X-BOX 360: Round 2 Begins

Today, Microsoft officially released the X-Box 360.  Wow.  This thing looks freakin' awesome.

I say round 2 for, well, 2 reasons:  1) It's the start of the second console war between Playstation and X-Box.  And 2) It's the second huge release for Microsoft this year.  The first was for developers, with the dual launch of Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005.  And to think that Office (love it or hate it) and Vista is coming, it's like Christmas around campus.  It's like the planets are aligning here in Redmond.

It will be real interesting to see how the console wars go this time.   And make no mistake, I'm all in favor of healthy competition.  Some have pointed out that Sony's PS3 specs are a bit more impressive than the 360's.  Yeah, yeah.  I remember the Nintendo-Sega Genesis debates (and it didn't help Sega, either) -- these comparisons happen each iteration and lest we forget, the first X-Box was far superior to the PS2 in terms of processing power -- and you know what?  It doesn't matter.  PS2 won that round.

It's all about the games and what the unit can do (X-Box Live, for example).  Timing certainly helps: the first X-Box came out 18 months after PS2.  I'm surprised it made as big of a dent as it did out of Sony's marketshare (having Microsoft back it financially certainly helped).  This time, Microsoft has the advantage in timing.  Will it be enough?

Things I find interesting:

•  Media center functionality!  Definitely nice to have and a huge plus.

•  No 1080p on the X-Box.  Hmmm....PS3 will have this.  Visual difference?  I don't know, but I think 1080p is the future.

•  Backwards compatibility with older games (on either system). Sure it's nice, but given the awesome advances in these consoles, does this really matter? It's not a PC.  Is it really such a selling point for Sony that all PS1 and PS2 games will work on the PS3?

•  3 gigabit ports on the PS3? I'm all about bandwidth but is this much network capability useful and/or even sustainable? My state-of-the-art PC can't fully use its gigabit port, and gaming doesn't use as much bandwidth as many people think. I've read they may scale these back before launch.

•  DVD, HD, and Blu-ray. Well, the advantage in launching later is being able to see the market direction regarding Blu-ray vs HD. If Blu-ray takes off, Sony will gain some points. Otherwise, it just adds cost overhead. (I'd take that chance if I were Sony.) In the meantime, X-Box 360 will have a standard DVD reader.

•  20 gig hard drive in the X-Box add-on? The original X-Box had a 10 gig drive. I'm hard pressed to see anything less than 120 gigs available today. Why just 20? Especially with all the media capability, this seems awfully small. Sure, it's expandable, but at least release it in-line with current market standards.

•  People complaining that X-Box production is intentionally slowed to create a greater demand (read Scoble's article). *sigh*

•  X-Box systems crashing already?  Hmmm... read this article on engaget.

Comments (1) -

Wong Online PoKér Hu
Wong Online PoKér Hu
11/24/2005 10:29:50 PM #

I think that the XBox is really something to look forward to.  I
love all the new games included, and even though I'm still waiting for
my machine, I can't help but feel fulfilled that I'm going to have this
finally.

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