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GameSpy: Inside the New Xbox console.

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Anonymous
March 8, 2005 3:45:33 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

http://xbox.gamespy.com/xbox/microsoft-xbox/594331p1.ht...

We Got Next - Part One (Xbox)
GameSpy reveals details on the next Xbox console.
By Raymond M. Padilla | March 8, 2005

For several GameSpy editors, Game Developers Conference (GDC) is one of
the best and most enjoyable events held each year. One of the primary
reasons for GameSpy's GDC love is that the editors get to interact with
some of the best talents in the business. Recently, some of GameSpy's
friends in the development community shared a ton of details on
Microsoft's next console system. Keep in mind that all of this
information is based off of alpha development kits and current
projections for the final hardware. Everything is subject to change. In
the first part of our Xbox expose, I'll cover the console's hardware
components and software goals. Since the final name of the next Xbox
hasn't been revealed yet, I'll refer to the system by its codename,
Xenon.



The Guts of the Next Box


# CPU - Xenon's CPU has three 3.0 GHz PowerPC cores. Each core is
capable of two instructions per cycle and has an L1 cache with 32 KB
for data and 32 KB for instructions. The three cores share 1 MB of L2
cache. Alpha 2 developer kits currently have two cores instead of
three.

# GPU - Xenon's GPU is a generation beyond the ATI X800. Its clock
speed is 500 MHz and it supports Shader 3.0. Developers are currently
working with an alpha 2 GPU. Beta GPU units are expected by May and the
final GPU is slated for a summer release. The final GPU will be more
powerful than anything on the market today; in game terms, it would
handle a game like Half-Life 2 with ease.

# System Memory - Xenon will have 256 MB of system RAM. Keep in mind
that this number should not be equated to typical PC RAM. The Xbox has
64 MB of system RAM and is a very capable machine.

# Optical Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon will not use Blu-Ray
or HD-DVD. Games will come on dual-layer DVD-9 discs. While the media
is the same as that of the current Xbox, the usable space on each disc
is up to 7 GB. The drive is slated to run at 12X.

# Memory Units - Xenon will use 64 MB to 1,024 MB memory cards. 8 MB is
reserved for system use, leaving a 56 MB to 1,016 MB for user data.

# Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional.
2 GB of the drive will be used as game cache. The final drive size is
still being determined.

# Camera - Xenon will have a USB 2.0 camera. It's capable of 1.2
megapixel still shots and VGA video. Photos can be used in-game and for
gamer profiles. The camera can also be used for video chat. It's
unknown if the Xenon camera will allow for EyeToy-like gameplay.
Developers are currently using a simulated camera driver.

# Sound Chip - Xenon does not have an audio chip in the traditional
sense. Decompression is handled by hardware, while the rest of the
chores are handled by software. DirectSound3D has been dropped in favor
of X3DAudio. The former was deemed too inflexible.



Raymond's Reaction - The Xenon is an extremely impressive piece of
hardware. It will allow gamers to see things like complex lighting in
gameplay, amazing details through high-level shading (impeccable
clouds, fur, grass, cloth, water, marble, ground, etc.), incredible
textures, and new post effects (increased motion blur, heat distortion,
depth of field, light blooms, etc.).

While people have already been correctly speculating about the
removable hard drive and the standard DVD media, I was surprised at the
inclusion of the camera. I haven't heard a single rumbling about a
Xenon camera prior to GDC. The optional hard drive is a bit
understandable; the only gamers that care about it will buy it anyway,
while casual gamers won't care about the performance and convenience
gains a drive offers. The standard DVD isn't too surprising considering
that HD-DVD drives will be too expensive for inclusion in a console
system in 2005.


The Software

Microsoft is requiring developers to make all Xenon titles Live
enabled. One of the key reasons for this will be revealed in the second
part of this story.

Developers are being instructed to plan their games for
high-definition. The baseline is 720p at 1280x720 for gameplay and
video clips, 16:9 aspect ratio, 5.1 Surround Sound, and anti-aliasing.
These features are the current minimum requirement.

All Xenon games can be played using custom soundtracks. Owners can also
play their own music directly. Supported formats are MP3 and WMA. Files
can be encoded up to 320Kbps CBR or VBR stereo. The system is branded a
Music Player Service.

For gameplay movies, Xenon uses Xenon Motion Video (XMV). XMV is based
on Windows Media 9 and uses the mandatory codec for HD-DVD. The goal
for video is 720p running at 30 frames per second with 5.1 Surround
Sound.



Raymond's Reaction - Mandatory Live "awareness" isn't a big surprise.
Online is one area where Microsoft is trouncing the competition.
Microsoft's progression with online console gaming has progressed
wonderfully (see Halo 2) and the future plans are even more
interesting. (Again, see part two of this feature tomorrow for more
information.)

It's nice to see that Microsoft is being aggressive with HD
performance. Having all games run at 720p (potentially) makes for an
incredibly engrossing experience -- particularly owners of HDTV sets.
Users with standard televisions needn't worry; 16:9 content will be
letterboxed to fit within a 4:3 aspect ratio by default. Developers are
being instructed to make sure that any critical text will fit into and
look good in 4:3.
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 12:25:46 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

mistwalker <mistwalkerstudio@yahoo.com> wrote:
^^^^^^^^^^

Hey look! Cygnus got yet another alias.

Followups to agvx.

--

bzzz
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 2:01:42 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 mistwalker <mistwalkerstudio@yahoo.com> wrote:

> # Memory Units - Xenon will use 64 MB to 1,024 MB memory cards. 8 MB is
> reserved for system use, leaving a 56 MB to 1,016 MB for user data.

So...Xbox users will be stuck buying memory cards like Playstation users?
It'd be funny if PS3 came with a HD, or internal flash RAM system that
would allow users to store game saves on it.

> # Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional.
> 2 GB of the drive will be used as game cache. The final drive size is
> still being determined.

This still confuses me. So, if I have the HD, it'll be used for the game
cache (among other things) which means my performance will be better than
someone else who doesn't have the HD. I can see this becoming a problem
if Microsoft isn't *very* careful.

> # Camera - Xenon will have a USB 2.0 camera. It's capable of 1.2
> megapixel still shots and VGA video. Photos can be used in-game and for
> gamer profiles. The camera can also be used for video chat. It's
> unknown if the Xenon camera will allow for EyeToy-like gameplay.
> Developers are currently using a simulated camera driver.

Camera? So, Live games with Xenon will allow video as well as voice
chat? Ugh, that could get ugly. People already complain about
potty-mouthed kids. Now they'll have to *see* them too? ;) 

Still....a camera? Is Eye-Toy really that much of a threat to Xbox? Or
is this just yet another "me-too"ism from Microsoft?

> Xenon camera prior to GDC. The optional hard drive is a bit
> understandable; the only gamers that care about it will buy it anyway,
> while casual gamers won't care about the performance and convenience
> gains a drive offers. The standard DVD isn't too surprising considering
> that HD-DVD drives will be too expensive for inclusion in a console
> system in 2005.

The HD thing doesn't make sense to me. Since it can be used for caching
data, it will boost the performance of games - especially those that have
a lot of loadtime. Having it as an option means that different consoles
are going to handle the games differently. As for HD's being expensive, I
don't buy that reason either. Microsoft should be able to get 40 and 60GB
drives for less than $.50/GB. The HD doesn't need to be huge. Heck, only
2GB of it is being used by the system, leaving the "rest" for the user.
Microsoft could even change the supplier and size of the HD down the line
but only partition it to appear to be the same size as the original models
and no normal users would know or care about it. (sure, the hackers will
figure it out, but then again, they'll probably want to replace the HD,
not just repartition the existing one...)

I know Microsoft was complaining that the HD was the most expensive part
of the Xbox, but at the same time, it was one of the few features that
made it stand out against either the PS2 or GameCube. To not include it
as a standard feature would seem to doom it to the same fate that the
PS2's HD suffered - it came out late, with little to no support, and was
later dropped completely when the new PSTwo came out.

> All Xenon games can be played using custom soundtracks. Owners can also
> play their own music directly. Supported formats are MP3 and WMA. Files
> can be encoded up to 320Kbps CBR or VBR stereo. The system is branded a
> Music Player Service.

How will this work if there's no HD? Surely they don't expect folks to
rip CDs to the memory cards?


> Raymond's Reaction - Mandatory Live "awareness" isn't a big surprise.
> Online is one area where Microsoft is trouncing the competition.

Agreed.
Related resources
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 2:15:36 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

Doug Jacobs wrote:
> In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 mistwalker <mistwalkerstudio@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>
>># Memory Units - Xenon will use 64 MB to 1,024 MB memory cards. 8 MB is
>>reserved for system use, leaving a 56 MB to 1,016 MB for user data.
>
>
> So...Xbox users will be stuck buying memory cards like Playstation users?
> It'd be funny if PS3 came with a HD, or internal flash RAM system that
> would allow users to store game saves on it.
>
>
>># Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional.
>>2 GB of the drive will be used as game cache. The final drive size is
>>still being determined.
>
>
> This still confuses me. So, if I have the HD, it'll be used for the game
> cache (among other things) which means my performance will be better than
> someone else who doesn't have the HD. I can see this becoming a problem
> if Microsoft isn't *very* careful.
>
>
>># Camera - Xenon will have a USB 2.0 camera. It's capable of 1.2
>>megapixel still shots and VGA video. Photos can be used in-game and for
>>gamer profiles. The camera can also be used for video chat. It's
>>unknown if the Xenon camera will allow for EyeToy-like gameplay.
>>Developers are currently using a simulated camera driver.
>
>
> Camera? So, Live games with Xenon will allow video as well as voice
> chat? Ugh, that could get ugly. People already complain about
> potty-mouthed kids. Now they'll have to *see* them too? ;) 

I can think of even worse things that might happen with live video,
exposing themsleves to you would be worse than just seeing them ;) 


> Still....a camera? Is Eye-Toy really that much of a threat to Xbox? Or
> is this just yet another "me-too"ism from Microsoft?
>
>
>>Xenon camera prior to GDC. The optional hard drive is a bit
>>understandable; the only gamers that care about it will buy it anyway,
>>while casual gamers won't care about the performance and convenience
>>gains a drive offers. The standard DVD isn't too surprising considering
>>that HD-DVD drives will be too expensive for inclusion in a console
>>system in 2005.
>
>
> The HD thing doesn't make sense to me. Since it can be used for caching
> data, it will boost the performance of games - especially those that have
> a lot of loadtime. Having it as an option means that different consoles
> are going to handle the games differently. As for HD's being expensive, I
> don't buy that reason either. Microsoft should be able to get 40 and 60GB
> drives for less than $.50/GB. The HD doesn't need to be huge. Heck, only
> 2GB of it is being used by the system, leaving the "rest" for the user.
> Microsoft could even change the supplier and size of the HD down the line
> but only partition it to appear to be the same size as the original models
> and no normal users would know or care about it. (sure, the hackers will
> figure it out, but then again, they'll probably want to replace the HD,
> not just repartition the existing one...)
>
> I know Microsoft was complaining that the HD was the most expensive part
> of the Xbox, but at the same time, it was one of the few features that
> made it stand out against either the PS2 or GameCube. To not include it
> as a standard feature would seem to doom it to the same fate that the
> PS2's HD suffered - it came out late, with little to no support, and was
> later dropped completely when the new PSTwo came out.
>
>
>>All Xenon games can be played using custom soundtracks. Owners can also
>>play their own music directly. Supported formats are MP3 and WMA. Files
>>can be encoded up to 320Kbps CBR or VBR stereo. The system is branded a
>>Music Player Service.
>
>
> How will this work if there's no HD? Surely they don't expect folks to
> rip CDs to the memory cards?
>
>
>
>>Raymond's Reaction - Mandatory Live "awareness" isn't a big surprise.
>>Online is one area where Microsoft is trouncing the competition.
>
>
> Agreed.
>
>
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 3:44:51 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

Suddenly I love my first-gen Xbox a lot more and am not considering buying a
next-gen MS console. Sorry Microsoft, but you should build on what you've
already got!


"Doug Jacobs" <djacobs@shell.rawbw.com> wrote in message
news:112sbmmg3o70j66@corp.supernews.com...
> In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 mistwalker
> <mistwalkerstudio@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> # Memory Units - Xenon will use 64 MB to 1,024 MB memory cards. 8 MB is
>> reserved for system use, leaving a 56 MB to 1,016 MB for user data.
>
> So...Xbox users will be stuck buying memory cards like Playstation users?
> It'd be funny if PS3 came with a HD, or internal flash RAM system that
> would allow users to store game saves on it.
>
>> # Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional.
>> 2 GB of the drive will be used as game cache. The final drive size is
>> still being determined.
>
> This still confuses me. So, if I have the HD, it'll be used for the game
> cache (among other things) which means my performance will be better than
> someone else who doesn't have the HD. I can see this becoming a problem
> if Microsoft isn't *very* careful.
>
>> # Camera - Xenon will have a USB 2.0 camera. It's capable of 1.2
>> megapixel still shots and VGA video. Photos can be used in-game and for
>> gamer profiles. The camera can also be used for video chat. It's
>> unknown if the Xenon camera will allow for EyeToy-like gameplay.
>> Developers are currently using a simulated camera driver.
>
> Camera? So, Live games with Xenon will allow video as well as voice
> chat? Ugh, that could get ugly. People already complain about
> potty-mouthed kids. Now they'll have to *see* them too? ;) 
>
> Still....a camera? Is Eye-Toy really that much of a threat to Xbox? Or
> is this just yet another "me-too"ism from Microsoft?
>
>> Xenon camera prior to GDC. The optional hard drive is a bit
>> understandable; the only gamers that care about it will buy it anyway,
>> while casual gamers won't care about the performance and convenience
>> gains a drive offers. The standard DVD isn't too surprising considering
>> that HD-DVD drives will be too expensive for inclusion in a console
>> system in 2005.
>
> The HD thing doesn't make sense to me. Since it can be used for caching
> data, it will boost the performance of games - especially those that have
> a lot of loadtime. Having it as an option means that different consoles
> are going to handle the games differently. As for HD's being expensive, I
> don't buy that reason either. Microsoft should be able to get 40 and 60GB
> drives for less than $.50/GB. The HD doesn't need to be huge. Heck, only
> 2GB of it is being used by the system, leaving the "rest" for the user.
> Microsoft could even change the supplier and size of the HD down the line
> but only partition it to appear to be the same size as the original models
> and no normal users would know or care about it. (sure, the hackers will
> figure it out, but then again, they'll probably want to replace the HD,
> not just repartition the existing one...)
>
> I know Microsoft was complaining that the HD was the most expensive part
> of the Xbox, but at the same time, it was one of the few features that
> made it stand out against either the PS2 or GameCube. To not include it
> as a standard feature would seem to doom it to the same fate that the
> PS2's HD suffered - it came out late, with little to no support, and was
> later dropped completely when the new PSTwo came out.
>
>> All Xenon games can be played using custom soundtracks. Owners can also
>> play their own music directly. Supported formats are MP3 and WMA. Files
>> can be encoded up to 320Kbps CBR or VBR stereo. The system is branded a
>> Music Player Service.
>
> How will this work if there's no HD? Surely they don't expect folks to
> rip CDs to the memory cards?
>
>
>> Raymond's Reaction - Mandatory Live "awareness" isn't a big surprise.
>> Online is one area where Microsoft is trouncing the competition.
>
> Agreed.
>
>
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 4:08:45 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

"Philoushka" <philoushka@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:7GrXd.11044$i6.7994@edtnps90...
> Suddenly I love my first-gen Xbox a lot more and am not considering buying
> a next-gen MS console. Sorry Microsoft, but you should build on what
> you've already got!

Sometimes I wonder if Microsoft is even asking their faithful what they
think.
March 9, 2005 4:08:46 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

"-TGP-" <axxerdREMOVE@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:x0sXd.16512$oh4.606171@ursa-nb00s0.nbnet.nb.ca...
> "Philoushka" <philoushka@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:7GrXd.11044$i6.7994@edtnps90...
>> Suddenly I love my first-gen Xbox a lot more and am not considering
>> buying a next-gen MS console. Sorry Microsoft, but you should build on
>> what you've already got!
>
> Sometimes I wonder if Microsoft is even asking their faithful what they
> think.

I'm really confused about the HD issue. Why come out with two different
units? MS, AFAIK, is still losing money on the Xbox hardware, so I can't
imagine why they would have two next gen boxes out at the same time.
What sold me on the Xbox is the HD. I like not having to worry about game
save storage, and it also allows the Xbox to be used for other purposes. And
reading the OP where it states that games will run better on the HD model,
then why the hell would anyone want one that didn't have a one?
The specs sound pretty impressive. Sure would save me a bunch of money on
upgrading my current PC if the price isn't to high on the thing. Any news on
how much this thing might cost?
JLC
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 5:06:39 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 -TGP- <axxerdREMOVE@gmail.com> wrote:

> Sometimes I wonder if Microsoft is even asking their faithful what they
> think.

You've seen how Microsoft conducts business with its software division,
haven't you? They don't care what their "faithful" think, so long as they
continue to pony up those licesnse fees.

Otherwise you wouldn't be reading about how some kid in Russia wrote a 3
line program that brought some multi-billion dollar company to its knees
simply because they're running Windows.
March 9, 2005 5:06:40 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

"Doug Jacobs" <djacobs@shell.rawbw.com> wrote in message
news:112smhfftj50b8@corp.supernews.com...

>
> Otherwise you wouldn't be reading about how some kid in Russia wrote a 3
> line program that brought some multi-billion dollar company to its knees
> simply because they're running Windows.


Sounds interesting...where did you read that?
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 4:09:26 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In article <7GrXd.11044$i6.7994@edtnps90>, philoushka@hotmail.com
says...
> Suddenly I love my first-gen Xbox a lot more and am not considering buying a
> next-gen MS console. Sorry Microsoft, but you should build on what you've
> already got!
>
Luddite ;) 


G(ranny's) T(its): atavaX
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 7:08:08 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox (More info?)

Doug Jacobs:

> So...Xbox users will be stuck buying memory cards like Playstation
> users?

"Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional."

--
Mac Cool
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 7:08:09 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox (More info?)

Mac Cool wrote:
> Doug Jacobs:
>
>> So...Xbox users will be stuck buying memory cards like Playstation
>> users?
>
> "Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is
> optional."

If this is true, then that means no more ports of PC games like for
the Xbox. No KOTOR3, no Morrowind Sequel, etc. Games like those
basically needed a hard drive both for the cache and for the saves.
They would basically have to be rebuilt from scratch.
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 9:41:27 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 massivegrooves <massivegrooves@massivegrooves.net> wrote:

> > Camera? So, Live games with Xenon will allow video as well as voice
> > chat? Ugh, that could get ugly. People already complain about
> > potty-mouthed kids. Now they'll have to *see* them too? ;) 

> I can think of even worse things that might happen with live video,
> exposing themsleves to you would be worse than just seeing them ;) 

That thought went through my mind briefly, but I didn't want to dwell on
it for fear of what I'd come up with.

"Video game kiddie pr0n" was the least objectionable problem that came to
mind.
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 9:41:28 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

Doug Jacobs wrote:
> In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 massivegrooves <massivegrooves@massivegrooves.net> wrote:
>
>
>>>Camera? So, Live games with Xenon will allow video as well as voice
>>>chat? Ugh, that could get ugly. People already complain about
>>>potty-mouthed kids. Now they'll have to *see* them too? ;) 
>>
>
>>I can think of even worse things that might happen with live video,
>>exposing themsleves to you would be worse than just seeing them ;) 
>
>
> That thought went through my mind briefly, but I didn't want to dwell on
> it for fear of what I'd come up with.
>
> "Video game kiddie pr0n" was the least objectionable problem that came to
> mind.
>

I hear ya ;) 
Anonymous
March 11, 2005 10:42:21 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

mistwalker wrote:
>
> # Optical Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon will not use Blu-Ray
> or HD-DVD. Games will come on dual-layer DVD-9 discs. While the media
> is the same as that of the current Xbox, the usable space on each
disc
> is up to 7 GB. The drive is slated to run at 12X.

I guess this is the price of rushing the console to market. I see this
as a huge disadvantage that Sony will be able to exploit in their
marketting. "Why buy an xbox2 that only plays traditional DVD movies,
when six months from now you can buy a PlayStation3 that supports high
definition Blu-Ray?"

Also, I can't see this as anything but a huge victory for the studios
who have thrown their support behind Blu-Ray. They're going to have
millions of players installed in homes in no time at all. If the xbox2
had supported HD-DVD, that format would have had a comperable installed
base... but now they have basically nobody except the early adapters
who buy dedicated players.

--
Bill Cable - Steelers Fan & Star Wars Collector
http://CreatureCantina.com <----- funny!
cable@creaturecantina.com
March 11, 2005 11:28:35 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

mistwalker wrote:
> http://xbox.gamespy.com/xbox/microsoft-xbox/594331p1.ht...

I don't understand the emphasis on requiring that games meet a standard
that the Xbox 1 is capable of (DD 5.1, 16:9, HDTV)...

Here's what should be done with any next gen box...

1) DVI Output (this should be a no-brainer).

2) Progressive scan DVD playback.

3) Upconversion of DVD playback to HDTV resolutions.

4) HDTV television reception and conversion.

If they're serious about makng an all in one media conversion box then
they need to do the above. Anything less is a half-assed solution and I
think it's strange they aren't talking about it.

It's cool that they're going to require custom sound-tracks and it
should save developers money on music, but how can they pull that off
without a hard drive? What about all the music I already have ripped to
my original Xbox? Things that make you go hmmmm....

What they're saying is irrelevant compared to what they're NOT saying.

- Jordan
March 11, 2005 3:54:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In article <1110555741.071980.76240@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"Bill Cable" <billcable@gmail.com> wrote:

> I guess this is the price of rushing the console to market. I see this
> as a huge disadvantage that Sony will be able to exploit in their
> marketting. "Why buy an xbox2 that only plays traditional DVD movies,
> when six months from now you can buy a PlayStation3 that supports high
> definition Blu-Ray?"

There are rumors that the PS3 design is done and that the PS team is
showing the final design to Sony execs. this month.

But Xbox2 is still in flux? Part 3 of the Gamespy article surmises that
MS may up the memory to 512 MB RAM and put in backwards compatibility.

It would be very hard for any party to top others by seeing what they
have and changing their specs. because all 3 are unveiling at the same
time. This E3 may in fact be the first time more than one console was
introduced at the same time/event.

So if MS sees that the PS3 only has 256 MB RAM, they may come out later
during the week of E3 or sometime over the summer and bump up their RAM
to 512. Or they may do it before E3, if they get a strong indication
that PS3 is going to be at 256.

Some people would also argue that by using a more costly Blu-Ray drive,
Sony wasn't able to offer as much RAM or as much horsepower -- say only
one Cell instead of 2 or only 8 SPEs instead of 16.
Anonymous
March 11, 2005 10:44:11 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 Bill Cable <billcable@gmail.com> wrote:

> I guess this is the price of rushing the console to market. I see this
> as a huge disadvantage that Sony will be able to exploit in their
> marketting. "Why buy an xbox2 that only plays traditional DVD movies,
> when six months from now you can buy a PlayStation3 that supports high
> definition Blu-Ray?"

I don't know if this is necessarily something Sony can exploit or not.
First of all, it remains to be seen if Blu-Ray will actually win out in
the current standards war. It could be that the world goes with HD-DVD,
leaving Sony with a proprietary drive that will only play games as well as
traditional DVDs and CDs.

Even if Blu-Ray does win the standards war, it is uncertain how fast
people will adopt the new DVDs. Going from VHS to DVD was a pretty easy
sell - the difference was amazing even with old, icky RF-cabling.
However, to appreciate the next generation of DVDs, you will need a HD
TV. While HD TVs are quickly gaining marketshare, I don't see them being
a major force when the XBox2, much less PS3, launches. Sure, in 2 or 3
years we might start seeing the HD market overwhelming the SD market, but
I don't think it'll make a difference to any of the next-gen consoles.
The other reason I feel like this is because even when next-gen DVD
players start to appear, they're going to quickly start dropping in
price. After all, the only real difference between a DVD player today and
one of the next gen players is the drive. Everything else will
practically be the same. It wouldn't surprise me to see next-gen DVD
players under $200 within a year of their introduction.

> Also, I can't see this as anything but a huge victory for the studios
> who have thrown their support behind Blu-Ray. They're going to have
> millions of players installed in homes in no time at all. If the xbox2
> had supported HD-DVD, that format would have had a comperable installed
> base... but now they have basically nobody except the early adapters
> who buy dedicated players.

Were the studios really that influenced by the PS2's inclusion of its DVD
capabilities? I know I saw dozens of DVDs with "PS2 compatible!" stickers
on them shortly after the PS2 launched over here, but overall, did the
studios see a blip in sales at all when the PS2 was released?
Anonymous
March 12, 2005 2:42:43 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

In alt.games.video.xbox poldy <poldy@kfu.com> wrote:

> But Xbox2 is still in flux? Part 3 of the Gamespy article surmises that
> MS may up the memory to 512 MB RAM and put in backwards compatibility.

Well, replacing 256MB with 512MB should be a relatively easy change to
make (assuming this won't break the libraries or anything) but adding
backwards compatibility seems like an impossibility to me, without
seriously increasing the cost of the console (even if it's just the BOM -
Microsoft was largely ridiculed for how much they were losing on each
console with Xbox...)
Anonymous
March 12, 2005 3:03:04 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox (More info?)

Mac Cool <Mac@2cool.com> wrote:
> Doug Jacobs:

> > So...Xbox users will be stuck buying memory cards like Playstation
> > users?

> "Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional."

Ok, so say I have a Xenon with no HD. How do I save games?

Even then, the way I inpreted the article was that all systems would make
use of flash memory either 512MB or 1GB in size for user data (ie. saves)
I guess it *could* be an internal system, as opposed to a removable one, and
certainly 512MB would be large enough to hold quite a few games' worth of
save files.

The whole idea of an *optional* HDD just seems to be something that will
bit Microsoft in the rear down the road. I mean, look at how successful
the PS2's optional HDD was...

Meanwhile, Microsoft is making noises about players being able to use
customized soundtracks while playing their games - which would *strongly*
suggest that you would be using a HDD. Not to mention the rumor about
Xbox2 being backwards compatible with the XBox1. If this is to have any
hope of succeeding, they'll have to require a HDD.

And then how are game developers supposed to handle the optional HDD
thing? If there is a HDD, you could use it for cache (same as XBox1) but
they've also been told to not assume there will be a HDD. So, do they
have to write 2 versions of the game? That doesn't sound like a very easy
system to develop for, if you ask me... Maybe Microsoft has already
written libraries that will handle caching transparentally so that game
developers don't have worry about implementing two very different memory
models for each game they write.
Anonymous
March 13, 2005 7:11:46 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.video.xbox,rec.games.video.sega,rec.games.video.sony,alt.games.video.sony-playstation2 (More info?)

poldy wrote:
> Some people would also argue that by using a more costly Blu-Ray
drive,
> Sony wasn't able to offer as much RAM or as much horsepower -- say
only
> one Cell instead of 2 or only 8 SPEs instead of 16.

I don't know... after Sony spent untold billions developing the Cell, I
don't think they're going to short change their premier hardware
offering to comp for the cost of Blu-Ray playback. That'd be shooting
themselves in the foot. They'll be looking at costs from a long-term
vantage, and the Cell chips are designed to be cheap to manufacture in
quantity. So they'll take the loss in the early consoles knowing it'll
be easy to make that up later on.

I doubt we'll see the final specs of the PS3 at EEE this year. I think
Sony will wait until the xbox2 is set in stone before finalizing their
design, just so they can be sure to one-up microsoft in all respects.
They have that luxury since the xbox2 will be out at least 6 months
earlier, and won't be able to keep their specs secret indefinitely.

--
Bill Cable - Steelers Fan & Star Wars Collector
http://CreatureCantina.com <----- funny!
cable@creaturecantina.com
!