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New Version of Xbox 360 Rumoured

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the maybe-maybe-not dept.

XBox (Games) 102

Carlo Becchi writes "According to Engadget a new version of the Xbox 360 is on the way. The next version of the console is codenamed 'Zephyr', and sports a bigger disk (120 Gb), better manufacturing process (65nm) and HDMI digital out up to 1080p. From the article: 'The 120GB drive may or may not come bundled with the kit, we don't yet know, just as we also don't yet know how much a Zephyr 360 is going to run (we imagine it'll go for the same price as currently so they can keep up a little on their expanding margin).'" It should be pointed out at this point the whole story is a fairly convincing photo and leaks from 'a source'. Take with a grain of salt.

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102 comments

HD-DVD?? (3, Interesting)

masdog (794316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477302)

Will it come with a built-in HD-DVD drive, or will I still be expected to pay $200 for that add-on?

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477388)

I doubt it, for the same price anyway. A "360 + HD-DVD drive" pack-in bundle is inevitable, but I imagine it would still cost a fair bit - especially if the 360 console in the pack is a new upgraded version.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477532)

Who knows? I think it's technically possible to have an internal HD-DVD drive. Seeing as the drives are apparently so expensive at the moment I can't see Microsoft putting a HD-DVD into the Xbox 360 and keeping the price the same though (even just for the bad PR of making people pay $200 extra for something that then becomes free for the newer model). Perhaps they'd add it as seperate model for a Crap / Premium / HD-DVD lineup or something.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477824)

Well, analysts were claiming that the Blu-Ray drive in the PS3 cost Sony $200 to produce so it is likely that a HD-DVD drive would cost a similar ammount for the XBox 360.

I would speculate that Microsoft might do this because the XBox 360 currently turns a profit, the redesigned XBox 360 will likely be less expensive to manufacture (by switching to 65nm they should be able to save money on the processors, power supply and cooling; HDMI and a larger hard-drive should not cost that much more than what the XBox 360 already has) and by switching to a different optical drive they may be able to prevent the firmware hacks that are currently on the XBox 360.

no built-in HD-DVD (1)

xswl0931 (562013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477536)

I doubt MS would have a built-in HD-DVD drive. For one thing, I don't believe the transfer speeds of the HD-DVD (reading DVD discs) are as fast as the current DVD drive. Also, I believe MS has stated several times that they believe the future of movie distribution is over the internet and their movie download service has been doing pretty good and they benefit directly from those sales vs sales of a HD-DVD addon.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477866)

Not going to happen. MS will be in no hurry to embrace one of the new dvd formats fully when it can just push its movie download service instead. MS doesn't benefit from HD-DVD the same way Sony benefits from Blu-Ray.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478178)

Microsoft is one of the key backers of HD DVD. They have committed hardware and software support for it. I'm not sure where you are getting your information from.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

master0ne (655374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484592)

i dont know if i would consider an add-on drive "comitted" it doesnt seem too far fetched that if hd-dvd fails thta MS could then release a blue-ray drive for the 360 aswell.... sony is Committed to Blue-ray, because if the format fails so does the ps3 where if hd-dvd fails, microsoft has the dvd fallback oprion and the ability to backpeddle and release a blue-ray drive...... just my 0.02 cents....

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486998)

No Microsoft is not a key backer of the HD-DVD consortium, Toshiba, Sanyo, NEC and Memory Tech are. Basically Microsoft is supporting HD-DVD since it throws a spanner in the Bluray consortium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_corporations _supporting_Blu-ray) which to them is Sony. If things change and Bluray starts to dominate then you will see Microsoft do a back-flip.

As far as Microsoft committing to hardware support then you really need to remember that Microsoft is a software company not a hardware company. Of course they do provide software support but that would not be that much different than providing software for a more elaborate DVD player, not exactly a a great effort on their part.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

tonywong (96839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478450)

Pray that it comes with a 3.5" bay for the HDD so you could theoretically upgrade it to a 750GB drive.

Re:HD-DVD?? (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17487036)

If it just had a USB port like the PlayStation then you can easily attach a larger drive. Why go for the added expense of replacing the dive? You should also be aware that the Xbox360 has a proprietary drive which can be quite expensive. I can't see this changing.

The most important thing people should be asking is will the HD-DVD drive be used for games and if it is then there are going to be some very pissed off console gamers forced to "up-grade" their machines.

I think Microsoft is now starting to realise that releasing early may not have been such a good idea. Yes the Xbox360 is ok now but in a year will it be without a major change, which could get many gamers offside? Of course Microsoft's PR department is excellent and they may convince people that this is a good thing.

Re:HD-DVD?? (2, Interesting)

trcooper (18794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17481366)

MS is on the record as saying that the HD-DVD drive will never be built in. Read this article, page 3. http://arstechnica.com/articles/headstart.ars [arstechnica.com]

I have to agree, not only are they tying their users to a format that may or may not be a success, I'd rather have the drive as an addon, because on all of these consoles the most likely things to go are the optical drives. Less stress on the main one, the better.

MS isn't as interested in the success of HD-DVD as sony is about BD either. Sony has always wanted to have full control of a storage format... So much so they were willing to sacrifice their space in portable music players to try and push mini discs. Apple wouldn't have stood a chance if Sony had been paying attention.

I'd go as far to say that MS supports HD-DVD mainly because they want to give Sony some hassle with this format war. MS really stands to benefit most if neither format really wins and VoD takes over.

Re:HD-DVD?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484292)

No because Blu-ray and HD-DVD drives ARE SLOWER than the DVD drive in the 360. Didn't all you notice all the reviews on cross-platform game reviews that noted how much slower PS3 games load than their 360 counterparts? Why would would you want to pay MORE money for SLOWER game loading?

Platinum Version (4, Funny)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477438)

Give me the ultimate version option, one with built in HD-DVD, Wireless, HDMI, and the 120GB HD. I'd pay $600 for that version.

I know they'll sell like hotcakes then. Especially if they smelled like hot cakes!

Re:Platinum Version (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478198)

Oh yes, that went so well for the PS3 :)

Re:Platinum Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17480728)

No, the PS3 just puts out enough heat to cook the hotcakes.

Re:Platinum Version (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478318)

Unlikely, MS has absolutely no reason to push HD-DVD other than to give an alternative to BluRay. More than likely they will try to skip the HD disc format altogether and push online video distribution which is so much cheaper, and far more lucrative.

And a price drop (4, Interesting)

glenrm (640773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477440)

For the current Pro model? Maybe making it the core system... So everybody gets a HDD... I hope this happens soon...

Re:And a price drop (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477516)

If that were to happen I would be rather tempted to buy one.

I just might end up with a console from each of the 3 players (Wii, PS2, 360), and this after having only one console (GC).

Re:And a price drop (1)

glenrm (640773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477694)

I will be getting a 360 when this happens, the question is how to get a Wii (congrats to you on getting one), everyplace I go they are out of stock, at least I can enjoy Final Fantasy on the DS Lite in the meantime.

Re:And a price drop (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478248)

Oh, heh, I havn't bought a Wii yet, Though living in NYC lets me just camp out overnight at the Nintendo Worlds store if I really want to (they apparently get shippments almost every day). I also havn't bought a PS2 yet as I am tryign to find a good bundle pack.

My current addiciton is Castlevania:PoR on the DS.

Re:And a price drop (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17480284)

Good addiction. Dracula is pissing me off. So is the conductor guy at the bottom of the Nest of Evil. They're both jerks.

Re:And a price drop (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478442)

the question is how to get a Wii (congrats to you on getting one), everyplace I go they are out of stock,

Well, the Fry's in Arlington, TX had about 15 of them 2 days ago, while I was buying an Xbox 360. They also had about 25 PS3s and a small mountain of Xbox360s.

I don't know if they were being sold as a bundle or anything. I just saw the wall of PS3 and Wii boxes in the cage behind the registers, and heard the cashier commenting on how many they had.

Re:And a price drop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477708)

Maybe making it the core system... So everybody gets a HDD.

YES! It would be so funny top read the tearful comments of those who trusted MS enough to buy the current "core" system thinking it had a future. I mean funny in a sad, sympathetic sort of way of course ;)

Re:And a price drop (2, Interesting)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477818)

I don't think so. It doesn't make sense to continue producing the pro version. Right now, the 2 models are the same, except for the HD and pack in accessories. Continuing to produce a non-hdmi, 90nm variant makes 0 sense. I would predict this taking the place of the current pro version, with the core version also getting the hdmi/65nm upgrade, but still shipping sans HD. Price points remain unchanged until the holidays.

Re:And a price drop (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478268)

I agree, the big issue is the 90nm, with the 65nm they will be making a lot more chips per wafer, which are much cheaper which drives everything, there will be absolutely no reason to produce any more 90nm chips.

Since drives are so dirt cheap, what could happen is the pro version comes with 120gb while the core version comes with 20gb drive, this would make a lot of sense since MS wants to push their videos and demos, which you can only get with a HD, for the manf cost of a 20gb drive, probably less than $20, they will make that back in no time.

Re:And a price drop (2, Insightful)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478328)

I doubt the 'core' system is going away.
Having a SKU without a HD lets them advertise a unit price that Sony will never be able to match*.
It also lets them remain price-competitive with Nintendo.

*Sure, Sony could match the price by taking horrible losses on hardware for the life of their console, as Microsoft did last go-round trying to keep up with the PS2. But I don't see Sony being in a position to do that.

Not unsurprising really (0)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477508)

The PS3 raised the bar by including HDMI, blu-ray support, a hard disk by default, wi-fi and some other bits and pieces. Microsoft have to update the XBox 360 to compete with that. What remains to be seen is whether the thing will include HD-DVD or would that cause MS to find themselves having to hike their prices to PS3 levels.

One certainty is that whether the XBox 360 does include HD-DVD, the games are going to be stuck on DVD. Seeing the massive strains placed on DVD by having FMV, higher textures & polys etc., this is going to be a thorn in their side for the lifetime of the 360.

There is also the question of what happens to the current models. My guess is that the "core" will go the way of the dodo, the existing premium will become core until stocks run out and then this one will take over but keeping the elevated price point.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

antifood (898331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477594)

They really have to compete with the PS3, because we all know how well it is doing right now... Right.

Re:Not unsurprising really (2, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477846)

1) How is HDMI raising the bar? The 360 can already do 1080p now without it.

2) Blu-Ray support is equivilent to HD-DVD support. The 360 wins here since you have the option of buying it or not.

3) HD by default is also advantage-360. Many people buy consoles without the need of downloading large amounts of movies/music/demos.

4) PS3 games over Wifi are horrible. There is a noticable lag difference vs ethernet.

5) Dual layer DVD's can hold near 10 gigs. PC games have been outputting at "1080p" like resolutions for years without requiring 10 gigs. If Gears of War can fit on a 10 gig disc, then any game in this generation of consoles can.

Re:Not unsurprising really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17478138)

5) Dual layer DVD's can hold near 10 gigs. PC games have been outputting at "1080p" like resolutions for years without requiring 10 gigs. If Gears of War can fit on a 10 gig disc, then any game in this generation of consoles can.

In point of fact Blue Dragon, the only xbox game ever to hit the top of the sales numbers in japan takes 3 DVDs. Games that don't fit on DVDs are already here.

Re:Not unsurprising really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17478892)

5) ... If Gears of War can fit on a 10 gig disc, then any game in this generation of consoles can.

So all games of this generation of console are going to be 6 hours long? Woot, time to break out the credit card for that nice $10/hr. Wait it's actually cheaper to go see a movie now. Perhaps the movie industry has something to do with this.

Re:Not unsurprising really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17478766)

Come on dude this is a tech site you can't come on here and spout B.S. and expect us not to call you on it.

1) How is HDMI raising the bar? The 360 can already do 1080p now without it.

"then why release an update including it..."

4) PS3 games over Wifi are horrible. There is a noticable lag difference vs ethernet.

"..don't know what PS3 you were playing my online experiences have been glorious via wi-fi. Lag-free and completely devoid of the 13-year old screaming in my ear how much I suck or how great he is. I personally hope the PS3 is 3rd this gen if the online play can stay the way it is now."

5) Dual layer DVD's can hold near 10 gigs. PC games have been outputting at "1080p" like resolutions for years without requiring 10 gigs. If Gears of War can fit on a 10 gig disc, then any game in this generation of consoles can.

"see above comment"

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479478)

Any network game depends on what other networking equipment you have...
And especially with wireless, you are subject to lots of factors including your routing equipment, other traffic on the network, interference from other sources, walls blocking the signals etc. At my parents house, wireless works terribly... You can browse the web and all seems normal, but anything interactive becomes unuseable, ssh sessions stall every few minutes.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478910)

1) How is HDMI raising the bar? The 360 can already do 1080p now without it.

Because HDMI is the standard for high definition TV. All televisions bearing an HD Ready logo in Europe require it (or DVI-D) and no doubt it's defacto standard in US and Japan, as well as the fact it offers better picture quality.

2) Blu-Ray support is equivilent to HD-DVD support. The 360 wins here since you have the option of buying it or not.

Yes, you have the option of buy some strap-on requiring its own power supply or not for a price which exceeds a PS3. Great choice.

3) HD by default is also advantage-360. Many people buy consoles without the need of downloading large amounts of movies/music/demos.

I don't even know what you are talking about here. Hobbling the 360 so that an harddrive may or may not be present does not do games or consumers any favours. Besides, not having an HD means you don't get any downloadable content, online gameplay, patches or backwards compatibility since software emulation requires a harddrive. Also note that the PS3 harddrive is a standard 2.5 inch SATA making it cheap and easy to expand if you wish unlike the ludicrously expensive 20Gb drive in a proprietary casing for the 360.

PS3 games over Wifi are horrible. There is a noticable lag difference vs ethernet.

Evidence for this? I expect that if you have an 801.11g router that the performance is perfectly acceptable. And if by some miracle you provide evidence that says otherwise, well... the PS3 has a gigabit ethernet support which is also another way it is better than a 360.

5) Dual layer DVD's can hold near 10 gigs. PC games have been outputting at "1080p" like resolutions for years without requiring 10 gigs. If Gears of War can fit on a 10 gig disc, then any game in this generation of consoles can.

Most games will fit on DVD, some won't, especially those of the GTA / Final Fantasy / Blue Dragon scale. Look forward to more and more that don't. Of course the 360 has one saving grace - its games are region locked so there is little reason to ship a single disc localised for many countries. Quite a double edged sword really.

Re:Not unsurprising really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17482296)

well... the PS3 has a gigabit ethernet support which is also another way it is better than a 360.
HA HA HA HA HA! That was great. I thought you were being serious until I read this part.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482776)

What's to laugh at? The PS3 has 1000baseT compared to 100baseT on the 360. Ten times as fast assuming the rest of your network were up to snuff. Obviously this is mostly a nonsense argument in the home but the original poster was claiming that PS3 wi-fi was anecdotally worse than fixed network, totally ignoring the fact that even if it were the PS3 still is superior to a 360 on the fixed networking.

At least the PS3 offers Wifi. To do the same on the 360 requires a $80-100 "gaming router". By the time you get the 360 anything remotely approaching a 60Gb you'd have spent a lot more.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

Jzor (982679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482030)

4) PS3 games over Wifi are horrible. There is a noticable lag difference vs ethernet.

I'll give you one really good example to blow this out of the water...

My younger brother purchased the cheaper version of the PS3. My parent's house is several miles outside of town and is hooked up to this extended range DSL from the local telco. (Pioneer Telephone @ Kingfisher, OK) It is supposed to be a 1.5Mbit line, and as you can imagine it never achieves that kind of bandwidth. This is hooked up to a Netgear 802.11g wireless router.

As I said, he got the cheap PS3 without wireless, and instead of running a cable down the hall from the router to the living room where he hooked up the PS3 he did the following:
Attach wireless equipped laptop to the household wireless network.
Connect PS3 to computer's ethernet port via crossover cable.
Share wireless network connection using windows internet connection sharing.

And voila! His PS3 is on the Internets. He also claims to me that the setup worked really well for playing Resistance online and he really didn't notice much horrible lag.

So you sir are full of shit. There is no way that this setup can provide any better performance than the PS3's own wireless card ever could.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486272)

Um, all PC games are highly compressed and important information that is needed constantly is put on the HDD.

double negatives... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477874)

so it IS surprising then?

Re:Not unsurprising really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17478070)

Seeing the massive strains placed on DVD by having FMV, higher textures & polys etc., this is going to be a thorn in their side for the lifetime of the 360.

I don't know if this will be a "thorn" or not. If you are buying the system purely for the graphics then maybe this will be a problem but the current games are already pretty realistic. Sure developers can continue to add realism but is that the primary reason to buy a game or is it more on the plot, play, etc...? Additionally, what about having multi-DVD games that require pre-loading content to the internal hard disk then running off DVD #1? Granted that that solution would not be typical for consoles but it would allow for more "content" if a player really wants it.

Look at the innovative controllers from the Wii and the lower graphic quality and see if everyone is concerned with adding higher textures & polygons. Texture and polygons are nice but I'll take a well thought out game design over graphics any day (of course I'm familiar with text based games too so maybe it's an age thing too - example: (Text Version) [douglasadams.com] or (Semi-Graphical) [bbc.co.uk] Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Jim

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

VoiceOfRaisin (554019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478550)

er, you are saying microsoft needs to catch up to the ps3? im sorry but sony has a LOOOONG way to go to catch up with the 360.

Games will come on HD-DVD (1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478602)

I know Microsoft has said they will not allow games to be shipped on HD-DVD, but frankly that stance will change due to pressure from major game companies who want to make cross console ports as simple as possible. There were already a number of game developers complaining about space even at launch, and that voice will just become stronger until Microsoft can no longer resit it.

All it takes is EA saying "you know what, Madden is just a little too big this year to fit on the 360 so we're going to have to cut you out".

I predict the launch of Halo 3 will involve in some way HD-DVD - it may be anything from an extras disc that comes on HD-DVD, to a deluxe version of the game on HD-DVD with a DVD version available as well with reduced content or graphics. Given that they are going to be forced to move to greater HD-DVD support anyway, the marketing opportunity is too good to miss.

Re:Games will come on HD-DVD (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479540)

I don't think every game needs more space since obviously they won't. However it will be the epics which will strain the content to its very last byte. It's just a fact that when all the graphics in the game need at least 4x as much space, FMV requires 10x as much that a DVD-9 isn't going to be enough for some titles. Even games which render cutscenes with the game engine may not have enough space. After all GTA: SA used the game engine for cutscenes and was busting out of a DVD-4.7 disc.

Anyway the PS3 needs more capacity over the 360 simply virtue that games are region free. That means games will increasingly appear in more than one language on the same disk and this will push more over that DVD-9 limit. Just another reason why Blu-Ray has uses besides movie content.

Re:Games will come on HD-DVD (2, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17480490)

There were already a number of game developers complaining about space even at launch, and that voice will just become stronger until Microsoft can no longer resit it.

That "number of game developers" was really just one. Bethesda (the guys who made Oblivion) voiced concerns about fitting Oblivion onto a DVD-9 disc well before the 360 ever shipped. Sure enough, they were able to make it fit. Anyway, it's too late to make a change now. If Microsoft were to allow games to ship on HD-DVD, they'd be alienating their already existing user base (which is at somewhere above 6-7 million now, if not even higher). Microsoft does listen to developers (Epic and Gears of War was the reason Microsoft put 512MB of RAM into the box instead of the initially-planned 256MB), but when the console is already out there's not a whole lot you can do anymore until the next generation.

All it takes is EA saying "you know what, Madden is just a little too big this year to fit on the 360 so we're going to have to cut you out".

To which Microsoft can reply, "Just use your Wii graphic assets, since you're still going to ship there on a DVD-9. People will still buy it anyway, because you have a lock on the NFL license."

Wii is not getting the same games (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482564)

That "number of game developers" was really just one.

Oh really? [joystiq.com]

Quoting:
"According to Game Informer, nearly every developer they talked to at X05 expressed difficulties fitting their launch titles onto a single disc."

To which Microsoft can reply, "Just use your Wii graphic assets, since you're still going to ship there on a DVD-9

To which EA will reply, have you not noticed that the games and control schemes going for the Wii are generally different? Or simply reply "fine then we're pulling Madden like we said". Microsoft is not the one in a position of strength here to make demands.

Sure the X-Men game was similar. But for every one of those you have games like SSX Blur that looks quite different, there are a number of upcoming games that take that approach since the system and controls are so different.

Besides, do you (or more specifically Microsoft) really want the head to head reviews where the XBox 360 graphics are on par with the Wii and the PS3 is scoring far higher visually? This is another aspect of the lower storage capacity I have been predicting, that after some time in head to head the 360 will look weaker graphically than the PS3 (even though it is not) exactly because textures are simplified, eliminated, or more greatly compressed. Why should the 360 developer and user suffer with a limitation on storage that is needless?

Re:Wii is not getting the same games (3, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482870)

To which EA will reply, have you not noticed that the games and control schemes going for the Wii are generally different? Or simply reply "fine then we're pulling Madden like we said". Microsoft is not the one in a position of strength here to make demands.

Actually, I think it's the other way around. Microsoft's head start in the market (or its lesser specs in comparison to PS3, take your pick) has made the 360 the platform of choice for multi-platform developers. EA will never come to Microsoft and say, "We're not going to do Madden unless you give us HD-DVD." They're going to go to Sony and say, "Too bad we can't take full advantage of all that Blu-Ray space, but we have to work on the 360 as well and you two are close enough (unlike the Wii) that you get to be the Xbox of this generation and have all the crappy ports."

Why should the 360 developer and user suffer with a limitation on storage that is needless?

Because it's not "needless". Microsoft made the decision to go with DVD-9 for the 360, so that's what the developers get to use. Microsoft can't make the switch to HD-DVD unless they're willing to replace the drives of 7+ million 360 customers for free. That's never going to happen, so you suck it up and live with it. The 360 may end up with multi-disk games, or lower texture resolutions, or more compression artifacts, or what have you, but switching to HD-DVD is simply not a viable solution for the 360.

Re:Games will come on HD-DVD (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486972)

All it takes is EA saying "you know what, Madden is just a little too big this year to fit on the 360 so we're going to have to cut you out".

EA isn't stupid, the 360 and PS3 version costs a lot to develop and the 360 has a much larger userbase which means they'd kill their sales numbers for it. EA didn't tell Sony that the PS2 is too weak for Madden or Nintendo that the GC uses too small a disc, EA will cut material that doesn't fit on a disc rather than cutting a version from their lineup. They don't skip a system unless they expect more profit from doing so (if the expected sales numbers are too small or if they expect to kill off a competitor like Sega that way). EA isn't this big because they get caught up in that silly tug-o-war over console sales numbers, they got this big because their development pipeline allows them to cover all available platforms at minimal cost and thereby ensuring that EVERYBODY can buy EA games.

Re:Not unsurprising really (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479644)

"The PS3 raised the bar by including HDMI, blu-ray support, a hard disk by default, wi-fi and some other bits and pieces."

While Nintendo did just the opposite by not including many of those features. Despite that, the Wii is doing extremely well, for a number of reasons, including:
a) Price. Wii is less than half the price of the PS3. A Dodge Neon is devoid of features compared to a Cadillac, yet the Neon sells extremely well. (Well, sold, I believe the Neon has now been replaced by the Caliber? I haven't looked at their offerings recently.) Not everyone wants a Cadillac, and so a manufacturer doesn't necessarily need to make Cadillacs.
b) Focus on gameplay rather than whiz-bang oooh-shiny features that don't necessarily improve gameplay at all.

How well compared to PS3 or 360 is currently impossible to tell, since the Wii is the only of the three systems still limited in sales by availability. (which, in and of itself, is a good sign for the Wii).

PS3 didn't raise the bar in any way with those features, since the Wii has proven that those features are not necessary in any way for a given console to succeed.

The Core will most likely always remain available, because it is always good to have an entry level system to offer those who don't have $12938921704123 to spend on their consoles or have the money but are not willing to spend it on such purchases. (Such as myself, I have yet to buy a console that cost more than $150 for the system, and yes, that means I'm usually playing the previous generation but I have no problem with that. Used games are cheap, and I have better things to spend my money on.)

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17481256)

PS3 didn't raise the bar in any way with those features, since the Wii has proven that those features are not necessary in any way for a given console to succeed.

The PS3 certainly raises the technical bar. And its far, far too early to decide how all these new consoles will pan out, sales-wise. Wii is a superstar right now for sure, but Xbox360 is doing great also, and the PS3 is not even on sale in the UK yet.

(Such as myself, I have yet to buy a console that cost more than $150 for the system, and yes, that means I'm usually playing the previous generation but I have no problem with that. Used games are cheap, and I have better things to spend my money on.)

Man, I envy you. I really do. You spend a lot less than I do to be happy with your games. But obviously you are not the target market of the Xbox or PS teams. You are part of an emerging market that Nintendo has uncovered, the Casual Gamer. I think its great that they have cracked this group - and it bodes well for the overall market expansion of video games in general. But understand that Nintendo will have a completely different dynamic to work with as well - by your own admission you (and casual gamers like yourself) spend very little money on gaming. That might be a challenge for them down the line, time will tell.

Re:Not unsurprising really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17495744)

Comparing the car business to the gaming console business is a horrible comparison.

The Neon is a horrible unprofitable vehicle for Chrystler - manufactured only because they need a small car.

Aside from the SRT4 version the Neon is only purchased due to its extremely low price and large incentives.

Nice try.

Re:Not unsurprising really (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479704)

Okay.
HDMI=DRM! Sony has got to love it. DVI would be a better choice. Still I will give you that having HDMI is a nice option as long as long as it is just an option.
blue-ray=DRM! So does HD-DVD but I don't want to pay for them in a console. They are not yet needed for games and one or the other is going to fail in the market place. If not we will all end up with dual format players or both will fail.
I think Sony hasn't so much raised the bar as much as dug a hole.

Standard hard drive and wi-fi are both nice but not exactly mandatory for a game console. I still expect to see a 360 that is also a PVR and support for the Zune.

Of course part of me has a feeling that some people at Microsoft have looked long and hard at bit torrent and are going to include a secure P2P client in the 360 so that they can use them as a low cost file distribution network.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17480800)

HDMI=DRM! Sony has got to love it. DVI would be a better choice.

You do realize that DVI-D can do HDCP just like HDMI, right? In fact the video portion of HDMI is signal-compatible with DVI-D. The only other bit that you get with HDMI is audio, but unless you have an HDMI-enabled receiver I'd stick with the TOSLink digital audio output instead.

I still expect to see a 360 that is also a PVR and support for the Zune.

Acting as a PVR would obviously require a hard drive. It would also require a TV tuner (or support for USB tuners), otherwise you end up with the same solution you have today -- the 360 as an extender for a PC running Media Center elsewhere. As for the Zune, are you saying you want the 360 to be able to fill it? Or to be able to pull data off of it? Not owning a Zune, I'd hope that the latter scenario already works today. The former scenario is a little silly unless the 360 becomes more than just an interface to other machines (via UPnP or Media Center).

Of course part of me has a feeling that some people at Microsoft have looked long and hard at bit torrent and are going to include a secure P2P client in the 360 so that they can use them as a low cost file distribution network.

For that to work they'd need much larger hard drives. As it is, the 20GB doesn't allow you to keep around too many demos or videos. Two HD movies at 5-6MB each and you've filled the drive. How can I share out bits of a movie if I have to delete it in order to have space for other videos, demos, save games, etc?

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482168)

I didn't know DVI could do HDCP! Damm them too hell!

Yes I can see putting a CableCard interface on to the next 360. That way you could record not just SDTV but HDTV as well. And yes you would need a bigger hard drive or an NAS. Same for the P2P, I am shocked that Sony or Microsoft didn't do this already. It seems like a great idea.

As to the ZUNE. From everything I have read you can not fill it from your XBox! DUMB! DUMB! DUMB!
of course you can not fill it from the wifi interface.
It also doesn't have any understanding of free content. Even free podcasts in MP3 format are wrapped in DRM if you share them over WiFi!!!! DUMB DUMB DUMB!!!!!
  Frankly I would have let you stream over wifi to you Zune from your 360.
I swear that for a company that is supposed to be big into integration they seem to be be clueless!

Re:Not unsurprising really (2, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482732)

As to the ZUNE. From everything I have read you can not fill it from your XBox! DUMB! DUMB! DUMB!

No, that just makes sense with the 360's current approach to media. It's an endpoint, not a provider. If you want to fill your Zune, do it from the PC where the Xbox is getting its info as well (you're not ripping CDs or vids directly to your 360, are you? That'd be dumb!). While it would be neat to be able to move Xbox Marketplace bits directly over to a Zune, that's a rather small scenario since the marketplace is more about games (XBLA), downloads for games, and demos. In fact the only thing I could see you moving to your Zune from Xbox Marketplace would be trailers (full TV shows and videos I'd expect to be DRMed to prevent that). Then again, trailers are in 480p or 720p format which means you'd either have to transcode them to put them on the Zune or Microsoft would have to offer lower resolution trailers.

Maybe future updates to 360 and Zune will make them work better. In the meantime, the 360's "normal" mode of connectivity with any media player (iPod, PlaysForSure devices, and I assume Zune) is read-only, which makes since given the lack of storage capacity on the 360.

Re:Not unsurprising really (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509960)

"In fact the only thing I could see you moving to your Zune from Xbox Marketplace would be trailers (full TV shows and videos I'd expect to be DRMed to prevent that)."

Dumb dumb dumb dumb.

Right now Microsoft has Three incompatible sources for music and video. You have the the XBOX marketplace, Playforsure "yea right", and the Zune market place.

If I give you that the XBox360 should be treated as a peripheral to the your Windows PC then why limit it.
Why not allow me to rip music on the my 360 and store it on my PC across the network? Why not allow me to fill my Zune from my 360 in my living room across the network?
Why no allow me to use my Zune media, my playforsure, and my XBOX media on all my Microsoft devices?

The 360 is going to be hooked up to a TV in a living room. The idea is that it should be the hub of your entertainment system. It is only logical to give it access to all your media and to even use it as a PVR even if you store the files on your Windows Media center PC or on some type of NAS. It also makes sense to allow you to store the media on your Zune and yes even fill it from your 360.
Just as it makes sense to allow your ZUNE to squirt to your 360 so your buddy can bring his Zune over and show this cool movie/video/sone he got on your stereo system.

Over all I would say Microsoft in this case lacks vison as far as the Zune/360/MediaCenter goes.
The big missing product is the Microsoft MediaServer. A simple NAS device that acts as a central storage area for all media in the home. No need to keep your pc running all the time to watch your recorded shows.
Frankly it could be as simple as an external hard drive for the 360. Or an external hard drive and video capture device for the 360.

Give me more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477534)

While your at it add built in wifi and a quieter DVD-ROM drive.

Stuff the wifi (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479514)

I picked up a cheapie refurb Netgear 'print server' for about $50 on ebay - one thing to fiddle with and gives me four physical network sockets.
I'd kill for a quieter drive - OR better still, caching to the 360 HD. I don't mind buying a bigger HD, leaving the disk in the drive, whatever it takes - but I'm damned if I'll sit looking at loading screens as my room vibrates when I bought the damn thing with an HD. PS3 can do it, it's only a firmware update, c'mon MS...

Shooting themselves in the foot? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477566)

Now that 360 sales are relatively strong, let's announce a new update that won't be out for a while but be so much cooler (both figuratively and literally :) than the one sitting on shelves right now. Yeah, that's a good idea. This isn't a PC where updates happen so often you might as well bite the bullet as soon as you're ready. This is a console and people really will wait if they think something better is right around the corner.

Rumor, not annoucement (1)

xswl0931 (562013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477652)

MS has not announced any new update other than they will be using the 65nm process for future 360's. This is all rumor so far. As for updates, these changes don't suddenly make the old 360's stop working nor does it make future games require these updates. So unlike PCs, these updates don't introduce any compatibility issues.

Re:Rumor, not annoucement (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477972)

"MS has not announced any new update other than they will be using the 65nm process for future 360's."

Yeah, when I realized I didn't include a disclaimer assuming the rumor to be true in order for my comment to have any bearing, I almost posted a reply stating so. I don't like replying to my own posts though so thanks for pointing that out. My original post does depend on the rumor being true.

"MS has not announced any new update other than they will be using the 65nm process for future 360's."

True, but there's not much of a compatibility issue when looking at a current PC vs. a PC 6 months down the road. I'm not making the argument on compatibility issues as much as I am on the cool factor of what's included in the upcoming product.

Small grain of salt (1)

MintMMs (909563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477576)

Each of these features has been previously announced or strongly hinted at. Is it any surprise that we're getting evidence of it actually being implemented?

This is exactly why I'm waiting (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477588)

Well, that and the fact that I'm about to go back to university and won't have enough time to enjoy a 360 until the summer. Still, by then the number of AAA titles will be much higher, and I expected at least a model with a bigger HDD and maybe an HDMI cable as standard. Looks like my guesses were pretty much on the money (if this "leak" is true), but it didn't take much brains to guess that. With the PS3 arriving here in Europe sometime this year, MS need to reduce the number of hardware specifications they are "losing" on vs Sony's machine - if only so Joe Public doesn't look at the specs and think "hey the new PlayStation is much better than the Xbox, and no wonder since that's been in the shops for 18 months now". 120GB of storage is twice that of the premium PS3 model, and 1080p out of the box would satisfy a lot of the videophiles out there.

Fact is, the general public (and gamers who feel safe and familiar with the PlayStation brand) are under the impression that the PS3 will decimate the 360 right from Day 1, and MS need to show that their console is already running at full steam with high specs and an impressive catalogue of games.

This is all written from the perspective of a European gamer, so the battle is still to really start here.

My prediction (1)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477596)

This new model will become the new 'premium' and the old premium the new 'core'; price for both will remain the same.

And if MS really love me they would offer some kind of trade in plan for those that bought the 20GB drives ;p

HDMI isn't a huge deal for me. It'd be nice, but I only have one HDMI input on my TV anyway and the cablebox is using it. Component 720p already looks quite good.

Re:My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477850)

MS really does love you, can't you tell from the way he touches you when you bend over?

(sorry)

hey i didnt take my hand off the checker (5, Funny)

SydBarrett (65592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477996)

MS presents the Xbox 361: The Do-Over Edition

Re:hey i didnt take my hand off the checker (1)

dlockamy (597001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479952)

it's not Xbox 361, it's xbox 360.1 or maybe 350.07

Re:hey i didnt take my hand off the checker (1)

corerunner (971136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17480782)

it could be the xbox 360 times 100: the xbox 36000! but I think a 1.1 multiplier is more realistic... yeah, the xbox 396 sounds about right

Re:hey i didnt take my hand off the checker (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17494490)

They should have a new slogan "Microsoft: Everything we make is in beta."

new drive please (2, Interesting)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478180)

as long as they offer a 120gb upgrade for older 360s that would be fine with me. there are currently hacks out that let you use any HD of any size, but the MS firmware drivers have hardcoded 20GB limits in them, so even if you hook up a 500GB hard drive, it only can use 20GB. with this coming update, you should then be able to use your own drive up to 120GB. (you can't put movies or demos on any media drives you connect, only the main drive)

Please MS product managers, Fix it! (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17482206)

I cannot imagine any legal or technical reason they cannot let people put downloaded demos
and videos to an external HD. Its all DRMed, and if its a demo, who cares. Please MS. Why have these
stupid restrictions, note to you the gaming managers/engineers, you're too quiet, make some noise
or else you're just a typical monkey at MS. No balls at all. Be more vocal, get a clue from Steve Jobs.
As in the arstechnica article, stop giving excuses that 20gig is enough, tell the business analysts to F-OFF.

it'll need a Wii Remote (1)

OutOnARock (935713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478458)


If they really want to "embrace and extend" they'll have to include a WiiRemote.

Use some of that horsepower to include the new interface, and I'm in!!!

Letter to submitter (3, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478486)

To: Carlo Becchi
From: this great guy

Dear son, I told you a hundred times, but you never seem to remember.
- Gb means Gigabit
- GB means Gigabytes
This Xbox model would come with a 120 GB disk, not 120 Gb.

Love,
your dad.

Re:Letter to submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484356)

Isn't it GiB ? :-D

Re:Letter to submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17488592)

No, hard drive sizes are about the only thing on computers that really are specified in true SI prefixes. The hard drive will be 120GB, which is 114.44GiB unformatted. Not sure what file system the 360 uses (modified FAT32 like the xbox1?), but probably 100-110 GiB formatted space available.

Quieter than a turboprop? (4, Funny)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478570)

I swear the FAA calls me every time I turn on my 360 to play a game. A couple of times, seismologists have dropped in to see what was going on.

hoax? (1)

wickedsteve (729684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478704)

Could this be a hoax? Maybe a clever photoshop job?

Re:hoax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17481000)

Pretty sure... Doing some of my own goofing around:
(And I could be entirely wrong, but I don't think I am.)

I didn't feel like creating an account just to post this, but just looking at the image, it screams "fake".

Just doing some basic google image searching, I found a pic of a "regular" (current) connector.

First off... WHY would Microsoft move the existing connector up, and put the HDMI underneath? There's all this dead space north of the regular connector to begin with. It'd make a whole lot more sense to just put HDMI on top, rather than redesigning the whole connection "box" (for lack of a better term).

Second, if you notice in the "leaked" photo - there's a suspicious line coming down the right side of the wider connector. Almost like they put a regular picture in photoshop, cut the regular connector out, and dragged it up, but didn't clean up an artifact. I've done some color correction on the attached photo, but you can see this yourself with the "leaked" photo - kick up the brightness and zoom WAY in.

Third, light sources don't seem to quite line up. I'm not sure where the light source is on this (reflection on plastic indicates to the right and just above eye level), but the reflection on the new connector area seems like it should be lower than that. But the ethernet/USB ports don't have the same light source direction, it seems.

Fourth - the already-leaked not-in-plastic-case from June have the connectors on the right, ethernet/USB on the left. MS already declared those fake - why would "now they're switched back, so it's real" happen?

And last - WHY would a development system (presumably from the desk of someone working at MS, if the report is to be believed) have all of the standard text, INCLUDING SERIAL NUMBER, on the back? There's no reason to serial-number a development system, and certainly no reason to black it out, because it wouldn't be there. It also CERTAINLY wouldn't say "Made in China" on it...

What about current owners!!! (1)

MrJynxx (902913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478822)

So I bought the SXRD sony TV thinking the SVGA support actually supports 1080p. Picked up the xbox VGA cable and well, that was a waste of money. no dice didn't work at all.

The sony TV doesn't do 1080p through component so meh, I'm screwed. Now if they release an HDMI compliant 360, they sure as hell better release a cable as well for the existing owners! I"m not going to buy another 360 so I can have 1080p.

Hopefully they don't start releasing 1080p games because that is the only place I see a difference. Blu-ray 1080p, and the HD-DVD addon (1080i) I have yet to see any noticable difference. Now, gran turismo HD, when it was on my old 1080i HDTV didn't look all that great. Actually PGR3 looked better, BUT, in 1080p I noticed a huge difference..

MrJynx

Re:What about current owners!!! (1)

boskone (234014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17479652)

I'm 100% with you. I so want to see HD DVD in 1080p on the SXRD.

I really, really hope they come out with an HDMI kit.

The TV's pretty fabulous, though, eh?

Re:What about current owners!!! (1)

MrJynxx (902913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17480814)

It's leaps and bounds better than my old HDTV. I can't even compare the two, every single game looks even better.. Even the 360 games look refreshed..

But, some of my friends have problems watching bluray/hddvd's on it, it actually makes them feel sick to their stomachs.. heh

MrJynx

Re:What about current owners!!! (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 7 years ago | (#17488192)

That's your fault for buying a Sony TV. Samsungs don't have a problem with 1080p over VGA.

is it just me, or? (1)

Leviance (1001065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17480796)

are 360s starting to look more and more like computers, following the computer business model? consistent hardware upgrades, new versions, accessories, etc. etc.? Why buy a 360 when you can get high end gaming computer and do more things with your purchase?

Re:is it just me, or? (1)

DeeDob (966086) | more than 7 years ago | (#17507758)

No, console upgrades are nothing new or exclusive to the 360 (if this news proves to be true).

From memory (there may be more):
PS1 had the standard and slim version.
PS2 had the original, updated and slim version, with different connections options depending on the model.
GBA had the original and the SP versions.
DS now has the "lite" version.

I'm pretty sure some of the older consoles from the 80s had more than one versions.

Noise? (1)

rapett0 (92674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17481518)

I am not a fanboy, I been gaming all my life (29 now), and have no real bias towards any platform.

With that said, can they please do something about the noise levels? Sometimes playing Oblivion I feel the 360 is about to take off or something. Don't get me wrong, the HDD upgrade would be nice as would the 1080P, etc. But in terms of enjoyment, I would be so much happier if it was just quiet!

I guess asking to copy the CD to the HDD the first time you play and let you play without the disc is asking too much right? (Yeah, I realize the pirates would be on that in a second.)

Re:Noise? (2, Informative)

Tridus (79566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17486904)

The only thing confirmed in all these rumors is that Microsoft is changing to a smaller CPU die (65nm I think), which will put out less heat.

In theory with less heat being put out, they can put in a quieter fan at the same time and turn the thing into a console rather then a jet engine.

Re:Noise? (1)

SpeckledJim (662874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17489414)

Most the noise comes from the DVD drive, not the internal fans. Compare the noise levels when playing something disk based, like PGR3 to one of the Live Arcade games such as Geometry Wars.

Re:Is the Noise just the DVD, or a combination? (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17509950)

Most the noise comes from the DVD drive, not the internal fans. Compare the noise levels when playing something disk based, like PGR3 to one of the Live Arcade games such as Geometry Wars.

Is that true? I have noticed a big difference in sound, between the 2, but is it strictly the DVD drive? or do these DVD based games require more of the system, thus it has to crank the fans also to keep it cool?

Xbox - XPC (1)

Tarinth (1038652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17498020)

How long before this Xbox becomes fully expandable, except it will now be called the XPC and run Vista, and to run any software on it, you'll need to use software that has received a Microsoft license. At about this time, there won't be many new games for a "normal" PC and other software apps will be well-on-their-way to being "ported" to the new platform.
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