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Console Makers Scaling Back Their Push For HD 221

The big news about game consoles of late are the recent price drops and hardware changes. However, an editorial at GamesIndustry looks into one of the side effects of those updates: decisions by both Microsoft and Sony not to include HDMI cables with their HD-capable consoles, despite the companies' long-standing interest in high-definition gaming. "From the perspectives of these companies, they want to include the cable which will be of most utility to the largest group of consumers possible, and it's clear that whatever research they have done suggests that the majority of consumers don't need — or rather, can't use — an HDMI cable. Neither firm wants to put an assortment of cables in the box 'just in case' — each additional cable erodes millions from the firm's profitability, after all. ... Supporting evidence that all is not well with the HD transition comes from Epic Games' Mark Rein, who told Eurogamer earlier this summer that 'over half the users who played Gears of War 2 so far do not have HDTVs.' Gears of War is a core gamer franchise, beloved of early adopters and the [so-called] hardcore. If less than half of those users are playing on HDTVs, what must the percentages be like for games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer — let alone Singstar and Buzz, or popular movie tie-in titles?"
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Console Makers Scaling Back Their Push For HD

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  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:52AM (#29329669)

    We PC gamers have been asking that ever since we hit 1600x1200 and higher around 1999-2000, and you guys STILL have 200 less lines than us on your "full HD" resolution.

  • Yep, that's how it's worked for years. the family set is the nice one in the living room but the gaming machine, whether it be an Atari 2600 30 years ago or a PS3/Xbox360 today is hooked up to a second set that isn't as good. Some old cheapo 13" black and white in the old days or some cheapo 13 inch CRT set with RF inputs or composite (with mono sound) now.

    Until relatively recently, you couldn't buy quality TV's for bedroom/playroom gaming, small sets were designed on the cheap so you had to do without niceties as stereo sound or s-video, let alone component inputs in the PS2 days (pretty much restricted to 25" sets and larger) Course nowadays you can buy relatively inexpensive 15-19" 1080i/720p sets with HDMI and component inputs that are basically monitors with a tuner.

  • Uhm, NO! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:26AM (#29329813) Homepage

    Including cables is always a problematic waste. I happen to agree with the summary in that not everyone will use HDMI. But then again, not everyone will use component either. I think it is quite reasonable to not include any cables at all though they should provide the header devices that will allow people to connect ordinary, store-available cables. (So the component video cable should basically provide the female RCA connectors)

    Almost no printer maker provides the cables unless they are USB. And even in those cases, the USB cables are typically wasted because they are usually too short. Many many moons ago, I once spent some time at CompUSA fielding that precise question "Why don't printer makers provide cables?" My simple answer was "Waste! It would be a waste to provide a cable that is too long or too short and the manufacturer has no way of knowing how a customer will set their device up."

    I have seen the more expected installations of xboxes and ps3s where the unit is only inches away from the display unit, but there are also people who want to have the game unit great distances from the display. My brother, for instance, has an overhead projector unit and a drop-down screen with his AV gear in a 19" server rack. Should they waste a cable on him?

    Over-all, I think it is better that they slap a big label on the box "Cables not included" and provide a short list of suggestions on how to make things work or something. This is really not much difference from "Batteries not included." I know, quite a few things still come with batteries... especially remote controls. But toys and other gear rarely do.

    There is no question that providing the cables is a convenient thing. I bought the "Arcade" version of the 360 that came with HDMI output but without a cable... it didn't puzzle me a bit -- I just went to a local discount store and picked one up for cheap... like $8 or something like that. Works fine. I was quite excited that it even came with HDMI out since my first 360 didn't. I just don't think that "cables not included" is a bad thing if they do it right. Retailers just need to know that they should stock an assortment of cables close to their boxes and their sales staff trained to sell the right cables.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Barny ( 103770 ) <> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:35AM (#29329853) Journal

    Yup, I been playing games at 1920x1200 for about 3 years now, with AA and with AF at 60+ fps.

    Its not that much to have a PC that can do it, and it looks a whole lot better than anything a console spits out :)

  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:39AM (#29329871)

    My 25" widescreen computer monitor is my TV. My tuner card is an freebie my ex-roomie gave me so no HD. No big loss as far as I can tell. It's very rare that I'm watching something that I feel I would enjoy more if it had more pixels.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:46AM (#29329895)

    This has nothing to do with "scaling back" high-def or not, its all about giving the retailers a freebie and saving a buck at the same time.

    Retailers like Best Buy make huge bank on HDMI cables. They are always pushing $100+ Monster-brand cables on unsuspecting customers who buy DVD and BD players. But even if they can't sell a monster cable for a 5000% markup, they can still usually sell a "premium store brand" cable for 1000% mark-up. By leaving the cable out of the box, the console vendors are just bending their customers over so they are lubed, ready and eager to pay for an over-priced cable. Kind of a "you scratch my back, I'll open the guy's wallet for you" between the console maker and the retailer.

    Do yourself and your friends a favor - buy 10 $3 HDMI cables from the next time you need just one cable. Then, whenever you hear about a friend or coworker buying anything HDTV related, offer them one of your monoprice cables for $6 - you'll double your money and your friend will save $20.

  • I don't think so (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @06:48AM (#29330269)

    I think it is more about saving money, after all the cables aren't free and they are trying to get prices as low as they can on expensive hardware, and because people don't need or want a "one size fits all" cable. It is a waste of money and of resources to include a cable if people don't need it. What about the people who don't need HDMI, because their gear doesn't support it? There are a lot of TV and receivers without HDMI. What about people who need longer, or shorter, cables?

    To me it seems that electronics should come only with the cables needed to operate and for any proprietary connections. Coming with standard cables is silly, because they probalby aren't that useful.

    In the computer world, this seems to be the way of doing things. My NIC didn't come with a network cable, my soundcard came with a cable to hook up its external box, but didn't come with audio cables, my videocard didn't come with a DVI or VGA cable, and so on. It was left to me to purchase the cables in the length and of the type I required.

    I see the same thing with most high end AV equipment too. It usually comes with power (if applicable) and nothing else. My speakers, amp, and receiver all included either no cables (in the case of speakers) or just power. They figured, correctly, that setups vary and the user could buy what they need. Heck in the case of the receiver I'd hate to get one with all cables included. I don't really want 10 s-video cables just because it happens to have 10 s-video inputs.

    This is particularly true in this day and age of budget places like Monoprice. I could understand including cables back when they were harder to get, and maybe you didn't have any option other than a place that overcharged. Especially for things like the RF adapters that old consoles used. However now it is easy for anyone to get cheap cables of any kind they need. As such it makes sense to me that the equipment doesn't include a cable.

    So I'm guessing cost/waste is more their motivation than making retailers happy.

  • the real problem (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @08:21AM (#29330563)

    comes from Epic Games' Mark Rein, who told Eurogamer earlier this summer that 'over half the users who played Gears of War 2 so far do not have HDTVs

    The real problem is in how he got this information.

  • Re:I don't think so (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @09:06AM (#29330751)

    In the computer world, this seems to be the way of doing things. My NIC didn't come with a network cable, my soundcard came with a cable to hook up its external box, but didn't come with audio cables, my videocard didn't come with a DVI or VGA cable, and so on. It was left to me to purchase the cables in the length and of the type I required.

    On the other hand, I've bought LaCie and Western Digital external hard drives that come with an abundance of cables - a USB cable, a Firewire 400 cable, a Firewire 800 cable, a Firewire 800-to-400 cable and an eSATA cable. These cables would cost so much if bought separately at retail, that it's almost a good idea just to buy one of these drives if you happen to be short of cables, and get a bonus hard drive in the deal.

  • HD Era is a lie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Templaris ( 754690 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @10:37AM (#29331287)
    Most of the HD resolutions from the consoles are fake anyways, as this article points out. []

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