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360 Breakfast Talk


June 24, 2005 11:11 AM PST

I went to an Xbox 360 breakfast talk this morning. It was pretty cool. I think I'm really starting to 'get' the whole digital hub strategy. I can't give any specifics, but I'm very impressed with the amount of integration that is being done between teams. Its funny, but I'm now thinking more in terms of complete 'end to end' experience rather than raw horsepower etc. (Not that I think the 360 lacks in that department). I think Sony should be worried.

After the talk there was a Q/A session. I got some of my questions answered (sorry I can't share though) and best of all I got to handle actual hardware. The console is very nice in person. I'm impressed. The controller surprised me a bit. It's lighter and smaller than I expected. A bit smaller than the controller S. It has a good feel though. I expected it to be heavier due to the battery.

Comments (6)
Paul, June 24, 2005 11:34 AM:

So long as the integration is useful. What I don't want to see is all this 'micro-transaction' nonsense. It's an excuse for game developers to nickle and dime players to death. "$5 for the Gravity Gun, $2 for the +5 shield of shielding". There are already rumors of games getting above $55...

What Xbox really got right was the whole online integration: not having to hunt around on a zillion servers looking for a place to play with your friends, sending invites, voice chat...

Paul, June 24, 2005 11:38 AM:

What I'd also like to see are enforced UI guidelines, so that "Zoom with scope" is always the same button in every game, etc. Games are not so different that every FPS needs to remap everything.

John, June 24, 2005 01:56 PM:

Well to be sure there WILL be microtransactions. We already know this. Current live has a small taste of that. MSN messenger is totally doing that now. It is like ring tones and phone skins. I have seen something nice in the current live model that I hope they carry, that is they release a 'pay' level, but after a month or so it becomes free. So you pay to be 1337 and first. That is an ok tradeoff I suppose.

Not sure bout the 'controller' guidelines though. Ok to tell then you need to support online aware etc, but though to tell them all FPS must have this layout, all racing games must have 'this' one. My gues is that this eventually settles due to it's own evolution. If I created a new unknown FPS, it would be in my best interest to just emulate Halo 2's controls.

J, June 27, 2005 09:12 AM:

Will it play non-DRM'd content? What about content not encoded in WMV?

John, June 27, 2005 10:04 AM:

All good quesions. I don't know. I assume it will play everything that a MCP will play, but I don't have one so I don't know what that is.

GW, June 28, 2005 09:25 AM:

It will be interesting to see what is released. I think they can do a lot if they take it in the right direction.

I may be way off base but I think one concern that will impact the media enthusiast crowd will be the quality of presentation. What level of quality can be expected from the DVD player, HD, sound reproduction, etc... Obviously it won't be as good as a component system from Denon or whoever. However, one of the biggest problems with today's media centers is that they are very average. They seem to be designed for low end applications. I think the fact that a media center works properly is more important than the quality of the presentation today. With more and more people going to large wide screen TV's and better surround sound systems those shortcomings are becoming easier to notice.

I personally want something that takes advantage of all the latest video and audio technology. I want the theater in my home. It doesn't need a Faroudja decoding engine, or anything like that, but it needs to support the latest formats and present the media as it was meant to be seen. I just don't see that quality of product on the market right now.

Beyond that I think J's question was good. What will be the options for different media formats or will it be a fixed configuration?

I agree with Paul. They got Live right the first time.

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