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XBox (Games)

The Xbox 360 Unveiled 675

You may or may not have caught the Xbox 360 unveiling on MTV Thursday night, but the internet will provide. A plethora of sites have photos, videos, commentary, specifications, and interviews about the new system. Your fellow readers have pulled together to provide links to: 1up.com, Joystiq, Gamespot, The BBC, CNN, NYT, Gamespy, Team Xbox, Voodoo Extreme, Anandtech, and eToyChest. The official Xbox 360 site opened last night as well for word straight from the source. For more official images Ourcolony.net has been 'solved', and now features an OurColony specific video preview. Finally, for commentary on the event, the Video Game Ombudsman provides an alternative to the press releases. From the post: "Kyle Orland (9:28:42 PM): The future of gaming is a girl in a blue dress? Dan Dormer (9:28:47 PM): The future of gaming is a girl with a bag? Kyle Orland (9:28:57 PM): She's the Xbox! OMG!"
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The Xbox 360 Unveiled

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  • But. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:47AM (#12518549)
    Will it run Linux [xbox-linux.org]?

    Seriously, I would really love to see Tux scream on this thing!

  • PowerPC CPU? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skrysakj ( 32108 ) *
    Maybe this is why Apple wasn't able to sell machines with a CPU
    faster than 3.0 Ghz. Microsoft had made a deal with IBM to buy them, leaving
    Apple to wait? Can anyone confirm or deny this? How "custom" were these
    CPUs? Were they so custom that they did not effect the supply of G5's to Apple?

    • They hope to sell the box before christmas... It is still quite possible that you will be able to buy machines with CPU's faster than 3.0 GHz from Apple before you can buy them from Microsoft.

    • Re:PowerPC CPU? (Score:3, Informative)

      by TummyX ( 84871 )
      From the article:

      The heart of the system itself is made up of a custom-designed IBM PowerPC-based CPU with 3 symmetrical cores crunching data at 3.2GHz each (for a total of 6 hardware threads) at any one time.
    • Re:PowerPC CPU? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stilltron ( 876042 )
      How can MS put this much PowerPC processing power in such a small formfactor? Is MS banking on IBM being able to produce these chips at a smaller nanometer process by the release date (is the xBox360 vaporware?). Is seems like Apple is having problems putting out a machine three times the size with 2/3 the processing power without using a liquid cooling solution. There has to be more to the story.
    • Re:PowerPC CPU? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Astatine ( 179864 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:16AM (#12518785)
      I would go out on a limb and suggest these PowerPC cores are very different from -- and very stripped-down compared to -- the PowerPC 970 series used in the Mac G5s. They probably closely resemble the general purpose core within the Cell, and are probably in-order execution only. Otherwise the CPU would be too big to make it economical to manufacture: for instance, the dual core AMD64 chips recently announced have >200 million transistors and the cheapest ones are likely to cost about as much each as the launch price of the Xbox360 console, imagine the cost of a chip with three of those cores on it.

      The Xbox360 CPU will probably be very fast performing well-defined number cruching tasks with little branching and logic (e.g. physics processing), but bad at game logic (e.g. AI), compared to current general purpose PPC or AMD64 hardware.

      I expect the Xbox360 will look very nice as a gaming platform to begin with, but will be quickly outstripped by next generation gaming PCs with dual/multi core CPUs (the same game engines that take advantage of the multi core Xbox360 chip will take advantage of these) and dedicated physics processing units. Which, given the extra cost of the PC platform, is exactly as it should be. :)
      • It's a nice thought (Score:5, Interesting)

        by goldcd ( 587052 ) * on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:45AM (#12519056) Homepage
        The problem with the PC platform is that software is designed to run on 'most' PCs out there. If you've got some bleeding edge number cruncher, then you can probably stick up the resolution, have nicer textures and all manner of extra little bits of gilding - but the basic game running underneath it is still constrained by the weakest PC in their target market.
        The 'nice' thing about consoles (and there are many nice things) is that code can be optimized for the hardware (compare a game running on an Xbox with the PC version running on a machine of the same spec) and that everybody has the same base. For example the Xbox360 appears to be able to support a massive chunk of simple raw processing - you can have a game that has complex physics as an integral part - you know it'll run on all machines. If you tried it on low spec PC it just wouldn't run (and I suspect a high-spec PC isn't going to be showing up the 360 any time soon).
        • by WNight ( 23683 )
          That was true, but now the time to optimize a big game enough to matter through all the machine-specific tricks often isn't available. There are a lot of tricks that depend on having fixed specs - only have one resolution of textures, etc, but the specific register, tweaking code order optimizations just can't be done in a practical time and they are what used to make consoles so amazing. If it can't be done in the API, game developers aren't going to do it. In the days of the NES it was more practical - mu
        • Actually you run into the lowest common denominator problem on consoles too. Most games are released for all the systems, yet since PS2 is so much slower than the Xbox and GC...they don't look that much better on them. You might get larger textures and anti-aliasing but not much more than that. The same thing will happen for this next generation too unless it's an exclusive title.
      • Re:PowerPC CPU? (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think that your prediction about the system being quikcly outstipped by new PC games might be inaccurate. Remember that the great advantage of a console is that it gives developers a single, stable target. They can write engines that utilize its full potential. Even so, it will take some time before anybody puts together AI and physics systems complex enough to really tax this thing.

        PC games on the other hand, have to target a wider audience. It will probably be some time before PC games are designed

      • The Xbox360 CPU will probably be very fast performing well-defined number cruching tasks with little branching and logic (e.g. physics processing), but bad at game logic (e.g. AI), compared to current general purpose PPC or AMD64 hardware.

        Ah, that explains why the XBox 360 will be shipping with Excel Spreadsheet: The Game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:49AM (#12518559)
    The following is being offered free of charge to all those who feel the need to troll the Slashdot Games section. Please print out a copy and keep it with you at all times. If you follow these simple steps, you trolling is guaranteed to improve.

    1. If a game is currently on PS2 and there are plans to bring it out on the Xbox, make sure to claim that no one will want to play that game by the time it gets to the Xbox. For example, by the time Virtua Fighter 4/GTA3 comes to the Xbox, we'll all be playing something new.
    2. Use the reverse logic if it is a game only on the Xbox that may be ported to other systems/PC later. Case in point, Halo. Say something to the effect of "I'll wait for the true version of Halo on the PC". "It will be much better than the Xbox version".
    3. Constantly complain about FPS on consoles ACCEPT for Goldeneye.
    4. Always use Bill Gates name. Act as if he is the one making the games.
    By all means, if you run out of clever or interesting things to troll about, just bring up Mr Gates. Lots of people hate him and will be glad to agree with you.
    5. Complain about the XBox controller. Even if you have never seen or used it, it won't matter. People will believe you when you say it's big. Be sure and try to provide a testimonial about your wife or girlfriend or kid who complains about the size of it. Also claiming to be injured by the controller can be the foundation of a great troll post.
    6. When referring to the Xbox, try to scew the name a bit. Xblox, eggs bocks, the stupider the name, the more favorable of a response you will get.
    7. Be sure and mention Japanese and European sales numbers. If you aren't sure what those sales numbers are, go ahead and make something up. Estimate low, most people will believe you.
    8. Although Xbox owners seem to enjoy there games, make sure to comment on Xbox not having any games with good gameplay. Although the Xbox does share some ports with PS2 and Gamecube, it's okay to assume that the Xbox version of those ports has poor gameplay as well.
    9. Since the Xbox has nice graphics, be sure and find a way to put a negative spin on this. Using the age old formula that states if a game has nice graphics, it must have terrible gameplay, you can convince people that Xbox games are all tech demos.
    10. Defective Xbox stories are excellent to use in trolling. The best part is that they require no proof. I find that "the screen just froze up" works great. Occasionally you can use something really bizarre like "My friend bought an Xbox and it caught on fire and burned down there house. Now they are homeless. F*** Bill Gates."
    11. When all else fails, lie. There are lots of people who will agree with you just because they hate MS
    • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:57AM (#12518615) Journal
      People will believe you when you say it's big. Be sure and try to provide a testimonial about your wife or girlfriend or kid who complains about the size of it.

      That's just sick dude, leave the kids out of it ;-).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I bought an Xblox the other day, and I wish I hadn't. I guess the poor sales number should have warned me (since they only sold 3000 EggsBlockses in Europe, and 12 in Japan). I don't know what Bill Gates was thinking when he designed the controller, but it really hurts my hands. It's way too big!

      I was playing a game with it once, and it started vibrating, jumped right out of my hands, and severely wounded a small child. Also, it's strained my fingers so much, I'm starting to have problems 'viewing' my Nata
    • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:28AM (#12518883) Journal
      Also, you have to to end with "Anyway, I only bought one because Bill Gates loses money on each one they sell."
    • by bhsx ( 458600 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:51AM (#12520401)
      1. Noone will want to play Madden 2002 by the time it gets to Xbox.
      2. I'll wait for the GNU/Linux version of Tony Hawk American Wasteland, thank you very much!
      3. I have yet to see decent FPS in consoles lately, I mean I used to get ~22 FPS in Goldeneye.
      4. Besides, Bill Gates writes shitty games.
      5. The Xbox controller ate my baby!
      6. Also, couldn't they have come-up with something more original than Xbochs? I mean, haven't we all (besides slow-ass Debian) switched to Xorg-bochs now anyway?
      7. The Japanese are nuts about consoles, but you know what? Xbox 360 has sold ZERO, that's right, ZERO units there (I'm not making this stuff up!)
      8. The Xbox port of GTA ate my baby!
      9. Um, Xbox games are all tech demos, very little actual gameplay involved my friend.
      10. My mom washed my Xbox, and it BLEW UP!
      11. I have an Xbox 360 and it sucks. I use it now for weighing down my paninis.
      And may I add, WTF? You know these listed posts are supposed to start with 0, right? HAND
  • 30 minutes? (Score:4, Funny)

    by RasendeRutje ( 829555 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:49AM (#12518560)
    Jeez, a 30 minutes show, and no information at all, (except its uglyness and stupid name...)
    ... oh wait... its MTV what else could you expect?
    • by mattmentecky ( 799199 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:51AM (#12518570)
      Jeez, a 30 minutes show, and no information at all, (except its uglyness and stupid name...)

      Hey don't talk about the Ashlee Simpson show like that, she has feelings too ya know! ;)
      • by CFTM ( 513264 )
        And if I can hurt those feelings, I think I've had a pretty good day. As far as I'm concerned the Simpson family is waisting my precious oxygen, as is the hilton family, the ritche family, the reid family (I had the misfortune of going to college with Tara's younger sister...imagine Tara fat and ugly) and I could continue this list on ad naseum but I shall refrain from trolling anymore than I already have this morning...sorta like crack got get me some to start the day!
    • An informercial made to look like MTV. Note that there were no disclaimers stating this was advertising. It was not microsoft present xbox, it was MTV presents xbox.
    • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:20AM (#12518820)
      MTV -- "Music Television"

      its MTV what else could you expect?

      Certainly not music.
  • Maybe the US version is more elaborate but the Dutch site sports some pictures of the XBox 360 amd its controller plus an invitation to become a member of the XBox 360 community.

    Once every now and then the Slashdot writeup is actually more informative than TFA. This is one of those times.
  • Backward compat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bunburyist ( 664958 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:50AM (#12518564)
    No where is it written that the next XBox will play current XBox games.

    According to the title the Xbox 360 will play current XBox games. No where does the article provide any supporting evidence to this claim, and in fact largely runs counter to it. Nvidia says all but no, an unknown independent analyst agrees, ATI says that it is statistically possible, and some other unknown agrees with them. Microsoft says... Nothing. According to other sources [designtechnica.com] Microsoft is "not guaranteeing" backwards compatibility, and if they decide not to include a hard drive such compatibility may not be possible at all.

    nVidia may very well be playing to the press, but that doesn't mean such a thing wouldn't be difficult or expensive. Most systems achieve backwards compatibility by finding uses for the extra hardware. Software emulation for compatibility has never been attempted professionally in the console arena, but amature software emulation tends to lag two systems behind. You can push an XBox to do a meaningful SNES, but Dreamcast emulation is right out. With the right software the SNES could emulate the 2600, but not the NES.

    Personally, I don't see why they don't just include a detachable Xbox chipset as a free add-on with an overpriced "premium" system with two controllers, and sell a regular setup with one controller for 100 dollars less.

    But, as I mentioned before, no such thing has been announced yet.
  • by AIX-Hood ( 682681 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:51AM (#12518569)
    Here's a torrent link for the OurColony video: XBOX360Vid.wmv.torrent [filerush.com]
  • Sweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by republican gourd ( 879711 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:53AM (#12518588)
    Nothing like 6 months to a year of lead-time to make yourself the next Dreamcast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:53AM (#12518589)
    The specs look amazing but I have to ask:

    Why is Microsoft making it difficult to write games that run on both PC (Windows XP) and XBox 360?

    One of the primary reasons I use Windows is for games. If game developers stop writing for Windows because they move to XBox 360, then it'll make it even easier for me to go all FreeBSD or Linux or Mac OSX.

    Wouldn't it have been easier for XBox 360 to have a Windows XP or Windows Mobile 2005 foundation with just a custom explorer interface to make it look less-PC?
    • the reason why consoles can have PC-like performance with vastly inferior hardware is because they *don't* have an OS.

      put an OS designed for a PC on there and not only do you lose performance to it but you also rule out any hardware optimisations based on not needing an OS.

      it's a bit like emulation - no matter how good your specs are you'll always have far worse performance than the same software running on the correct hardware.
    • by clontzman ( 325677 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:26AM (#12520119) Homepage
      Why is Microsoft making it difficult to write games that run on both PC (Windows XP) and XBox 360?

      Read up on XNA [microsoft.com] -- they have a new architecture they're pushing that'll do just that.
  • Looks Well (Score:4, Funny)

    by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:55AM (#12518602) Journal
    Sleek, curvaceous, white exterior with no messy wires?

    They should have called it "iBox".
  • What's with the XBOX black becoming iPod white? Aren't there enough other choices?
    • ssshhhhhh... this is INNOVATION !

      for MS the biggest problem from the iPod must be that now everyone can see how much they rip off Apple. this isn't like the old days when you'd look at the file properties of a MS FUD PDF and see it was written on a Mac. this is staring you in the face 24/7.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:56AM (#12518607)
    It had better, or it's going to have serious problems convincing people to use it.

    Aside from that, if the BBC site is correct, it seems that device is not a digital media hub at all. It seems rather stupid (to say the least) that they didn't think to make the thing a PVR. The last generation of boxes had the excuse, but a PVR / media station is almost an expectation of something which expects to occupy a permenant space by the TV.

    Still, it'll be interesting to see what Sony produce. If they have sense, they will make it a PVR, and a media jukebox, and a kickass console with backwards compatibility. If it can do all those things when the XBox can't then I don't see they have much to worry about. Better yet if they make it hackable - not so hackable that people can easily pirate games but just enough that people can play around with the box and produce cool things for it.

    • by jason_hutchens ( 239116 ) <JasoHutchens@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:31AM (#12518907) Homepage
      Backwards compatibility just ain't worth the trouble. I mean, seriously, what percentage of people playes PS1 games on their PS2? If you upgrade from your existing console, why not keep your old console around? And if you're new to the console, why would you buy old games? Playing PS1 games on a PS2 is a gimmick. Nothing more.

      And the reason the 360 doesn't function as a PVR is that there's no way to make money from it. Sure, you sell another 360, but you're probably losing money on that in the first place. Instead, Gates will announce a video-on-demand service at E3, you mark my words. Steal Jobs' thunder AND one-up Sony in one fell move.

      Microsoft need one more big announcement to trump Sony at E3. They can't have revealed their hand yet. Likewise, Sony need to out-do Microsoft. And what do they have? Seriously, it feels that Microsoft might win this one.

      Of course, Apple and Sony could band together. Jobs could announce video-on-demand for the iTMS (which is widely predicted) and Sony could announce that PS3 will be able to access the iTMS. Furthermore, Apple could license iPod production to Sony, so they can get out of that market as it plateaus to focus on turning iTMS into their primary revenue stream.

      Idle speculation, nothing more.
      • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:57AM (#12519196)
        Ask Sony if backwards compatibility is worth the trouble. It's not important how many people play PS1 games now but how many played them around launch time when there is a dearth of titles for the new box but plenty for the old one. It's about continuity - reassuring Mum & Dad that the new console doesn't render Johnny's old games obsolete.

        It's interesting that you mention iTMS. Imagine that Apple produced iPod2 which dumped AAC for something else which is supposedly superior. Would that be a dumb thing or a smart thing to do considering how much people had invested already in AAC?

        As for the PVR, yes there is a way to make money from it. A shitload of money. You sell listings. You bundle them with your XBox Live Platinum subscriptions and make even more money. You sell video & music on demand. You bundle everything into an MSN sub and make even more money.

      • what percentage of people playes PS1 games on their PS2? If you upgrade from your existing console, why not keep your old console around?

        Consoles break, and the makers eventually stop production. Once your PS1 bites the big one, you still have a PS2 to play your existing library of PS1 games (except possibly for Tomba! and about a dozen others that Sony couldn't get 100 percent working). Or where can I buy a new Super NES?

        And if you're new to the console, why would you buy old games?

        Unlike the Fin

  • so if someone writes an xbox 360 emulator for the PC and i'm running it though Virtual PC on Mac how much slower can i expect it to be?
  • by distantbody ( 852269 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:57AM (#12518619) Journal
    The designers were very motivated, but they lacked the tallent and high standards to make something truly visually exceptional. The design concept: "inhaling", this sounds like a high school design project. I cant knock them on the hardware front, but its just very visually uninspired (perhaps to motivate clip-on-cover sales?). The consoles exterior belies its future sigificance, which is a bit disappointing. Have a squiz at Inhabitat [inhabitat.com] for a look at the future of design.

    On a different note, congratulations to the xbox 360 marketing team, who pulled out all the stops: constant "leaks" heading up to the launch, the first next-gen console shown off, launched on TV, by a pop show, and by celeberities! Not to mention the whole colony buisness. Full marks Microsoft marketing team.

    • WTF are you babbling about. Are you seriously trying to suggest that an object with clean, uncluttered lines and silver/white colour would not fit in with the clean uncluttered lines and very light colours in the link you posted?
  • by Kanon ( 152815 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:58AM (#12518629)
    http://www.llamasoft.co.uk/neon-screenshots.php [llamasoft.co.uk]

    Jeff Minter code in millions of households soon :)
  • The XBOX special provided almost no new information about the XBOX. They still haven't announced a release date, they still haven't confirmed or denied backwards compatability, and there's still no mention of the price. Why couldn't they give us information instead of a stupid Gen-X hype machine?
  • by skyshock21 ( 764958 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:58AM (#12518633)
    - IMB PowerPC based CPU with three cores at 3.2 Ghz apiece (...dang!)
    - 500Mhz ATI graphics processor with 10MB DRAM
    - Detachable, upgradeable 20GB hard drives
    - Three USB 2.0 ports
    - Built-in Ethernet port
    - Built-in 802.11a, b, and g Wi-Fi
    - All games support16:9 widescreen, 720p and 1080i resolution (and standard definition output)
    - 48Khz 16-bit audio, 32-bit processing and over 256 audio channels
    • All for $300?

      Take a look at this (no, I'm not an Apple fanboy):

      http://www.apple.com/powermac/ [apple.com]

      It costs an arm and a leg, and requires some seriously powerful cooling. Now compare to the XBox 360. How the hell are they going to get that lot into a case that small, and cool it properly?
    • by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:20AM (#12518821)
      How do you think its "now much in graphics"?

      The 10MB is EDRAM, (just call it cache:) ), and the gpu also has the 20GB/s access to the 512MB main memory.
      Plus it has 48 Shader pipelines (although not comparable with cureent GPU numbers because this are unified shaders), so it should be al least GF6800 level.
    • Well, I guess the good news is... we can expect dual 3Ghz Powermac from Apple this summer!
    • Not much of a GPU? it has 10MB of EDRAM, and it has 256GB/sec of bandwidth in to it! That's ALOT of bandwidth. No, it's fucking HUGE amount of bandwidth! And in addition, it has the regural GDDR3 at it's disposal as well.

      And it has 48 pipelines running at 500Mhz. Current top of the line PC-GPU's have 16 pipelines running at around 500Mhz. So I think it's pretty safe to say that the GPU on this this is a real monster!
    • $500? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eromsnidm'> on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:30AM (#12519537) Homepage Journal

      How in the hell is this box supposed to sell for less than $500, even after Microsoft's subsidy? I mean, holy crap. I think either of these things is going on:
      • Those aren't your father's IBM 970s. How much they bear in relation to the 64bit PPCs shipping in Macs I think remains to be seen.
      • Microsoft is going to untold lengths to subsidize these boxes, in the expectation that they'll make it up with Live subscriptions and game licensing. Like cellphone providers.
      • Microsoft could have seriously missed the market. I'm sure they've done extensive market research; they're known for that. Even so, I have hard time believing that anyone is going to pay >$500 for a console. Maybe they know that the the Sony PS3 is going to be $500 too, so they feel safe in developing this kinda thing? Anyways, if it it's more than $150 more than the PS3, I think we can kiss it goodbye, no matter how much it rules.
      If this ships with three real CPUs that are mostly similar to the ones that Apple uses, for less than $500, lots of Apple fanbois, myself included, are going to wonder wtf is up with that, and why Apple can't do the same. I think there is still a lot that remains to be seen.
  • Good start (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel@joh[ ]mmel.net ['nhu' in gap]> on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:59AM (#12518636) Homepage
    So far, the specs look pretty good. MS is probably allowing it to be a DVD player out of the box without the annoying "remote control must be there". Surprisingly, it still looks pretty modible - you know that people will be dying to make it into a Linux box first chance they get (and with a removable hard drive, even easier to switch between systems and use those USB peripherals), so we'll have to see what anti-mod abilities it includes.

    The #1 question still is: backwards compatibility. At these specs, there's no reason why a hardware emulator couldn't emulate an older Xbox. And with the Xbox 1 only 4 years old, I believe that backwards compatibility will be a big deal - if not a bigger deal than the other systems. It's the price between $300 - $400 with some games on launch day (of which, if history is a judge from the PS2, Xbox 1, and Gamecube launch, one of those games is worth having, and 6 months afterwards the other "killer apps" show up), or having a good library including the all important Halo 1 and 2.

    Enough to make me buy on launch day? No (but then again, with the current 3 consoles I own plus the GBA and PSP, I have too many games anyway), but we'll have to see how it does the next time out. They've fixed a lot of my previous annoyances with the Xbox 1 (the USB system should let me plug in a keyboard to enter in my own music track information - a pain and a half with the Xbox 1 using a controller, and the free basic Live will bring in people who, like myself, are too damn cheap to pay the $60 or so a year to get onto Live, especially considering how little I play online these days. Three kids, wife, blah, blah, blah.)

    But it's a good showing. I'll be curious to see how the PS3 and Nintendo Revolution respond. (Psst: Nintendo, DVD movies play out of the box. It's reason #1 why you're tied in second place worldwide with the Xbox.)
    • Re:Good start (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:17AM (#12518799)
      At these specs, there's no reason why a hardware emulator couldn't emulate an older Xbox.

      The problem is with nVidia, and it's not technical but legal. This is an older article [gamesindustry.biz] describing some of the problems. While some of the hardware challenges have been overcome, the nVidia problem remains.

      It was widely believed, however, that Microsoft had retained a team of hardware emulation experts to work on the problem - although concerns over the viability of such an endeavour were voiced by some experts, especially regarding the company's ability to emulate the functions of the graphics unit in the Xbox without violating NVIDIA's intellectual property rights.

      IIRC nVidia has patents on some GPU algorithms in their chipsets that the Xbox used. ATI can't simply copy them without permission, and nVidia is unlikely to give them permission. So the problem is that the Xbox 360 GPU will not respond correctly to an Xbox 1 game. Technically Xbox 360 could emulate the functions before passing commands to the ATI GPU, but it's quite a technical challenge to do this.

  • boy did it suck! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:59AM (#12518644)
    Was I the only one who was completely underwhelmed by the 30 minute commercial with commercials? Every new generation of consoles prior to this has been a big leap forward from the previous one. There was hardly any in-game footage shown, but what I saw looked more evolutionary than revolutionary. What did Perfect Dark Zero have that you can't get on Halo 2 with the HD cables for the Xbox? "Fully destructable objects"? (did anyone else catch that? wtf?)

    I have a feeling that Microsoft has screwed up pretty bad with this not being backward compatible- unless they're going to have dual-sytem games, it's going to split their userbase and the developers will not know which unit to design for. People were still releasing games for the PS1 long after the PS2 came out, but they could get away with it because the PS2 was backward compatible.

    Here's hoping it's an abysmal flop.
    • by wvitXpert ( 769356 )
      As you get closer and closer to photo-realism the size of the leaps gets smaller. Think about the amount of time game developers would have to spend just to take full advantage of the graphics (forgetting about gameplay). It could take years to develop games that fully show off the graphics power of the next-gen consoles. All we saw on MTV were early renders of alpha games. I expect them to look a bit better on release, but still you can only get so realistic.
      • Taking Advantage (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tony ( 765 )
        Think about the amount of time game developers would have to spend just to take full advantage of the graphics (forgetting about gameplay).

        No kiddin'. It was years before PS1 games were taking full advantage of the hardware. Same with PS2 games; compare R&C Up Your Aresenal to Rayman or any of the other early PS2 games, or event the first R&C. Big, big difference. The good thing is, it keeps the console fresh.

        The XBox wasn't that big of deal because it was essentially a PC. The difference be
    • Re:boy did it suck! (Score:5, Informative)

      by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:21AM (#12518822)
      You know, I saw the Perfect Dark pics and was rather underimpressed as well. But, if you looked closely, you could tell it was unfinished. Most of the surfaces had no textures on them. They only had a simple, flat, single color applied to all the surfaces. So, that's why it looked like a hybrid PS1/PS2 quality game. If you look at the ghost recon pics though, they are rather impressive. Personally, I'm waiting for the PS3 because I enjoy Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy, and Metal Gear Solid (which usually comes out first on Sony)
    • Underwhelmed is a perfect description of my feelings towards the XBox 360. I watched the videos and looked at the screenshots and was filled with an overwhelming sense of "Meh" and a shrugging of the shoulders.

      Previous generations of consoles almost always wowed me from the first moment, this just makes me want to go take a nap.

  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:59AM (#12518648) Journal
    Well, it seems it the Xbox 360 is the Family All In One multimedia station MS promised it will be...

    Unfrotunately, if every game is Live aware, I am affraid developers will tend to concentrate in the Live gameplay while leaving us the poor unfortunate guys that do not have high speed internet or WiFi (does it comes with an ethernet adaptor?) with 1/3 of the "experience"...

    I certainly will wait until Nintendo and Playstation release their consoles to make a choice... (as I do not have the money to buy the 3 of them... or even 2)
    • Not to mention those of us who do have high speed internet connections but prefer to just casually play offline single player games at our leisure.

      The last online game I played was Q3A. I haven't had the time, motivation or desire to ever allow myself to get that hooked with online competition again.
    • Unfrotunately, if every game is Live aware, I am affraid developers will tend to concentrate in the Live gameplay while leaving us the poor unfortunate guys that do not have high speed internet or WiFi (does it comes with an ethernet adaptor?) with 1/3 of the "experience"...

      I haven't seen any info on it, but I'm hoping/guessing the internet hookup will be wireless. This is what stopped me from getting the whole Live thing. Dragging ethernet cables through my living room is not something I'd want to do.

  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:00AM (#12518652) Homepage

    Well lets face it IBM. If XBox 360 wins (anyone noticed that you do 360 to end up back in the same place?) then its IBM processors at the core. If its PS3, then its... IBM processors at the core.

    All those box numbers, all that volume, all those cheap servers.

    XBox or PS3, doesn't matter as Intel lose.

    (But please let it be PS3 that wins as its actually innovative rather than a re-hash of off the shelf stuff and (as ever with MS) no R&D).
    • In what way is the PS3 inovative? I haven't heard anything but cell processor this, cell processor that... let me guess, it can finally render toy-story quality graphics right?
    • ...not Intel (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tgibbs ( 83782 )
      It is interesting, isn't it, that nobody is now using Intel who is not locked into it by a commitment to legacy code? All 3 new game machines are using PowerPC processors.

      And I wouldn't be surprised if the OS of XBox360 is based on Windows. Perhaps Microsoft will follow Apple's example with the 68K to PowerPC transition and release a PowerPC based Windows PC that runs old applications in emulation.

      After all, they already own VirtualPC...
  • Details (Score:4, Informative)

    by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:01AM (#12518665) Journal
    From the BBC [bbc.co.uk]:

    - CPU with three IBM PowerPC 3.2Ghz cores
    - ATI 500MHz graphics processor
    - 48 billion shader operations per second
    - 512Mb GDDR3 RAM of memory
    - Removable and upgradeable 20Gb hard drive
    - Three USB ports
    - Windows Media Extender built-in
    - Support for DVD-video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R, CD-DA, CD-R, WMA CD, MP3 CD, Jpeg photo CD

  • A nice commercial DVD about the Xbox from MS (btw he's the webmaster of an Xbox site here in Belgium) and just to make sure that he can play the DVD... MS kindly provided a Samung portable DVD player... and after that we'll all wonder why the Xbox gets good reviews...
  • MTV Special (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:02AM (#12518687) Homepage Journal
    Whoa! I actually felt the 30 Minutes of my life pull from my body after watching that. I don't know which is worse, That Show, The VGA's or G4.

    The 360 definetly looks a little better when there's people standing next to it so you can get a idea what the size of it is. I'm also intreged by the Phantom sounding Marketplace that they talked little about. That's about all you got out of the "Pimp My Crap band and gamers you never heard of with Frodo Baggins and oh. Here's the Xbox 360 show"

    Perfect Dark Zero better be in an alpha state, because I've seen Better Graphics in Quake II. And the frame rate it appeared to be getting in the "competition" was worse than what the N64 Perfect Dark used to get. It had to be somewhere around 2-5FPS (which is probably why they kept the camera's off the screens as much as possible). The other previews for games looked promising. Specificially the Project Gotham and the game that kinda had beefed up Doom III Graphics (missed the name).

    The Ourcolony.net preview in five minutes gave more infomation about the XBox 360 then the entire 30 minutes on MTV. Frankly the power that is in this thing, especially considering it's size, is staggering. 1TFLOPS of processing power (if that number is true) is nothing to sneeze at. Especially when you start imagining a Beowulf Cluster of these and just 100 of them have a good chance of getting you ranked in the top500 list.
    • Yeah, the Perfect Dark surfaces were all untextured. The poly counts were there, but none of the surfaces had any detail or mapping applied. So I also hope it is a early, early, build. I would imagine the guys at Rare will be texturing like crazy over the next few months. I'm waiting for the PS3. The "Cell" sounds sweet, and I bet the PS3 will be really sexy looking.
  • by tantalus ( 466821 ) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:03AM (#12518689) Homepage
    The official detailed info and specs for the xbox 360 can be found at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox360/factsheet.htm/ [xbox.com] and http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox360/peripheralsfacts heet.htm/ [xbox.com]
  • Why 360? (Score:2, Funny)

    I associate the number 360 with some clunky old IBM mainframes. The CPU is from IBM, but that is hardly the intended association.

    It could be 360 degree vision. Does the console have souround video :)
  • by hyphz ( 179185 ) * on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:06AM (#12518720)
    The music visualiser in the Xbox 360 is being done by Jeff Minter, as a massively enhanced version of the engine that was going to drive Unity. ;)

  • Actually, I think this console looks quite good, and I'm pretty sure that it will sell very well, as it has the specs to offer some fantastic performance.

    What I do wonder though, with Microsoft's switch to PPC in the console and pushing the XBox Live system, is whether Microsoft is planning to sometime start offering online versions of its Office, Browser and IM suites. I know that Microsoft was trying to offer online versions of Office to Internet Cafes back in 2000 but dropped the plans when nobody was i
  • Wow -- it's not much more than an ugly "beige box".

    This design does not exude coolness. I would've thought it'd have a much cooler appearance -- this physical box alone will not be enough to entice buyers. Better be a good gaming platform.


  • The first movie I downloaded (Tomb Raider) look pretty much last-generation, as did some of the screenshots I saw, so initially I was quite unimpressed by the graphics, luckily enough, NFS seems to make a better impression. Just wondering why these other games look so crappy as NFS proves the XBox 360 is obviously capable of a lot more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:10AM (#12519321)
    With the Xbox 360, Microsoft is announcing that it's not just about games anymore.

    Boy! That's just what us gamers wanted to hear! A new gaming console, but it's not just for games! wiippeee! Yahooo! Yehawww!


Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!