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[P]
X-Box: Too Many Hurdles to Cross?

By Kasreyn in MLP
Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 04:28:46 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

Found this article over at Acts of Gord, which is a generally funny site about the sort of idiots one meets when one is the proprietor of a video games store. In addition to hilarity and hijinx, though, is a thought-provoking piece on why the X-Box may have a much harder time than Microsoft is thinking: http://www.actsofgord.com/page46.html


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Poll
The console system of my choice is...
o PS1 7%
o PS2 28%
o X-Box 5%
o Dreamcast 17%
o N64 2%
o Gameboy Advance 7%
o Atari 2600!! 28%
o Wonderswan Color 2%

Votes: 39
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Acts of Gord
o http://www .actsofgord.com/page46.html
o Also by Kasreyn


Display: Sort:
X-Box: Too Many Hurdles to Cross? | 50 comments (45 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
This one says it all (3.25 / 4) (#5)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:06:26 AM EST

While the PS2 is the premier of sexy, being a little monolith and the best controllers ever, the Xbox is ungodly huge, has the crap 80s stereo styling, and the controller bites. Paying $300 for an ugly toy is not cool.
Case in point, I went shopping for a power strip for my new computer with my wife last night. She wanted to buy the $40 strip made with the 'iMac' translucent colors instead of the $16 dollar strip with more and better outlets (spaced well enough to fit multiple transformers).

If XBox looks as ugly as this article states, the vast majority of people will choose to buy the sleeker, sexier PS2 all other things being equal. The PS2 could even sell at a small premium to the XBox on these terms and still soundly trounce it.

Regards,

Lee Malatesta

Pictures... (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by Nafai on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:50:52 AM EST

The X-Box

X-Box Controller

PS2 is more sexy looking IMHO...

[ Parent ]

Scale (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 11:42:51 AM EST

Whats missing from those pictures is a sense of scale. The X-Box is absolutly fucking massive. Which is a bad thing.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
how massive? (3.00 / 3) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 12:32:35 PM EST

Are we talking desktop PC massive (as I would at first assume) for the XBox vs. how sleek and small for the PS/2?

-l

[ Parent ]

Much better xbox photo... (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by Nafai on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 01:22:33 PM EST

HERE

[ Parent ]
PS2 (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by delmoi on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 10:04:51 PM EST

I personaly think the PS2 is ugly. Or at least cheap and gaudy looking, with the 'corigated' face. I got one anyway though, for gt3 :).

The PS2 also looks somewhat stupid if it's not standing on its side, because the top halve is not as large as the 'base'.

The one major diffrence I noticed with the ps2 with respect to other consoles is that it was a lot more 'computer' like. With firewire and USB ports, a CD/DVD tray and even a 3.5inch drive bay in the back.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
re: poll (4.00 / 5) (#6)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:09:44 AM EST

The console system of my choice is Linux

cat rimshot.wav > /dev/dsp

~5 games? (NT) (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by DeadBaby on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:27:35 AM EST


"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Get it? Linux? Console? (NT) (2.66 / 3) (#10)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:31:07 AM EST



[ Parent ]
*laugh* (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by Artful Dodger on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 01:00:36 PM EST

Linux only needs one.

[ Parent ]
nope (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 10:56:23 PM EST

FWIW, there are more than 15 games which I play in Linux. 6 or 7 Loki games, Shogo:MAD(forget the company that ported it), than a bunch of OpenGL windows games I play in wine(they run at 99% full speed). There are also a few other games I'm going to order in the next couple days.

There's plenty available for Linux to give a mildly obsessive gamer his/her fix.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

jesus (3.33 / 6) (#7)
by Defect on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:15:52 AM EST

The linked article is very poorly written, and focuses on some of the stupidest points one could try to focus on.

The worst point he tried to make was that he seems to think a ten gig gard drive is small for a console. At that point i damn near gave up reading, as it was obvious he was nitpicking and running out of nits to pick. First off, no console has ever had a hard drive before, so it is completely impossible to guage how much use one is going to get, secondly, ten gigs is far from small. We've been using simple several meg memory cards on consoles for a few years now, and they've worked fine, 10 gigabytes of storage is going to prove damn hard to fill up. It's not like i'm creating partitions and installing half a dozen operating systems on the xbox.

And i don't know what type of special retard grade crack this guy's smoking, but the xbox has a killer lineup of games right now, and a bunch of exclusives at that. All of the games that sony was touting as 'killer apps' for the ps2 have made their way over to development on the xbox, and not just a straight port either, the games are getting a makeover as well as more content, including Metal Gear Solid, and SSX. Xbox has also got Halo (exclusive), Dead or Alive 3 (exclusive), Jet Set Radio Future (exclusive), Soul Calibur 2 (yeah, exclusive), plus a lot more. And those aren't lousy games, those are all games that, alone, will convince a lot of people to drop 300$, especially considering that the ps2 costs the same amount.

The xbox is going all the way whether or not people want it to. It's specs are far beyond that of the ps2. I'm sure sony's shitting themselves silly wondering what the hell they're going to do.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
I was with you until . . . (3.75 / 4) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:41:26 AM EST

I'm sure sony's shitting themselves silly wondering what the hell they're going to do.
Huh? Sony could probably walk away from the game console business tomorrow and still post a profit for the year. They got into the console business because they thought they could turn their product into a cash cow, a dominate product in an expanding market. Should the winds change for the worse, they'll just refocus and find some other expanding market to set out to conquer.

And another thing, Defect, You have some good points on why XBox might not crash and burn as badly as Gord thinks, but fail to consider that it isn't necessarily a zero-sum game. Most game console enthusiasts I know have more than one console. Some have four or five or more. XBox can succeed spectacularly without unseating PS2 as the console (or the reverse, PS2 can still be spectacularly successful even if XBox sells more units).

Lastly, as I mentioned in another comment, Gord's best points are the ones on aesthetics. If the controllers are as bad as Gord thinks and if the XBox is as ugly as Gord thinks then the PS2 will walk all over XBox all other things being more or less equal. (PS2 can play DVD without add ons, XBox has a hard drive without add ons and so on and so forth.)

Regards,

Lee

[ Parent ]

Ok, great! (2.66 / 3) (#12)
by Kasreyn on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:42:47 AM EST

I said it was thought provoking and you've clearly been provoked to think. My job here is done. I suppose you will be voting this MLP +1, yes? =)

(note: Yes, I'm being sarcastic. But I'm just the linker/reporter)

Though I agree the article is poorly written in several places, mostly it just needed to be run through a spellchecker.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Well... (4.66 / 3) (#35)
by Elendale on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 08:58:44 PM EST

I'll agree with some points, disagree with others.
Firstly, a ten gig drive is far more than enough for game save purposes. I think the PS2 memory cards hold something like 5 megs- and i think that is a generous estimate (i knew the number at one point, forgot now). Ten gigs will store all the game saves i have ever made in my life. But this was not the purpose of the hard drive, as i understand it. The idea was that you could put a game (or parts of a game) onto the drive as a sort of slightly-slower-ram to improve loading, or something to that effect. Also, to download patches and things for games (which might range anywhere from a few K to several hundred MB of storage- depending) so this ten gig drive is starting to look not-quite-so-useful. More than that, how do you bring your game saves to your friend's house? Bring the WHOLE xbox? Have you seen how big it is? The mafia will be buying them to hide bodies in, i kid you not. Enough of this, though. The one thing i want to say: hard drives (even internal and standard) are by no means a safe bet. If they're standard hardware, they will probably be taken advantage of more: but keep in mind that the usefullness involves all the game companies playing nicely with the hard drives. Just look at what some of the games take in PS2 memory sticks ("A whole STICK?? For one game??") to get an idea of what will happen to this poor little hard drive.

Another complaint he makes is against the controller. I haven't actually held one of these things, so i don't know exactly how well it fits hands- all i've heard is that they're monstrous. On the other hand, this guy complains about the Dreamcast controller which i really do like. Sure, people (including myself) made fun of it for a while but it genuinely does work. I don't think the PS2 controllers are that much better, if any. So i'll have to wait and see.

The game thing. Yeah. There are three games that i am actually interested in: Halo, Soul Calibur, and one other i forget at this moment. Halo is coming out for PC- hopefully- and i'll likely end up buying it for the PC. Soul Calibur might suck, though the last one is still (IMHO) the best fighting game out there right now. I can't remember the last one (gee, that's a good sign for xbox's chances isn't it?) but i know there was a reason i liked it. Dead or alive? Been there, done that. It isn't going to beat Soul Calibur so if i don't buy the xbox for Soul Calibur i certainly won't buy it for DOA3. SSX? Done that too. Sure, it will be a better game. Improvements in graphics, more fun, etc.
But not enough to warrant my blowing $300+ for an incremental improvement.
How about FFX- or is it FFXI? Not an exclusive title, so it isn't going to be a 'must buy'. Even if it were exclusive, it (again) is nothing new. Why did PSX do so well? Because it offerred something radically new- and improved! The xbox fails to excite me in any way. I'd rather buy a Dreamcast than an xbox, quite honestly. Maybe in half a year, when the xbox has some solid titles, it will be worth the purchase- but then its time will have passed.

If you want to talk about specs, look at the Gamecube. But: console wars are not won by specs. Look at the PSX: inferior power to even the Saturn.
The what?
You remember, the sega system? Before Dreamcast?
Yeah, the xbox has improvements over the PS2. Currently, the PS2 looks really nice- but it sacrifices overall graphical quality (details, details, details) for 'shiny factor'. If the xbox has any advantage over the PS2 at all in hardware, it is in the details. The games are just more complete. Again, look at Halo- its just a fuller game. The trees, the guns, the water, everything is just incredible. They have a 1 kilometer scale battleship in that game. These are the kind of things xbox can do that PS2 won't. Will it sell systems? I suggest it won't. I don't think it is enough of a difference.

Lastly, you can say what you want about Gord: but he knows his video games- what sells, and what doesn't. Even if it's just a hunch, i would say he's going to be more accurate than most other people. Not saying he's absolutely right (maybe the xbox really will take off, but it has "Hi, i want to be Sega-esque dead hardware" feel to it.
In any case, it will all become clear in time.

-Elendale (Yes, he's in my .sig. Yes, this means i'm probably biased. Deal.)

When free speech is outlawed, only the criminals will complain.
Bastard Operator Of Video Game Retail
[ Parent ]

PS2 mem card (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by Vermifax on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 05:11:49 AM EST

Has 8 megs of space.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]
A couple points (4.33 / 3) (#43)
by strech on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 01:57:45 PM EST

Soul Calibur 2 isn't exclusive:
http://cube.ign.com/games/16888.html
SSX looks to be ported everywhere:
http://cube.ign.com/previews/15722.html

And I think his point on the hard drive wasn't using it as a memory card replacement (which it'll clearly work fine - hell, PS2 memory cards are 8 megs) but as something to use to supplement the game. In which case it might get crowded fast, especially if you start getting a number of games.

A lot of his other points are valid, though - PS2 will have a stronger lineup at the same cost (less if you add in the DVD playback) this winter than the XBOX, and a stronger lineup (but higher cost; same if you add in DVD, though I'm not sure that version is lauching at the same time) than Gamecube.

Halo/DOA3/JSR Future are exclusive still, I think, and they are pretty impressive, but not $300 for me, anyway.

PS2 has the advantage for certain. Nintendo's going to survive regardless - it's got a lock on the lower age bracket and enough strength in the college market (Smash Brothers / Rogue Squadron). XBOX is going to have to rely on marketing.

[ Parent ]
the memcard->hd comparison (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by Defect on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 10:14:08 PM EST

When i compared the memory card to the size of the hard drive it was mostly me showing the difference between what games had to work with before, and what they'll have to work with now. I wasn't saying that they'd solely be used to save game states.

The fact is, no one really knows the full extent of how a console hard drive will be used, so saying one is too small or too big is jumping the gun by a huge margin.

And as for soul calibur 2, well, shit. Now i'm going to have to decide which system to buy it for, because i'm definitely getting both the xbox and the cube, though the xbox first. The gamecube's got zelda, the whole mario thing, and i really like nintendo, but i really can't pull myself away from thinking the xbox is going to be amazing. Not to mention the fact that as long as the xbox has metal gear solid then microsoft basically already has my 300$.

I know the ps2 has MGS as well, but the xbox version is going to be better and have more content, and the original metal gear solid was so sickeningly amazing (in nearly every aspect) that i'm going for the best version right off.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
True, it is jumping the gun (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by strech on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 11:08:49 PM EST

Yeah, you're right - it is too early to tell on the hard drive since only the developers know how it'll be used, and they're not really talking about it much yet; plus, it will probably not be used to the fullest until the second generation of games for the system.

As for which system to get Soul Calibur 2 on, I suppose it depends on which one ends up having the most extras, so it's wait and see.

And I can understand the MGS 2 point for the X-BOX.

[ Parent ]
Anti-MS FUD (3.40 / 5) (#8)
by DeadBaby on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 09:27:04 AM EST

It's just an article of nitpicking. The X-box is a whole new class of gaming console. You can't predict what will happen with it because it's not subject to the rules that current consoles have been successful with.

How can a 10GB HD be too small when the PS2/Gamecube/etc won't even include a hard drive?

For me, the best thing about the X-Box is the coming emulation flood for it. As soon as the protection for games is bypassed every x86 emulator ever created will be "ported" to the X-Box. That would justify the cost of it alone to me.


"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
PS2 and hard drive (3.66 / 3) (#15)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 10:48:04 AM EST

How can a 10GB HD be too small when the PS2/Gamecube/etc won't even include a hard drive?
Even I, who doesn't even own a single gaming console, has heard of the forthcoming PS2 hard drive. Further, Gord's article specifically mentioned it and noted that it was 40GB vs. XBox's 10GB. Nintendo would appear to be shooting themselves in the foot in offering neither DVD playback (What's up with that proprietary dinky disk?) nor a harddrive.

Though, IMO, PS2's included DVD playback is a far better feature than a fixed disk.

As soon as the protection for games is bypassed every x86 emulator ever created will be "ported" to the X-Box. That would justify the cost of it alone to me.
That is a good point. It will be interesting to see how it develops once the XBox hits the shelves. Not to mention that the XBox will likely be Linux (and BSD) friendly far faster than the PS2. Anyone want to take odds on the first distribution to support XBox?

Regards,

-l

[ Parent ]

However... (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by DeadBaby on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 10:58:41 AM EST

I don't see why Microsoft, or someone else, wouldn't just come out with a bigger hard drive for the x-box later on. There's also the ability to use a smb share or the like since the X-Box has built in ethernet.

It just seems as though this article is nitpicking. I remember when Sony launched the PSX everyone did the same thing. I would say Nintendo is a non-factor, Sony might have launched too early and Microsoft seems to have put themselves in the same shape Sony was in a few years ago.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
SMB? right.... (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by toddg on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 11:49:09 PM EST

Um, if you want to use an SMB share in your Xbox you'll need an SMB stack in the Xbox kernel. I'm quite certain it's not in there, considering MS stripped it down to a few megs, and even that can be bypassed when the developer so wishes. So the SMB option is right out: the code isn't there, and the games could disable it without understanding that they are disconnecting your SMB hard disk.

There might be some real complaint in the drive sizes here: 10 Gig will be too small in the future, not all games will use it, and the costs of the Xbox are raised for everyone. As for the bigger hard drive, is the hard drive in some kind of expansion bay that non-technical people can swap? Maybe future consoles will have them built in, but right now this is a mistake economically: Microsoft is forcing everyone to buy a rarely used component that will EOL in the near future. Sony is offering a similar component with a longer lifespan, but as an expansion that only interested parties buy. Sony is playing the cost numbers right on this one.

[ Parent ]

Except (2.33 / 3) (#24)
by spacejack on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 01:18:17 PM EST

that add-ons are typically not adopted widely by console owners. AFAIK, the only really successful add-on was the N64 RAM expansion, but that was very well publicised, cheap (often bundled with games requiring it) and became ubiquitous.

IMHO, GC and X-Box will be kicking ass due to much easier development tools and the result will be more creative/more polished games. X-Box has a massive lead in this respect since just about every game developer is familiar with DirectX already. At this point DX8+VC is simply the best dev system out there. Want good, polished Pokemon/Zelda style games? Get the GC. Want lots of innovative games? Get the X-Box. Want hard-to-develop games that cost too much to produce and take forever to come out? Get the PS2. Just my $0.02.

[ Parent ]
Maybe (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 01:57:28 PM EST

Except that add-ons are typically not adopted widely by console owners. AFAIK, the only really successful add-on was the N64 RAM expansion, but that was very well publicised, cheap (often bundled with games requiring it) and became ubiquitous.
Per Gord:
Sony has disproved the myth that you can't sell add-ons. Look at the Dualshock controller and memory card. Both add-ons that "would never sell enough to be supported as they weren't included with the system." Both have a near 100% saturation.
That said:
IMHO, GC and X-Box will be kicking ass due to much easier development tools and the result will be more creative/more polished games.
Could very well be the case. We'll need time to see how the cards fall, though. Both MS and Nintendo are coming from behind in terms of titles for next gen game consoles. There are already a tremendous number of game available for PS2.

Regards,

Lee

[ Parent ]

memory cards == add on?? (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by delmoi on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 09:51:08 PM EST

Memory cards arn't really 'add ons' they were always there, just housed in a seperate peice of plastic. And while the dual shock did come out later, it was cheap, and backwards compatable. It was easy to make games that worked fine without it.

This is huge diffrence between things like the Sega CD and the proposed DD64 for the n64.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Linux Friendly (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by ldambros on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 04:19:58 PM EST

Just FYI, as of april this year, the PS2 technically already was Linux friendly. I'm afraid I don't really see the X-Box being Linux friendly before the PS2.
Is not the greatness of this deed to great for us? Must not we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it? -- FWN
[ Parent ]
gamecube (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by Defect on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 05:30:12 PM EST

Nintendo is sticking to it's console roots very hard, and it may very well be the end of them in a few generations (if not this one). They're aiming to create a younger-audience oriented gaming machine, nothing more. The hard drive would have helped the system no doubt, as would dvd playback, but you also have to notice that the GC is going to sell for 200$ at release, as opposed to the 300$ of the Xbox and ps2.

On the same topic, microsoft has stated several times that their intent for the xbox is to be the most hardcore of gaming consoles. No web integration, no hookups to your toaster or microwave, the xbox is gaming through and through.

With the GC being more youth oriented (also note integration with the gameboy advance), and the Xbox being significantly more beast-like, it kind of makes you wonder where the ps2 stands. The type of people who can drop 300$ on a console are most likely the type of people who already own computers, so web integration is completely unnecessary (note ps2 and aol integration). And the people who are buying a console for their kids at christmas are probably going to go with the gamecube, especially if those kids have already got the GBA.

I can really only see the ps2 becoming the dreamcast of this console generation, a very good machine that slowly receives less and less support and eventually dies out.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Youth oriented? (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by Lord INSERT NAME HERE on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 11:00:58 PM EST

Actually, Nintendo's strategy is to focus on games. Their new target market is hard-core gamers, regardless of age. Of course, they still go after the kids, but the real gamers know that Mario and Smash Brothers and so on are some of the best games out there. Super-realistic graphics and a bit of blood doesn't maek a game "adult", and cartoony graphics and fun gameplay doesn't make a game "kid-only". And then there's Perfect Dark...
--
Comics are good. Read mine. That's an order.
[ Parent ]
whole new class (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 11:05:33 PM EST

Yay, a "whole new class" of gaming console developed by MS! It crashes 20x as frequently as your average gaming console, cost more, is really just a standard PC is an ugly case, and includes only DirectX in a stupid attempt to force developers away from OpenGL because MS isn't interested in cool shit but would rather take over another market.

Sounds fabulous.

Seriously, I really don't see what MS has on any current gen console systems, except the harddrive, which I really don't see as being very worthwhile. What have console games ever needed such things for?

Face it, Microsoft is a software company(arguably good or bad), they don't understand what makes a good console system(or mice or joysticks etc.).

The only way the Xbox is going to make it anywhere is because MS has a bottomless pit of money to spend on marketing and to get exclusive game deals.

With all that said, I'm not completely sure I won't eventually buy one if the games are really good.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Ignoring Nintendo (4.00 / 4) (#19)
by Pac on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 12:41:41 PM EST

It amazes me that both the article author and the article submitter (see the poll options) think they can safely ignore Nintendo and its huge market penetration among a large portion of the decision makers when it comes to entertainment expenses, namely the 5-15 year olds.

It is pretty clear to me that PS2 is not the main Xbox contender, GameCube is. Nintendo has the classic children games market safely sealed and locked. They have Mario, they have Pokemon, they have Zelda. And they also have the GameBoy Color (come GameCube, think about it as a controller with a build-in screen - think about the possibilities).

With the Cube, Nintendo is now trying to offer a choice to the older gamers. From what has been written elsewhere, the development houses are betting on it too, so the console will have both more new games than XBox at launching and more games aimed at the mature audience.

Also, the GameBoy Color integration mentioned above will also provide another selling point, by permitting, for instance, the download of GBC Pokemons to the Cube for use there.

As a final annedoctical evidence, I offer the position of my 10 year old son and his 12-15 schooll and RPG friends. They have almost nothing to say about Xbox. They are already naming the Cube their Christmas gift of choice. They have been doing it since last Christmas. Also, they all have Nintendo consoles now, and one form or another of Gameboy. Do you really think a 10 GB hard drive will make a difference? Or an USB port?

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


See first reply to first comment. <nt> (2.50 / 2) (#20)
by Kasreyn on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 12:51:32 PM EST

nt for people who can't read comments before posting!
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I have done so... (3.50 / 2) (#23)
by Pac on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 01:07:15 PM EST

And before posting, as you so hastily assumed I have not. And I still disagree with both your choices and your non-justification.

You choose to put the (yet to be launched) XBox in the poll but simply forgot about the (also yet to launched) GameCube, the other major new console to be available this year. But you list two Nintendo products, one of them rarely reffered to as a "console" (GBC).

And it sounds like you are simply not willing to say you made a mistake and let it rest. It is rather funny to see you asking if you should have put Sega Saturn and SNES there too. If you can't see the difference, I wonder if there is any use in even trying to argue with you.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Gamecube chances (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by toddg on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 03:00:55 PM EST

Both the article author and the article submitter write off the Gamecube because of Nintendo's history of ignoring anyone over the age of 15. Of *course* they have the children's game market sealed up; they have since 1985. So what your son is clamoring for is no suprise. oh, and his "RPG friends"? Who are they? There is thus far *one* RPG announced for the Gamecube, which is not suprising considering they only had 3 RPGs on the N64. Back in the day Nintendo heavy-handed its third-party developers, censored their works, and refused to move from cartridges to CD media. Square & co left, and there have been essentially no RPGs on Nintendo since.

It's time to refute this nonsense:

With the Cube, Nintendo is now trying to offer a choice to the older gamers. From what has been written elsewhere, the development houses are betting on it too, so the console will have both more new games than XBox at launching and more games aimed at the mature audience.
Older gamers already have a choice!! Namely, buy something else! Nintendo is only making vague, market feeling efforts in that direction. The only 'mature' games on the N64 have been products of Rare; most of them on the Gamecube will be from Sega, who is just desperate to publish on anything, and Sony isn't taking calls from Sega just yet. Mature games on Nintendo is still in a totally experimental phase. So everyone who has moved out of their parents' house is buying something else.

For Nintendo to turn that around would take some time. Namely, at least 18 months (prob. more) to write a *really* excellent game (think FFVII circa 1997). Another 6 months of Nintendo putting all its weight behind this, and simulatiously defending it from the 'protect the children' harridans. Soon other developers decide that Nintendo is an acceptable publisher, and 2 years after that we see a slew of games, enough that everyone can find something they like (in other words, Sony's "hands-off" policy towards publisher control on the PSX. This is something Nintendo is still strongly against.). Only then do you see some kind of consensus amongst gamers that the Gamecube is an acceptable platform for non-child developers. So, if this admittedly improbable sequence of events happens, call me in 2005. Until that happens, Nintendo remains the Disney of the video game world: a staunchly conservative vendor that doesn't step outside their core market, disregards other producers, and is only interested in milking their franchises from now until the end of time.

Back on topic, the article is written by an owner of a video game store. From his other writings, it is evident that his core market is people in their mid-20's. They have every reason to ignore the Gamecube. Yes, Nintendo will continue to make a great deal of money selling to small children. It just won't affect us.

Even more on topic, it is erroneous to describe " that PS2 is not the main Xbox contender", but rather the Xbox is the contender -- the PS2 is the seated champion. And from what the console market has shown, and what the article discusses, is that although a new console may get to play, it does not "own" the market unless there is no competition -- such as the NES showing up on a clear field, or the PSX emerging when the best competition was the SNES. The Xbox is only an incremental increase over the PS2, and it is entering a crowded market. Add that to all the other obstacles in its way, and its outlook is not promising. Maybe on the next revision, 3 or 4 years out. Or in MS style, on 3.0. See you in 2009.

[ Parent ]

Pedantry (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by fluffy grue on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 01:08:27 AM EST

It's not the gameboy color which has the integration, it's the gameboy advance (the new one).
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Xbox has hardware shaders (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by MK77 on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 01:04:43 PM EST

Okay, so I'm a graphics geek. This means I've got a total hard-on for NVidia's GeForce 3 generation hardware. Why? It's not the fill rate and it's not hardware that can chew through vertices like a chainsaw through a loaf of bread; it's the vertex shaders and pixel shaders in hardware. Guess what. Those will make a huge difference in image quality, and the Xbox has got them, and the PS2 doesn't.

The question, at this point, is whether Joe Average will notice the gain in image quality that vertex shaders and pixel shaders will bring. Maybe, maybe not. But I certainly will, even if we have to wait for second generation Xbox titles before we really start to see them exploited. That's why I'm really excited about the Xbox.


--
Mmm... rageahol

But no (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by fluffy grue on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 01:06:22 AM EST

Pixel shaders in hardware are pretty much useless. If you have vertex shaders (implying displaylist memory, since vertex shaders without displaylist memory is next to useless) or a huge amount of bandwidth to the GPU, you can do all the functionality you'd get with pixel shaders without a serious performance hit.

The PS2 has a huge amount of bandwidth to the GPU.

And anyway, since when was graphics quality the deciding factor behind success? Shenmue and Jet Grind Radio on the Dreamcast have incredible wankalicious graphics, and yet both games suck, and whenever someone is drooling over either game, they only mention the graphics - bring up the horrible gameplay in both and they just go, "Uh, well, the graphics are nice." The Playstation has really damned shitty graphics (even by 1994 standards they weren't that wonderful - I mean, come on, no hardware zbuffer, no perspective correction, etc.), and yet the PSOne and its respective games are still selling very well - not bad for a "dead platform."

Gameplay is where it's always been at. This is why I think the Game Cube will do reasonably well compared to the PS2 - Nintendo's designers have always been excellent at making an enjoyable, playable game. Even after 15 years, the original Metroid is still fun. I personally haven't liked the gameplay of most Playstation games (and I haven't had any compelling reason to get a Playstation). However, Luigi's Mansion, Smash Brothers Melee, and Pikmin all look like enjoyable games, and I plan on getting those three plus a nice purple Game Cube when they're available. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Hehehe... (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by trhurler on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 07:12:11 PM EST

Don't get me wrong; I always like to see the best tech win. However, it very rarely happens, because there is usually cheaper stuff that's almost as good, better known, and has market inertia. Playstation is the PC, Nintendo is the Mac, and Xbox is the BeBox. Notice who has the best tech. Notice who has the market. Think about that.

Saturn, NeoGeo, DreamCast... Xbox. Whoever commented before me about "this being a new generation of consoles" with new rules of the market obviously doesn't know jack about marketing. The rules never change unless the product is fundamentally different. Better graphics? Yeah, all new consoles have that. Better state saving? That's been going on since I was a kid. Evolutionary improvements will not overcome market inertia if the new is incompatible with the old. Period. Playstation would never have overcome Nintendo if not for a revolution - 3D graphics on a cheap console. Better resolution, framerate, shading, and so on are nice, but the impact on Joe Sixpack won't be nearly what you as a techie expect. Playstation had a market: older gamers who wanted something really new in a system. In that market, it had no competitors. Xbox is trying to steal market from two very, very serious competitors. This is going to be a financial disaster.

I'll bet anyone who disagrees a beer. I'll bet as many beers as there are takers for the bet, limit 100 - but I don't think for an instant that 100 people are going to bet, and I doubt ten will. The bet, formally, is this: by this time next year, Microsoft will still be at most a distant third in the console market. Even Nintendo is going to stomp on them. This time being the first week of September.

Your average Xbox owner will be a Slashdot reader, and he'll be really pissed that "all those stupid people" just "don't understand" the Xbox.

I'll make another bet, too. There will not be, in the next five years, any further attempts to dislodge Sony and Nintendo in the market for 3D console games. Any new attempts will be with new technologies of some sort, and may well succeed by virtue of creating a new market, but that's different. (Basically, I'm betting nobody but Sega and Microsoft will be foolish enough to break all the rules of marketing and risk a fortune doing so.)

Limit one beer a person, as there is only so much booze I can consume:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

I disagree. (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by transiit on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 06:27:59 AM EST

ok, so let me get this analogy straight:
playstation == pc (cheap hardware that mostly works)
nintendo == mac (expensive hardware that tends to work better than the pc, but has been crippled for years by the atrocity that is MacOS (and yes, that includes the even bigger atrocity that is MacOS X*))
x-box == bebox (expensive hardware that was discontinued years ago and relies heavily on a terminally flawed* operating system by a (nearly) defunct company)

yeah. best tech. whoo. analogies suck.

> Your average Xbox owner will be a Slashdot reader, and he'll be really pissed
>that "all those stupid people" just "don't understand" the Xbox.

Funny, most slashdot readers I've seen spend most of their time accusing each other of being Linux zealots. It's always intresting to see how these opinions propogate rampantly beyond any sense of reality. (at the risk of committing a bifurcation, you can either accuse them of being microsoft lovers or linux zealots. this isn't a case where you can label the group as a whole as both.)

Anyhow, I'll take your bet....but only because I think you're wrong on the how, not the what.

X-box will fail for one reason -- they've succeeded in combining the worst of two worlds. All of the upgrade and expansion possibilities of the game console market meets the stability of the windows pc. Constant downloading of patches for the games and the operating system sounds like a console gamer's wet dream. Unless the PVR crap they throw in overwrites everything first. Fortunately, all of this is based on dated or soon-to-be-dated hardware that you can never replace. If your original analogy was that the x-box was in fact the best tech, methinks you might want to go back and scrutinize the current (or near future) offerings that we're talking about.

As for the second bet, there might not be a sony or nintendo in the gaming market in the next five years. It's highly likely considering that Sony's got a large electronics/music/crap line to draw money from if things get tight, and Nintendo's always got the Pokemon franchise, but I'd bet you that a [dreamcast,saturn,jaguar,coleco,turbografx 16] is so advanced that nothing could ever knock it out of the market. har har har.

The gaming market is fickle. companies come and go for much less predictable reasons than something as insignificant as a business plan.

-transiit


* if somebody gets really itchy wanting to defend either macos or beos, I'll probably post one response explaining my assertions, but even MLP is better off without a lot of off-topic noise.

[ Parent ]
Um..., not quite... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 11:29:23 AM EST

ok, so let me get this analogy straight:
. . . he said, as he proceeded to get it totally wrong. The analogy was about marketing more than technology. I don't care whether you like BeOS or not. The point is, the hardware itself sold in inverse proportion to its quality, for reasons having entirely to do with marketing, and in the console battle, Microsoft is playing the part of Be - more expensive, unknown, incompatible, but incrementally "better." That formula is a loser, and always has been.
Funny, most slashdot readers I've seen spend most of their time accusing each other of being Linux zealots.
Yes, but most of them run Windows anyway. So what? The noises they make are not particularly relevant to what goes on in their heads, because they're mostly posers.
If your original analogy was that the x-box was in fact the best tech, methinks you might want to go back and scrutinize the current (or near future) offerings that we're talking about.
Best tech among what? It certainly is hardware superior to the PS2, Dreamcast, forthcoming Game Cube, and everything else that's come along so far in the console market.
As for the second bet, there might not be a sony or nintendo in the gaming market in the next five years. It's highly likely considering that Sony's got a large electronics/music/crap line to draw money from if things get tight, and Nintendo's always got the Pokemon franchise,
The fact that Sony has other businesses makes it more likely that they'd stick with PS2 even if it wasn't a market leader, not less. That's how conglomerates work. As for Nintendo, Pokemon has a limited shelf life, just like Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies, and they know that. They're not stupid.
but I'd bet you that a [dreamcast,saturn,jaguar,coleco,turbografx 16] is so advanced that nothing could ever knock it out of the market.
You're missing the point. It isn't about being advanced. The Colecovision got replaced by Nintendo on the strength of vastly superior games and possession of almost all the new arcade titles at the time. The Saturn, Jaguar, and Dreamcast never had a chance; to say they wouldn't get knocked out suggests they were ever IN, which is false.
The gaming market is fickle. companies come and go for much less predictable reasons than something as insignificant as a business plan.
Insignificant? Were you, by chance, a dot-bomb CEO?! That's the stupidest thing I've heard in weeks. Marketing strategy and business plan are everything. If you don't have them down solid, you're going to lose, and that's the whole problem with game consoles - most of them have no hope before they ever get started. Sony manages theirs like a product, as does Nintendo - Microsoft manages theirs like a geek toy, and that's what it is destined to be.

If you want, I can write you a history of game consoles, and show you just how and why every one of them either made it or didn't. Marketing wins every time. Technology can create market opportunities, but not all superior technology does so, and even a prime opportunity is nothing more - it can be wasted like any other opportunity. Possession of better technology is not inevitable victory.

Here's the short form: first, we had Atari. First real multigame game console, so they by default won for awhile. A few competitors spring up, none does very well except for Intellivision and Coleco. All get killed badly by Nintendo, which has command of a huge number of arcade hits people want at home. Marketing lesson number one: give them something at home that they currently have to go out for. Convenience. Sega comes along to play second fiddle for a few years. Lesson number two: sometimes, there is room for more than one company even without any real advantage held by the second, but rarely more than two. Nintendo sales outright hammer everyone else year after year, because they're continuing their exclusive games policy and there's no serious challenger.

Onward to sixteen bit games. Nintendo is the kids favorite at this point - anything else has to "overcome." This is lesson number three: if you are the de facto standard, everyone else's position sucks ass before he even starts. Sega's alternative does ok by offering edgy titles Nintendo doesn't want, but only among teenagers. Sony notices this phenomenon of market splitting, and releases the Playstation, absolutely annihilating Sega. There is a brief attempt to fight back, and a couple other companies try to butt in too, but it is pointless; Nintendo has the children's market and Sony has the adolescent and adult market - they're the standard, progressing onward and upward through 32 and 64 bit systems and so on.

Enter Dreamcast. See Dreamcast crushed by lack of any real marketing strategy sufficient to overcome the inertia of a market standard, combined with Sony's backwards compatible new console release. Game Cube will do fine - as a children's game, per usual.

Like an early 90s Mike Tyson bout, getting into the ring with these guys is a sign that you're the chump of the month. Here comes Microsoft... business plan? Nope; look at the financing even, and it looks like a damned dot com - lots of funds coming in from other than the intended revenue stream, with no real reason to believe that stream will ever materialize. Killer edge? Not really, unless you're a graphics geek; we already know technology alone won't make you a winner. Sure, they at least intend a marketing blitz, but so did Sega. They've got neat exclusive games and ports of other games. So did Sega.

Obvious beyond belief. Xbox will basically be DOA, for all the hype. Sure, on release day, nobody will notice. Wait six months after that and have a look again.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I'll take that bet... (2.00 / 1) (#47)
by beergut on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 01:48:12 PM EST

... just so I can get a beer.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Beer (2.00 / 1) (#48)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 02:05:28 PM EST

You can get a damned beer by calling me, you nimrod! I've now got Young's Double Chocolate, Boulevard Pale, and a few bottles of a fairly good Trappist in addition to the as yet unopened minikeg of Warsteiner. In fact, with the exception of a bottle of Coke, there's basically nothing else in the fridge:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
um, you missed it. (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by transiit on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 09:57:02 PM EST

Actually, Microsoft isn't playing the part of Be. Their big angle is DirectX, which is largely in this case about having a "compatible" API between any software house's console and PC groups.

I would still argue that the X-Box is, in fact, not hardware superior to the PS2. On one hand, we have a congolomeration of off-the-shelf hardware that was thrown together. The only really impressive part is the graphics core, and nvidia's never said they'd keep that off the PC market (I could be wrong on this one, but isn't it basically just the GeForce3? If not, I'd be really surprised if the best parts of it don't end up in the GeForce 4. Or whatever horrible name they think up next). On the other hand, we have a custom 128-bit graphics chip that was designed just for the system. I don't give much credit to the argument that the PS2 is hard to write for, because things that are complex tend to eventually find themselves with tools that simplify the scary parts. Note that most programming doesn't happen with straight opcodes anymore. Some does. A lot of the hard stuff has been abstracted.

One sentence of mine was poorly worded. It's highly likely there will be a Sony and a Nintendo around in console-land in five years. I should've been more specific.

Pokemon has a limited shelf life? I don't know if you've noticed, but you can still purchase cabbage patch kids and beanie babies. In fact, some freak-o's still do. I'm not one of them. Hell, if child-targeted iconography were that easy to get rid of, we'd be free of the Power Rangers years ago! (* note: said without any car-crash jokes)

And I think that this really is about being advanced. Good looking games sell. Dreamcast came out at a time when everyone was expecting the PS2 to be better. It died mostly due to speculation of future hardware. (Granted, Sega dropped the ball on marketing it, but that's still secondary)

Oh, and the "anything as insignificant as a business plan." comment. Learn sarcasm. Appreciate it. Be one with it. You'll find it to be more satisfying than the standard lines of "Dot-Bomb" and "All your bases belong to us" and whatever the slashdot/k5/we-are-the-eleet-community-of-geeks joke of the month is.

As for the "all new entries are the chump of the week" argument. Remember: When Sony entered the market, they were completely new to the scene. In fact, they were the first new major entry to the console market in years. And now you're saying that there's no room to unseat the current leaders, including Sony? Laughable.

-transiit

[ Parent ]
Er... (none / 0) (#50)
by trhurler on Tue Sep 11, 2001 at 03:54:15 PM EST

Their big angle is DirectX, which is largely in this case about having a "compatible" API between any software house's console and PC groups.
Sure hope they can make a version of DirectX that doesn't crash periodically, like current versions do... seriously, man, DirectX is a lousy API for console gaming.
Pokemon has a limited shelf life? I don't know if you've noticed, but you can still purchase cabbage patch kids and beanie babies.
And how much money are they making? Almost none.
And I think that this really is about being advanced. Good looking games sell.
Tell that to the Neo Geo people.
Granted, Sega dropped the ball on marketing it, but that's still secondary
Actually, Sega's marketing blitz was extraordinary. The problem is, there was no market niche, and stealing market from Sony was not possible.
As for the "all new entries are the chump of the week" argument. Remember: When Sony entered the market, they were completely new to the scene.
Yes, and they had something nobody else could touch: 3D games. There is no such killer edge for the Xbox.
In fact, they were the first new major entry to the console market in years.
Not true. The first successful one, yes. Not the first major one.
And now you're saying that there's no room to unseat the current leaders, including Sony?
Not without something that compels people a lot more than an incompatible(with current consoles, which is all that matters; PC gamers are a different crowd, mostly,) and only incrementally superior system. 2D-3D was a major shift. Better graphics are not. Being more expensive won't help either. Having no unique titles that anyone has ever heard of or heard of anything related to hurts some more.

I still say I'll bet beers. No takers as yet, except beergut:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Nazi's whats? (3.50 / 2) (#36)
by delmoi on Sat Sep 08, 2001 at 09:24:32 PM EST

Second, developers abandoned Nintendo and Sega in droves because, quite frankly, they were Nazi's in the most literal sense.

And by 'literal' he meant figuratively.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
X-Box: Too Many Hurdles to Cross? | 50 comments (45 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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