into account the DEFLATIONARY nature of computer hardware pricing. The most expensive component on many cheap PCs is the operating system. How can that be, when it has the lowest mass production costs of any component and similar development costs as a microprocessor?


  • Or just raise my Karma cap; I've been bouncing between 45 and 50 way too long ;-)


  • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @08:34PM (#218306)
    You're absolutely wrong... MS-DOS + Windows 3.X costs about the same as Windows 2000 and more than Windows 98/Me.

    Are you talking in constant dollars (without inflation)? Because if you are, you're wrong. And if you're not, you are comparing apples to oranges.

    That's an easy one... the cost of manufacturing hardware has dropped dramatically... the cost of producing memory, hard drives, you name it, has gone down considerably. The cost of good programmers, however, has gone up. That's why you don't see the difference in cost.

    The cost for mass-producing software is far, far lower than the cost for mass producing hardware. And the cost for good electrical engineers has gone up just as much as the cost for good programmers. Who do you think designs all this hardware, the Firmware Fairy?

    Six years ago, the cost of Word and Wordperfect was some $350. Today, you can get Word, Works, Streets and Trips and Encarta for less than $100

    Bullshit. I've got a copy of MacConnection right here. The cost for Word 2001 (in 2001 dollars) is $360. Gee, that's $10 more than the price you named, not even counting 6 years of inflation. Excel 2001 is also $360. Office 2001 for Mac (which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage) is $449. I'm quite sure the PC prices are just as high.

    Please don't try to make up facts to support your position.


  • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:31PM (#218307)
    Welcome to Monopoly 101; dumping product.

    MS' plan is to drive Sony and Nintendo out of the console business. They don't expect to make any money on XBox 1.0.

    When XBox 2.0 comes out, and there are no other consoles, then watch MS jack up the prices on consoles and royalties.

    Illegal? Sure. But do you seriously expect Dubya to get the Justice Dept. to prosecute MS' predatory behavior against two FOREIGN companies, esp. when MS can legally give donations to the GOP and Sony/Nintendo can't?


  • I give it about 2-3 months before people developers realize that the machine is so much like a PC that they can develop games for it without paying any royalties to microsoft. Just watch.
  • Once linux is on the X-Box why would game developers need to pay royalties for Microsoft's libraries and OS anymore? Write their games for linux, and distribute the games themselves. Cut MS out of the royalty loop.
  • So, when Sony drove Sega out of the console business, and toppled Nintendo it's ok because its not MS?

    They came in and launced a huge marketing campaign, and took a loss on their hardware. Signed exclusive deals with developers, and continued to market throughout the life of the product.

    Nintendo was toppled and now is trying to catch up, which they probably won't, and Sega's out of the business.

    Then they release their PS2, with a $300 price tag, a lot of folks paid well over $500 during the christmas season to get one. Games are significantly more expensive as well.

    But MS wanting to the the same thing is worse?
  • Most video rental places also rent console games and already have limited space for the current systems (PS/PS2/N64/SNES). How willing are they going to be to dedicate _more_ space for these new systems? I've read that game publishers have to pay some chains for shelf space. Perhaps the same may soon hold true for rental shops...
  • I'd suspect no one is going to want to rent the old system's games in a few months anyway. So it really doesn't matter. You're gonna get a lot more rents for (awesome super cool new game) than super mario brothers or whatever. Do people really still rent SNES games?
  • by Snowfox ( 34467 ) <snowfox AT snowfox DOT net> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @05:02PM (#218326) Homepage
    Many people may have a bone to pick with Microsoft for some really annoying things, but DirectX was one of their better ideas.

    As a game developer, I feel uniquely qualified to ask just what brand of crack you are smoking.

    Seriously - It's taken years for Direct3D to basically adopt OpenGL with different names for the same functions. That's an oversimplification, but not much of one. If MS had adopted OpenGL and stayed the course, hardware/software would be much farther along today.

  • by brianvan ( 42539 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:30PM (#218329)
    Wow, this is textbook trolling / karma whoring. But whatever... I like the challenge.

    What I want to know is, why does free software have enemies in Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc.? I mean, granted, what those companies do as businesses are against the tenets of free software, and yes they do have products that directly compete with free software products, but how does that make them the enemies?

    I mean, can't business and freedom of information co-exist in the world? Are these companies doing anything to stop the thoughts and expressions of free software advocates? Sony didn't kill Indrema, lack of funding did. Putting aside Indrema's death as a business, no one has been prevented at this point from introducing a free software based game console system. Anyone can do it if they want to, and if they have the proper resources at hand.

    The essay I'm replying to does not state how the success of game consoles by these companies equates to "a crushing blow against freedom". It's simply a business. I don't think their business infringes on anyone's freedom. No one is suppressed because Sony sells a lot of games. I just want to state this not just as a reply to the essay, but to warn the rest of the free software world that declaring war on Microsoft and the rest of the evil empire type companies is illogical. Microsoft doesn't threaten free software... it's lack of interest that threatens free software... it's indifference... it's stupidity that is the threat. If people know about free software, the battle has been won... people will have had a choice, seen the choice, and someone will have expressed themselves to the world against the tyranny of anyone whose best interests is to stop them. Microsoft doesn't attack free software projects as operations and try to stop them from ever appearing... it simply tries to sell its own product as the better alternative, no matter how much spin they put on the situation. So why try to fight them? They're never going to kill free software, they never have tried and they aren't currently trying as well.

    Therefore, if you're going to be an advocate, stop picking fights with people you disagree with and start presenting a better argument. That's how you win debates. Not with bitchslapping.
  • You have obviously never played with a Dreamcast.
    The fact that you talk about "full motion video" talks for itself. We are talking about "awesome" real-time graphics. Sure, a game can have very good graphics and be boring, but at least it will still be pretty. And if the system is so powerful that making pretty games is easy, developpers wont need to spend so much time coding the graphic routines. Most DC games are "pretty" AND "fun". I'm talking about Jet Set Radio or even better Tony Hawnk's Pro Skater, whose multiplayer kicks the lama's ass. And have you ever tried or seen Powerstone?



    P.S.- You are at least partially right though. Nintendo's games usualy are very cool, but the same can be said for Sega. I'm not that sure about Sony...
  • I'm not going to be pegged as another beta tester for Microsoft.. Dammit, I'm going to wait for XBox SE!
    Just my 2 bits, or half a nibble.

  • think again - I give it all of 3 months - probably less - a $299 platform will be too good to miss :-)

    You'd think people would have learned - loss-leader platforms that run Linux with minor hacking 'sell' well :-)

  • And, for that matter, neither did any of the other countless quality open source projects/programs out there that cannot be taken away.

    The difference is that the "quality open source programs out there" are by and for Joe Hacker, not Joe User. As such, they are arguably technically superior, but things like logical/easy UI design and documentation are given less priority. This is expected, because hacking is more fun than making the UI easy to follow for the novice, or spending hours writing help documents. Also, billion dollar companies can afford focus groups, and useability tests, to make their apps easier to use.

    Linux hasn't failed as a gaming platform.

    It has, and it will, until the novice user does not have to jump through a million hoops to get X working, then to get openGL working, then to get the soundcard working, ad nauseum.

    if you expect an operating system of its nature to have even 25% of the library of games dependent on Windows and its proprietary gaming graphics/sound/input/etc API.

    Ask yourself if the average guy who just wants to play the latest title gives a damn about proprietary vs. open standards.

  • My guess is that they are not out to make a quick buck. They want to establish themselves in the arena, and get a few quality games out there so people can have a reason to buy the system. They'll reap the rewards down the line.

    It's scary when a company is so rich it can just dive into whatever they want, spend wads of cash on advertising and R&D, etc., just so they can have their grip on everything.

    This is sort of like what they did with the IE bundling, and soon, the MSN messenger bundling (with windows XP).

    And you know what else? No one gives a damn... scary.
  • The argument was initially over DirectX in its entirety, then one poster said Direct3D to attack the OpenGL issue. DirectX is still valid in this argument.


  • Gee, that's $10 more than the price you named, not even counting 6 years of inflation.

    Um, inflation would make that 360 LESS than the 350, not pull it in the other direction.


  • Say you're selling a toaster and you want to keep your proprietary toasting algorithm private, but its running on Linux. Can you do that since you are really selling hardware? Or do you have to GPL your software as well?

    well seeing as i was at the Applied Computing Conference today and had this very chat with some of the Linux vendors, i'll field this question.

    if a hardware company embeds Linux and makes changes to kernel then yes, they have to release the changes under the GPL. however 99% of all value-add is in drivers and application-level software, not in changes to the kernel. as you probably know, drivers and applications can be whatever license they want to be so this isn't a limiting factor in the decision to use Linux. sure the kernel is GPL, but all of the value-add can be closed source.

    Linux is taking off like crazy in the embedded market because there are no per-unit royalty fees. this is particularly nice in very high volume applications, as once you get the operating system running you never need to pay another dime! of course Linux still hasn't got the realtime performance of a tried and true RTOS, but it's getting there. the embedded market is definitely somewhere where Linux can shine.

    - j

  • Indeed! Why does it matter in reality if the average consumer is running free software on their box before it's ready? Free software is not ready to enter this arena by a long shot. We've got good libraries in Mesa and such, and some coming down the pipe, but we don't have the games yet, unless you count nethack and tuxracer (both cool, but they obviously aren't what we're talking about).

    This is like saying that when people who bought Sparc's were using Solaris' compiler rather than the gcc in 1992 it was a major blow to free software. It wasn't, it's not, it didn't matter. The coders kept on coding. The software kept on flowing. Now we've got a whole damn system to use and we're working on making free software on the PC both powerful and friendly enough for the average frat boy. This is a huge task and it's going to take some more time, but we'll get there and then we can worry more about things like consoles (which may make more $, but aren't actually running anything of critical importance).

    By then everyone will be replacing their X-boxes with something new and shiny with a brand new redesigned on button that they can press to run whatever. Consoles cycle completely, with a whole new system under the hood every five years, no ties to the old stuff. New games gives a whole new chance every five years for free software to be running that box full time. Linux does and will provide a way to run the console now as it will then. We will see consoles running some form of linux eventually, simply because it's too good a bargain not to use. But not until it's really ready. Until then, the people who load linux on their X-boxes will just have to be like those rogues who ran the early GNU tools as replacements for the ones that came with their version of UNIX. They may not be the mainstream, but don't count them out yet.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • Go to

    MS says they'll have between 600k and 800k units
    available instores on Nov 8th. What they have on the following days/weeks hasn't been disclosed.

  • XBox doesn't run CE - it runs a modified (and very pruned) W2k derived OS.

    It also wont be a "hobbled" GPU - infact in some places it will have twice the number of pipelines
    as the GF3 retail boards.

    Thats right. When XBox ships you will _not_ be able to say "the games on my PC look better because my video card is better". It wont be. THe games _might_ look better but that would only be because of piss-poor programming on the part of the xbox programmers.

    Finally, the XBox system architecture is different from a PC, but not to "make it unique" - its to make it a better console. What need does a console have for a bunch of serial ports, or PCI slots, or what have you.

  • I donno how game support works, but the XBox hardware can render at HDTV (and beyond) resolutions.. something like 1900x1000.. probably better than your monitor.

    In other words, dont expect X-Box to be the weak link in your home entertainment system.
  • It's been Nintendo's bandwagom long before Sony's and Microsoft's.

    Blame them. ;)

  • Let's think about this very slowly. $500,000,000 for advertising. Probably anywhere between $50 and $300,000,000 in R&D and god only knows how many billions for production, shipping to stores, etc. Take into account the probability that MS will take a loss on each hardware unit.... that leaves the question, how will they make bookoo bucks? Unless they plan to gouge their developers on royalties, are playing hopeful, a combination of those two or I'm missing something here.
  • As far as I've seen, MS hasn't done anything illegal or monopolistic with the Xbox so far. While they're obviously using their considerable wealth to make an extremely bold push into a market, they aren't doing anything illegal. Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly in the console area, and its OS monopoly isn't all that helpful for it either. Not many people would question that MS has a monopoly. Dell, compaq, et all won't jump from windows because of the Xbox. First off that just wouldn't make sense. And second, you're right, there is no really viable alternative for an easy switch. But just because MS has a monopoly, doesn't mean the DOJ should expect them to stop doing business. You may not like it, but MS is a business. They sell stuff. That's what they do.
  • I'm not knocking OpenGL; the point I was trying to make is using existing abstract APIs like OpenGL and DirectX saves you so much work compared to handling the graphics yourself - especially if you want to accommodate all of the idiosyncrasies of every video card chipset out there. If you think DirectX is bad, try writing all of the graphic routines yourself from scratch for all of the popular video cards, and still have the stamina left to write a game on top of them. It would be ridiculous to do so, and the PC game industry wouldn't be much further behind where it is now without these graphical APIs to make it easier to focus more on developing gameplay than display.

    I am not a game developer, but I am a programmer and I know how much work it takes just to get the basic tools in place first before you can even begin to design the application you're going to use them for. I can't imagine how hard it would be to write these games without a layer of abstraction that you can rely on to handle all this for you.


  • by jafuser ( 112236 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:14PM (#218380)
    Maybe PC cards would show better performance if they didn't have to share system resouces with Windows, I still wish I could leave windows and go into DOS to play games.

    Ever heard of DirectX? Without it, every game designer would have to write their own routines from the video card driver all the way up to high level APIs. I doubt there would be nearly as many 3d games nand/nor would they be as detailed or consistant in quality if the developers had to start from scratch (or even their own libraries) every time. It would distract from the goal of the game design to always have to worry about developing and debugging the underlying 2d or 3d engine. At least this way they can focus on the game and not so much on how to display it.

    Sure, if enough effort were put to it, a few more CPU cycles could be squeezed out of the hardware if the game would run without windows, but I think the gain you would get from this would be insignificant compared to the extra development and debugging which would be required to develop it without a standard graphical API. Besides, the CPU isn't where most of the magic is going on nowadays. Most of the work is being done in the video card, and the raw performance you get from it is not dependent on the OS (but it is on the drivers). So it's best to have a set of drivers which have maximized the potential of the video card, so you won't have to figure it out for yourself for every possible video card out there.

    Many people may have a bone to pick with Microsoft for some really annoying things, but DirectX was one of their better ideas.

    PS: This post is questionable, but I don't give a shit about trolls. I'm not wasting my time playing immature psychology games here. I don't reply here often and I've got better things to do with my life than to sit around and guess if I'm replying to a sincere post or some idiot who needs to go outside and get a life.


  • Having held a final Xbox controller three weeks ago and having spoken to two independent developers about it, I feel fairly qualified to say that you're absolutely full of it. "excellent design"? Please. Why don't you quit spewing fanboy juice all over the unsuspecting Slashdot public and post something more meaningful than "they used their excellent lab to develop it, so it must be peachy keen!"


  • by mr_gerbik ( 122036 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:33PM (#218388)
    If you want mp3s.. then buy a $99 Dreamcast. There are mp3 players out for DC.. just burn a CD with the mp3 software and all the mp3s you want.

    check it out --> dc mp3 player []

    oh yeah.. don't forget about all the dc emulators too --> emulators []
  • I wouldn't worry so much about Microsoft taking over the world with their new toy, most of the public will assume it's another game console for kids and leave it alone... besides, what are the odds that it'll actually work as advertised? Have they ever made something that did? (Ok, besides DOS 3.3, which rocked the house).
  • by ejbst25 ( 130707 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:18PM (#218391) Homepage
    or should I say, if, Microsoft is split up. Does this XBox group compose a 4th division (OS, Software, *Internet*/ASP/ISP, Gaming/XBox)?
  • Let's be realistic and look at the financials of companies... Nintendo's are here [].

    Now, in business, you're not expected to break even the first year. This $500,000,000 in advertising will be amortized over a few years. And people, stop tlaking about $500 million being so much.

    I also read an interview (months ago) with the NOA President who said that Nintendo is already spending about 80-90% of what Microsoft is on advertising. (I think they spend something in the range of $300,000,000 per year on advertising).

    It's a big industry. $500 million will get you noticed, but they won't flood the airwaves. It'd be interesting to do a break-even analysis for Microsoft and see how many units they have to sell to becomne succesful. My guess is anything below 1.5 million units and it will be a complete failure.

  • Making a product available does not mean people will buy it. You'd need to put considerable advertising power behind it ($500m is not that much, Nintendo spends very close to that). You need to convince people will want this.

    Furthermore, if I go into a store, and I am Joe Shmoe and want a game console, would I really want the one that's not sold out? I look at two shelves, one is empty, and the other is full. What would I deduce over other people's desires to have the product?

  • Microsoft is an entertainment company. As powerful as they are they will not:

    a) Drive everyone out of the market
    b) Do it so well that when X-Box 2.0 comes out there are no competitors

    And Nintendo of America and Sony have headquarters in the United States and ARE American companies.

  • That and with Sega and SNK both folding within the past year, Nintendo is the last real game company that still exists.

    Sony? They make walkmen and memory sticks and CDrs and movies.
    Microsoft? They don't know anything about games.

    My heart goes out to the underdog... Nintendo! (Never thought I'd say that...

  • Why?

    I thought it was to categorize it as a home computer and avoid a games machine tax in some parts of the world knocking about 2% off Sony's costs.

  • /mdf6260.jpg []

    Damn that bitch must be heavy! Look at the expression on his face. :)

  • - PS2 games
    - Enhanced PS1 games
    - Compatible with all your old PS1 peripherals
    - CD Player
    - DVD Player w/ Dolby Digital and DTS
    - Internet soon
    - USB and Firewire
    - Linux kit
    - Compatible with your PC peripherals (USB)

    In my opinion, $300 is an insanely great deal for what you get.

  • Is there any word yet on an MP3 player for XBox? It can play games, surf the web, and play DVDs... if it can play MP3s, then I'll buy on in an instant.
  • Flood the stores with Xboxes and make sure everyone has the opportunity to buy one.

    I still can't go into Walmart or CompUSA and find a PS/2 on the shelf. I'm not paying $500 for an overpriced "game pack", I'm not placing a special order, and I'm not going to buy one on Ebay. If I could find one on the shelf at the store, I probably would have bought a PS2. But after 7 months of waiting, and its still not on the shelf, well I changed my mind. Sony, kiss my $299 goodbye. It could have been yours.

    Don't make me go through hoops to buy your product. If MS follows this simple rule, they will experience an order of magnitude more sales.

  • Windows XP Professional will retail for about the same price as Windows NT 3.1 Workstation, and XP Consumer (or "Home") will retail at the same price as Windows 95 through ME.

    In real terms, Microsoft's prices have gone done over the years, not up. (But, Gates knew from the *very beginning* that growing the pie was more important than slicing it up.) Expect this to change over the next few years, but still...

    And besides, outside of Open Source, there aren't any vendors cheaper than Microsoft. Check the historic retail prices of OS/2 and NetWare to be sure.
  • Gaming consoles are a loss-leader market. Everybody takes a loss, not just the monopolist trying to drive the little guys away.

    Not everyone -- Nintendo supposedly sells their consoles at near break-even or even makes a profit after a few years.

    Playing the razor/blades game is a winner-take-all strategy. Meaning either Sony or Microsoft is going to lose their shirt, or they both will if there's no clear winner or consumers stay home.

    Sega tried to play the same game, but was too poorly capitalized to do it. Nintendo might be an also-ran this time around, but it's a safe bet that they won't have bankrupted themselves and will be there for the next generation.
  • Jeebuz -- I would consider that example pretty much dumping. Why would Microsoft sell Word (alone) in some markets for $300-$350 and sell this bundle for $89? Something fishy, I'm sure.

    As a side note, before MS Office got popular, both WordPerfect/DOS and Lotus 1-2-3/DOS cost around $600 retail each. Microsoft sold the Office For Windows bundle (with PowerPoint essentially for free) for $600 which is one of the biggest reason they took over that market segment. When WP and Lotus fought back, the price went to about $450, which is where it still is for the standard version.
  • IBM pulled completely out of the consumer market. They were taking a huge loss-per-unit that totaled something like $1Billion.

    In California, I never see consumer Dell machines sold. They do focus on SOHO sales over the phone/web though.

    The only way that Compaq can be in the consumer market is to sell crapboxes that only serve to ruin their once excellent reputation among younger consumers.

    Basically, because personal computers are all standard parts, it's a fucking race to the bottom. There's no money there (except for Intel/AMD and Microsoft) and home machines will get cheaper and cheaper until the only manufactures are no-name bozos and everything will be totally unreliable.

    Then someone will look at what Apple is doing and team with Microsoft to make a proprietary "works better" version of the PC just to try to restore some sanity to the market.

    Anyway enjoy the good times of cheap, good commodity hardware while they last -- it's basic economics that it can't go on forever.
  • My friend has a dreamcast and I have played it on a couple of occasions. I will admit that dreamcast does have some good games to their name (most notably Jet Set (Grind) Radio, Crazy Taxi and Chu Chu Rocket (which can be picked up amazing cheap for such a great game btw)), but that large majority of what I have seen isn't all that impressive.

    Take for example Sonic the Hedgehog in his miraculous new 3d world. It looks pretty watching the beautiful scenery flash by as the cruze through the level, but the fact remains that for the majority of the game you are confined to a single track which you can't deviate from. Now compare this to Mario64 where you have almost complete freedom in this 3d world and can walk, fly, run anywhere you please. The graphics don't come close to comparing with sonic on the dreamcast, but it easily makes up for that, and then some, in game play.

    I am not argueing the fact that there are fun games on other systems, and in a few years when the prices drop I will probably buy a dreamcast for the games mentioned above and probably a few others. However, I will keep my main game playing on nintendo systems until the other competetors realize that there is more to making a good game than graphics.
  • by servoled ( 174239 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @07:16PM (#218444)
    The only reason I will be sticking to nintendo is game play. Nintendo has a lot of fun original multiplayer games like mario kart, mario party, goldeneye, perfect dark, super smash brothers, etc.. I have yet to see anything compare to these on the playstation or dreamcast lines. Sure, the graphics may not be life like, but you know what? who gives a shit. If I want amazing graphics I'll watch a movie or go for a walk.

    Granted I haven't played many of the newer games on the ps2, so this may have changed, but I am sick to death of games that have "awesome mindblowing graphics" achieved through full motion video. Who wants to sit in the middle of a game and watch a movie?

    I am looking for games that I can play with and against friends. All of the different rip-offs of super street fighter (or whatever you hard-core gamers claim to be the first person vs person fighter) get boring quickly. I don't have time to memorize all the moves of 150 different characters with 30 moves per character just to properly play a game. This is why smash brothers is so fun, all the characters moves are done exactly the same way (direction + 1 button). It is simple and fun.

    Until I can find a system that focuses on game play more than graphics better than nintendo does, I will be sticking with nintendo.
  • No, WMA is not "better" than MP3. It does tend to produce better results at low bitrates, but once you get to 128k and beyond, MP3 actually sounds better. Go to somewhere like [] if you don't believe me...
  • I give it all of 3 months

    As much as I would *love* to see that - M$ is going to spend alot of time making damn-fucking sure NOTHING runs on the XBOX besides WinCE(whatever).

    Ill bet they hobble the NVIDIA chips and the CPU - the whole thing will have changes made to 'standard pc architecture' for the sole purpose of making it unique.

    Im sorry - this is not going to be a hack in the class of the IOpener.

  • can we mod this above +5? if anyone deserves it is Mr. TWR - The Wisest Man on Slashdot Today(TM).
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @06:37PM (#218454) Journal
    Does anyone else see the XBox as a flagrant slap in the face of the DOJ?

    Microsoft is about to use its monopoly power to introduce a competing platform to play games on. Games that would normally be played on PCs.

    The Consumo-tron-2000 level PC buyer will consider buying a console over a PC now.

    What are Dell, Compaq, IBM, eMachines, etc, etc, and all the other big computer builders going to think when the XBox starts to eat into the sales of its Home-PC lines! M$ is breaking an important business rule here: "Dont compete with your customers." Now the fact that they can do this - and dell, compaq, ibm and everyone else dont immediately turn their backs and use another OS helps prove that there are NOT ALTERNATIVES in the market - further proving their monopoly. The fact that they are trying this AFTER the DOJ ruled against them is bizarre. The fact that more people havent raised this issue is also wierd... this is like microsoft beginning to sell its own computer... why hasnt the DOJ fired up the lawyers and stopped this?

  • Just like the people who will port Linux to the Xbox, you don't count. If you are doing serious computation then chances are you're not running Windows anyway, so the net gain is 0.

  • Loki has, what, maybe 0.5% of the gaming market? Sorry, but that doesn't count for much.

  • Yes, PC gamers will be very likely to dual boot, but most gamers are console gamers. They are frat boys playing EA Sports titles and 10 yr. olds playing Mario. PC games have played 2nd string to consoles ever since the Atari, and they always will.

    The video game industry will generate more revenue this year than the motion picture industry. Think about that for a second. All that income is not coming from computer geeks. It's coming from people who just want to hit the 'On' switch and play. They don't care what's under the hood.

  • Seeing as how the Xbox will most likely play the majority of existing PC games, they'll have at least 10% right out of the gate. By the end of 2002 I estimate that over 50% of released titles wil be playable on the Xbox.
  • by Trevor Goodchild ( 187368 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:46PM (#218459)

    We all like to think that Microsoft is slowly but surely losing the battle over free software, but sadly this is not the case. The X-box will deliver a crushing blow against freedom and the GNU flag wavers are going to be blindsided by it.

    Gnome? KDE? The desktop is dead. The future of computing has nothing to do with computers as we know them, because the computers we hve now are 10x more powerful than they need to be for the tasks they are used for - with one exception: Entertainment.

    Games and other forms of digital entertainment are the only things that continue to push the limits of comuting power, and in case you haven't been paying attention, all entertainment systems are closed source. The abysmal failure of a Linux-based gaming platform just goes to show that Open Source has absolutely no chance of making any headway against proprietary systems.

    You can all pat yourselves on the back and cheer the Perens-penned tirade against Microsoft, but it doesn't matter. The folks in Redmond really don't give a rat's ass about the GPL, they are just making sure you are all distracted over something that is uterly trivial in the long term. Meanwhile, they are preparing their jugernaut for the coming holiday shopping season while the free software leaders are wasting time trying to attack a portion of the industry that is increasingly irrelevant.

    It will not be entirely a Microsft world. It will be a Sony/Nintendo/EA/Microsoft world. And none of it will be Open Source.

  • And once Linux is installed you can't play games anymore. Suddenly this hacked box is only appealing to geeks; people who are already running Linux anyway.

    Why would the average consumer bother installing Linux on an X-box? What would be the benefit?

  • by shokk ( 187512 )

    So where do I get my MCSX for administration of an XBox?

  • Nintendo targets a younger audience, one that likes "cute" games and doesn't need a DVD player or internet access. With the lower price, the GameCube will also appeal to parents who are buying a system for their kids when the kids don't need to buy NFL 2K2 or Perfect Dark.

    That said, that leaves Xbox and Playstation 2 competing for the same audience -- and for $300 apiece, it's unlikely most players will want to buy both systems. That's why I'm wondering if Xbox will really be able to gain a foothold; if everyone who has a PS2 already owns one by this fall, why should they buy an Xbox? Only a *HUGE* library of exclusive hits ("The Matrix" alone won't do the trick) and a dramatic improvement in graphics power will seduce fans to wait, at this point, for an Xbox over a PS2.

  • How about Mac OS X for $129, which includes Mac OS 9.1 and developer tools?

    Hmmm, that's $129 more than they used to charge for their OS. MacOS used to be included with the computer and updates were free for download or copying at the dealer with Apple's blessing.

    I know its a different issue than whether MS has competition (and seeing the x86 vs PPC, I'm not sure whether MacOS really is a good example) but it is relevant to the general thread.

  • Of course, that $129 prices is really the upgrade pricing since there are almost no Macs out there that don't already have a license to MacOS and since the very brief cloning period, very few other computers that can run it. (and those generally have a MacOS license as well)
  • I'll apologize beforehand if this is repetive: I didn't see any posts on this, or I'd be replying to them.

    1) PS/2:
    It is already out. This is a plus. Other then that, I don't really see any postives. The graphics, while good, aren't any better then what I expect from the X-Box or GameCube. The games are also not up to par, or so I've heard. The best is supposedly SSX Snowboarding (I think) and a snowboarding game is not my idea of a landmark title.

    Microsoft definitely has the time, resources, and, dare I say it, talent to pull this off. If MS can squash all their bugs pre-release they have a good shot of winning the console market. This isn't because their console is inherently good, but because people, the uninformed masses, see MS and equate it with computers, and afterall, computers and game consoles aren't that far apart, right? If MS can build us good computers surely they can build a good console thingy! (Voice of the people). Microsoft has the money to pull this off, winning the market I mean, but I'm definitely going to check this out at a friend's before buying it. (BTW, this could be the winner if MS does a good job. I do think they could do a good job if they had too.)

    These guys, Nintendo, definitely have a strong postition. They have expierience creating consoles that sell well, good graphics, and are popular. If Nintendo can overcome the "kiddie phenomen" (only selling games to children) then they have a real shot at taking over the game market.

    As to which one I'll buy... I'll definitely have to wait and see how the GameCube and X-Box look. I think what this will come down to is titles. Nintendo has a history of not so great stuff to overcome (I'm not eight), but PS/2 hasn't shown anything great so far. Looks like X-Box, if they can pull it together and get a decent title out, might be my choice.
  • XBox is a great thing! I'll support it. I mean, Microsoft should do something that they excel.(Not server, for God's sake)

    Next time when my PHB asks me to setup NT/2K server for our 10 millions database, I can say "Sound great, this company make great games box, too!"

    Boss, just get that NT server off my sight.
  • I dunno... DirectX games in combination with nVidia drivers are the only things that have ever BSODed my Win 2000 machine.

    I think DirectX is seriously flawed in which the DirectX games take place the on the same desktop as your, well, desktop.... when you run a DirectX game which changes resolution, your original desktop gets changed as well, and if the game mucks up, your whole desktop's fucked. They should have done a much better job separating DirectX video control from your normal deskop... it was kinda ok for Win9x, which was an unstable mess anyway, but it's really a piss poor solution for Win 2000. The process should be completely separate, and a 'ctrl-esc' or whatnot should, *without fail* bring you back to your pristine original desktop...

    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • This is untrue. MS has raised prices, both relative to the cost of the entire system and in absolute dollars. Or are you going to tell me that MS DOS 2.0 cost the same as Windows 2000 in both constant and inflated dollars?

    You're absolutely wrong... MS-DOS + Windows 3.X costs about the same as Windows 2000 and more than Windows 98/Me. There were no increases in cost from Windows 3.1 --> Windows 95 --> Windows 98 --> Windows Me. Windows 2000 is a whole different code base anyway.

    Before you consider that an absurd comparison, compare the cost of hard drive space or CPU speed or graphics cards over time. Somehow it's expected that the hard drives and CPUs get cheaper as they do more, but the OS doesn't?

    That's an easy one... the cost of manufacturing hardware has dropped dramatically... the cost of producing memory, hard drives, you name it, has gone down considerably. The cost of good programmers, however, has gone up. That's why you don't see the difference in cost.

    MS has raised prices as they've gained a monopoly, and only an apologist or someone who is completely ignorant of economics couldn't see that.

    That's just not true. Six years ago, the cost of Word and Wordperfect was some $350. Today, you can get Word, Works, Streets and Trips and Encarta for less than $100. Office is around $300 for a new copy and less for an upgrade.

    Give me an example where MS has gained a "monopoly" (though many, many people on this site seem to have found another option) and raised prices. The instances where prices have been raised are very few and far between.

  • I understand that the PS2 and Xbox use advanced hardware and all, but why are they $299? In my opinion, game consoles should max out at $200. When you start asking several hundred dollars for a game-playing machine, you've gone too far.

    Of course, I understand how poor Microsoft is. I'm sure they need the extra money.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)