Archive for the ‘XBox’ category

Playstation 3 details announced at E3

May 17th, 2005

The Playstation 3 details have been announced at Sony’s press conference at the E3 expo. You can see the details for yourself over at Eurogamer. However, two items in the specs caught my attention. First, this:

Communication: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x 3 (input x 1 + output x 2)

Why would the PS3 need 2 Ethernet output ports? Does this mean it is effectively a 2-port hub? Along with its Wi-Fi capabilities, this is an interesting feature, though I can’t quite think of an exact use for it right now – except maybe daisy-chaining your Xbox and Xbox 360 through your PS3 🙂

Secondly, this:

Controller: Network (over IP)

This would appear to mean that you can control the PS3 over your LAN – somehow. Does this mean that it will be suitable for placing somewhere in a comms room in your digital multi-room multi-media home, and use the controllers over IP, well beyond the range of Bluetooth? Who knows – but it’s intriguing.

The XBox 360 is going to have a real fight on its hands.

XBox 360 will be backwards compatible – sort of

May 17th, 2005

At last night’s pre-E3 Microsoft press event about the XBox 360, it emerged that only the “best selling” XBox titles will be compatible with the XBox 360. Eurogamer has the details here. This sounds to me like the hard disk will include pre-compiled binaries of the most popular games. The program code for games such as Halo will be recompiled and made work for the changed hardware (both CPU and graphics chip have been changed for the XBox 360), and when the XBox 360 sees that you have inserted the disc from one of its “compatible” games, it will run the compatible version of the code from the hard disk, and read the game’s data files from the DVD as usual.

This approach is quite a good one. It means that you will still be able to play Halo and Halo 2 on your XBox 360, along with all the big name games from the XBox, ensuring that the XBox 360 has some existing games to compliment the relatively small list of launch titles so far announced. It is also possible that more games will become compatible over time via downloads over XBox Live. Publishers may be able to provide a XBox 360 “upgrade” for their existing games which can be downloaded as desired.

However, the PS3 details have been announced, and it’s looking very good. The XBox 360 will have a big challenge on its hands, and I don’t know if the Master Chief will be enough to win the contest this time round.

"Movies, music, downloadables. And, oh yeah, games."

May 16th, 2005

The MTV special on the XBox 360 was shown in Ireland on Friday night. Having read some comments about it, I wasn’t expecting much detail – and boy did I not get it! The sub-heading in MTV’s article about the XBox 360 says it all.

This was all about music, multimedia, changeable face-plates, and being cool. The console itself hardly featured at all, but then, that wasn’t really the point. This show was in essence a music show with a little product placement, and was all about image and brand. The target audience will mostly be Internet-savvy, and will be able to get the low-down on the console for themselves.

It is interesting to see how Microsoft are attempting to leverage the penetration of the XBox and transform their console into a Media Centre. You’ll be able to watch DVDs, listen to CDs, stream audio and video from network-connected Windows machines, and possibly also the Internet (or XBox Live anyway), chat to other XBox Live users via video link – and all XBox 360 users will have access to XBox Live included (though not to play games!), view photos from your digital camera, listen to MP3s from your portable music device, and the list goes on.

You’ll also be able to play games with it 🙂

Geek makeovers

May 15th, 2005

Seth Godin has come across J Allard’s makeover. He doesn’t quite get the fact that Geek on Stun have use the marketing hype about the high definition next-gen console and dubbed Allard’s transformation as “HD Allard”, but it’s still interesting to see how the man has changed.

Halo 3 not a launch title for the XBox 360?

May 13th, 2005

Some of the reports on the launch of the XBox 360 last night have commented on the fact that Halo 3 is not on the list of launch titles announced. This is not too surprising given the relatively short time since Halo 2 was released. One comment that seemed to make sense is that Microsoft may be keeping Halo 3 in reserve to combat the launch of the PS3 next year.

Personally, until Bungie announce that they’re even working on Halo 3, I won’t start getting (too) excited. The end of Halo 2 would certainly give the strong impression that Halo 3 will arrive at some stage – “to finish what I started” as the MC says himself. If Bungie follow their previous examples, they would not want to release Halo 3 before it’s properly finished. However, if it’s using the Halo 2 engine, then it’s really just down to cinematics and level designs. Somehow, I don’t think that would be good enough for Bungie though, and they will try to push the envelope once more.

There’s a part of me that’s quietly getting excited about what all the talent in Bungie could do with a machine as powerful as the XBox 360, and what it will mean for Halo 3. Even just the thought of playing in 720p HDTV resolution sounds great. I just hope that Halo 3 lives up to the inevitable hype better than Halo 2 did.

XBox 360 details from Tom’s Hardware Guide

May 13th, 2005

Tom’s Hardware Guide has a good article about the technical details of the XBox 360 here. 1 Teraflop of processing power used to be what supercomputers had!

XBox 360 officially launched

May 13th, 2005

XBox 360 LogoWell, it’s official – it’s the XBox 360. Check out the official XBox 360 web site for pretty interactive images of the hardware.

Check out this promotional video from Microsoft.

Gamespot have a in-depth set of articles about the new console.

I’m sure that there are lots more sites with official info out there, and the flow of information has just begun. Pretty much all the speculation was spot on. The major items left unresolved are price and backward compatibility. The E3 press event on Monday may answer the second of those, but price point may not be announced till later in the year. There’s a lot of speculation that a $360 price tag will be applied 🙂

XBox 360 details being revealed tonight

May 12th, 2005

XBox 360 MTV are hosting a special show on the XBox 360, and more and more details about the console are emerging online. The show airs tonight in the U.S., and tomorrow in Ireland and the U.K. Eurogamer have continuously updated coverage here.

Much of the information is speculation based on leaked images, or images from ourcolony, but scans of a Danish gaming magazine seem to confirm much of the speculation. The main points that have emerged so far are:

  • The name is definitley XBox 360.
  • The controllers will be wireless, and rechargable via USB connectors on the XBox, or can take standard batteries too.
  • The controllers will rumble – what will this do to the battery life?
  • There will be up to 3 USB connectors on the box.
  • It will come with built-in Wi-Fi.
  • Widescreen, HDTV (720p, 1080i), Dolby Digital output as standard.
  • There will be an optional hard drive, though it’s unclear whether there will be a 20GB disk as standard. Images of a 40GB disk have been seen on ourcolony.
  • It’s likely that it will integrate with Windows Media Centre – perhaps streaming audio and/or video from your PC.
  • New XBox Live options – silver and gold levels (details here at Eurogamer).

Most importantly, it looks like Halo 3 will be a launch title, and that Bungie have been working away at it since Halo 2 was completed. Now, Bungie have not confirmed that, and until I hear it from the horse’s mouth, I won’t be counting any chickens (to mix my metaphors!). However, Halo 3 as a launch title would make a huge amount of sense.

I always felt that Halo 2’s graphics engine was written with the next generation console in mind. As anyone who has played Halo 2 will have noticed, the cutscenes generated using the in-game graphics engine have a noticeable delay when the scene changes. Objects start with low levels of detail, and then the bump maps etc. are applied. It takes a while, and you can easily notice the level of detail increasing. This said to me that the algorithms were written so that the performance would be acceptable for the XBox, but would look really great on the next-gen XBox.

It looks like I’ll only have to wait till November, since apparently the XBox 360 will be released in Europe a week after the U.S. I expect that the price will be around €400, and there’s been speculation that game prices will increase with the arrival of the next-gen consoles. I don’t know whether I could wait till Christmas, and if Halo 3 is available at launch, then there’s no question – form an orderly queue behind me now!