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XBox Adding HD Tuners Next Year

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the convergence-or-some-crap dept.

XBox (Games) 279

iloveCarla writes "Microsoft is partnering with Toshiba to turn the Xbox into a full fledged HTPC. With built-in HD DVD, a larger hard drive, revamped "MCE" interface, and possibly HDTV tuners, the Xbox would be in a better position to compete against the PS3 in the race to serve as the defacto entertainment hub for couch potatoes. According to the article "The new device is expected to be released late in 2008 or at the 2009 CES show in Las Vegas."

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Who cares? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063169)

Even if I had a screen big enough to enjoy the real benefit of HD, why the fuck would I want a locked down platform that goes out of its way to restrict my usage?

Re:Who cares? (0, Troll)

noddyxoi (1001532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063887)

I wish i had mod points to mod you up. MS spam on slashdot sucks.

Re:Who cares? (1)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064137)

or more to the point, why would you want to waste your life as a couch potato? :)

Re:Who cares? (0)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064283)

You're obviously not anywhere near the target demographic. You sound like a guy who drives a 1987 Toyota Corolla complaining that you would never buy a BMW Z8 because it takes premium gas.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064535)

And you sound like the kind of douchebag who equates the cost of his possessions with his own value.

Nice (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063181)

Nice, as usual around here, the headline isn't fully supported by the story, let alone the summary. In case Taco couldn't comprehend the first sentence he read, it says that they "might" add HD tuners. All the other stuff is a go, but the HD tuners may not make it.

Not the enhancement people really want (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063221)

The real question is: Will they start making the 360s reliable enough to reduce the failure rate down to something reasonable? I don't really care about HD tuners and stuff like that, what I really care about is will it keep running long enough for me to finish a game before having to send it back to the shop?

Re:Not the enhancement people really want (4, Informative)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064157)

Microsoft has already done this. They have identified the problem that caused the general hardware failure (insufficient heat dissipation and weak solder) and retooled their assembly line to fix it. Any hardware failures you hear about are older xboxes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360_technical_problems [wikipedia.org] for more info.

Mod parent ignorant. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064257)

The whole red ring of death issue has been fixed for at least 6 months now, possibly even up to a year.

Go try find something else to bitch about because that 360 flame doesn't work and isn't relevant anymore.

Re:Mod parent ignorant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064609)

There is some evidence to the contrary [fastsilicon.com] . If the problem has been fixed for so long, how come there are still tons of people returning their 360s for repairs?

Adding New Features to Consoles (5, Insightful)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063231)

Adding new features to consoles just makes people who bought 360 early upset. If the HD-DVD had been included since the beginning, I would be buying HD-DVD movies, and I really enjoy my high-def 360 playing when I'm home from school. Well, since my Xbox is off at the repair center for red-ringing, back to my Wii.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (4, Insightful)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063441)

If the HD-DVD had been included since the beginning it would have cost twice as much and most of us probably wouldn't own one.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063795)

If the HD-DVD had been included since the beginning it would have cost twice as much and most of us probably wouldn't own one.

I'd have to argue this though, the first DVD player most gamers had was the PS2. Back then VHS was still ok and no one had a need to go out and buy an expensive stand alone DVD player.

I mean one night we were at the video store and we saw a DVD to rent instead of a VHS and we said to ourselves "Oh, if I only had a DVD player. Oh wait!"

This really drove the format and many kids with PS2 could also watch DVD movies. Of course now the players are $20 bucks for a new one and its a moot point.

Of course the whole issue of the HDVD and Bluray wars is kind of killing both formats at this point.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063955)

But the PS2 didn't cost $500. Don't you see the difference. PS2 was able to include the DVD player without adding much to the cost of the console. The PS3 or XBox 360 with HD-DVD are much more expensive than the standard console. So, while it's true that it would be a cheaper HD player, it's still more than most people are willing to pay for HD video. Also, everyone seems to forget that VHS to DVD was a huge leap. DVD to HD, not so much.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1, Interesting)

shlepp (796599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064009)

the PS2 did cost $500, thats what i paid for mine when i got it at launch.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064109)

According to the pricing history [wikipedia.org] , you're either a liar, European, or you got ripped off.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064567)

Not to mention - this is exactly what people are pissed off about with the PS3.


Now this is a problem with the 360, but because they don't have it? Man, we are all over the place.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064621)

But the PS2 didn't cost $500. Don't you see the difference. PS2 was able to include the DVD player without adding much to the cost of the console. The PS3 or XBox 360 with HD-DVD are much more expensive than the standard console. So, while it's true that it would be a cheaper HD player, it's still more than most people are willing to pay for HD video. Also, everyone seems to forget that VHS to DVD was a huge leap. DVD to HD, not so much.

Actually up here in Canada it did.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064007)

Not twice, 50% more given that you are either prone to stupid hyperbole or are bad at math.

The cost was $399 for something worth buying, the $299 model was not. The separate drive was $199, so the total for such a model would have been $599.

Maybe not standardize on it, but the top model could have had one built in, I would have been willing to pay the extra.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064087)

The separate drive was almost a year later. Technology comes down in price.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064307)

If the HD-DVD had been included since the beginning it would have cost twice as much and most of us probably wouldn't own one.
You are assuming that price has anything to do with the cost to manufacture. This isn't the case and should be obvious here by the fact that MS loses money on every 360 built.

It might have been twice the price, it might have been 50% more it might have been the same price it was at launch. Whatever it would have been, it would have been determined by the Marketing department (or Sales) and ultimately us as to the price of the HD-DVD 360, not the manufacturing department.

For all of the RIAA/MPAA rants about standing up to the industry, it really amazes me that we forget (or don't get) this.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064339)

Most of us don't own one.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064377)

And it would have been a year later. They would have nowhere near the maket penetration they do now if they had waited to get an HD DVD drive in there.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063489)

Adding new features to consoles just makes people who bought 360 early upset
 
Yeah, God forbid new features be added to a product. We should all be driving the Model T. Or better yet we should be living in caves and afraid of fire.
 
You fucks are really a bore. If someone upgrades a product you bitch about being an early adopter (The fucking machine is 2 years old, do you think this is the Atari 2600?) if they never upgrade it you scream "Where's the innovation?"
 
Get over yourselves. There is progress in the world. If you don't like it go live with the fucking Amish.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

voidstin (51561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063789)

[quote]If someone upgrades a product you bitch about being an early adopter (The fucking machine is 2 years old, do you think this is the Atari 2600?) if they never upgrade it you scream "Where's the innovation?"
[/quote]

When have consoles ever been updated? the PS2 got smaller and integrated IR, that's it. Short obsolescence cycles just piss people off. If these new features are so genius, sit on them and put them in the xbox 720.

All this is doing for mid-cycle adopters (like me), is making me wait. It's been like this all year. Wait for HDMI, wait for Falcon, wait for the price drop, now wait until 2009? If I buy now, will i have to put another ugly misshapen box like the hd dvd player next to my TV? Didn't you people learn anything from the Sega CD?

Ultimately, it's going to be about the games. If I wanted a $600 convergence box, I'd get a mac mini.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063851)

When have consoles ever been updated?
 
Since it hasn't happened in the past it should never happen. Again, we should all be driving Model-Ts.
 
  Short obsolescence cycles just piss people off. If these new features are so genius, sit on them and put them in the xbox 720.
 
And just who the fuck are you to say shit like this? Give me one reason they should sit on anything instead of just putting it out? Man, you really are stuck on yourself.
 
  All this is doing for mid-cycle adopters (like me), is making me wait. It's been like this all year. Wait for HDMI, wait for Falcon, wait for the price drop, now wait until 2009? If I buy now, will i have to put another ugly misshapen box like the hd dvd player next to my TV? Didn't you people learn anything from the Sega CD?
 
Oh well. Let me just be the first to tell you that no one at MS or any other company cares if you wait. Really. Others have proven that upgrading products does boost sales regardless of people like yourself. While I do not plan on buying one either I can't think of a single real reason for them to hold back on releasing these features. You're just a whiner.
 
  Ultimately, it's going to be about the games. If I wanted a $600 convergence box, I'd get a mac mini.
 
If you really think that set top boxes are only about the games I think you've been sleeping through recent gaming history. Heh. I'm not surprised given your attitude.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063929)

"When have consoles ever been updated?"

Don't know much about consoles, do you? The answer is: since nearly the beginning. I'm not going to get longwinded here, so I'll just cite one example. The Sega Genesis. Did you know that there were THREE versions of this system? And that's just the base unit, I'm not talking about addons like the SegaCD or 32X.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

billiam247 (1105777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064187)

The PS2 also got an integrated network adapter and lost (for most people) the ability to add a hard drive.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063797)

I'll bit on this troll.

Gaming consoles are standard boxes where developers create for a single technology set which is the same across all units of a system. The manufactures might make changes to the look of the system, but the base system should be the same. The 360 had the issue of not including a hard drive with the "core" model. This caused developers to not support it even though it was a huge selling point of the original Xbox where data could be cached and streamed off the HDD. Several newer games appear like they might start requiring a HDD. The same is with the Xbox only using standard DVDs. The system is pushing HD content; however, games are limited to 9GB disks. The PS3 using BluRay allows for 25GB per disk. This allows more data for cutscenes and audio. The trade off between storage can be seen last gen. Look at the Xbox version of the Prince of Persia games compared to the Gamecube. The difference in music is easily identifiable and is caused by the Xbox using 9GB disks while the Gamecube used 1.5GB disks.

You fucks are really a bore. If someone upgrades a product you bitch about being an early adopter (The fucking machine is 2 years old, do you think this is the Atari 2600?) if they never upgrade it you scream "Where's the innovation?"
They do upgrade, about every 4-5 years. Thats why you have the PS2 -> PS3, Xbox -> Xbox 360, Gamecube -> Wii. Microsoft is currently positioned to be in second place this generation even with all of the hardware problems they are having. Second place behind the Wii isn't bad since they will have the hardcore market while the Wii has the everyone market. However, if they continue to splinter their market they might just lose out to Sony. People might be complaining that the new PS3 doesn't have PS2 backwards compatibility, but that has no effect on the PS3 ability to play PS3 games. All of the systems have the same processor, same video system, and they all have hard drives of differing sizes. The difference in HDD space is minor because developers can count on it being there.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064003)

You fail the history lesson as well. Do some research on old consoles. They were always making updates and upgrades to consoles. This is, by far, NOT the first time it's happened.

As long as they can all still play games entitled "XBox 360", then they haven't broken any unwritten rules. It's once you have to start looking carefully at the game box to find out that this is for "Super XBox 360" and not regular 360, that they have committed a major faux pas.

Oh, and it seems you need the same terminology lesson most people around here do: Just because you don't agree with the parent poster's comments, doesn't make them a "troll".

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064011)

I would argue that 360 will be a third at the end of these consoles life, but only time will tell.

I would assume that Microsoft will get their next console out before Sony does thought.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

InvalidError (771317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064503)

Since the 360 came out a year before the PS3/Wii, Microsoft being the first again with its next next-gen console seems like a given. They'd only need to bump the CPU/GPU processing power to provide proper support for 1080p60 games (instead of upscaled 720p), increase RAMs, include the HD-DVD, a user-replaceable 2.5" SATA HDD and HDMI in the base configuration to have something almost directly backwards-compatible that may actually be worth calling the XBox 720 in 2-3 years.

With that said, the way Sony and Microsoft have been introducing new variations of their platforms and discontinuing others at a rate of three or more each year is unprecedented and quite annoying. One new model per year would be ok but replacing most of the lineup over the first year makes it obvious they did not know what they were initially doing.

Re:Adding New Features to Consoles (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063983)

Yeah, HD-DVD for movies may be nice if it succeeds but in late 2008-2009 the price of players will probably not be that much anyway and who knows if people care if it's within the console or not.

For games they are sorta screwed anyway, to add it later will add bulk and look bad.

At current US prices of 40GB PS3 vs premium 360 I know what I would had choosen, but I'm not intrested in any of them atm, I game to little anyway and still have plenty of DS titles to play. I wonder if PS3 sales will ever kickoff or if they will be on par with 360 the whole time (which they are atm, the sales curves are more or less identical for ps3 and 360, but 360 has been out for a longer period of time.)

Well then... (4, Insightful)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063241)

.. they'd better also do something about the terrible noise the 360 is producing. There is no way I would use my 360 as an HTPC as long as it produces so much noise. I can live with it when playing games, but when watching a movie I want the silent scenes to be just that: silent.

Re:Well then... (3, Interesting)

Cosmic AC (1094985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063445)

FTA:

Anothe r[sic] big problem for Microsoft according to insiders is getting the heat and noise output from the current Xbox 360 under control so that the new device can run silently while a movie is being played. It is known that Toshiba has been working with Microsoft on this issue as it has extensive experience in notebooks and "quiet" drives.

Re:Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064623)

Anothe r[sic] big problem for Microsoft according to insiders is getting the heat and noise output from the current Xbox 360 under control so that the new device can run silently while a movie is being played. It is known that Toshiba has been working with Microsoft on this issue as it has extensive experience in notebooks and "quiet" drives.
I like how that reads, like it's a big secret we needed insiders to tell us.

Re:Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063475)

Apparently, the GPU is due to be produced in 65nm from the middle of 2008, while the CPU has already been shrunk fom 90nm to 65nm a short while ago. Unless microsoft wants to further reduce production cost by using a less elaborate cooling system (unlikely due to the US$ 1 billion estimated repair costs for the current GPU cooling problems), the xbox should be available in a less noisy version by the end of 2008.

Better position to compete? (3, Interesting)

johannesg (664142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063265)

Unbelievable - "better position to compete"? Are they so incredibly afraid of Sony, then, despite their enormous lead? Or are things not quite as rosy for the XBox as various sources would have us believe?

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063329)

Actually, it seems like a very good strategy, constantly upgrading the console, you aren't making such big losses on the high end parts, and within a short time you start outdoing your competitors. Does it not seem odd to you, these companies that make a console once in 5 years, wait for it to be completely out of date, and then make a new one that they start by making a hideous loss on.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064069)

It seems like a pretty crappy strategy considering the following two things:

- Sony did this with the PS2, and nobody bought them. It was a total flop.
- With HD encryption/DRM, they have two crappy choices. Put CableCARD slots on the device, or allow recording of OTA content only.

Expect these to sell as well as UltimateTV, or those Linksys boxes, or MediaCenter PCs. Hell, even if these sell 10x better than all three of those things, they'll still be an utter failure.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063347)

I think the correct response to that would be shocked silence followed by uproarious laughter. That competition is obviously for last place. And Sony is already so far ahead in that competition that no one is going to catch them!

Re:Better position to compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064333)

Man, you PS3 haters are going to pretty much have a heart attack when Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Singstar, and Final Fantasy collectively cause the PS3 to overtake everyone else.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

mooreti1 (1123363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063349)

I don't know the numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that the number of warranty repairs that Microsoft is having to perform are beginning to affect the profit that Xbox sales generates.

Re:Better position to compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063565)

Then you really don't know the numbers. XBOX has yet generated a profit in its sales history. What you mean is:

I don't know the numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that the number of warranty repairs that Microsoft is having to perform are beginning to affect the loss that Xbox sales generates.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

SIIHP (1128921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063423)

"Unbelievable - "better position to compete"? Are they so incredibly afraid of Sony, then, despite their enormous lead?"

Or maybe it just means that adding a feature will put them in a better position to compete, period.

What you said makes no sense at all.

Sometimes you people post some seriously stupid shit.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063523)

"Unbelievable - "better position to compete"? Are they so incredibly afraid of Sony, then, despite their enormous lead? Or are things not quite as rosy for the XBox as various sources would have us believe?"

More likely they see that Sony Games is reeling, and Microsoft is moving in for the kill while they're off balance, by introducing all the features of their competitors and more. Certainly they're already a league ahead in terms of market adoption, but due to the immense cost of producing the console, and the amount they lose on each one, Sony will need to sell a certain amount of software in the life of the console to avoid bankrupting their games division. I think someone at Microsoft had a bit of a brainwave - what would the market be like in 5 years if there were no PlayStation 4?

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063537)

Why settle for a win if you can stomp out the competition? The xbox is rather weak if you are of the subset that want it to also be your entertainment center. I don't think they need it, but why give Sony any easy sales at all? There are enough cross-platform games or xbox exclusives that they can easily steal away some of those sales. Market share in the console market is always important, there's no reason for Microsoft to be satisfied - they also have a small competitor in Nintendo. Yeah yeah, different market but if the Wii market is 2x or 3x the xbox market, companies will adapt the game to run on the console rather pick a console for the game.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063657)

Unbelievable - "better position to compete"? Are they so incredibly afraid of Sony, then, despite their enormous lead? Or are things not quite as rosy for the XBox as various sources would have us believe?

I don't think that they're trying to improve their position simply because they're afraid of Sony, but I'd suggest, as others no doubt will, that it's a process of continual improvement or innovation. Whether Microsoft are including features offered in other consoles/HTPCs, improvement, or adding new features, innovating, is irrelevant since it's always about gaining or retaining the market-leader position. The ideal situation would be that of both Sony and Microsoft, and to a lesser-extent Nintendo competing and adding features constantly in order to win over more consumers.

Further, if a new product replaces an older product, while continuing, in Microsoft's case, to honour the extended warranties [xbox.com] then either the consumer or Microsoft, and potentially both, can still win, this in one instance the consumer's old-model X-Box can be replaced by a more up-to-date model.

Re:Better position to compete? (5, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063771)

Microsoft wants to own not only the console space, but also the STB space. In front, Microsoft wants to own the entire "computing" and "consumer electronics" markets.

Imagine this Microsoft Dream World: You use Windows at work, hear about a cool new show, and schedule the recording via your Windows Mobile smartphone, and come home to your XBox, which has recorded all of your TV shows to your Windows Home Server in the closet. You can fire up your Windows Media Center computer, and watch them from there or from the XBox, or sync them to your Zune to watch on the go.

Microsoft wants to compete with basically every technology company out there. Not necessarily unlike Apple. The goal that both companies have is domination of your computing lifestyle.

Re:Better position to compete? (0)

drgould (24404) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064023)

Microsoft wants to compete with basically every technology company out there. Not necessarily unlike Apple.

Or Sony. Although Sony doesn't have a cellphone and has the PSP instead of an MP3 player. They already have wifi connectivity between the PSP and PS3.

Sony mobile phones (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064067)

Eh? Sony dose not have a cellphone? What planet are you from? Zune?

why don't you pop over to
http://www.sonyericsson.com/spg.jsp?cc=global&lc=en&ver=4001&template=pg1&zone=pg [sonyericsson.com]

And quite possibly you may at some time in the future, change your mind...

Re:Sony mobile phones (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064369)

You also forgot to point out that he said that Sony doesn't make regular MP3 players too, making his entire argument invalid. Current generation Walkmans, anyone?

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063975)

If by "various sources" you mean XBox Fanboiz, then yes. ;)

XBox360 is the number 2 "next-gen" console. Which is great, but not something Microsoft will be satisfied with. Microsoft is competing to have a set-top box attached to every TV (and, right now, they have a long way to go).

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064025)

They may be ahead in overall numbers, but that's only because the XBox 360 was out a full year earlier than the PS3. Accorinding to this chart [vgchartz.com] the PS3 and the XBox 360 have had pretty much equal sales at the same point in their lifetime.

Re:Better position to compete? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064039)

They don't have an enormous lead, at the same month since release they sell quite similair, they just started to get there consoles out 1 year earlier or whatever it was.

Re:Better position to compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064231)

Enormous?

Define that word please! It's not even "twice as many". Couple of millions hardly is an enormous lead!

Wii = elephant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21064545)

Are you ignoring the fact that the Wii is the best selling console?

Retarded (0, Redundant)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063287)

They need to make an Xbox 360 that sells for no more than $300, and includes at least a 40GB hard drive. Then they need to get more and better games. They also need to make Xbox Live! Gold memberships free for the first year. That's what people actually WANT.

This HTPC crap is a waste of time. Both MS and Sony keep trying to turn their console into a "media center", which while a nice idea, isn't something that the mass-market really cares about.

I swear both MS and Sony have lost their minds.

Re:Retarded (1)

alextmqazwsx (1124255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063453)

I swear both MS and Sony have lost their minds.
Didn't we know this already?

Re:Retarded (2, Insightful)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063833)

They need to make an Xbox 360 that sells for no more than $300, and includes at least a 40GB hard drive. Then they need to get more and better games.

I'd tend to agree with the suggestions that improvement of the console is required to maintain interest, that a larger hard-drive, or allowing the use of any, generic, hard drive would be a vast improvement, particularly for games developers (if they could count on a hard drive being present then I suspect games might stream slightly better without so many obvious, and sometimes painful, loading screens. The use of a generic hard drive would also have the benefit of reduced manufacturing costs for Microsoft (though potentially also reduced profits) and also a reduced purchase cost for the consumer.

As for the 'better games' that's a problem that's not entirely limited to MS' X-Box, every console, from the NES onwards has had more than its share of paltry games, but so long as sufficient people purchase those games they'll continue to be made and sold, sadly.

They also need to make Xbox Live! Gold memberships free for the first year. That's what people actually WANT.

May I ask what was your research methodology? While I believe that this would benefit MS, by encouraging people to participate in the X-Box Live! environment it'd be more likely that people would pursue that environment to other platforms (PC, older X-Box and whatever others MS might introduce). It'd also help to increase any potential advertising revenue, which might not off-set the lost income from charging, but would have far more potential viewers which should increase the value to MS and its customers (obviously in this sense 'customers' would refer to the advertisers, not the X-Box purchasers). I also, despite that last, feel that free membership to the Gold service would be valued by the customers but, among others, I don't feel it's at the top of the list. I'd hazard a guess that cheaper consoles, improved reliability, reduced noise levels and improved networking features would be further up the list, as you already noted.

This HTPC crap is a waste of time. Both MS and Sony keep trying to turn their console into a "media center", which while a nice idea, isn't something that the mass-market really cares about.

I'd suggest that the success and popularity of Myth TV, HTPCs, Media Center and X-Box Media Center show that there is quite a high level of interest in the HTPC and HD TV tuner addition. If nothing else I'd like to be able to control my TV, Sky, DVD and music from one place without having to get up to change channels, turn on and turn off equipment and then find the right remote for whatever appliance I'm currently wanting to use. I confess that this is 'lazy' but that's part of the innovation and improved convenience to the consumer; and if I get bored with TV or whatever and want to play a game then, with the apathy of boredom, it'd be easier if the X-Box was already plugged in, turned on and ready to go.

And even better if I was able to store game images on the console or network, so I don't have to do the getting-up to change discs. But that might be just too damn lazy...;-)

Re:Retarded (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064551)

Both MS and Sony keep trying to turn their console into a "media center", which while a nice idea, isn't something that the mass-market really cares about.
The general public, nowadays, loves DVRs. ONE box in your cabinet that plays DVDs, Blu-ray/HD-DVD, games, downloadable movies, live and recorded TV, media streamed off your computer, pictures/video from your camera, CDs, downloaded music, music off an iPod, lets you browse the internet, etc. is an attractive thought. Especially when it's under $500.

The only thing that the PS3 in my setup isn't doing is TV-watching. When the PS3 tuner comes out, I can then get rid of the TiVo and ONLY have game consoles and my receiver in my cabinet. What's even better is if I got a PSP, I could then watch any of the shows taped on it wherever I could get an internet connection. Seriously cool tech, and if the general public even realized you could do this, it would likely be huge.

The problem doesn't lie in the fact that the features are unwanted, it lies in the fact that nobody knows about any of them because instead Sony makes ads with babies and squirrels.

What are they doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063325)

I think Microsoft is spreading itself thin and not focusing on the clear goal of just delivering fun games. If they think Sony went wrong, why are they trying to get into that territory? They're trying to be everything to everyone but may not end up being anything to anyone. They don't have a clear portable strategy. On one hand they say Live Arcade will deliver what would-be Wii owners crave, but on the other hand there's not a lot of good original content. They've got a movie download service which may end up competing with the added DVR capabilities, but either way there is no clear way to burn your videos to keep a hard copy. They've got a HD-DVD add-on, but have no plans to support Blu-Ray if it gains enough popularity. Microsoft Game Studios has a lot less developers under its umbrella but they say they can overtake Nintendo and keep Sony at bay. I think they're just blowing whatever direction the wind is going, and it smells a lot like their idea of how to compete with the iPod or how to make a good desktop OS.

Re:What are they doing? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063413)

You make me lol.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063391)

From the 3rd page:
"Currently most iPods incorporate a Toshiba drive. "

Still no SMB shares though (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063417)

The one feature that would make the 360 into a descent media centre would be support for SMB (aka Window's) shares, so you can easily access all the media from your PC or NAS. It's the thing that makes XBOX Media Centre rock. No-one wants to be forced to use Media Player 11's crappy media streaming when they could just as easily browse their network shares.

Re:Still no SMB shares though (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064233)

The one feature that would make the 360 into a descent media centre would be support for SMB (aka Window's) shares (...). No-one wants to be forced to use Media Player 11's crappy media streaming (...)
Ah, but adding SMB support wouldn't lock you into Windows now, would it? WMP11 on the other hand, that's a Microsoft-only product with a Microsoft-only protocol they can break any day of the week. Or if it's a standard today (I wouldn't know) it's a candidate for embrace, extend, extinguish. It's quite obvious Microsoft is trying to create so many interdependencies as possible to project their monopoly into other markets. I really hope it backfires on them, but don't expect them to change course anytime soon.

Re:Still no SMB shares though (2, Informative)

andrewuoft (624574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064407)

It supports UPNP, try something like TVersity

Re:Still no SMB shares though (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064555)

Not to hijack the discussion...

But does anybody have any clue how to stream my existing MP4 movie files from my Windows Vista box to my Xbox 360? I can't even get Windows Media Player to import them into my playlist, and I think there might be some kind of codec download or something I need...

Any links/help would be nice, thanks.

The Evil Empire Grows (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063421)

Yet another Xbox model? Might as well get a PC that isn't locked down and 100% controlled by Microsoft.

MCE? (1)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063439)

revamped "MCE" Oh great, just what I needed more machine check exceptions. I just replaced the CPU in mom's computer!

Better than a tuner how about (2, Insightful)

SpeedyG5 (762403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063459)

beefing up the hardware so it lasts more than six months without getting the 3 rings of death!

Re:Better than a tuner how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063631)

they already did this, with the 65nm chips.

Gee... (2, Funny)

shakezula (842399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063467)

I sure am glad I rushed out and stood in line to buy the original $460 version, spent another $179 to add an HD-DVD player, and now I get to buy one all over again if I want the extra sexy-ness in a single box version?

This generation... (5, Insightful)

Tol Dantom (1114605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063497)

I actually really dislike the way this new console generation has gone, and am glad I have held off buying so far. There is way too much SKU shifting, with new better versions constantly being released to one up the other guy and keep the console "relevant". Its all well and good if you don't care and are sitting on the fence, but as a person actually interested in a next generation console instead of dropping a grand on a gaming PC it is really aggravating. Kudos to the Wii for avoiding this, but its not really what I'm looking for.

Examples of this abound. The one that pisses me off the most is Dual Shock 3. Some of the upgrades have been less than necessary, such as the Elite Xbox SKU, but rumble is a novel game input that you're completely missing out on for no reason if you bought or will buy a PS3 in the next six months. Some weren't even able to make the choice to wait because Sony lied about it.

Now with the HD tuner incorporated HD DVD Player MP3 jack extravaganda, why buy now? You know there will be a new SKU and it will make your box look like a chump. And this isn't like Apple releasing something new and you're paying opportunity cost (forgetting about the iPhone for a second), because most of these upgrades already exist and are minor. The only difference is if you buy them now you're paying probably twice as much for something that's half as well integrated with the box.

Maybe I should just buy a Dreamcast...now there's a stable SKU!

Re:This generation... (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063701)

I actually really dislike the way this new console generation has gone, and am glad I have held off buying so far. There is way too much SKU shifting, with new better versions constantly being released to one up the other guy and keep the console "relevant". Its all well and good if you don't care and are sitting on the fence, but as a person actually interested in a next generation console instead of dropping a grand on a gaming PC it is really aggravating. Kudos to the Wii for avoiding this, but its not really what I'm looking for.

I don't see anything wrong with this. Alaunch XBox 360 or launch PS3 is going to play new titles just as well as the new models. Mostly the new models are toying around with stuff peripheral to the core experience. On the PS3, it may even be that the new models are less desirable in some ways than the launch models since they lack BC, but on the other hand they cost a lot less too.

As for the Wii... It should be obvious that Nintendo will revamp it at some time or another, no doubt telling people how it fixes all sorts of issues with the first one. You can imagine the sorts of things they could add - better screen tracking, rechargable controllers, more storage, DVD playback, possibly even an HD output / scaler. And when they do revamp it, many of the people who crowed how cheap the Wii was will go and buy it all over again. This is after all exactly what Nintendo have done with their handhelds for years now. How many Gameboy models were there?

Examples of this abound. The one that pisses me off the most is Dual Shock 3. Some of the upgrades have been less than necessary, such as the Elite Xbox SKU, but rumble is a novel game input that you're completely missing out on for no reason if you bought or will buy a PS3 in the next six months. Some weren't even able to make the choice to wait because Sony lied about it.

The Dual Shock 3 will work in a launch PS3 if you choose to buy one. So what's the problem? As for Sony lying, to paraphrase Phil Harrison, Sony were in a lawsuit / negotiations with Immersion so did you really expect them to rave how great rumble was when there was a distinct possibility that it would never happen?

Now with the HD tuner incorporated HD DVD Player MP3 jack extravaganda, why buy now? You know there will be a new SKU and it will make your box look like a chump. And this isn't like Apple releasing something new and you're paying opportunity cost (forgetting about the iPhone for a second), because most of these upgrades already exist and are minor. The only difference is if you buy them now you're paying probably twice as much for something that's half as well integrated with the box.

I'll believe the TV tuner story when I see it for real. It may well be that the story is BS, or that Toshiba are still desperate to get their HD DVD going and in a last gasp attempt are paying MS $$$ to licence or produce a hybrid HD DVD / console to compete with the PS3. I think Microsoft is happy to take their money but I see nothing that says they care one jot for HD DVD except to prolong the format war as long as possible.

Anyway if SKUs annoy you, you might be happy to know that for the time being at least that the planned DVB-T twin tuner for the PS3 due in Europe early next year is an attachment. So if you don't want it, don't buy it.

Re:This generation... (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064123)

As for the Wii... It should be obvious that Nintendo will revamp it at some time or another, no doubt telling people how it fixes all sorts of issues with the first one. (snip) This is after all exactly what Nintendo have done with their handhelds for years now. How many Gameboy models were there?

Yes, they did that with their handhelds. But their home consoles? No. All I can think of is the second SNES model, which was just a bit smaller, but had the exact same features.

Re:This generation... (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064385)

Buy a Wii/

In a year or so, Nintendo will make Wiis in different colors and different software bundles, but the base hardware isn't going to change much until they release their next generation.

The only caveat, you have to love Nintendo style games. ;)

This means in the UK.. (2, Interesting)

Flibberdy (780254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063543)

...to own one of these new 360's you'll need to buy a tv license as if you own any equipment capable of receiving TV signals you need to own a license. That's an extra £130/year (unless of course you have a license anyway).

Flibberdy

Re:This means in the UK.. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063711)

Considering that the vast majority of people with a xbox 360 will also have a TV in the first place to plug it into, which is also covered by the TV license requirement, I don't see it being a huge issue. For those that don't, they just need to demonstrate the lack of an aerial and thus lack the capability to receive broadcast TV, to legitimately not buy one.

You wouldn't hear the TV though (1)

dindi (78034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063559)

OK, no trolling, I am a happy XBOX owner and play on live.

BUT: first they should take care of the noise the 360 produces. For me TV/Video watching is completely ruined when you have such a loud fan noise.

It is an incredible gaming machine, but I better use my 5+ year old DVD player than the 360 because the noise concerns.

And before you tell me to crank up the volume: every movie has silent/low volume scenes, and usually the ones when there is important conversation or other dramatic parts..... now that is when I do not want to hear a changing pitch of fan noise.

Other question a HDTV tuner ... OK ... if I have HDTV I have a tuner already. If it is for recording: I doubt MS is going to give questionable cool features like ad skip with it, so better a TIVO.

Dunno, maybe this game machine as an entertainment center idea does not get to me. I would better shove a minimac/mini pc into the hifi stand and than I have all the freedom to burn, record, show pix, etc ....

Re:You wouldn't hear the TV though (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063835)

A large number of HD television sets were sold without ATSC tuners. Now that ATSC chip-sets are being produced in large volumes, it's a feature that can be added at a low cost. Might as well throw in support for QAM.

Toshiba Wishes (1)

essinger (781940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063579)

The rumor comes from Toshiba and I don't buy it. Why would Microsoft do this? They make money off movie downloads to the Xbox. Unless Toshiba is going to give MS a huge stake in the HD-DVD platform, I don't really see an upside for Redmond. I can see Toshiba making a media center extender, but I don't see MS letting them put an Xbox into it.

Re:Toshiba Wishes (1)

Moochman (54872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064327)

Microsoft does have a huge stake in HD-DVD. They wrote the interactive platform [wikipedia.org] , so I assume they're getting royalties from HD-DVD sales.

Open interoperability (1)

tji (74570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063633)

The one thing they could do to interest me is offer the ability to interoperate with third party software.

- Define a set of acceptable video formats that the unit will play, starting with ATSC HDTV formats.

- Create a simple networking protocol to interact with PCs/Servers. Maybe UPnP is good enough, maybe not. It needs to stream the video and allow for flexible playback (FF/REW, Jump n seconds, jump to this point in time, pause, etc.)

An HD-DVD player, which could also play games, and can interact with my MythTV backend and Mac OS X iLife Apps (view photos, play movies, play unencrypted music) would be a no-brainer.

A game unit which also connects to Windows Media Center is not interesting.. Doesn't it already do that?? I'm not interested in a Windows-based media server, with all the related costs and limitations.

Re:Open interoperability (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063843)

You mean something like UPNP with DLNA certification? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DLNA [wikipedia.org]

You can do this with both the PS3 and a modded Xbox running Xbox Media Center right now.

Re:Open interoperability (1)

tji (74570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064475)

I've tried several UPnP devices with my MythTV server (newer MythTV versions have UPnP built-in), although not a gaming box like the PS3/XBox360.

In all cases, the video playback left a lot to be desired. Some HD programs would play back just fine, but others would only give audio + black screen. That might be better with a software based device, like the game boxes.

But, the worse problem was the weak playback controls. FF/REW was uselessly slow. Jump FWD/BACK didn't work at all.

In MythTV, perhaps the best feature it has is the automatic commercial detection and skipping. With the UPnP devices, you lose that sort of control. Another workaround is a good/quick implementation of 30 second skip, to manually zip through commercials. But, the UPnP devices were very poor at this.

That's why I was saying that an open protocol/API is needed to get a better level of integration than exists with UPnP devices.

Haha, I knew it was coming. (3, Informative)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063647)

Well so much for this generation of consoles being the end all be all "it just works, I don't have to upgrade every year" devices that were supposedly hamering the last nails into the coffin of PC gaming.

Looks to me like we'll be seeing XBOX and PC gaming being synonymous in the next year or two. They've already got the hardware rating system in Vista as well as USB adapters for their wireless 360 controlers. It's just a matter of adding direct game support for XBOX titles on the PC.

Considering how fast PC hardware advances in comparison to consoles there is no reason not too. The only thing they'll have to watch out for is letting the software developers get too far head of the average customer's hardware, the very reason many gamers have abandoned PC gaming in the first place.

Personally I would love to see this since I have already distilled my living room entertainment package down to a PC and a 40" LCD HD TV, and don't care spoil that with the noisy, anemic, unreliable, one trick pony, 360, just to be able to play the few console titles I'm interested in.

Re:Haha, I knew it was coming. (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063889)

Looks to me like we'll be seeing XBOX and PC gaming being synonymous in the next year or two.
Great. That already ruined Oblivion.

Re:Haha, I knew it was coming. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064179)

You know, for all the bitching people have done about games like Oblivion and Bioshock being "dumbed down" because they were also released on the console, I absolutely cannot see where they get this. I played Morrowind, and Oblivion's UI makes MORE sense to me than Morrowind's. I didn't play SS2, but Bioshock itself is not a dumbed-down game. It might be less complex than SS2, but Bioshock's interface and controls are on par with what one expects from a PC game. Someone, please, explain this new phenomenon of whining to me if you can. Be specific.

HDTV Tuners? (2, Informative)

zbend (827907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063743)

Cable cards? Last time I checked, besides over the air or unencrypted HD, the only way devices that can record HD content from your cable or satellite provider is with a cable card. If there is anything that's had more hardware problems than the xbox, without any of the popularity, its cable cards. Until that whole situation gets figured out I don't see anyone providing a good HD DVR.

And the Banshee wail? (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063817)

Like, yeah, I'd use one of these as my living room hub of choice, if it didn't blow or suck quite as much. ;-) The noise these things put out is phenomenal, and then there's the noise from the DVD drive. I have multi-core boxes running serious number cruching apps that are quieter.

Nah, living room entertainment centre? Don't think so somehow.

What? Microsoft bought the cable industry? (1)

eudaemon (320983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063939)

Hmm, well you have a few choices here on how this device will interface with cable:
1) Classic Analog
2) Unencrypted QAM
3) Encrypted QAM*
4) Cablecard device
5) IPTV

As far as I know, HD content is not offered over classic Analog, and cannot be relied upon to be supplied
over unencrypted QAM. So now you are into connection options that require an authentication scheme
and some sort of trusted / authenticated relationship between the device and the cable company.

So far the closest analog (ignoring TVs with cablecard slots) is the HD-TIVO. One only has to scan the
threads on avsforum to see the good and bad experiences people have had trying to activate what cable
companies essentially consider a third party device on their network.

For your average slashdot reader the integration issues are likely something we would spend time working
through and could in fact navigate to a successful conclusion. But for the average consumer this could
prove a frustrating and potentially hopeless experience unless Microsoft's 360/MCE is an "officially"
supported device. And I don't see that happening without an investment from MS of some kind.

* I intentionally separated encrypted QAM from cablecard as cablecard's replacement is ostensible
on the horizon.

Re:What? Microsoft bought the cable industry? (1)

eudaemon (320983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064027)

Woops, make that "ostensibly". Suck it, spelling trolls.
And check out http://www.opencable.com/primer/cablecard_primer.html [opencable.com] if you want
to know more about cablecards.

This is smart (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064059)

The problem with upgrading consoles is that you suddenly have two hardware platforms. Do game designers design for the old platform, and limit their features, or do they design for the new platform and limit their audience? They will almost invariably choose the first. Therefore uptake on the new console is low, and consumers feel ripped off -- both the consumers who buy a useless new console, and the consumers who spent their money on the inferior old console.

With the Xbox 360, however, it's a different deal. None of the upgrades are going to effect the gaming capabilities of the Xbox. Even the hard-drive limitation won't stop you from playing any games. What you get with an upgraded Xbox is a more capable box for movies and general home entertainment.

On the other hand, despite this being a good technical idea, Microsoft is most likely going to flub it like they did with 6 editions of Vista. If Microsoft does flub it, people will worry about which edition of the Xbox they should buy, and hold off purchasing altogether.

Re:This is smart (1)

Saurian_Overlord (983144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064219)

You don't think the built-in HD drive will affect gaming capabilities? What would happen if a developer created a game that could only be done on an HD disc? Probably the same thing that happened with Gran Turismo 4 and the PS2 hard drive.

I doubt it's likely to happen for a while, as even DVD-ROM has yet to begin phasing out the 4-CD method of distributing large games. I'm just saying it's a possibility, especially when the tendency is toward better graphics, bigger game worlds, and higher-quality FMV.

Feature sell machines. More features, more sales. (1)

kitgerrits (1034262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064083)

Microsoft is adding more and more features to have poeple use their (noisy) console for things it was never designed for. With this, they hope to sell the machine to more people that were still in doubt about buying a console. Maybe they will even make a few sales to people that simply want a TV tuner with a decent programme listing, like the way people bought PlayStation2's as a DVD player.

I'm perfectly happy with my Playstation as a Game Console and BD-ROM player.
It's quiet and has all the outputs I need to make that perfect connection to my Home Cinema equipment.
Yes, I have Linux on there so I can use it to watch 'downloaded' media content, but it's not the reason I bought it.
(An XboX can't even do that without a PC with Windows Media Player 11 on a networking doing all the hard work.)
With Linux, a PS3 can already use any linux-supported (HD)TV receiver, or any other (Linux supported) USB device.

Because of HDTV and ever-more-powerful processors, one machine will someday sit in the living room, recording your TV shows, string your music, doubling as Internet Appliance for browsing an e-mail.
At the very least.
If people will still have hard-wired phones, the machine will answer the phone for you.
Home Automation will also be interesting (toggling lights when you're on vacation, climate control, remote alarm check-up/signaling, providing access to the networked webcam in the baby room).
The possible privacy issues are just as endless.

Any machine successful enough gets the attention of 'the power that be' and will be used for things people will not like. Just as phone companies log your calls, ISP's keep track of all your sent and received e-mail and cars with LoJack are already monitored (Did I mention Cell Phone tracing?), every bit of information will be monitored, logged and, if you're unlucky, scanned and reported.

Everything automated can also be controlled.
Just like TiVO's deleting shows at the broadcaster's command and digital music becoming suddenly unplayable , someone will always be annoyed at the endless possibilities and will want to keep the possibilities within limits.

What will -really- make the device sell is something I don't know yet.
It's 'killer feature' maybe has not even been invented yet.

the Halo Gaming Platform (1)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064155)

Is the x-box not expensive enough already? I can have the option of buying an xbox or a new computer. This is getting stupid. I always tell people there are no good games for the xbox -I am baiting them for the obvious answer: "no, halo is a good game!" Yes, Halo is a good game. And Halo 2. And Halo 3. Microsoft admits they are keeping afloat on the Halo franchise. Which is why they should stop calling the system the xbox and call it what it is -the Halo Gaming Platform, or alternately, the H-Box. The H-box is the system of choice for suckers for advertising, and those people who can't identify a quality product.

Re:the Halo Gaming Platform (1)

EllF (205050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064433)

Wow. What an amazingly ignorant statement.

PS3 TV (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064439)

The PS3 needs help developing native X drivers that work on the Cell's SPEs [google.com] . Linux currently runs on the PS3 Cell's PPC core, but that doesn't even have the accelerated graphics that cheap PCs have on their videocards (the PS3 RSX is locked out to Linux). The SPEs are so much more powerful, and designed for exactly the pixel pushing that X needs. Once they're running instead of sitting there, the PS3 will be by far the best $600 HD terminal out there. Especially with home theater/automation systems on it like LinuxMCE [linuxmce.com] . But it needs help across that basic milestone.

history (2, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21064479)

As anyone with a passing knowledge of consoles should know - this will flop.

Just ask sega about how well console "upgrades" sell - eg MegaCD, 32X, etc.

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