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New Version of Xbox 360 Looking More Likely

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the nothing's-nothing-until-it's-something dept.

XBox (Games) 106

Engadget is just one of a number of sites running 'confirmations' of a new iteration of the Xbox 360 hardware. The new black-coloured console is said to include an HDMI port and a larger hard disk drive (120 gigs). While the code-name Zephyr has been bandied about online for quite some time now, Engadget is saying it will be released under the name 'Elite'. Initially to be sold as a third SKU (alongside the Core and Premium packs), when the initial black run sells out the hardware in the Elite will take the place of the Premium sku. An HD-DVD drive will not be incorporated into the unit. All this should be taken with a grain of salt, as the entire thing stems from 'sources' and a supposed article in the upcoming issue of Game Informer magazine; Microsoft has not yet confirmed anything.

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Elite? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431255)

Why not just call it The Awesome? http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/ultimate-fantast ic-four/15-1.jpg [coverbrowser.com]

Re:Elite? (2, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431331)

I was kinda banking on the 133 T

Re:Elite? (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431377)

If the 133-T model sold well, then Microsoft could consider a new $1000 model with nothing extra except chrome trimmings. They could ID it as the 10-T model.

I see what you did there... (1)

Mr_Matt (225037) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432183)

Never have mod points when I need 'em, though. Well played!

Re:Elite? (2, Insightful)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431925)

If they name the Premium system the "Elite", it only makes sense that they rename the Core system as "Spartan".

Re:Elite? (1)

Mortanius (225192) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432017)

Careful, son, them's fightin' words. You just suggested that Covenant Elites are better than the Master Chief. You're walking a dangerous line, once the Halo fanboys catch wind of this.

Re:Elite? (2, Informative)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432361)

I was trying to be clever
Spartan [reference.com]
adj.
  1. Of or relating to Sparta or its people.
  2. Rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained.
    a. Simple, frugal, or austere: a Spartan diet; a spartan lifestyle.
    b. Marked by brevity of speech; laconic.
    c. Courageous in the face of pain, danger, or adversity.

Re:Elite? (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436595)

Does that mean you weren't trying to make clever Halo references (Spartans [wikipedia.org] being a group of super soldiers, like the protagonist of the games the Master Chief, and Elites [wikipedia.org] being enemies in the game). If so, that's kind of impressive :)

Re:Elite? (1)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18441601)

Of course I was also making a 'clever' Halo reference. =) Renaming the systems after one of the console's most successful games plus a literary reference that described said consoles... I thought it was pretty funny. =)

Official Annoucement (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431299)

Perhaps Microsoft thinks that people who would buy the Premium model now wouldn't if they knew a "Super Premium" model is coming out soon. If they assume rightly, then sales of 360 would dip. If their caution is warranted, the dip in sales would be a large enough number to make the 360 look less strong from a userbase perspective.

So if they were going to release this, they wouldn't announce it until very close to when available. If they weren't going to, they wouldn't say they're releasing it either.

We're not making it, and, if we were, we wouldn't tell you early.

Re:Official Annoucement (2, Interesting)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432135)

Remember that Microsoft has lowered their shipments targets form 15 to 12 million. Maybe they are trying to bleed the market dry out of Premium 360s so they can replace that model with this new one, which could still launch at 400$ dollars. I mean, a bigger hard drive is not going to cost them a lot more per unit and HDMI output could actually cost LESS than analog component output. Factor in the fact that they are shrinking the processor die (which implies lower cost), and they might actually be able to offer a refresh on the Premium model for the exact same price and still break-even (last reports show Microsoft breaking even on Premium bundles).

Re:Official Annoucement (1)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437151)

"a bigger hard drive is not going to cost them a lot more per unit"

Note that the Xbox 360 uses 2.5" notebook hard drives, which cost more per GB than 3.5" desktop hard drives. A quick Newegg search returned $30 for 20GB (current Xbox 360 size) and $80 for 120GB (future size).

I mostly agree with your comment, though. I'll be surprised if MS prices it above $400 (price for current Premium bundle). It's been about 16 months since the 360 was launched, so I think a price drop (or improved versions) seems like a reasonable expectation. They're also gloating about the Xbox 360's TV/movie download service [xbox.com] , which includes high-def. The additional costs of the 120GB hard drive could be offset by video download revenues.

Re:Official Annoucement (1)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437799)

If they're bleeding the market of any SKU, it'd be the core system rather than the premium one. In fact, in a lot of countries the major retailers have already stopped selling the Core system altogether. The most sensible approach for MS is to move the Premium system down to replace the Core, and add this new Elite system in as the new Premium. Especially given the way they've been trying to push the 360's online features as something to differentiate it over the PS3. It's not possible to use Live without a hard drive.

Re:Official Annoucement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432609)

You don't work for MS, so stfu. I'm going to downgrade this from 'insightful' to 'redundant', because that is what you are!

Re:Official Annoucement (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433761)

We're not making it, and, if we were, we wouldn't tell you early.

On the other hand, Microsoft could be testing the waters to find out if there is actually demand for such a system - which is stupid, because everyone knows people will buy more of it if it's black :D

will be known as the Xbox 720 (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431333)

Vomit bags included in case the user gets dizzy from spinning.

Re:will be known as the Xbox 720 (1, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431411)

Yes, it's awful that Microsoft released this new system, meaning all those other XBox owners will have to repurchase... oh wait, you can still play 360 games on your core and premium systems. Never mind.

This is just like the DS - DS Lite upgrade.

Sounds like a good time to (4, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431369)

dump the core and lower the price of the premium 50 bucks.

Why? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437289)

Why dump the core? Why not lower its price by $50 too, and compete against the Wii?

I know everyone gets all resentful that a non-HDD version somehow means games can't support the HDD, but that's not the case. There are 360 games that require the HDD, and there are many, many more games which can take advantage of it if it's there. There are so many HDDs in the market that developers would be foolish to ignore them, it's not like some third-party add-on with no penetration. MS deliberately abstracted the filesystem for the same reasons it's abstracted in every OS - it dramatically increases flexibility.

You may not want a 'tard pack yourself, but believe it or not, it's actually better value for what you get - MS lose more money on the Core version. For 75% of the price you can pay 99% of the games, and that matters a lot to some segments of the market.

Quick thoughts... (4, Interesting)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431439)

Penny Arcade is somewhat spot-on with their view that the new $479 X360 is competing against the $599 PS3 [penny-arcade.com] since the $499 PS3 is becoming increasingly rare in retail locations.

But come off it, Microsoft. You don't release this data but I put dollars to donuts that the Xbox 360 is the most faulty console release in recent memory. I've seen reports of people on their sixth console [loot-ninja.com] . My only hope is that when my current Xbox 360 breaks and I get my fourth one, they give me a working replacement, not the crap they've unloaded over the past year and a half. (That's my only qualm with the 360).

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431481)

I really hope that they're close to their 65nm process revision, and that this helps with the defect rate. If I buy a 360, I'm going to wait until they get 65nm and hope it mitigates the reliability and noise issues.

Re:Quick thoughts... (2, Informative)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432035)

I don't see how the transistor size has anything to do with the reliability of the console. When a person's console dies, I seriously doubt the CPU is broken. It's probably something like the power supply or DVD drive or firmware.

Re:Quick thoughts... (3, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432223)

Heat. 65nm should put out less waste heat.

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432503)

the 65nm cpu will give off less heat and there are quite a few heat issues with the first XBOX 360s.

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431981)

I just got my second, but Ive only had 360 for a couple of months.

Re:Quick thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432055)

That's funny... I have a launch 360 and it's still kicking along just fine.

Believe it or not, the plural of "anecdotes" is not "data".

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432179)

Literally every single person I know - including myself - is at least on their second 360. One person I know just sold his third one on ebay and bought a PS3. because he just didn't trust that it would las. Obviously you can't blame him. My second one is working great so far.

FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18434769)

I am still on my launch xbox 360, and it's doing fine. The folks I know do fine.

Re:Quick thoughts... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432295)

I would be more worried about XBox Live!'s security, than their hardware.

According to this XBox Live! has been hacked.

Online gaming forums are buzzing with reports that Xbox Live accounts linked to Microsoft's Windows Live ID service are being hijacked by malicious hackers.

Kevin Finisterre, a security researcher at Digital Munition, raised the issue on the Full Disclosure mailing list over the weekend, calling attention to rumors that Microsoft's Bungie.net was the victim of a breach that exposed a portion of Xbox Live.


What is Microsoft's response?

I just got off the phone with a Microsoft Tech for Xbox live that has confirmed this to with me and they have stated that accounts are being stolen and that "Hackers have control of Xbox live and there is nothing we can do about it."

Re:Quick thoughts... (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432505)

Except I'm still on my first console, as is every Xbox 360 owner I know. Anecdotal evidence and loudly complaining bloggers do not statistics make.

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434113)

Right, but the only truly meaningful statistics would come from Microsoft, and I don't see those figures coming out anytime soon. At this point I will take the "anecdotal" evidence of the multitudes on the internet saying their consoles broke over the experience of you and your friends. The fact that Microsoft extended the warranty also tends to support these "loudly complaining" bloggers.

Re:Quick thoughts... (2, Insightful)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434641)

Same here, bought it Octoberish of last year. Standing it up on its end inside an enclosed TV stand caused me some issues, but once I ditched the VCR and got the 360 horizontal and out in the open where air could circulate it's not given me a problem since.

I often wonder if those who go through 7-8 X360s are doing something wrong, like having bad ventilation or balanced on top of something.

Some one leak their repair kits (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433321)

With sooo many repairs happening, there must be 1000s of people doing them.

Where are the leaked documents/cds/roms from the repair center.

If you work there, please copy it all before leaving, screw the NDA.

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

amohat (88362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434819)

I bought mines from Costco right as the shortages ended, early 2006, and it's never given me any issues...or more specifically my son who plays Halo2 and now Gears of War like it's a damn career. For the record, it's horizontal and on a shelf under the TV.

So there's another useless anecdote. And none of my boy's buddies had any issues either. Checkmate!

Re:Quick thoughts... (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434975)

To be fair, in order to compete on a feature-by-feature basis with the $599 PS3 you actually need to buy the $479 360 Elite + $199 HD-DVD + $99 360-WIFI-802.11G Adapter for a total of $777. Makes the PS3 almost look like a bargain once you add the HD disc (BluRay or HD-DVD) playback and wifi that come standard with the Sony console.

Re:Quick thoughts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18437531)

The same falacious arguement is used to say that Macs are cheap, and it's just as wrong then, too.

You have to compare what YOU want out of your console. Most people don't give a damn about HD-format video disc playback. A lot of people don't give a damn about WiFi or HDMI. As a result, I'd either be going for the $399 360 or the $499 PS3. Guess what? I'm not spending an extra $100 on a console with inferior graphics, a smaller (and quickly diminishing) pool of exclusive games, and inferior (albeit free) online, just because it has a Blurry... I'm sorry, Blu-Ray player...

Disssapointed (2, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431459)

I was hoping that this would be the new Premium system at $399, and that the old Premium system would drop down to $350. Paying an extra $80 for a larger hard drive and hdmi seems kinda meh. After all, thats only $20 less expensive than the 20GB PS3. They probably should have thrown in wireless too (if only to get the Sony fanboys to shut up with the "LOL You HAVE to buy wireless you don't actually need for $100 LOL).

Re:Disssapointed (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431749)

If the rumor is to be believed, you'd only pay the extra $80 if you wanted one of the initial run. You could just wait a month or so until this is the new $400 model.

Re:Disssapointed (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431779)

Chances are that is what I would be doing anyway. I still don't know if I'm going to buy a 360, but if I do I'd like to wait for the process revision at the very least, and a possible price drop. $400 ($300 doesn't have the right features for me) is a bit pricey for me.

Not that anyone asked me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18439679)

Stupid to throw wireless in now. It really only makes sense to include 802.11n final, if you're going to send something out with every unit, and even then that only makes sense when n gear has sufficent market penetration to say nothing of a final specification. Why? Who knows what kind of network to expect? The last thing MS needs it bad press caused by poor wireless networks when the expectation is every thing works automagically out of the box. To stream video over wifi you want certain fast but crowded bands, to avoid interference well, you know the concession is probably not so much streaming video. With n you can deliver more completely on out of the box expectations. (Which might not be entirely realistic, but oh well).

Next version ! (1)

Doodlepants (646546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431509)

Seriously at that high price, the PS3 looks affordable ! By releasing this "Elite" 360, they are validating everything Sony is trying to feed us about the PS3's high price.

I am waiting for the next SKU named : "Xbox p0wns all Elite+ !", the I will laugh at everyone wh bought the "Elite".

$75 profit in november = $80 buck price increase? (1)

MaizeMan (1076255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431575)

The 360 is closing in on a year and a half after launch and instead of a price cut, they're going to charge us an extra 80 bucks for a new port and a hard drive big enough not to suck. M$ was making 75 bucks on each console they sold back in November [isuppli.com] . Guess I'll be stuck in the last generation for a while longer, or at least until it is possible to actually purchase a Wii.

Re:$75 profit in november = $80 buck price increas (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431701)

They're likely holding back a price cut to counter Sony. They're in a good position right now, so there's not a large need to start slashing the price.

The price of the Elite, IMO, is a mistake. It puts it too close to the PS3 20gb unit for comparison, and all you get is a new connector and some extra HD space.

Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (4, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431649)

I currently have an XBOX 360 that uses a Monster component-out to connect to my 65" Sony SXRD. It's beautiful at 1080i. My understanding is that HDMI has no performance improvement over the display of component though. Is that correct?

I'm not an audio-visual geek necessarily, so I may be confused. However, as I understood things HDMI's real contribution is not that of performance or quality, but of increased capability for content creators to control the data being carried over the signal. Is that true? I would have no problem buying this new 360 when it comes out if HDMI is a significant improvement over component, but it seems the best information I can find is itself indifferent and says that "neither is necessarily better than the other although particular devices may present a better experience with one over the other" (see quote below).

So, the question is - with a high end television and an Xbox 360 - which of the two is going to be preferable? It sounds to me like they're just releasing it with "HDMI" so that people will be suckered into buying the console all over again under a false believe that HDMI is going to provide them a significantly better result.

So, which is better, DVI or component? HDMI or component? The answer--unsatisfying, perhaps, but true--is that it depends. It depends upon your source and display devices, and there's no good way, in principle, to say in advance whether the digital or the analog connection will render a better picture. You may even find, say, that your DVD player looks better through its DVI or HDMI output, while your satellite or cable box looks better through its component output, on the same display. In this case, there's no real substitute for simply plugging it in and giving it a try both ways.
Source: DVI vs. HDMI vs. Component Video -- Which is Better? [ecoustics.com]

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431985)

HDMI does not only video but audio as well, some newer tvs have a couple of HDMI ports so its useful to have the HDMI port for that.

I have both HDMI and component cables on my television, and to be honest, I don't see any difference at all from the HDMI source or the component source, so if you have an xbox with a component source, I would hesitate to go out and buy another xbox.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432261)

I suspect that most people who have a high end television with HDMI ports also have high end audio systems and, thus, want everything to run through their tuners instead of the television. I'd rather have dedicated outputs that allow me to squeeze the best out of each element with the best components. I would suspect that HDMI audio-out would be "convenient" but not high quality.

Of course, it's all about the source content and I suspect that the console manufacturers just don't care about that, because they're catering to the 70% rather than *also* focusing on giving the other 30% a little something. No matter how great your setup, you're only going to pull so much out of a cheap little console with its cheap little cables.

But I do hope that people are smart enough not to be sucked into the "deploy HDCP via HDMI" propaganda.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433433)

My TV has a digital out for audio. So I can use the audio portion of HDMI and still send a digital signal to good speakers. Anyway, HDMI is simply easer to setup than component which in and of it's self is worth it. IMO.

PS: It's a Sony 55 inch SXRD so not all that high end, but a good screen (1080p) for the price(2k).

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434251)

HDMI audio-out is the best source of digital audio you can get at the moment. It has much more bandwidth available for audio than anything else. Really though, it's only worth it if you've got a Blu-ray/HD-DVD player and a receiver that supports HDMI audio-in. If you've got that, HDMI is a must. The uncompressed 5.1 PCM surround tracks on many Blu-ray and some HD-DVD releases are unreal.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432175)

If you have a 1080p capable device, while it is POSSIBLE that 1080p will be accepted over component, it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE (And I believe that's true for the SXRD, but I'm not 100% on that). As such, you will only be able to get 1080p over HDMI. However, unless you're watching HD-DVDs from your 360, you probably won't notice any improvement over 1080i (1080p is half the framerate of 1080i anyway(p is 30fps max, 1080i is usually 60fps), so most HDTVs deinterlace 1080i/60 signals to display 1080p, even if they don't accept 1080p input.)

So, to answer your question: there will probably be absolutely no improvement in video quality, at all, by switching from component to HDMI. In fact, you wasted your money by buying Monster Cables over the regular 360 component cables, but that's a different story.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432323)

I wasn't aware that 1080p was really only possible via HDMI. I intend to go with a dedicated HD-DVD/Blueray-DVD hybrid player as soon as they're relatively affordable though, so I'm not too concerned.

Or is the deployment of HDMI cables in a pending XBOX 360 console a signal that games will eventually be in 1080p? I do believe I heard something about some PS3 game coming out as 1080p in the future, even though I thought 1080p was supposedly kind of pointless for anything other than actual video (movies, etc).

1080p - is the difference (1)

zeronitro (937642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433147)

The current system can't output the full 1080p via component out. That is why they are even thinking of releasing an updated version. They know that HDMI & 1080p are both selling points in their own right.

The 360 might be able to support 1080p games, as it is already rendering that resolution for 1080i. The problem is that the system just isn't powerful enough to drive this resolution at a proper frame rate. when that's the case it doesn't matter if it's interlaced or progressive.

1080p games would be utterly amazing. progressive really shines when it comes to motion by it's shear nature compared to interlace. let me try to explain...
an interlaced signal, say 1080i, displays the odd pixels in the one frame and then changes the even pixels of the next frame. thus, at any given time it is displaying 540 lines of resolution. a progressive source however, displays the entire image, all 1080 lines, and takes up twice the bandwidth doing it too. now things get complicated by the way tv's and HD receivers handle them. say you've got a tv that displays 720p natively but can accept 1080i inputs. when it recieves the 1080i, it drops the res to 540, and upscales that to 720. make sense?

but the biggest selling point in my opinion is still the 1080p output via HDMI, because now the HD-DVD drive can output thru the 360 at it's native resolution, which is just awesome. but yeah... dropping the price a little would sell it to me even quicker :)

Re:1080p - is the difference (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435175)

The 360 might be able to support 1080p games, as it is already rendering that resolution for 1080i. The problem is that the system just isn't powerful enough to drive this resolution at a proper frame rate.

I think you confused processing power with badwith on the componant cables. The 360 is powerful enough to display at 1080p, and even 1080p/24 over component (HD-DVD will do it since it's only 24 FPS.) but there isn't enough bandwith in the cables to handle 1080p/60 for games. This is why the HDMI cable fixes that.

Not true (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437053)

The current system can't output the full 1080p via component out.

I'm running 1080p right now, from my 360 to my (Acer) 1080p LCD TV, via component - and it looks fine. HDMI offers a more convenient connection (one cable instead of at least four) and it's digital (no conversion to analogue and back again, also it won't degrade over moderate distances), but in practical terms I'm more than happy with component. Wouldn't say no to HDMI, but I wouldn't rush out and pay more for it.

The problem is that the system just isn't powerful enough to drive this resolution at a proper frame rate.

No more or less than the PS3. This is a common misconception (fostered by Sony).

The GPUs in the 360 and the PS3 were designed at the same time using the same process technology, and have roughly the same capabilities (PS3 has more pipelines, 360 has more shaders & bandwidth, but overall it's pretty close). The CPUs aren't that dissimilar either - PS3 has an advantage for crunching numbers, 360 has an advantage with general processing, it's arguable which is better for playing games (360 is easier to program though). Either system is quite capable of playing 1080p games at full frame rate, so long as the game isn't too demanding (hence Virtua Tennis is 1080p on both, and R:FoM/Gears are only 720p).

when it recieves the 1080i, it drops the res to 540, and upscales that to 720. make sense?

No, not at all. Only the most braindead TV would do that. You forgot that interlaced lines are staggered vertically, so that a 1080i still frame has identical resolution to 1080p. All movies played through a 1080i 30Hz signal are reverse-telecined by the TV to get the original 1080p 24Hz movie, and this is what is scaled to 720p. Any 1080i signal can be trivially upscaled to 1080p before downscaling to 720p, with minimal loss.

And to be perfectly honest, unless you have a 50+" screen or you sit closer than 2m, the average 20/20 human eye is hard-pressed to resolve the difference anyway.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434261)

Virtua Tennis 3 for PS3 is in 1080P.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

deuterium (96874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434273)

It depends primarily on your TV. I did a lot of research before I got mine to ensure that I could do 1080p over component (Samsung LN-S4095D). The only true 1080p thing I've viewed so far has been the Virtua Tennis demo, which is noticeably sharper than all of my other games. It's a breathtaking, 21st century Pong.

Apparently some TVs also have various issues with oversampling, which doesn't give you a per-pixel display. I have no complaints, though. I am curious to see if HDMI would look any different. The resolution should be the same, but the colors may vary a bit.

Whether or not it's better (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432201)

isn't the point that it has a new feature and now it's available? It's really only up to the fanboy on whether they are going to buy it twice, or if they wanted it so bad, why they bought a non-HDMI one in the first place. To everyone else, it is simply a new feature, not a conspiracy.

Re:Whether or not it's better (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432449)

Nobody wants HDMI "so bad" and even if they did, the reason they didn't buy the non-HDMI one in the first place is that there isn't an HDMI one, yet. Second, I don't believe that HDMI can be considered a "new feature". It doesn't really add anything except HDCP which is of no benefit whatsoever to a consumer.

I have yet to see any explanation as to why a consumer (fanboy or not) would want an HDMI cable for their xbox. It doesn't necessarily improve quality, performance or anything else as I stated and other responses have clarified as being essentially accurate.

So, as far as I can tell - it may be a conspiracy. Unless they really think that HDMI is simply more convenient for people. But I don't buy that as the reason they're shipping it. I think it's because Microsoft is all about advertising the DRM-ability of their devices to developers and content producers. Especially with the whole Xbox Live distribution market. If they can say that a majority of their console owners are now using HDMI (which means they're using HDCP), then that might be a huge negotiating point when it comes to acquiring third party content for their services.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (4, Informative)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432203)

You are correct, there is no true difference between the two. One is a proprietary plug which will run you $80+ at Circuit City, and the other is open and $30. I'm sure you can figure out which one is which. The HDMI claim is speed, but if you're running from a DVD next to your plasma/LCD, it doesn't really matter. And if you're running long distances, you're paying out the nose for a long HDMI cable, but you could just use a new component video disribution system for only a few hundred more (and then see that HD DVD on all your plasmas/LCDs).

Just save your $$ for games and be happy with component video. It passes the full 1080p, which isn't available for a majority of the stuff out there anyway! Most stuff is still hanging out in the 480 range.

Industry magazines are now starting to pick up on the next generation of closed, propritary methods being looked into use for transmission and even the end-device. I alerted our product managers that future TVs could even contain DRMs that are by default blocking non-DRM sources. Meaning, lets say you decide to locally modulate a DVD player and a camera in your own home. The Camera is over your front door and the DVD player is in your entertainment center. Currently, you can easily do this for a couple hundred bucks, and any TV in the house can watch the DVD player on channel 125, and the camera on channel 123 ( I won't explain, unless you ask, why a channel of seperation is used). If you watch what the MPAA and other abusers of DMCA and DRM are doing, this system would not work for a TV made in the future. The locally modulated channels would lack the "broadcast flag='off" tag, and using the now-prevalant 'if it's not DRM, it's stolen' mentality, the Television would block it. So your TV would say, "Nope, you cant tell me your not stolen, so I'm assuming you are stolen" and the local modulated signal would be dropped.

Hopefully I explained this in a way a non-TV geek would pick up. I simply took your quick, and accurate observation, and applied it to what might happen with a TV and Game Console of the future (e.g. a "GEEKBOX" running Linux might not work on the TV to play a game, unless it had the HDMI or someother DRM-approved cable).

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432511)

Similarly, I believe the problem exists in reverse. I do not possess all the facts about this at the moment, but I believe there is a lot of HD content (or pending HD content) which will not unlock for play on your computer monitor unless it is an HDCP/HDMI device. In other words, the $3,200 Apple Cinema Display I bought a little over a year ago won't be able to play a lot of future HD content in true HD. Not because of some fundamental inability in the hardware to reproduce the content, but because the gatekeeper (the HDCP?) is required to allow you to view it. And for that, you need a monitor with HDCP built-in.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434341)

I'm no expert, but I just bought a 1080p TV, and all my research indicates that a 1080p (60Hz) signal exceeds the (specified) bandwidth limitations of component.

-Peter

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433043)

"Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice?"

Nintendo managed to do this with the gamecube/wii AND convince about 5 million people that it wasn't a gimmick. I also hear they get their drink crystals from the same source as a certain "S. Jobs".

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434319)

As far as picture quality, I don't think that there is much difference. I think it is even theoretically possible to output 1080P through component cables, although I am not sure how many TV's would accept this. One thing to keep in mind: I think I read an article somewhere that said that HDDVD/Blu Ray have a certain copy-protection scheme that would not allow you to output HD content via an analog source(Component Cables). In other words, there is a possibility that the movie studios will demand this new copy protection and the people who bought the HD-DVD attachment for the old 360 would be unable to play new HD-DVD's

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437363)

"One thing to keep in mind: I think I read an article somewhere that said that HDDVD/Blu Ray have a certain copy-protection scheme that would not allow you to output HD content via an analog source(Component Cables). In other words, there is a possibility that the movie studios will demand this new copy protection and the people who bought the HD-DVD attachment for the old 360 would be unable to play new HD-DVD's"

Correct. It's called the Image Constraint Token (ICT) [wikipedia.org] and it will reduce the resolution of Blu-Ray/HD DVD video to 960x540 when it is implemented. Most studios have supposedly "agreed" not to implement ICT unti 2012, so HD DVD will look great over analog cables for now. However, I'd sure be pissed if ICT was implemented and my HD DVD player only output 960x540.

So I think the single biggest reason for HDMI is for the optional HD DVD drive and the possibility of ICT in the future. It really makes no sense for a HD DVD player not to have a video output w/HDCP.

Re:Is it a gimmick to sell the same product twice? (1)

ThundrNeon (1078563) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434557)

Actually there is a slight difference between HDMI and DVI. While both cables can support a signal up to 1080p (1080 lines of Video(1080) all refreshed at the same time (p = progressive); the major difference is that HDMI also includes the audio so you only need 2 or 3 total wires for your xbox 360. Theses wires of course are power, HDMI (Video and Sound), and possible an ethernet cord. The real advantage of HDMI is involved if you have an HD DVD drive add-on. To enjoy the video at full quality you need an output that supports HDCP(High Definition Content Protection), and a television with an input that is at least HDCP compliant. Also if you run the HDMI Cable into a Surround reciever that reciever must also have the input/ouputs that support HDCP. If you really read up on most high Definition televisions the only port that supports HDCP is usually an HDMI Port. You can get around this by buying a DVI to HDMI cable but you lose audio signal and will need to run a second wire. Also HDMI supports slightly newer forms of surround such as Dolby TrueHD 7.1 , but the game or movie that you are viewing and all of your associated equipment will all need to support that format in order to see any real benefit. Also the difference between 1080p and 1080i is that at 1080i you still have 1080 lines of video but half are refreshed each cycle(i = interlaced). So every time the TV displays a picture at 1080i only 540 lines are changed. As far as benefit of an HDMI Port on an xbox 360, i only see it as better compatibilty for the most high end equipment (HD DVD) and you will probably see no real benefit from games as most will not be programed in 1080p or use Dolby True HD.

No HD-DVD? (3, Insightful)

bym051d (980242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431669)

Why not build it in for the elite version? Now, you not only have to worry about adding a drive on, but you have to search to get on that's the same color.

Re:No HD-DVD? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437171)

Because:

  • It would add a lot more to the price
  • It would turn off everyone who doesn't want HD-DVD
  • It would tie them to a format that may not succeed
  • It would piss off a lot of existing customers
  • It couldn't be used for anything except movies anyway
  • Microsoft have stated, repeatedly and unambiguously, that they will not do this

Re:No HD-DVD? (1)

valathax (916966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18445285)

It is stupid to use a single drive from playing both movies and games because the lasers are only rated for 10,000 hours. This means just like the PS2's that are used as a DVD player and Game player they die after 3 years because of laser failures.

HDMI cable? (2, Interesting)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431687)

Does anyone know whether this means that there will be an HDMI cable released for the existing models? I've poked around the news releases, but haven't seen any mention of it.

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431955)

Buy yourself the Monster Xbox 360 Component cable [amazon.com] for $45. If you have a good television, the difference between a good component-out and that which comes in the box is very noticeable.

Obviously, I haven't yet compared it to the HDMI-out, but I don't know that it is going to be better than a quality component-out. I'll wait until someone has had the chance to test and compare them before I bother getting excited over an HDMI cable.

As I said in another post in this thread I am not an A/V geek. However, as best I understand the true advancement of HDMI is not the quality of the image, but the implementation of HDCP . I don't know about you, but enhanced digital copy protection does not excite me and I'm certainly not going to spend money to further subject myself to the whims of the data providers and distributors.

Now, if I'm wrong and the quality really does end up being impressive over a good component-out, then I'll probably go ahead and get it. And even then, how will we know that the console isn't simply designed to detect when component or HDMI is being used so that it can intentional reduce the quality of component, thus promoting the implementation of HDMI eagerly and willingly by consumers, thereby introducing HDCP into every home without anyone actually stopping to contemplate what they're subjecting themselves to?

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432079)

I have a decent TV - 40something inch DLP - hooked up via VGA, as I'd heard it was a crisper image. Is the difference between that and component (or between component and Monster component) really visible? I'm mostly interested in HDMI because I could free up an optical port on my receiver by routing audio through the TV.

Thanks for the advice re: HDCP. I share your skepticism, but I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of DRM in this context because I don't use the 360 for anything but games and HD-DVDs. I doubt the 360 is intentionally downgrading the component out, as it's competing too fiercely with the PS3 in the graphics department.

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432707)

I'm not really an A/V geek by any means. I have a really high end system, but I had to do a lot of research on that as I was making my purchase decisions and also rely on a lot of educated people I knew to help guide me.

That said, the component cables provided out of the box with the off the shelf Xbox 360 are not of the highest quality. They are not terrible by any means, but I noticed a significant improvement in my system when I replaced them with the Monster Xbox 360 Component cables. And at the time, they weren't $45 -- but $75!

The HDMI would probably be an improvement over the component cables that are shipped with the xbox, too. I am not sure if the XBOX-provided HDMI cables would be better than high quality component cables, though. And that may in fact be a partial explanation for why Microsoft is offering it. Not so much "HDMI is better than component!" as "This HDMI cable is better than the component cable we were shipping with the product".

Frankly, I doubt you are going to notice a massive difference either way. I simply went into it with the "I want the best I can get, regardless of cost" rout. I already had so many damn cables between my tuners, consoles, speakers, television, cable box and everything else that four or five more cables for the component-out instead of HDMI would have been irrelevant.

It sounds like HDMI might be your preference - especially if you just want one thing to plug in. The only thing I would be sure to check is whether or not you have an HDMI port where its needed. I'm sure your television might have one, but if you are planning to route your console through your A/V tuner instead, you'll obviously want to ensure that your tuner has an HDMI-input on it.

For me, any consideration of HDMI comes down more to philosophy than anything else. My personal choice is that if I can get comparable performance out of something that doesn't shove DRM up my ass (whether or not said DRM actually interferes with my use or not), then I will go for that. For many others, that isn't a consideration and I realize I tend to be in the paranoid minority when it comes to this. :)

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433805)

Interesting. You've just about convinced me to try some Monster cables (I can always return them if I can't see the difference, after all), but I need to do some research and see if the 360 will upscale DVDs across a component out. I've heard conflicting things in that regard. Yes, I do have an extra HDMI port, but it's sounding as if the existing 360 models just aren't equipped for digital output. Shame.

Re:HDMI cable? (2, Informative)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433067)

Current versions of HDMI are capable of outputting more bits per pixel than component video as well as a wider range of blacks and whites (that is, more shades, and darker black and brighter white too). It is also capable of carrying the higher bandwidth audio feeds that won't work over optical (or even coax) digital audio connectors. This matters if the system in question can output 7.1 uncompressed (or higher) which wouldn't work without HDMI cables to carry the signal.

Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds very good for now, and dts sounds even better to my ears (and most other people I have over to listen) but I'm not convinced most people have the hardware (speakers / speaker wire / amp / pre-amp) to appreciate the quality difference of uncompressed PCM yet.

PS, I don't believe the 360 can output uncompressed PCM at any rate, but I figured I'd be thorough re: HDMI.

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433827)

Thanks for the advice. You're correct that I, at least, don't have the equipment for uncompressed PCM; I'm not sure I have the ears for it, either. I'm relatively insensitive to sound quality, as long as it's coming from more than one direction.

Do you know whether the 360 upscales DVDs when outputting component video?

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434139)

Since it has a hardware upscaler, I'd be surprised if it doesn't.

I don't however own one ... I bought a PS3 so I could watch Blu-Ray movies with 7.1 uncompressed audio :-). I do wish the PS3 upscaled however.

Re:HDMI cable? (1)

bym051d (980242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432407)

Who really cares. Unless you buy the uber expensive brands, they're not that expensive. Just like the PS3, as long as it has an HDMI port and doesn't require you to use a proprietary connection, I don't care having to pick up my own.

Re:HDMI cable? (2, Informative)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432039)

No there won't be. The current 360 models only can output an analog signal.

Pointless without HD-DVD. (2, Insightful)

ravyne (858869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431917)

Honeslty, I've been waiting for an HDMI 360 with built-in HD-DVD drive. The latter doesn't seem to be the case though; but I'd buy a second 360, the elite, if it had and keep the "old" model in my room next to the PC to test my XNA projects. I'd love to have the HD-DVD functionality in my living room, but the add-on drive, like all add-ons, is clunky and ugly.

Without built-in HD-DVD its worthless to me.

For about a hundred bucks I can pick up a 120gig drive and a copy of Norton Ghost, clone my data over to the new drive and slap it into the 360 (yes, this actually works.) For a few bucks more I can pick up any color of RIT vinyl/plastics dye in any color I want - just waiting on my warranty to expire before I crack it open to dye it, and While I'm at it I can swap out the LEDs for some nice blue ones.

Re:Pointless without HD-DVD. (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432285)

Two problems with including HD-DVD
1. BR is going to beat HD-DVD in the movie format war, so why should Microsoft go thru that unnecessary expense? Xbox 360 Users that really want HD-DVD can get the HD-DVD add-on.

2. Including HD-DVD would make the console cost $600. This would make the PS3's price seem "reasonable" to customers, and customers that wouldn've shunned the PS3 in favor of Xbox360 would be tempted to go with PS3 instead.

Re:Pointless without HD-DVD. (1)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433759)

Seriously.
Though I'm not about to start buying HD discs, I'd certainly netflix the hell out of them if i could get a gaming system w/ HD DVD capacity for the same price as the commercially available HD DVD players.
I've got a Wii. I dont *need* a 360. But its hellof fun, and if it was going to pull double duty, I'd snap one up in a second.
But I guess that would make too much sense for M$.

Re:Pointless without HD-DVD. (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435515)

"For about a hundred bucks I can pick up a 120gig drive and a copy of Norton Ghost, clone my data over to the new drive and slap it into the 360 (yes, this actually works.)"

It does? It used to be that you could finagle another drive into functioning, but any additional space was unusable. I started poking around and haven't found anything new yet.. But apparently its been known for a few months that a 120GB was coming in the near future.

Re:Pointless without HD-DVD. (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437557)

As far as I know, you can't upgrade the Xbox360 HD like that - something about a (presumably digitally signed) hash of the serial number, model number and drive size.

Minor uprage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432075)

For me there is no reason to get HDMI over Component HD. The only real point of interest here is the 120gb HDD, which even then is not that special because if i buy a 120gb HDD for my current 360... How on earth to i copy all my saves/data to the new HDD.
I'm sure Microsoft will soon add support for writing data to external USB drives so we can save our downloaded HD movies/shows to fairly large external drive instead of eating up that space on the drive that ships with the unit. Even just the ability to save game saves and such to a 2gb USB thumbdrive.

External Storage Fears (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434523)

Even just the ability to save game saves and such to a 2gb USB thumbdrive.

You mean like the PS3 (which can mount external storage and then let you copy things).

I had no idea the 360 could not do this. Between that and the Zune not mounting as external storage, it makes you wonder why Microsoft is shutting down access to external storage from devices it has control over. It would make the whole system much more useful if data transfer and backup were easier...

$480 is way too much (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432427)

I can spend $20 more and get a PS3 that has Blu-Ray, free online and Cell processor. This is a disaster for Microsoft, they are tripping up big time. Looks like PS3 is about to dominate.

Re:$480 is way too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18435023)

No ... it isn't a disaster yet, Sony hasn't managed to duplicate Live!'s "Have your Identity and/or Money stolen on-line." at least according to the slashdot story [slashdot.org] :D

Boy ... the Sony Playstation Network is looking better and better to me (especially if their "Home" idea is as fun as it looks).

+2 Funny?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18435073)

Screw you mods, I was being serious!!!

Good for not including HD-DVD... (0)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432755)

This is a smart move. The huge advantage Microsoft has over Sony is that they can price their systems $200 lower by not including HD-DVD. If HD-DVD were to take off, 2 years down the line, and prices of high-frequency lasers drop, it would definitely be worth it. But for now, HD media is a novelty and it simply means that Microsoft can continue to kick Sony's ass in terms of price. Due to the fact that Microsoft has basically allowed the arguement of "The PS3 is more powerful, but $200 more expensive" to go on (which is not exactly true, both have their performance strengths), which means that a $600 360 would not be able to compete with a $600 PS3, head to head.

This isn't surprisingly that MS would not even give this question a second thought. I know that some of you out there are begging to get their hands on a HD-DVD or BluRay drive (I've now joined the ranks of HDTV owners, so I definitely wouldn't complain), and are fairly dissapointed, but you have to understand the logic behind this decision.

Re:Good for not including HD-DVD... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433045)

It's not an advantage, it's stupidity. It means that all 360 games will have to be shipped on DVD from now until forever. Meanwhile PS3 has double layer Blu-Ray = 50GB of storage for games.

360 users will have fun swapping out six discs all the time for that RPG.

Re:Good for not including HD-DVD... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433513)

Aslong as each of the 6 DVDs can be bootable, and it takes weeks to progress far enough to go to
the next dvd, its a non issue. And as long as you dont need to go backwards either.

I also suggest a bit more aggressive modern compression in all data types and design.

Bluray can lead to sloppy design that duplicates 1 300meg video scene 7 times for each language.

Re:Good for not including HD-DVD... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433997)

Aslong as each of the 6 DVDs can be bootable, and it takes weeks to progress far enough to go to the next dvd, its a non issue. And as long as you dont need to go backwards either.


Bingo. No one cared, in the slightest, in Final Fantasy 7-9 about having to switch discs after every 15 hours of gameplay. The only game that was ever maddening because of this was Riven, in which you were required to switch between 5 CDs, one for each island (of which you could walk across in 30secs later on in the game). This was unfortunate.

However, I play, almost exclusively, progressive games: games in which follow a story or series of events (RPGs, Adventure games, etc.). But for sandbox games, or GTA-like games, which might have story elements and events come up at any point, our arguement about multi-disc switching falls apart. For the average length RPG, even 10 disc switching (once every 5 hours) could be just fine, but it would make free-for-all games unplayable. Still, as you said, this can be countered by more sophisticated and aggressive compression, tighter coding, and better use of the hardware.

Re:Good for not including HD-DVD... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435103)

360 users will have fun swapping out six discs all the time for that RPG.
No, developers will have fun making procedural content. If the space combat and trading sim Elite can fit in 48 KiB [wikipedia.org] , a first-person shooter can fit in 96 KiB [wikipedia.org] , and Final Fantasy I through FFVI combined can fit in under 12,000 KiB, then a careful developer could fit a lot of role-playing into the 8,000,000 KiB of an Xbox 360 Game Disc.

How much lower? (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434449)

The huge advantage Microsoft has over Sony is that they can price their systems $200 lower

Except that they are really only charging $30 lower with this Elite model compared to the base PS3.

And the online match play is free with the PS3.

How was that a huge advantage again?

Re:How much lower? (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435025)

The huge advantage Microsoft has over Sony is that they can price their systems $200 lower

Except that they are really only charging $30 lower with this Elite model compared to the base PS3.

And the online match play is free with the PS3.

How was that a huge advantage again?

The advantage is they have muliple price points and the added features are modular (except the HDMI port obviously). Not everyone wants online gaming, or HD movies, or even a HDD (not particularly usefull unless you at least sign up for live silver). You can get by just fine with a $300 360 and if you want to upgrade your capability you can do so incrementally, and buy what you want/need. If Sony could offer a $300 version they would sell alot more units.

HDD not useful? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436021)

The advantage is they have muliple price points and the added features are modular (except the HDMI port obviously). Not everyone wants online gaming, or HD movies, or even a HDD (not particularly usefull unless you at least sign up for live silver).

The HDD "Not particularly useful"? The HDD is quite useful for caching game content, or downloading new game content, or downloading demos. What is not useful is making it an optional part of the system, that was a mistake from Day 1 - in consoles you do not want "modular features" for then game makers cannot really rely on them existing. You want as few models as possible, preferably with no difference in terms of game play between the models (skins are a different matter being only cosmetic).

If Sony could offer a $300 version they would sell alot more units.

They will eventually, right now they are using the more expensive console to cement Blu-Ray as the de-facto next gen media format and also to recoup some R&D costs. Later the system will come down in price, and they will re-affirm the console lead because games will have more space availiable for content (among other reasons). I personally don't think Sony has any reason to consider price cuts until they can keep it in stock at Amazon for longer than a week at a time before it sells out. They have to wait until production finally meets demand, and then look at when price reductions make sense.

I don't even own a PS3 or have plans to do so anytime soon. I can just see the strategy and it's working pretty well.

HDD not useful... without (at least) Live! Silver (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437111)

The advantage is they have muliple price points and the added features are modular (except the HDMI port obviously). Not everyone wants online gaming, or HD movies, or even a HDD (not particularly usefull unless you at least sign up for live silver).

The HDD "Not particularly useful"? The HDD is quite useful for caching game content, or downloading new game content, or downloading demos. What is not useful is making it an optional part of the system, that was a mistake from Day 1 - in consoles you do not want "modular features" for then game makers cannot really rely on them existing. You want as few models as possible, preferably with no difference in terms of game play between the models (skins are a different matter being only cosmetic).

Right. Thanks for agreeing with me.

"The HDD is quite useful for caching game content" - 360 games don't rely on this due to the HDD being optional. Thankfully the DVD is fast enough to accomodate the transfer, unlike the Blu-Ray.

...downloading new game content, Which you need at least Live Silver to access. See original post.

or downloading demos. Which you need at least Live Silver to access. See original post.

You do realize there are a few million people out there who don't even have their 360 connected to the internet, let alone signed up for the free 'Silver' membership... Honestly I don't get it, but there are people out there who do... and they number in the millions.

in consoles you do not want "modular features" for then game makers cannot really rely on them existing. You want as few models as possible, preferably with no difference in terms of game play between the models

Right. The existance of or lack of a HDD doesn't change gameplay at all. Any game will play on either the core or premium models. The Ability to (or not) playback HD movies doesn't change gameplay at all. The ability to Wirelessly connect to the internet doesn't change gameplay at all. If people want these features they pay for them, if they don't they don't. Gameplay is still not effected.

Think of it this way; not everyone bought a multitap or a network adapter for the PS2, despite free online and plenty of games offering support for 4 players. Not everyone needed/ wanted it.

Does change gameplay (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18438797)

It changes gameplay in that it limits what designers can do, without being able to have a large fast cache at hand.

Re:Good for not including HD-DVD... (1)

stewbee (1019450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434847)

While I agree to some extent with your post, I would have to think that MS would not add $200 blindly to the cost of the system to compensate for the addition of the HD-DVD drive. They would make the additional price only $150, for example. That way the budget shopper would see that they could buy the XBox 360 + HD-DVD player = $600, or they could buy them as a single unit and only pay $550. The $50 dollar price difference would probably get people that were on the fence to buy the elite or not to actually buy the elite.

I can see this have a few benefits. First, the XBox + HD-DVD would still be cheaper than the PS3. Also this would help HD-DVD get a larger market share.

There is still the option to not buy the XBox with the HD-DVD drive, so they will still be better than PS3, which forces you to buy Blu-Ray, no matter what model you buy.

April Fools (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432815)

What if it's an April Fools joke. The magazine comes out in April and claims that M$ is releasing a new Xbox in April. Not sure if this will happen, but if it does I imagine there will be a lot of problems for Game Informer.

Slot-loading drive? (1)

curmi (205804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433647)

And still no slot-loading drive...
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