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What Microsoft Should and Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the forget-kinect-and-package-it-with-an-fmri dept.

Microsoft 502

donniebaseball23 writes "Xbox 360 just came off a record November, with more than 1.7 million units sold in the U.S., but behind closed doors Microsoft is planning its next move for the successor to the popular console. Plenty of Xbox 720 rumors have surfaced in recent months, but veteran games journalist Chris Morris has filtered through them to provide a realistic take on what Microsoft should and shouldn't do with Xbox 360's successor. In particular, he notes that Microsoft should adopt the Blu-ray format from Sony. 'A DVD drive as a medium for storing larger and larger games is outdated – and it steps on the toes of a system that bills itself as the high definition leader,' Morris writes. 'Microsoft resisted the move to Blu-ray this generation without any ill effects. It even survived picking the losing side in the format battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, but it can't rely on the DVD to take it into the next generation.'"

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Never going to happen. (4, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368198)

They will use some proprietary disc format for sure.

720 degrees? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368218)

What's up with that? A reference to the number of times an electron must rotate before it returns to its original state?

Re:720 degrees? (4, Funny)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368250)

Why do they call it the Xbox 720? Because when you see it, you'll turn 720 degrees and walk away.

Re:720 degrees? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368258)

That doesn't actually work.

Re:720 degrees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368724)

Hi, you must be new here.

Re:720 degrees? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368264)

Why do they call it the Xbox 720? Because when you see it, you'll turn 720 degrees and walk away.

I knew the moonwalk had a practical purpose!

Re:720 degrees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368272)

If you're turning 720 degrees, away is not the direction you will be walking.

This will likely result in some damage to expensive shop displays.

Re:720 degrees? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368326)

It's an old meme/joke /woosh

Re:720 degrees? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368694)

Good grief, the whooshing sound is deafening.

Re:720 degrees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368324)

Successful troll is successful! Good job!

Re:720 degrees? (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368380)

you mean... you are seeing the Xbox your spin around twice In a Pirouette and walk right towards it. It's not the XBox 180 or the XBox 540.

Re:720 degrees? (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368436)

Only because he got dizzy.

Re:720 degrees? (3, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368522)

I'm holding out for the XBox 4 PI. I like pi. It's tasty.

Re:720 degrees? (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368688)

To avoid the inevitable torrent of troll victims; this is an old meme (just google the phrase).

Not necessarily (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368304)

They could use the standard blue ray format but simply use their own encryption on the data it contains. I can't see any good reason for them to spend millions developing a new hardware solution unless they're not confident of their own abilities to encrypt. And even if they did it wouldn't be long before someone plugged the drive into a PC and got it working somehow to be able to get the data off the discs.

Re:Not necessarily (-1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368520)

blu ray is SLOW.

Its slow slow slow.

So slow, this is the reason you need to install so many PS3 games. slow slow slow.

Please microsoft, don't go the "you must install or burn in hell" route.... or at least do it with a faster format than blu ray!.

Re:Not necessarily (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368578)

http://www.gamespot.com/pages/profile/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=23916169&user=skektek [gamespot.com]

So terribly slow. I mean, look, this Blu-Ray drive is only 4x where this DVD is 12x!

Blu-ray 4x: 144MBps / 18MBps
12x DVD: 66 - 132Mbps / 8.2 - 16.5MBps

I mean, who would want the drive that's not running like a turbo jet to stream data to the device.

Re:Not necessarily (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368800)

Are BD-ROMs absolutely slower than DVDs, slower in terms of 'time to read out entire capacity of disk', or did PS3 developers just do a lousy job when handed 50GB and told to go nuts?

As best I understand from some cursory googling(coming from PC-land, where we haven't really worried about optical media speeds since the difference between a 2x and an 8x DVD writer was some pretty serious stuff, man) "1x" in Blu-ray land is 4.5 MB/s while "1x" in DVD land is 1.4 MB/s. This would suggest that a first-generation blu-ray drive, pitted against some cheap and mature 24x DVD drive, will be feeling the pain; but that blu-ray's far higher data density would give it a superior speed ceiling(since the rate at which you can spin a cheap, questionably balanced, polycarbonate disk on a cheap, questionably balanced, spindle is fairly limited and should be roughly similar for the two disk types) and that at ~8x, BD-ROM should be absolutely faster than DVD.

Regardless of absolute best case stream speeds, though, optical media are always going to have random access times that make HDDs look positively snappy, and HDD seek times are pretty damned miserable compared to flash, which is similarly un

Re:Never going to happen. (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368558)

They could support blu ray and their own proprietary format from the same drive. Though Microsoft being Microsoft they'd probably not support Blu Ray even if their drive were physically capable of doing so, or if they did of charge $20 or something to enable the functionality.

How about... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368206)

How about Microsoft just go fuck themselves.

I don't want their stinking console machine.

M$ don't like blue-ray (-1, Flamebait)

sproketboy (608031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368212)

M$ doesn't like blue-ray because it runs Java. My guess is that they'll create a propitiatory format.

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368290)

BAM! Now Slashdot Spells Microsoft with a dollar sign.

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368364)

sproketboy != Slashdot

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (5, Funny)

ozbon (99708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368392)

And spells Proprietary in a *very* different/new way too

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (4, Funny)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368414)

I think that should be a drinking game.

One drink for reading a post from an Apple/Microsoft/Sony fanboy or anti-fanboy
One drink for grammer and speeling natzis
Two drinks for "First" in first post
Three drinks for reading a post responding to an AC.

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368310)

AFAIK the Java Requirements is only for Blu-Ray Movies. For Storing Game Data, you dont need Java.

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368322)

AFAIK the Java Requirements is only for Blu-Ray Movies. For Storing Game Data, you dont need Java.

These days people expect their Blu-Ray player to have a network port, and sing and dance and give blowjobs. Well, maybe not the last part. But if you have a blu-ray drive it's retarded not to play movies, and you ought to support all the functionality if your hardware is sufficiently capable. Having a DVD-ROM but not playing DVDs only worked for the Wii because it was so much cheaper than the competition, and because Nintendo customers have been trained to expect a system that only plays games for years.

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (3, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368384)

Really need to upgrade my Blu-Ray Player. I have none of those features.

Re:M$ don't like blue-ray (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368622)

Recently released benchmarks from Sony suggest the PS4 will do them all*

* some benchmarks may be aggressively inflated

Optical? (3, Insightful)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368228)

I wonder whether the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft will use discs at all. Perhaps we are not yet at the point where it is practical to download 30GB of game data, but with incremental background downloads it might be feasible in the 720's timeframe.

Ultimately the OnLive model is clearly what we will all be using, but it'll be a while yet before low-latency broadband is ubiquitous.

Re:Optical? (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368266)

Discs will remain as long as broadband speeds make downloading 50 GB (on a blueray, not 30) an irritatingly slow process. Besides which , not everyone wants to rely on always having a net connection just to use a piece of equipment.

Re:Optical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368410)

Well... let's see. Microsoft must adopt the bluray. The war is over. And it's a movie war anyway, not a data one. Bluray is the the only way forward for Microsoft. The old adage, choose your battles, definitely rings true in this case.

Re:Optical? (4, Insightful)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368502)

Discs will remain as long as broadband speeds make downloading 50 GB (on a blueray, not 30) an irritatingly slow process

How long would it take to only download the title screen and first level? You don't always need to have everything ready to get started

Re:Optical? (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368592)

Even a level is probably quite a large lump of data for modern games and sods law says that just as you're about to do something crucial and the machine needs to download some more level data the broadband connection will go down.

Re:Optical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368620)

Let's say the average 50GB game has 10 levels, so about 5GB per level. On a 6mbit connection (figuring a constant, optimal 750K/sec), that is going to be almost a 2 hour wait per level. In the meantime you still require that internet connection which is going to be saturated the entire time it's downloading. You and anyone else who uses that connection is going to have an annoying time trying to do anything else online while it's going. There is also the possibility you will eventually run out of space on the hard drive and have the start deleting games or if the hard drive dies and you have to download terabytes worth of data all over again.

Then you come across another problem if the game is a free roam environment and not broken into levels.

Even if/when gigabit internet connections become ubiquitous and cheap, the sizes of games will have grown in proportion to the speed gain. Physical media will always win for speed and convenience.

Re:Optical? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368524)

"not everyone wants to rely on always having a net connection just to use a piece of equipment."

unfortunately those who design and build these systems see nothing but profit from forcing a persistant connection upon users.

Re:Optical? (1)

lehphyro (1465921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368544)

What if you have to download only the first level to start playing? The next level is downloaded in background. Maybe people wouldn't even download the whole game because some developers have said that most people don't even get half-way through their games.

Re:Optical? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368696)

That only works for linear games though. A lot of games these days have large open worlds. I'm happy just waiting for a whole game to download myself. I also get that some people are still stuck with dial-up though, so we're not going to see physical media going away. It would be kind of nice if they switched to SD cards or something though, that would make things faster, albeit probably more expensive. The best option would be letting the user choose, then those that want can just use the download. I vastly prefer downloads for convenience just because you don't have to insert the disc to play..

Re:Optical? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368314)

No, seriously, just quit this nonsense, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN ANY TIME SOON.

No gaming company is retarded enough to put the resources behind only a small amount of their users that can take advantage of it.
Not even Microsoft.

Steam, PSN, XBL, all of them have their problems when even a moderately large size of their users all hit the servers at once, such as a huge new game update.
Those userbases are pretty tiny in comparison to the entire userbase.
The poor servers would go supernova with that activity.

Next Next Next generation? Maybe.
But not until then. Just because you have good internet, doesn't mean everyone else does.
I know people who still have 56k speeds. Others have download limits with huge overages. Others have connections as stable as an elephant on a needle.
The internet age is still in the womb for most of the world. That includes America and the UK, 2 larger examples. (in fact, America is worse in this case because of the whole duopoly mess still happening, the UK dealt with that)

Re:Optical? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368430)

Of course, there could be a middle ground in this case.

Stores can get a licence from a distributor, which means they get a server that games are downloaded to when they are released.
Those with internet can download directly, or they can take an SSD / HDD to the store and download it from there to put on the console.
It'd require more security, and no doubt Sony would try to force a proprietary solution instead of using encryption, but it is doable.

This is more likely to happen than eliminating stores entirely.
It also has the added advantage of pretty much killing the used market as well as still having the stores on-board anyway.
Prices will likely remain the same even though the distribution is significantly cheaper overall. (whether this mostly goes to the stores or producers / publishers is another question. I'd prefer a middle ground again since either of the 2 dying would be bad for the industry)
So now we have a huge-scale, distributed game CDN, officially backed, people can download from those or go to the store directly and download from it if they have no connection. Everybody wins.

Re:Optical? (0)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368552)

So you'd end up with the PC games market, which we all know is "booming" compared to Consoles.... oh, wait.

Re:Optical? (1)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368338)

Bandwidth is actually insanely expensive outside the US. There's a long way to go before ISPs in other countries adopt similar pricing regimes which allow for kind of usage OnLive requires, and even then it is dubious whether or not OnLive will be able to maintain a physical presence in enough countries to let it displace traditional consoles.

Re:Optical? (4, Informative)

zoom-ping (905112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368386)

I've always thought bandwidth is insanely expensive inside the U.S.
I pay 24€ a month for my TV, phone and 100/50 Mbit/s internet. No caps, no restrictions, no throttling.

Re:Optical? (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368554)

What? No restrictions at all??

I have an 'unlimited' package for broadband and phone at £40pcm and I get an arsey email and phone calls from my provider if I approach 100GB of bandwidth, then throttled if I exceed it and penalty charges if I exceed it two months in a row. Whilst I rarely exceed that limit, it's hard not to when doing something as mundane as setting up new machines and downloading my Steam library, game installers, etc from the cloud (which is my primary purchase mechanism now).

Using a service to store backups to the cloud (which appeals to me, given that the vast majority of my data isn't too sensitive for such a medium) is out of the question. I'd like to know who provides you with such a cheap and lenient ISP package!!

Re:Optical? (2)

larppaxyz (1333319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368462)

I live in Finland and i had unlimited and non-restricted 10/10 Mbit/s connection first time in year 2001, sure we had slower DSL connections before that too. Cost was around 40e/month. Currenlty i have unlimited, non-restricted (yes, i can run servers if i like) 100/100 Mbit/s connection for 30e/month. I also have optic fiber cable in my 1975 build flat, but i currently have no use for that. I also have unlimited 3G mobile broadband (two actually) that cost's less than 10 euros/month they transfer around 2-6Mbit/s. What i have heard is that in US connection are capped, unreliable and slow. Maybe you should visit Europe someday.

Re:Optical? (1)

PARENA (413947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368566)

I live in Finland, as well (though I'm not a native Fin). Currently stuck with Welho for another half a year or so, but I feel like they are screwing me over. What are you using and do you get a static IP-address (I need that for work)? Welho is charging me 25 euros/month just for the friggin' IP-address and they managed to change it twice in the last 4 years. :(

Re:Optical? (1)

madmayr (1969930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368634)

you have to be honest and don't speak of europe when you boast with your incredible connection speeds in austria (wqhich is in the middle of europe btw) you can get a 16/1.5 MBit (restricted for personal use) DSL connection with 'real' speeds of maybe 8/1 MBit if you're lucky for around 20e/month everything else is much more expensive because of the initial costs and few providers for higher speed solutions like fiber

Re:Optical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368468)

I'm not so sure about that.Here in eastern Europe I regularly download with 5 Mb/s (SWTOR beta client for a recent example) For a monthly subscription of 10$ i get unlimited access at 5Mb/s guaranteed speed. No that expensive, even for eastern Europe,

Re:Optical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368658)

So, I would take your comment as an argument in the opposite direction. The SWTOR final client is said to be 18GB (not sure what the size was on the beta). So, 18GB is 147,456Mb. Assuming that Bioware's server could give you the full 5Mbps that your bandwidth is capable of for the entire time of your download, it would take you over 8 hours to download the game, and that's only if you don't use your internet connection for anything else during that time. Maybe you think that's acceptable, but I sure as hell don't. And while 18GB is a pretty big game, there are sure as hell bigger ones out there and game sizes will only get bigger. Do you want to spend an entire day downloading a 40GB game? At that point, downloading is a hell of a lot slower and more inconvenient than buying from a store.

Re:Optical? (1)

neyla (2455118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368588)

In -some- countries sure. But actually on the average, the opposite is true. Compared to other countries of comparable wealth and development, USA has poor broadband-penetration and low average speeds.

25 Mbps symetrical, is the lowest available speed from my ISP, the other alternatives being 50, 100, 200 or 400Mbps, all symetrical.

This sort of thing is fairly rare in the USA in my experience. (either that, or my US-friends just have bad luck)

Re:Optical? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368422)

They'd take a huge step if they always offered both as an alternative. It's already this way with many Steam-required games today, you can buy them on DVD but you really only need the activation code, you can download the whole thing from Steam if you don't have the DVD handy or feel it's less hassle just to download it. It wouldn't be for everyone but I know some people with >20 Mbit Internet connections that would. If you do preloads so you only need the decryption key on release day a lot of people might choose that as well. Hard disk space might be an issue though, what HDD size should you have as standard? Some may have 30 games * 30 GB = ~1 TB, others don't use it at all and it's a waste. Maybe an eSATA port to store on an external disk, branded or bring your own? If the console will encrypt/decrypt in hardware before storing on the disk it should make the DRM pundits happy. Personally I'm rather happy with my PC, but several of my friends have either xbox or ps3 - or both - as well.

Re:Optical? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368666)

They'd take a huge step if they always offered both as an alternative.

have you run into a lot of games that you can't get from XBLM?

Re:Optical? (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368802)

Hard disk space might be an issue though

In your example, HDD space is irrelevant. Whether you buy it and use through Steam or download it, you still need to install it, and after that you don't use the DVD anymore anyway (I do this often, since my connection sits between 0.75 and 1.0Mb/s).

Re:Optical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368476)

I wonder whether the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft will use discs at all. Perhaps we are not yet at the point where it is practical to download 30GB of game data, but with incremental background downloads it might be feasible in the 720's timeframe.

Ultimately the OnLive model is clearly what we will all be using, but it'll be a while yet before low-latency broadband is ubiquitous.

Yeah yeah, unfortunately those assholes in the ISP companies are pushing on bandwitdth caps like there is no tomorrow.
At this rate it'll takes decades before we are going full digital.

Re:Optical? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368490)

They have to have discs as long as there are big chunks of the US where downloading games is simply not possible. The US is MS' biggest market. They're useless in Japan and even Europe, aside from the UK, isn't that keen on the 360. So why limit sales in the only region that loves your system?

Re:Optical? (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368670)

Maybe they go back to the cartridge concept and use USB flash drives, or some kind of WORM memory? I know flash is more expensive at retail, but I wonder how much cheaper it would be if they were buying the media wholesale? Is there a cheap and high capacity WORM memory now? It might work out if they can save hassle by not having to include an optical drive in the console.

Or they could do a thing where the games are available on flash drives, and on $5 or $10 cheaper blu-ray disks to people who have pre-existing blu-ray players, and the console can somehow access the data over the user's network. Or if their computer has a blu-ray player, they can dump the disk to a flash drive the user already owns.

Re:Optical? (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368784)

Perhaps we are not yet at the point where it is practical to download 30GB of game data, but with incremental background downloads it might be feasible in the 720's timeframe.

You're damn right it's impractical. WolframAlpha says 30GB on my connection will take over 3 days. Not ideal, when it takes me 25 minutes to drive to the store and buy the game.
Source: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=30GB+at+94kB%2Fs [wolframalpha.com]

"to the cloud" (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368238)

will this machine be too early to just stream games rather than having discs?

Re:"to the cloud" (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368276)

You then have the issue of having adequate hard drive space. The size of DVDs was keeping the games down in size, but without that limitation, they're going to grow a lot. The PS3 certainly had no issue reaching 8GB for their games.

Reduce field failure rates? (0)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368242)

They run, what? 11-13% hardware failure rate in the field? Just rename it Xboxski.

Smart enough to milk it? (4, Funny)

indytx (825419) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368278)

The big question is will the M$ management be smart enough to milk the 360, or will they kill it off to force everyone onto something new. You would think that people with 360 who subscribe to Xbox Live would be a cash cow, but the M$ management has a long history of screwing its own customers to make them buy something new. I would be surprised if it didn't have Blu-ray support, but I would be more surprised if the system was the least bit open. On the other hand, I don't care. I kept waiting and waiting for 360 or PS3 prices to drop, and I waited so long that I lost interest. Hmmmmm, the yard needs mowing.

Re:Smart enough to milk it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368404)

I've seen PS3's for $219 this holiday season. 360's with Kinect bundled for just over $300. I'm thinking your expectation of cheap is unrealistic. ;)

Re:Smart enough to milk it? (1)

X3J11 (791922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368526)

I picked up the 250 GB slim model just after Christmas this year for $199 CDN. No game bundle or other extras, but it was still $100 less than the normal price. I haven't seen the Xbox (with a hard drive, not the crappy 4 GB model) for a reduced price since, however.

Re:Smart enough to milk it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368548)

They have? Look at Windows XP.

Re:Smart enough to milk it? (1)

drgould (24404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368572)

The big question is will the M$ management be smart enough to milk the 360, or will they kill it off to force everyone onto something new.

They dropped the original XBox like a hot rock.

Just sayin'.

Re:Smart enough to milk it? (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368582)

Don't all console makers do that? I think the only system that had any backward compatibility was playstation.

Re:Smart enough to milk it? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368744)

360 had software backwards compatibility... on a few select games. The PS3 was (originally) the only one that offered hardware compatibility for a majority of the back catalog.

Personally, I think backwards compatibility is overrated and I have an original 20G that's still running fine. I think I put in one game just to see it work.

Seriously, duh! (1)

JabrTheHut (640719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368294)

That's a no-brainer. Or you would start seeing Xbox games shipping on 2, 3 or 4 DVDs. Sony would have a field day with that.

What next? A confident prediction that it will have a method of connecting to the TV set, possibly via HDMI?

Re:Seriously, duh! (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368316)

I still have a lot of PC games with 4-5 CDs before DVDs hit it big, and I know plenty of consoles that used multiple CDs... it's a little bit of a pain in the ass, but far from a deal breaker for most people wanting to play a bigger/fancier/longer game that takes multiple discs.

Re:Seriously, duh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368406)

DVDs were expensive to start with, cheaper media was used until the price drop. blu-ray is now dirt cheap. CDs were expensive to start with, I have games spanning many diskettes. See the pattern?

Re:Seriously, duh! (1)

WolfgangPG (827468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368448)

Final Fantasy and other RPGs on the 360 already are multiple DVDs. Hasn't hurt them yet...

Re:Seriously, duh! (2)

Narishma (822073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368484)

Some Xbox 360 games are already shipping on 2, 3 or 4 discs and it doesn't seem to bother people that much.

Quote from John Siracusa (5, Funny)

hellfire (86129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368296)

"What's wrong with Blu-ray? Everything except the fidelity of the content."

So, Microsoft should do the obvious. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368302)

If it uses discs at all, Blu-ray level capacity will be essential. It will be a lot cheaper to base it entirely on online gaming, and XBox has established itself as an online system pretty well. But is there anuy need for this? The inclusion of a blu-ray movie player isn't going to be such a bonus by the time it is released. Blu-ray is reaching commodity pricing as it is.

Of course the rest of the online media is going to be in there. MS *knows* people want to stream movies, and know that the overlap between movie consumers and gamers is huge. And of course they need decent release titles.

Re:So, Microsoft should do the obvious. (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368332)

It will almost certainly have an optical drive. Broadband penetration in the US is craptacular. Unless Sony and Microsoft sign a blood pact to both abandon the optical drive at once, which is not going to happen due to Sony's involvement with Blu-Ray, the manufacturer who fails to include it is going to lose massively. Nintendo could probably go to flash media, though.

Re:So, Microsoft should do the obvious. (4, Interesting)

Narishma (822073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368500)

The WiiU is already confirmed to use a proprietary optical disc (probably based on blu-ray).

Stop going in circles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368346)

...or convert to radians.

Optical Media? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368402)

Am I really the only person who thinks the next generation of consoles should abandon optical media all together and get back to solid state drives similar to the cardridges of days gone by putting games and movies on USB drives or simply by downloading them over the internet?

Re:Optical Media? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368426)

No you aren't. That doesn't mean the idea has much merit though.

There simply isn't the infrastructure at either end to make all the games downloadable. The USB drive idea is too expensive compared to optical discs.

Re:Optical Media? (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368478)

A pressed optical disc is a matter of a few cents. That's significantly cheaper than the cartridges of yore and flash memory of the same amount. If you are implying user brings their own key to a kiosk, that *could* work, but I think you'd have a low attach rate for stores carrying the kiosks as most of the potential customers would be net connected and with the store being no different than buying it via network, the market is too small.

In terms of going full download over the internet, that really depends. First, you have to ascertain what percentage of the market has the capability to reasonably download the games. I suspect the percentage is relatively high, but I know of a few anecdotes of rural areas with no reasonable high speed internet option. Second, you have to figure of those that can, how many prefer optical media. On tech sites the community gives the feeling of being all in on download-only distribution models, but in the market I know several people who buy movies and games on disc even when they have downloadable options. If that is a large chunk of the market and MS dumps optical media and Sony doesn't, this could be a significant differentiator.

Finally, your options for backwards compatibility are limited. If your older library games just won't physically fit in the system, that's a problem.

Improve Build Quality (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368420)

I don't own a 360 (for a variety of reasons, of which I'm about to explain the key one) but every friend I know who owns one - _EVERY ONE_ - has had at least one fatal hardware failure with their device and several have had multiple fatal hardware failures. Simply put, I'm stunned at the failure rate for the 360 and I'm blown away that people tolerated it as much as they did. I really wish I was exaggerating when I say every friend I know who has one had it fail at least once. Usually it was a disk drive failure (kind of important for a disk-driven device...) but I really don't know of anyone who didn't suffer at least once failure.

I know I amount to anecdotal evidence but when I see that large a collection of device failures (and the friends of whom I speak are spread across multiple countries from coast to coast so it isn't a local phenomenon), I have to think I'm actually not anecdotal evidence - I feel I'm witnessing a significant trend.

The most important thing Microsoft needs to focus on with a new XBox is build quality. Everything else should come a distant second.

Re:Improve Build Quality (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368586)

Now imagine how many more would be sold if there was no failing systems.

Yes of course some of the sales figure comes out of the fact some failed and were replaced but everyone knows bad news has a larger effect than good news. So they'd still MASSIVELY gain sales if they didn't have the failures they did.

Man, if they pulled it off, I could imagine sony pulling outta the game now.

Re:Improve Build Quality (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368772)

I'm not sure why you'd cheer that. We'd have years of single company dominance and with Microsoft in control again. I would guarantee a hike in Live costs, licensing, and you can forget having "Steam like" sales.

Re:Improve Build Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368610)

They pretty much messed up the design. The cooling system was inefficient due to component layout, which is further compounded by dubious heatsink seating. The suspicion is that they tried to make it a little too compact to counteract the LOL XBOX IS HUEG meme that the original xbox suffered from, especially in the Japanese market.

What Microsoft Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720 (5, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368474)

What Microsoft Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720:

  • 1. Name it Xbox 720.

Re:What Microsoft Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368734)

Also, listen to self involved bloggers on the intertubes. The only thing worse would be to read comments from random people on an news aggregation site.

Re:What Microsoft Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720 (3, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368746)

For two reasons:

1- People will confuse 720 for 720p and think that's the only resolution it goes to.

2- The next one after the 720 would have to be 1080 or 1440. Those are awkward names.

3- They should do like everyone else and call it "Xbox X". Or adopt the animal naming meme and call them something like "Xbox Rhino", "Xbox Elephant" and "Xbox Landwhale".

Re:What Microsoft Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368792)

XBox Sea-Kitten

Re:What Microsoft Should Do For the Xbox 720 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38368766)

Why they should call it the Xbox 720:

            1. Twice as much RROD

Use memory cards instead of optical discs (5, Insightful)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368512)

Why use Blu-Ray or any disc formats @ all? All it does is limit how many games they can bundle, and increase the risk of mechanical damage to the disks. Instead, since flash memory densities - currently @ par with Blu Ray densities from 25-125 GB will be available - will increase every couple of years, why not make the storage of the X-Box one of those formats - be it SD, CF, xD or something? Just like the Sony PSP used Sony's memory sticks, MS could use SD if they want something standard, or xD if they want something proprietary. That way, they save on the Blu Ray drive costs as well - just have a slot for removable SD cards. Game makers can then choose to make heavy games that need 64GB, or light games that would fit on a CD which they can put into a 1GB SD. This would enable them to have a range of games for a range of prices. It also gets rid of the problem of Blu Ray drive related failures.

Since I don't own games like PlayStation, Wii or X-Box, I have no ideas on what other improvements or pitfalls should be there.

What about a thumb drive? (1)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368518)

Thumb drives now can easily exceed the capacity of a Blu-Ray. They are more expensive, but Microsoft can certainly bundle that price into the cost of the game and get a discount for buying in massive bulk? This would also prevent them from having an (expensive) optical drive with moving parts and the like. They could replace it with 2 (much cheaper) USB ports and call it a day.

A few of my own (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368538)

DO: Make a sensible sized hard drive standard for every model. The 360 suffered early cycle because games were tentative about assuming that they could use a hard disk (the "core" model didn't have one). The 4GB drive that ships with the current model is also inadequate. 20GB for the bottom end model should be considered an absolute minimum.

DO: Pack in the RAM. Of all of the factors that are driving developer frustration with the current console generation, RAM seems to be at the top of the pack. It's worse for the PS3 (with its awkward memory-split and larger OS footprint) than for the 360, but still... RAM is pretty cheap and packing plenty of it in will pay dividends in 5 years time.

DO: Continue to develop what you've been doing on voice controls for the console's UI. I have mixed feelings about Kinect, but voice activation is really great - and has an appeal to a wide demographic.

DON'T: Worry too much about making a loss on each unit sold for the first year or two. MS's objectives should be to get a large installed base early on and to make sure that their machine is fairly future-proof. This probably means selling at a loss early on. The real profits from a console come later in the cycle, when component prices have fallen, so you can reduce prices and still sell at a profit, and when you have third party developers giving you free money, by putting out games for your system (and paying you a fee on each copy sold) without you having to invest in development.

DON'T: Allow your dev team to push out firmware updates every 5 minutes. The 360 has had a few too many firmware updates for comfort, but perhaps not to the extent of being a deal-breaker. With the PS3, the sheer frequency of updates (and the length of time they take) is intensely frustrating, when you just want to fire up the console and play a game.

DON'T: Allow region locking. Sony have already ditched this and it did them no harm. MS knows region coding is junk; it doesn't use it for any of its first or second party games. Take the option away from developers; its time for them to grow up. It also reduces the incentive for people to get consoles mod-chipped - which in turn means they may be less likely to look into a bit of piracy. Which brings me onto the final point:

DO: Assume that whatever copy-protection you put into the machine will get broken sooner or later and plan accordingly. Reduce the incentive for people to mod their consoles, rather than going for the punitive route. Don't region lock. Do offer up an "other OS" walled garden. Do make it as easy as possible for indie developers to get their software onto the platform.

Re:A few of my own (3)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368648)

You might get all you ask for except for your walled garden. Microsoft is not going to go to the effort of troubleshooting a hypervisor so that you can install a competing operating system.

Why bother with a DVD/Blu-ray drive at all? (1)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368590)

Why not just have a 1TB HDD? Or a swanky SSD? That's the inevitability anyway. Store games in the cloud a la Steam and download them at your convenience. Don't fear the cloud. These days, such a move isn't bound to exclude many as it would have in the past.

Re:Why bother with a DVD/Blu-ray drive at all? (3, Insightful)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368632)

Why not just have a 1TB HDD? Or a swanky SSD? That's the inevitability anyway. Store games in the cloud a la Steam and download them at your convenience. Don't fear the cloud. These days, such a move isn't bound to exclude many as it would have in the past.

This would be a disaster as the XBox experience would be out of control of Microsoft. Instead they would be at the mercy of ISPs. This cannot be overstated. Regardless of the availability of fast Internet connectivity there is a lot to be said for the immediacy of plugging in the XBox, slapping in a disc, and just playing.

Steam is an interesting experiment, and does work, but if you have issues with access to your account you can easily lose an hour or two sorting it out by which time you've lost your time to play.

720 only? (5, Funny)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368606)

I'll wait for XBox 1.44

Boooring (1)

ibib (464750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368608)

"Sell at a mass market price", "Embrace the cloudloosely", "Incorporate Kinect into the box", "Keep building out the entertainment functionality", "Launch with major franchises"...

Come on!!!

What an extremely unimaginative list of suggestions. Here's a proper list:

* Max amount of RAM that fits in to the SRP, preferably 16 GB, at least 8 GB, probably more important than CPU nowadays for consoles
* Blu-Ray
* Expansion through USB-ports, connect any USB harddrive

They should: (1)

zppln (2058178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368690)

Stop using proprietary HDDs, controller protocols etc. This is one of the few things Sony got right this generation but I'm afraid MS don't feel enough pressure from them to do the same.

Stop charging for Xbox Live. But with Sony not being competent enough to provide a service that can compete with Xbox Live I doubt they'll have any reason to do so. I wish that Sony would launch ahead of MS (not gonna happen) and apply some pressure.

Provide a decent app store. Apple must be kept out of the gaming space at all costs. I want my developers to focus their efforts on $50 million projects, not on silly Angry Birds derivatives that would have been free Flash games on some obscure website 10 years ago.

But knowing MS, I doubt they will do any of those things.

What MS Shouldn't do is prevent purchases. (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38368712)

I have three Xbox360s, each for a different room of the house. In addition to game consoles they function as media consumption devices for Netflix and for my mountain of movies on the NAS. However, It is such a pain in the ass to migrate between them (and you must, if you want your gamer profile & saved games to interoperate), that I've actually disconnected TWO of them and replaced them with smaller quieter Linux media centers (screw it, If I can only play games on one, I'll only play games on one).

The DRM they employ is hurting their business. I'm thankful that I can re-download my content on different consoles, or swap my hard-drives around, but the fact is, I can only be signed in to XBL in one room at a time, and my Netfilx bandwidth isn't tied to XBL servers except artificially. When I want to play a game online, no one else can watch the movies or surf the marketplace which I pay to access. Yes, I can use separate accounts, but I shouldn't have to fragment my usage needlessly. Besides, I tried that already, trying to find the right drive or profile to play a specific game or movie is RIDICULOUS.

Also, this "online pass" bullshit that's bundled with games has to stop. I already pay for XBL services, MS provides the matchmaking API, its XBL. Dear Epic, I've bought and played every game you ever made from Zork to Gears, but when your activation code prevented me from playing the game I purchased, because another player had used the online pass first, I decided to boycot you... We have 1 disc. Only one of us can play at a time online anyway. You once did produce truly beloved Epic MegaGames, but this bullshit attempt to rape the used game market has caused me to hate you.

In short: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! People will spend a lot more if you make it easier us to do so. Get rid of the DRM, or at least make it marginally usable.
Until then, I think I'll start investing in your competitors: The DRM free, truly cross platform, charity supporting, indie games [humblebundle.com] .

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