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Microsoft's Rush To Xbox 2 A Danger?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the will-robinson dept.

XBox (Games) 676

Game Boy writes "Brit games business site Gamesindustry.biz has posted a fascinating editorial asking whether Microsoft is about to shoot itself in the foot over Xbox 2 by rushing to launch the console years ahead of its rivals' next-generation platforms. It's a pretty good analysis of how Microsoft is thinking about this marketplace, and why they could be pretty drastically wrong - I work at a major games publisher, and a lot of people here are worried about exactly the same things, but it's rare to see anyone actually discussing them openly. Xbox has done pretty well so far, but Microsoft could be heading for a disaster that even Bill's billions won't dig them out of..."

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676 comments

Real Evil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465889)

For those of us who seem to forget what real evil is, here's a reminder. (warning - graphic) [drudgereport.com]

His crime? Being an American.

Re:Real Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465942)

Nobody has forgetton what the real evil is. Everyone now has to deal with it everyday, whether you are an American or not. You are preaching to the wrong crowd.. We are NOT behind any of these killings, or their beliefs.

Re:Real Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465946)

But I thought "good" and "evil" were relative! Stand down, zealot! These people did what they thought was right, and who are YOU to judge them??

Re:Real Evil (-1, Offtopic)

MikeMo (521697) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466125)

If you believe in a "supreme being", then good and evil are absolutes. It's only our perceptions that are, as always, relative.

Even within the context of our perceptions, good and evil are established by the beliefs of the society we all live in. Within that definition, what they did was evil. Also within that context, it is exactly "we" who must judge them.

Remember that baby-rapers and all murderers think they are good people, too. There is always a way to justify doing whatever you want to do.

Re:Real Evil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466188)

If you believe in a "supreme being", then good and evil are absolutes

Well I believe in a Supreme Being and I don't know what you're on about. There is quite a large grey area between good and evil. Thankfully, it's not my job to judge what is good and what is evil. That's the SB's job. So, seems to me you're just talking out of your ass.

Bush's crime:continuing to treat Saudis as allies (-1, Offtopic)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466036)

Want a real crime? The crime perpetrated by Bush and US oil and weapons firms. The crime of hiding the facts and lying to the public. The Saudis are our allies? Why, because they sell us oil and buy our F16s? The action on the streets tells us otherwise. You can be damn sure the Saudi royal family could erase this type of activity overnight if they wanted to with their huge US funded secret police...but they won't and can't, because if they do then their public will turn on them.

Lets make it clear for everyone. Major political players from Will Kennard to Frank Carlucci to John Major go to work for the Carlyle Group when they leave office. This group manages weapons sales to the Saudi state. They use their influence in govt to keep the gravy train going. Their corporate backers give the impression that the Saudis our the friends of the US public. Meanwhile the same Saudi family is known to fund terrorism...but hey, whats a little blood between business partners? The US govt is working against its own public here, but remember its who gets paid that counts.

Anyone have a link to the original website? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466184)

Time to start hacking for America!

doesn't matter (4, Funny)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465890)

i'll be playing NES games on my modded xbox for the rest of my life.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465891)

nm

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465892)

FP

Problem for Microsoft? (-1, Offtopic)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465895)

We can only hope...

Halo 2? (4, Insightful)

mj2k (726937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465990)

This is what I've suspected all along - delay halo 2's release another 3 months (which considering it's already 3.5 months behind schedule already wouldn't be a surprise), and expedite release date of the xbox 2. That way they can force everyone that wants halo 2 to upgrade (and who didn't buy the xbox at least partially because of the existence of halo?).

Re:Halo 2? (5, Interesting)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466089)

Halo 2's release date is supposedly set in stone. The guy who announced it had it tatooed on his arm, and was showing it off at E3. After a publicity stunt like that, I don't think they're about to push it back any further - if I had an important event date tatooed on me, I'd make DAMN SURE that event happened on time.

ha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465902)

microsoft has been shooting itself in the foot everytime it has a shot at something, but they can afford the medical bills so its not like they care.

Microsoft Screw up? (0)

solaufein (576986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465903)

Nah, not them. They'd never be drastically wrong on anything! /sarcasm

No, no, no (5, Interesting)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465913)

"Xbox has done pretty well so far, but Microsoft could be heading for a disaster that even Bill's billions won't dig them out of..."

You do realize that you are talking about a company that has almost $60 Billion (with a B) just in reserves alone. They are sitting on this money! Add into what they make in revenue and the profit off that.

I know this is an editorial and all and very light on research findings but this paragraph right here struck me as odd:

"The belief within Microsoft's top Xbox executives, according to company insiders, is that the main reason that Xbox has failed to seriously challenge the PlayStation 2 is because Sony had first mover advantage - a gap of a year in which to build up its installed base and convince consumers and industry alike that it was the key platform of the next generation. Hence the urgency around launching Xbox 2 well ahead of its competitors; if, as seems increasingly likely, PlayStation 3 doesn't arrive until late 2006 or even early 2007, Microsoft believes that it will have won a huge competitive advantage by being to market as much as two years earlier. This, the conventional wisdom says, is how Microsoft will crush Sony."

Just because you release a platform before a competitor doesn't automatically make it better. The movie industry is notorious for this. Think back in 1999, The release of Armageddon was very hyped at this time, Hell, McDonalds had a friggin contest for it. However, before that release came this little movie called Deep Impact. It was an OK movie, but lacked some parts. It was rushed, designed to make it out before Armageddon and take a cut into it's sales. The movies had the same premise and theme, but Armageddon destroyed Deep Impact in both the box office and dvd/vhs sales. In this case, Microsfot doesn;t know when Sony will release the PS3. The PS3 is so highly anticipated right now, that developers are already writing games for it, studios have already put aside funds. The same cannot be said for a next generation Xbox.

I am not totally sure on this, but has the Xbox managed to outsell the PS2 in any month except for when the Xbox was first released? When will companies learn that to make a market share, you have to be different. Playstation become popular back in the day because they were disc-based. They were able to hold more space, add better graphics, play music, play full-motion video. But most of all they had the game developers behind them.

I would be very interested to see what Microsfot has to offer that will be different from the rest. It definitly wasn't a 40 GB hard drive. I think this will be great for Sony to see what they can enhance upon for their game system, considering the PS3 has been in development for what? 3-4 years now.. perhaps longer? I think they might have a slight advantage and a better product.

Just my $0.02.

Re:No, no, no (5, Informative)

7Ghent (115876) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465971)

Gaming platforms != movies

A gaming platform is an investment that you'll spend several hundred on, games, controllers, etc.. A movie is just a movie. Because I see a movie this weekend doesnt mean I won't see one next weekend, even if it's similar. However, if I buy a console this weekend, I'm definitely not buying one next weekend.

Your analogy sucks.

Re:No, no, no (1, Interesting)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466053)

I'm not sure you understood me here... I'm applying the PREMISE of releasing movies in Hollywood to the PREMISE of this editorial and releasing game consoles. My comments were that it seems Microsoft is rushing to beat these guys out to take away a market share from others... A kind of gimmick to say "here, try me first". However, if you KNOW a big one if coming down the line, why not wait to see the one that will be the better of the 2? Why even waste your money on the first?

Re:No, no, no (1, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465975)

I'd guess that the average game console life is probably around three years. Whether that comes from the obsolete technology, the natural decline of sales, or the short attention spans of the public (especially those that play video games?), I don't know. Xbox 2 might capitalize on the lull between PS2 and PS3. But you bring up a really good point about the movies - timing isn't everything. Quality means a hell of a lot more.

Re:No, no, no (1, Offtopic)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466159)

Quality means a hell of a lot more.
Deep impact vs Armegeddon:


Deep impact:
Thoughtful almost plausible and mostly logically correct if scientifically flawed movies with good actors and a decent script.

Armegeddon:
Schlok. And lots of it. Scientifically garbabge, Acting is not very good. Plot is silly.

One vastly out sell the other.

VHS vs BETA

VHS: looks like garbage but is long

Beta: Look great, but is short originally

VHS wins.

IT's not so much about "Quality" as it is about marketing / reputation / Availability / and receptiveness of the market. Only 2 of the 4 things can be controlled by a producer.

Re:No, no, no (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465986)

no need for movie references..

you can just cite CONSOLES on this that being first on the market with decent hw doesn't necessarely mean you're a winner.

however, if you need a scapegoat then it's a pretty good reason.

xbox isn't all bad, had I a decently sized home theater it would be almost a must buy(as a mediaplayer and the occasional game). irony being though that if ms would have had their way(by having their drm uncompromised) nobody of the people I know who've bought the xbox would have bought it.. (those went for the ps2).

Re:No, no, no (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466002)

The XBox outsold the PS2 in April of this year due to the $150 pricing, that was rapidly reversed in May with the matching PS2 price cut.

Re:No, no, no (5, Interesting)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466012)

The belief within Microsoft's top Xbox executives, according to company insiders, is that the main reason that Xbox has failed to seriously challenge the PlayStation 2 is because Sony had first mover advantage

Isn't this obvious to everyone??! What the hell is wrong with these Xbox executives?

The reason that the Xbox hasn't challenged the PlayStation 2 is that when you walk into a GameStop, there's an entire wall of PS2 games - plenty of good titles, at that - and three little rows of stuff that's either terrible (Outlaw Golf, anyone?) or available on PS2.

The reason XBox hasn't challenged PlayStation 2 is the same reason the Sega Master System couldn't challenge the NES: Despite the fact that the former are superior pieces of hardware, the latter has the best, and most, contracts with game designers.

I think the XBox is a fantastic machine. I've played GTA3 on both XBox and PS2, and it's simply more enjoyable for XBox.

But, as an XBox owner, every time I think "You know, I'd like to play a strategy game.. or maybe an RPG..." all I can do is lament the fact that all the good titles are on the other wall.

Re:No, no, no (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466030)

Microsoft is thinking from a marketer's viewpoint. They want that extra time to advertise their product and push it. What they fail to realize is that, if their console sucks because they pushed it out too soon, all the marketing in the world won't save them. Just look at N-Gage.

Re:No, no, no (5, Insightful)

Octagon Most (522688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466050)

One serious danger in consoles is that if the product doesn't match up well against rivals then the manufacturer is stuck with it until the next generation. This isn't the case in the software world where Microsoft lives. Software is often rushed to market and then patched and upgraded "in place" while the consumer is using it. The early adopters suffer but that hasn't cooled the purchase of fresh new products, thus the practice continues. Microsoft could emulate this approach in the game console space by building a system that can be upgraded via software. If an Xbox 2 can be converted to an Xbox 2.1 with a CD that flash-upgrades the OS, then we have a new paradigm in game consoles. They become more like software and a much more familiar competitive environment for Microsoft.

Re:No, no, no (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466215)

Want to bet that the cost of the firmware upgrade would be, oh, I dunno, around $99?

Re:No, no, no (1)

Shaheen (313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466084)

I am not totally sure on this, but has the Xbox managed to outsell the PS2 in any month except for when the Xbox was first released?

Yes, it has [gamespot.com] .

Re:No, no, no (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466161)

Deep Impact was also marketed far less than Armageddon was. And as for your one person subjective opinion that Deep Impact was an "OK movie, but lacked some parts", tens of thousands of people actually thought it was better [http] than Armageddon [imdb.com] .

If the Xbox 2 is a better product, coming out early will be just fine. MS can take a profit hit on the Xbox 2 or market the pants off of Sony if they really wanted to win this one.

Sony is Japanese (0, Flamebait)

Adolph_Hitler (713286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466179)


The real reason that companies are kissing Sony's ass is because Sony is a Japanese company. Japanese studios never support American companies no matter how good Microsofts hardware or software is they will never win the Japanese developers. The problem is the Japanese developers make all the good games and these developers are all loyal to Sony because Sony is run by Japanese people who look like them.

So the real reason Microsoft can't win developers is pretty obvious and until western developers can make decent games everyone will buy a PS2 and then a PS3.

Microsofts best move right now would be to buy Sega.

Re:No, no, no (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466199)

Just because you release a platform before a competitor doesn't automatically make it better.

Yes, if you had read more than the first few paragraphs, you would have seen that the author said something very similar to what you said. They didn't say that releasing first WOULD get them a better market share, they said that's what Microsoft seems to be thinking. At the end of the article they said:

It would also do well to remember that in fact, PlayStation 2 didn't have first mover advantage in the last generation; that dubious honour fell to Sega's Dreamcast, which launched well ahead of its Sony competitor and was completely crushed by a combination of consumer anticipation for the Sony console, and publishers being perfectly happy to stick with PlayStation 1 and wait for its successor. Two years later, Sega was out of the console business for good; and while that seems unlikely to happen to Microsoft, a defeat on that scale in the next generation would be a crushing blow to its ambitions in the console space.

I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

intuit (729653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465921)

Microsoft is bad for rushing to release XBOX 2. Microsoft is bad for pushing back the deadline for Longhorn so they can make it better. Nice logic, everyone.

mod up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465992)

the man has a very good point...

Re:I'm confused... (4, Insightful)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466017)

Microsoft is bad for rushing to release XBOX 2.

That's not the point. The article argues that Microsoft's rush to be "first to market" ignores the next-generation R&D going on in the industry.

...and XNA being a hurdle to studios seeking to offer cross-platform titles.

Re:I'm confused... (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466205)

Microsoft would be bad if they cured cancer.

Logic (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466207)

The logic is due to the fact they are in different markets, that operate differently..

backfire, well we'll fire back! (4, Informative)

2057 (600541) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465922)

Well I actually like the Microsoft plan to release it before their rivals, because to be honest, there are people who would buy this. If they release in between ps2 an ps3 they maybe able to pick up on the ps2 heads who are looking for the latest system. And if they are the only ones releasing during these years that will increase their profits, because there will be no competition, people will always buy whats new even if they already have something similar.

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465950)

Hum..... no ??

Remember what happened to Dreamcast ??

lauch ahead as much as you want, when the next console comes out, if its better than yours, your console will die.

MS would be well advised no too rush too much or it will again lose money and be forced to lower prices below cost just to keep up (if that's enough)

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (2, Interesting)

2057 (600541) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466033)

what happened to Dreamcast was that Sega had huge losses because of previous failed systems, they didn't have enough capital or games to back their project up. Microsoft has had success with Xbox and I assume that Xbox2 will be a backwards compatiable, and that will ensure previous Xbox users have a home in Xbox2. And as for if PS3 comes out and its deemed better than Xbox2, then guess what, in a year or two XBox3 will be out. Its a one up game.

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466055)

"Microsoft has had success with Xbox and I assume that Xbox2 will be a backwards compatiable"

Why? None of their software for PCs is.

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (1, Redundant)

peragrin (659227) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466144)

Really Xbox is a success?? have they turned a profit on it yet? last I knew MS was selling the Xbox for little to no profit and were technically losing money on every machine sold. They may be doing better now that the hardware is older, but the Xbox2 is supposed to be a dual powerPC, how is MS going to sell that for $300 bucks?

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (1)

canon006 (651202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466164)

I seem to remember reading a while ago that they were planning on using a different architecture for the cpu(Power PC?) and ATi for video. If that's the case then they'll have to do some heafty emulation to make the system backwards compatible with current Xbox games and that may affect performance to much to allow for the same experience. I'm not exactly 100% on this, maybe someone else has some better insight.

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (1)

josh3736 (745265) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466105)

Don't bring the Dreamcast into this. It's not relevant.

  1. The reason the Dreamcast failed was mostly due to the fact that its anti-copy scheme was broken. Any average gamer with an Internet connection and a burner could get any game for free. No one wanted to develop games when the ease of piracy is that high.
  2. The Dreamcast was Sega's last-ditch effort to make a comeback in the console market. After the miserable failures of the SEGA CD and the Saturn, they were almost a joke.

Don't get me wrong though, I love my Dreamcast. I still play it. It is technically superior to the PS2. It really is quite unfortunate that it failed.

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466216)

> The reason the Dreamcast failed was mostly due to the fact that its anti-copy scheme was broken

Nice theory, but most major developers had already passed on the Dreamcst before anything was broken. 2057 has a better explaination -- It was a 4 way race, and Sega was the weakest competitor and was passed over.

Even so, Dreamcast sold well enough that it could have hung around if Sega had the yen.

Re:backfire, well we'll fire back! (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466212)

Bad strategy. MS is not trying to simply fill the void between ps2 and ps3, they want to keep selling after the ps3 is released.

But if the rush to market, they will get pinned. Sony will easily exceed the technology in the xbox2 because its already out...

MS needs to release the xb2 at a time before Sony releases their ps3, but after its too late for Sony to make any changes.

Poor sales/titles (4, Insightful)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465923)

Poor sales and weak titles [about.com] may be one reason for the change.

On a side note, I couldn't believe my eyes the other day when I saw a brand new X-Box on sale for $99.

Re:Poor sales/titles (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466066)

Xbox had its share of good system exclusives (Halo, Crimson Skies, Mechwarrior etc). And its ports generally had a technical edge.

I think PS2's success results from early mover combined with backwards compatability with the massively popular PS1. It also has some good exclusives: Gran Turismo, the FF stuff, and GTA for a while.

I have all 3 systems, and GC is definately my favorite, but PS2 is a distant 3rd. The Eye Toy is kind of neat though...seems like something Nintendo shoulda done.

If the Xbox2 isn't backwards compatible a dreamcast route is very possible, Xbox just doesn't have enough established franchise strength. (And even if it is backwards compatible, the Xbox won't have the propelling power PS1 did)

Re:Poor sales/titles (1)

Glonk (103787) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466090)

That article is about 2 years old, the Xbox and Gamecube both have much larger audiences now than in 2002, so software sales are likely higher. I can't help but think linking to 2002 annual figures was just a sleight of hand on your part, because the PS2 had already been on the market a year or two and the Xbox and Gamecube were newer with a fraction of the install base.

Re:Poor sales/titles (1)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466122)

can't help but think linking to 2002 annual figures was just a sleight of hand on your part

No, it wasn't intentional, thanks for pointing out the date of the article, my mistake.

Re:Poor sales/titles (1)

SteveXE (641833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466208)

Poor Sales? Xbox games have been hitting #1 in sales charts the last few months, and many times there have been more Xbox games in the top 5 then PS2 or GCN.

Weak Titles? You mean weak like Halo, Splinter Cell, PGR2, Mech Assault, Crimson Skies, KOTOR etc etc?

Or did were you talking about upcoming weak titles like Halo 2, Mech Assault 2, Doom 3, Fable, or Jade Empire?

Xbox has more AAA titles by scale then any system out there, problem is way to many people live in denial and wont just wake up and see the truth. You name any GCN or PS2 title and ill fire back with 2 for Xbox...well i wont really, only cause i have a life, its friday, and its my BDAY!

Innovate new games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465943)

Maybe if they would innovate new games they would not have to worry about the crappy sales they have now based on *sequels* to games.

You don't understand the power of the Microsoft (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465945)

"Microsoft may be making a colossal mistake by trying to force the industry into a next-generation cycle before it is ready to move."

MS has been doing this for years in the IT industry, and succeeding at it. Why should this be any different? Microsoft says Jump, and the IT industry asks "How high?"

Re:You don't understand the power of the Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465985)

"mod me down and i will become more powerful than you could ever imagine"...

riiiight, by not having anyone see your posts, by having negative karma and having future posts starting at 0 or less, therefore preventing even more people from seeing your posts?

this is slashdot, f00

Re:You don't understand the power of the Microsoft (5, Insightful)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466071)

Because, with the XBox, the Microsoft has been screaming "JUMP!" at the games industry for over a year. The industry has remained unconcerned. Looks like Microsoft's treating an industry it's trying to dominate with one it's already dominated.

Re:You don't understand the power of the Microsoft (1)

Rotworm (649729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466079)

RTFA, that was addressed in the commentary. They are a large player in IT, and they are still a small fry in the gaming industry. What works in IT doesn't neccessarily work with consoles.

Re:You don't understand the power of the Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466214)

Heck, last few times they yelled "JUMP" in IT were not even that successful:

JUMP! to .NET - Hmmm. That has gone over nicely
JUMP! to XP - Well, it is slowly happening, but we're not talking '95 here.
JUMP! to PocketPC - Right. I have one, and in a building of over 600 IT people, there are three more. Against over 80 new palm pilots...

MS yells "Jump", the industry says "Why?". They are not the powerhouse they were in the nineties, it just hasn't taken them down yet.

Re:You don't understand the power of the Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466217)

Because Microsoft doesn't have dominance in the videogame industry. Sony does. They aren't the trend setters like they are in IT, and they're trying to act like they are. The videogame insdustry jumps when Sony does, because they are in control. Microsoft isn't. And I doubt they're gona think different when PS2 and Gamecube are still profitable.

So much for cross-console games? (2, Insightful)

flashinglights (694554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465949)

By releasing their console years ahead of Sony and Nintendo's next boxes, Microsoft will lose on game selection, unless they plan on writing all the games themselves/and or hiring games companies to write exclusively for the XBOX. Seems like most really popular games come out for multiple consoles simultaneously... (a certain non-swimming action franchise notwithstanding). Where will the developers be at when XBOX2 comes out?

Re:So much for cross-console games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466040)

This seems strange to me. If a console maker wants to release a cross platform game, they can still do it with the same art, it just won't look as nice as it possibly could look on the xBox 2, but for a lot of genres that doesn't matter.
Sure they will need to have some programmers who know how to program xBox 2, and not being a serious game dev, I don't know how easy it is to share code, although the article claim it was right now, but I think that if a company has a great title, that the impediment of porting it to xBox 2 won't be prohibitive, at least in all cases.

Re:So much for cross-console games? (1)

funkdid (780888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466100)

This is only going to cause Sony to scramble their plans for PS3. Microsoft is trying to force Sony to rush their product and thereby not include all the features that they had planned on.

What is interesting is wether or not Sony will bite. Good poker game developing here.

If Sony bites then - advantage Xbox for now it is competing with PS2.75 not PS3. We will see games for "PS3 and Xbox2, and PC CD-rom" Xbox will maintain it's slight edge in the graphics department (maybe) and it continues the status quo.

The alternative- Sony doesn't bite and Xbox2 has only a few games written for it and developers refuse to adopt it (as most of the IT industry does when MS comes out with a new product). We continue to see games written for "PS2, Xbox, and PC CD-rom".

It indeed could be a danger (4, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465955)

Three points
1) The article does point out (correctly) that Microsoft's idea of first to market being key to the next generation is not supported by what happened to the Dreamcast console, which was first to market.
2) Even if Microsoft does come out with the Xbox 2 sooner it would have to be light years ahead of the PS2 to get an audience, because both the XBox and the Gamecube are better machines in terms of graphics capacity now, and that is not enough to overcome Sony's dominance
3) I find the generation counting (5th generation -- since NES) offensive. What happened to Atari 2600/Intellivision/Coleco Vision?

Re:It indeed could be a danger (1)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466153)

What about the Odyssey? Came out before the 2600. The Odyssey 2 was a 2600 contemporary. You could kill someone with the controllers for that thing.

Re:It indeed could be a danger (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466183)

"3) I find the generation counting (5th generation -- since NES) offensive. What happened to Atari 2600/Intellivision/Coleco Vision?"

That's like the debate when the year 2000 rolled around. Did it start in the year 0 or the year 1? Where do you start counting from?

Re:It indeed could be a danger (1)

Dizzle (781717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466210)

2000. It looks a lot nicer and fits in with how we do our decades.

History says this is bad, mmmk. (5, Interesting)

schild (713993) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465960)

Sega tried this. Remember the dreamcast erhmmm the 32x and THEN the dreamcast?

Remember the CD-i?
Remember the 3D0?
Remember the Atari Jaguar?

These weren't experimental systems. They were meant to beat the big guys to the punch, whether it was Nintendo or Sega back then.

The Dreamcast (still my favorite recent gen system) got trashed by the ps1 and the n64. It keeps me up at night thinking about how much better games for the Dreamcast would have been.

However, if I remember correctly, the PS2 was launched a year before the GC and the Xbox....Hmmmm, no one was naysaying when Sony was planning on doing that, and look at them now - on top by a large margin.

XBox shooting themselves in the foot? Not if they have Ninja Gaiden, a Halo spinoff and other stuff coming out. Oh and backwards compatibility, they NEED backwards compatibility, no matter HOW HARD it is. I'd put some cash, money, hoes on that being the reason the PS2 succeeded as quickly as it did.

Failures (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466111)

Remember the CD-i?

Technology was too new at the time. Too expensive. Just not very well thought out. This was Philips, not Nintendo.

Remember the 3D0?

Way, way overpriced. They thought young adults would pay $700 for a game system. Not gonna happen.

Remember the Atari Jaguar?

Attempted last gasp for breath from Atari in the home market. They hadn't had anything remotely successful since the 2600.

Re: you've got your consoles confused (5, Informative)

mapmaker (140036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466155)

It was the Sega Saturn that got trounced by the PS1 and N64. The Dreamcast got trounced by the PS2 and Xbox.

But your point is right on. Sega proved it not once but twice!

Re:History says this is bad, mmmk. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466175)

I have to agree, as a GC owner I fully understand the reason its not backword compatible there is not phyiscal room in the device for a cartrige connector but that is the biggest regret I have. I still want to play some of my N64 games, I had to reach back behind the console and swich the cable for awhile and later I went out and sent $22 on a decent switch so I could connect both to my NTSC-VGA pulliup thingy that lets me plug my console into the KVM with my computer. I have purchase a good library of GC titles and I can tell you it will greatly effect how quickly I buy Nintendo's next system. If it is backword compatible I will probably do it right away so I can sprinkle in the new titles, if its not I will wait a year or two until I get completely sick of my old games.

xbox2 != Sega Dreamcast. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465962)

The Dreamcast bombed because sega screwed all their customers beforehand with their last 3 systems. Customers had no confidence in the Sega the company, and showed them that by not buying the dreamcast which was actually a pretty good system.

Microsoft hasn't displayed the same hubris ( kind of a shock ) and it's probably a 50/50 chance of success. It would be made better with backwards compatibility, but i don't know if thats a feature of the xbox 2

On cross platform development (-1, Troll)

Samir Gupta (623651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465972)

The main thesis of the author seems to be that Xbox 2 will be difficult to develop for in a cross-platform environment.

I do not necessarily believe this to be the case. Xbox 2 alpha devkits are already deployed, and I think it's safe to say that major middleware vendors such as Renderware, Havok, etc. whose products are specifically designed to facilitate easy cross platform development are already working on Xbox 2 versions of their APIs.

When PS3 comes out, in theory (of course, I know in real life, it's never this easy), they should just be able to recompile and reexport art assets.

Furthermore, Xbox was much easier, from a developer's standpoint, to develop for than PS2. Microsoft had an full graphics, sound, and networking API in the form of DirectX/XTL, rather than Sony that gave you little more than a set of specs about instruction sets, registers, and memory locations for the various processors (EE, GS, IOP) and minimalist sample code. Xbox's dev/debug tools have always been much slicker and helpful than what Sony gave you out of the box.

Without disclosing any NDA stuff, I can say that developers will likely continue to have much less a learning curve with Xbox 2 than PS3, and this advantage must be factored in.

XBox2 comes in at sonic speeds... (2, Funny)

standsolid (619377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465976)

This is what I'm picturing... stay with me here...

A white background... a blur of blue goes by the center of your screen. The word "SEGA" appears, and resounding voices sing the name "SAY-GAH"

The dreamcast, although ahead of it's time, came out year(s?) before the ps/2. Now look at Sega.

I say this is a good thing and microsoft should release XBox-2 as quickly as possible to get the jump on Sony and Nintendo...but of course I am not one who appricates Microsoft...

The Xbox 2 looks cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9465995)

But I'll only get it if I can turn it into a Linux box. Xbox Gentoo would let me run my MAME games.

I think the article is right on in one area... (1)

Cherveny (647444) | more than 10 years ago | (#9465997)

In the console market, a company MUST consider the needs and focus of the game development companies.

Because a console can do nothing without games written for it, and you cannot use a console for really anything but the licensed games (unless you mod the box, possibly breaking ability to play regular games), launching a console line without a strong commitment from development houses is just asking for a financial flop!

Of course, Microsoft does have enough muscle to do it's own development, but not enough to pump out enough games to support a purchase decision to buy the console.

Microsoft needs to know their place (1, Interesting)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466001)

In other words, studios are being asked to invest in next-generation R&D two years before it's required for PS3, and to spend more money developing an Xbox 2 version of a cross platform title - for an audience of a few million people - than they'll spend developing all three current-generation versions of the game - for an audience of well over a hundred million...

...Herein lies the arrogance; Microsoft isn't used to making decisions as an industry small-fry, and it's trying to act like an industry leader in an industry it simply doesn't lead.


Microsoft is so proud, that they're becoming blind to the fact that their brand name is become a joke in pop culture. Add that to the fact that Sony's PS3 will be a revolutionary CPU design, whereas Xbox2 will only be cutting edge.

Pride comes before a fall, guys (Prov 16:18). Just keep focussed on making something great and forget about the competition; Sony did.

Re:Microsoft needs to know their place (2, Insightful)

geeber (520231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466120)

Microsoft is so proud, that they're becoming blind to the fact that their brand name is become a joke in pop culture.

Is that really true? I would imagine the brand name of Microsoft is extremely strong in popular culture. It strikes me that Microsoft's brand may have a very poor image here at Slashdot, but Slashdot doesn't exactly equate to popular culture.

Re:Microsoft needs to know their place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466145)

As I read the above post I kept wondering how it could be considered flamebait until I got right to the end:

"Just keep focussed on making something great..."

Oh.. Now I get it

Re:Microsoft needs to know their place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466194)

RTFA Correction:

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" Prov 16:18(KJV)

Oh, wait is it acceptable to use RTFA after a Bible verse? Something else for the Father Confessor and I to talk about.

Too early. (1)

IronMagnus (777535) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466006)

If they want to damage Sony's market share, they should make the console as good as possible and release it at the same time as the PS3... releasing it a couple years before hand just means people will have that much time to save up for their next system, the PS3, not to mention the millions of kids that will have entered the 'video game playing' age bracket that weren't there for xbox2, they will be getting the PS3, not that 2 year old crappy xbox2 system.

Pretty well? (5, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466007)

Xbox has done pretty well so far,

Sure, if failing to make a single penny in profit is "pretty well"...

...if having only 1 game in any of the annual top ten sales charts, and that being "Halo" from back in 2001, is "pretty well"...

...if having sold even fewer units than Nintendo's GameCube is "pretty well"...

...if being outsold by the PSOne in Japan is "pretty well"...

...then yes, Xbox has done pretty well. And to think people accuse Slashdot of being anti-Microsoft!

Been here before -- Nvidia? (4, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466011)

Isn't this just what Nvidia did? The XBOX is already the most capable console out there, it makes the ps2 look primitive, and it is signifigantly more powerful than the GC but I wouldn't say dramatically so. For years when Nvidia was the only real manufacturer of GPU's, instead of resting on their laurels they pushed ahead and released new products month after month after month. A lot of companies were prevented from competing with Nvidia had raised the bar dramatically. I submit this is exactly what MS is trying to do, raise the bar for Sony, make it more expensive for them, to screw up their PS3 plans, and prevent competition in the general sense.

"First-Mover Advantage" Won't Help... (5, Informative)

GTRacer (234395) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466014)

...If PS3 is backwards-compatible. Follow me here - Sure, Xbox 2 (or Ybox, or why bother?) will have prettier graphics and a lot of "new-tech" cachet. But the fracture in the game-space of having two incompatible Xboxen might be the opening PS3 needs to keep Sony on top.

Since PS2 dev won't have to stop for PS3, all the investment and tricks learned will still be valuable. Sure, some developers and publishers will stop PS2 coding, but look at how many PS1 games are still out there!

Microsoft won't have that, and they're also asking gamers to keep two systems. Sony is effectively saying "Upgrade to the $350 PS3 by trading in the PS2 for $100, and keep all your games!".

Much less risk to go Sony.

I still want an X2, but I know who's getting my money first!

GTRacer
- Read the FA for once!

Backwards compatibility (5, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466023)

*IF* the Xbox2 will be backwards compatible (and considering the architecture of a proposed PPC chip and all, that will be very surprising), then this will be a good move. New games that the article talks about that are multi-platform will still work with the Xbox 2, and new games will look "neato!" on the Xbox2's new hardware.

BUT!

If the Xbox2 is *not* backwards compatible, then yes, this could be a problem. If I have a choice between Xbox 1 with a library of games, or the Xbox2 with a few new games, or the PS2 with a ton of new and old games (with the promise that the upcoming PS3 will play all of my current games), then it's going to be a no-brainer for the majority of people out there. And all it will do is change the Xbox divivion from losing over $500 million to one losing more.

Even Microsoft's investors can't stand a division losing money forever, no matter how much Windows and Office brings in.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Re:Backwards compatibility (2, Informative)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466136)

*IF* the Xbox2 will be backwards compatible (and considering the architecture of a proposed PPC chip and all, that will be very surprising)

I'm having trouble finding articles suggesting what will happen one way or another. I can't see how they would freeze out current Xbox owners, and expect to sell new expensive consoles. People would go nuts. But, as you say, Intel vs. PPC. Any links on this issue?

No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466044)

MS NEVER gets it right the first time, but they almost always get it right after years of trying. The quicker they dump xbox and move on the better. If they can deliver a great toolset in XNA (admit it, MS does great developer tools) and a platform that makes it shine, they will have a winner. In any case, they can afford many more losses.

Hangon... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466048)

Wasn't X-Box the last console to market? Like, 18 months after the PS2, if I remember correctly. So, while the X-Box may not have had it's full life, but it's not going to be that early for the next-gen consoles?

Also, isn't the PS2 meant to be coming out in late 2005, early 2006? In which case, it's not going to be all that early, really, is it?

What a tit. (0)

sean23007 (143364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466061)

Studios which focus on cross-platform titles, as many of the largest publishers in the world do, face a gigantic problem - while developing a title on PS2, Xbox and GameCube is an easy prospect as code, art and audio can be effectively reused on all three platforms, adding a next-generation platform to the mix will require complete re-development.

What the buzzing? Code, art, and audio can all be shared across the current generation, but not into the next? Code cannot be shared between the Xbox, the PS2 and the GC. They are completely different platforms, with completely different architectures. Any code you can share between them is algorithmic code that can easily be shared with any next-gen system. Art? If you can share art between current systems, why couldn't you do it between a current system and a new system? It may not be everything the new system is capable of displaying, but these consoles don't exactly choke on images that are too easy. (And if the art is designed from the start to be displayed on the Xbox2, then they've already spent the money developing for that system, and it is a trivial process of dumbing it down for lesser machines.) And audio? AUDIO? It's exactly the same. All of it. No difference. There will be no problem here, at all.

I don't think it's a good idea for Microsoft to try to be the first to market in the next generation, but this chap is a raving lunatic. That point is completely invalid, as anyone who's ever even USED a computer or a console before ought to know better than this.

It worked for them before ... (2, Interesting)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466073)

Given that it's only been a couple years, MS hasn't yet made a profit on it's XBOX venture. But it's got about $60B to wait around for that to happen. As soon as XBOX came out, then Sony knew what PS3 was going to have to look like. PS2 didn't have the integrated hard drive or networking or graphic/computing capabilities. It was made to compete with Dreamcast and N64. So, all those PS2 fans took solace in the game library, which is formidable, but on every other front, XBOX makes PS2 look like a hairy ass-pimple.

I personally would rely on PS3 being a reaction to XBOX1, then crush them into the ground with XBOX2, but then again, maybe that's why I don't run a multibillion $$$ corporation.

Something that was missed (2, Interesting)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466083)

What is to stop Microsoft from releasing this at the end of the year and then relasing the NEXT version a few months after the PS3? They would get all the folks who picked up a Xbox 2 looking to get the 3. This would greatly expand their user base. They have a lot of $$$ to throw at this.

Xbox has NOT done pretty well so far (4, Informative)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466088)

The Xbox is in a catch 22 situation. Because it loses so much money on every console, the more it sells, the more Microsoft loses.

The loss estimates so far are in the billions:

Here read this:

http://www.itworld.com/App/4201/030203xboxlosses /

this is about their losses in 2002 doubling!!

in this more recent piece the Biz magazine says Msft has lost BILLIONS so far.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?se ct ion_name=pub&aid=3489

Here's an article on its big loses in 2003

http://www.1up.com/article2/0,4364,1519194,00.as p

here's an article talking about how they are losing money despite sales increases:

http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2 00 3/06/02/story7.html

Trying to emulate PS2 (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466092)

From the article, MS thinks that they can corner the next gen market by jumping in early, much like the PS2 did by coming out first (well, except for the Dreamcast). While they may get an early lead, Sony's next system will have better tech (like the XBox has now, and a reason some people claimed to get a XBox.), probably pulling customers back.

Sounds like a high risk move, which could backfire like Fahey thinks, or it could set them up to win large chunks of marketshare. Probably will come down to developers and actual games. And Sony could always start saying "PS3 coming out reeealll soon now" to try and blunt MS's early edge by making people wait (one reason why Apple is so tight lipped about new products, they don't want people not buying current systems and waiting for new stuff).

Fahey also points out that MS is losing money with each XBox sale. Assuming this is true, how will that change with a new system, unless they don't put in the best hardware, making a PS3 system look even better, tech wise?

Let MS try it, but I think they need something more compelling than "early mover" status to topple Sony as the game console leader.

Double Standard? (1)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466096)

PS2 has a year+ lead on the Xbox and that's a good thing. Xbox2 has a lead on the PS3 and suddently it's a BAD thing.

These microsoft guys just can't do ANYTHING right by you guys.

But Wait.... (0, Troll)

standsolid (619377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466112)

[attempted humor]
but wait! no one is even mentioning how Nintendo has a part in all of this! Why?
[/attempted humor]

Which is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466126)

"could be pretty drastically wrong"

It's about being first, not best... (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466133)

Look at BetaMax. It was a superior in quality to VHS, however, the VHS standard won out because it was marketed better.

For the record, I'm not a big fan of the Xbox.

Bigger risk is to wait (3, Interesting)

cmacb (547347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466148)

I thought I read AT LEAST two years ago that Sony had all the parts needed to make a Playstation 3 but was holding back due to the fact that there was no competition they needed to whomp at the time. Had XBox done better the PS3 would probably be out there now. I'd love to see the PS3 come out though, since as it was described it might not only be an XBox killer but a PC killer as well.

I hardly see how this move is a "risk" for Microsoft though. The bigger risk to Microsoft is that they just sit on their 50 Billion $ nest egg and wait for the Windows/Office monopoly to dry up. Having shot blanks with just about everything else they have tried, even Bill must be doubting his own genius by now.

If you had Sony to go up against in consumer electronics, IBM in IT consulting and hardware, Google, Yahoo and AOL in Internet space, and Open Software gradually picking up steam against your existing monopoly, wouldn't you be a bit worried? I bet the stock holders are.

Besides, who says the end of 2005 is a rush? In MS time that means 2007 at least.

If the Xbox2 is cheaper to produce!!! (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466160)

As Iposted earlier, the current Xbox loses a LOT of money, possibly billions of dollars. And the better it sells, the more Microsoft loses.

So, if the Xbox2 is cheaper to produce, and does not bleed money with every console sold, then it would certainly be in Microsoft's advantage to change over as quickly as possible.

However, if it's still a money pit, then there is absolutely NO reason to switch!

This is Microsoft... (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466173)

...third time will be the charm.

If I had to guess, I'd say the XBox 2 will suffer from second-system effect. (Although to be fair, everybody seems to be suffering from that on the next generation, except maybe Nintendo.) Which means it may actually be a cool device over all, but will probably not do well.

Look out for their third try.

(Hopefully it will get a more "fair" trial, as by then some of Sony's IMHO undeserved lustre will have worn off. Sony does not suck, but they do not rock as hard as everybody acts like they do. Take the three modern consoles, strip them of the "brand" they carry, and drop them into a hypothetical "fresh" market, and on technical merit, the PS2 is the big loser, in many ways that were actively bad design. (Parts of FFX made me almost cry... from the sparkles that should never have been there. Polygon counts aren't everything; quality counts too!))

(Forgive me, I'm still a secret Dreamcast partisan, and every time I see the PS2 botch something graphically the DC doesn't I am once again amazed at the design of the PS2; by all rights its quality should be uniformly better than the DC but it isn't... amazing.)

Online Console Gaming is the Future (4, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466189)

It seems to me that Microsoft would do better to concentrate on pressing their advantage in the online console gaming market with their XBOX Live service. This is an area where Microsoft is definitely ahead of Sony, which has left online gaming largely up to the individual publishers whereas Microsoft has concentrated on a single branded and managed service. The XBOX Live network can include a greater variety of content and better integration of online gaming services with the centralized service model. Also, smaller publishers, who would balk at the cost of maintaining their own online console gaming infrastructure, would definitely take advantage of the Microsoft branded service and the marketing support that comes with it.

The next generation console wars will clearly be decided in the online space. If Microsoft concentrates on this then they have a chance.

I've gotta say, I agree with them (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466193)

The only reason I can say that XBox is not currently the market leader is the fact that the PS2 launched a bit early.

I own all three (well, four, as I also own a Dreamcast) of the current-gen systems. If I were starting out today to purchase my consoles, but with my current experience with the systems, XBox and Gamecube would be a toss up for my first and second purchase, and the PS2 would be dead last. Put simply, Nintendo has great, great first party games, and the console just has a certain "character" that the others lack. XBox is vastly superior to the PS2 in hardware specs, from video and audio, even down to the fact that it supports four controls without an additional purchase. This means that cross-platform games end up getting purchased for my XBox because, simply put, they're going to look better and sound better in 99% of the cases. This is compounded by the fact that since I don't really have time to devote to lengthy RPGs or Turn-based strategy games (an area that I understand Sony has been shining in lately), I simply haven't seen a large amount of compelling, PS2-only titles in the last five or six months (although I'm certain someone will be more than happy to post some laundry list for me).

I wasn't always like this; I had a PS2 on the American release date, and I held off on my XBox purchase until they had two games that I was really, genuinely interested in (turned out to be DOA: 3 and Buffy, although I was pleasantly surprised by Halo, which I had discounted as yet another FPS). A year after my XBox purchase, it's rare for me to purchase a PS2 game, but still very common for me to grab GC or XBox games.

Although the first mover has technically lost the last three generations (you'd have to include DC in this one, which I do), the first major mover in the last three gens was also Sega, so I suppose we could simply chalk it up to mismanagement. That said, the only logical reason that I can see for the PS2's success was that it was first out of the gate, and the majority of people, the ones who don't own all the consoles, thus purchase PS2 games by default.

Now, whether or not MS will shoot themselves in the foot with an early XBox2 launch is another story. While there is a lot larger market for game consoles now than there used to be, it's hard to discount the sore feelings of people who "just bought an XBox1."

Major Games Publisher (1)

lib112x (741398) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466200)

Why does everyone always tell you they work for a major airline or a major pharmacutical research corporation? Do you think anyone cares? People just think you're a major asshole!

Remember the Golden Rule of Microsoft (1)

dokebi (624663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466219)

MS products have been crappy until the third version. Why should this be any different? Xbox-1 tanks. Xbox-2 is rushed. Xbox-3 will kill off Playstation AND Nintendo. (Well *I* hope not). But given the company's long history of the Third Version Charm, I'm saving my money for PS3.
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