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Author Topic: CG editorial has made me have serious Xbox 360 2nd thoughts.  (Read 2605 times)
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DiamondDecision
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« on: August 20, 2005, 01:39:14 PM »

I thought this week's CG editorial made some solid points about the Xbox 360.  It really didn't occur to me that the 360 hard drive is going to be worthless.  If I were a developer and saw that the base Xbox 360 didn't come with an hard drive, how much attention would I give it?  Not much.

I think Microsoft has stumbled badly here.  Think of how much the Xbox hard drive currently means: patches to games, new material.  In addition, we could conceivably get streaming content with a hard drive.

At this point, I'm seriously thinking about a PSP3.  I'm serious.  We'll see.
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Hetz
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2005, 03:09:14 PM »

Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
I thought this week's CG editorial made some solid points about the Xbox 360.  It really didn't occur to me that the 360 hard drive is going to be worthless.  If I were a developer and saw that the base Xbox 360 didn't come with an hard drive, how much attention would I give it?  Not much.

I think Microsoft has stumbled badly here.  Think of how much the Xbox hard drive currently means: patches to games, new material.  In addition, we could conceivably get streaming content with a hard drive.

At this point, I'm seriously thinking about a PSP3.  I'm serious.  We'll see.


When 80% - 90% of the people buying the Xbox 360 will be buying the $399 version, you can bet they will be giving the hard drive some attention. Just look at the launch titles, I am sure that Oblivion and DOA 4 will play much better with the hard drive than without and if fact I think nearly every single game will play better on the hard drive version, since they will use it for caching if it is available. The devs have confirmed that fact for Oblivion.

The PS3 won't come with a hard drive anyway, so what is your point about saying you will wait for the PS3?
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Dreamshadow
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2005, 03:18:48 PM »

Quote from: "Hetz"
When 80% - 90% of the people buying the Xbox 360 will be buying the $399 version, you can bet they will be giving the hard drive some attention. Just look at the launch titles, I am sure that Oblivion and DOA 4 will play much better with the hard drive than without and if fact I think nearly every single game will play better on the hard drive version, since they will use it for caching if it is available. The devs have confirmed that fact for Oblivion.

The PS3 won't come with a hard drive anyway, so what is your point about saying you will wait for the PS3?



I'm curious, Hetz,  how do you come up with your 80 to 90 percent figure?  I'm not trying to be evil, but I would like to know if there has been some sort of sales poll or customer survey out in the market.
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2005, 03:20:04 PM »

Well what exactly is "play better"?  I'm guessing it means quicker loading.  Will it affect graphics in some way?  I'm not sure but I doubt it.  Will it change or improve core gameplay?  Not sure.  It would probably affect multiplayer wouldn't it?
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DiamondDecision
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2005, 03:25:41 PM »

Quote from: "Hetz"
The PS3 won't come with a hard drive anyway, so what is your point about saying you will wait for the PS3?


We can agree to disagree about the influence of the hard drive in the 360.  Bottom line, any developer that makes serious use of the 360 hard drive is going to fragment their 360 customers (since some will have the hard drive and many won't).

So, since in my opinion, the 360 hard drive is no longer a selling point, it's a straight up race between 360 and PS3 and Sony clearly has got a MUCH bigger library.  It's not even close.  Plus, I saw an ungodly demo of Unreal Tournament 3 running on PS3 software.  It was jaw dropping.

This is all coming from someone who owns an Xbox and has never owned a Playstation.
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Hetz
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2005, 03:35:26 PM »

Quote from: "Dreamshadow"
Quote from: "Hetz"
When 80% - 90% of the people buying the Xbox 360 will be buying the $399 version, you can bet they will be giving the hard drive some attention. Just look at the launch titles, I am sure that Oblivion and DOA 4 will play much better with the hard drive than without and if fact I think nearly every single game will play better on the hard drive version, since they will use it for caching if it is available. The devs have confirmed that fact for Oblivion.

The PS3 won't come with a hard drive anyway, so what is your point about saying you will wait for the PS3?



I'm curious, Hetz,  how do you come up with your 80 to 90 percent figure?  I'm not trying to be evil, but I would like to know if there has been some sort of sales poll or customer survey out in the market.


Peter Moore said in one of his recent interviews that they expect the $399 version will outsell the $299 version by an 80/20 ratio.

As it should, since you are basicly getting lots of stuff for free, since the hard drive alone is $99.
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Hetz
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2005, 03:39:51 PM »

Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
Quote from: "Hetz"
The PS3 won't come with a hard drive anyway, so what is your point about saying you will wait for the PS3?


We can agree to disagree about the influence of the hard drive in the 360.  Bottom line, any developer that makes serious use of the 360 hard drive is going to fragment their 360 customers (since some will have the hard drive and many won't).



I agree with you somewhat with that statement, but I would say that MANY will have the hard drive and SOME won't, at least that is what Microsoft is banking on at this point.

Quote
So, since in my opinion, the 360 hard drive is no longer a selling point, it's a straight up race between 360 and PS3 and Sony clearly has got a MUCH bigger library. It's not even close. Plus, I saw an ungodly demo of Unreal Tournament 3 running on PS3 software. It was jaw dropping.


Well, at this point they do, but if the Xbox 360 gets a big enough lead over the PS3 by the time the PS3 launches and the PS3's price is high enough, many of those "exclusive" games will be on the XBox 360 as well or might switch over.

Never underestimate Microsoft.
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Dimmona
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2005, 04:31:03 PM »

Quote from: "Hetz"


Well, at this point they do, but if the Xbox 360 gets a big enough lead over the PS3 by the time the PS3 launches and the PS3's price is high enough, many of those "exclusive" games will be on the XBox 360 as well or might switch over.

Never underestimate Microsoft.


Wasn't this the same arugment Sega made with the Dreamcast?
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2005, 04:35:12 PM »

Yea, but the Dreamcast was horribly undersupported.  The modem in the back was worthless, a rash of games came out and then there was nothing.  Getting a VMU was like finding a golden ticket.  It was a great system that could have been a top choice if somebody else was doing their marketing and pacing the titles.
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2005, 04:44:01 PM »

Also keep in mind that Gamestop and EB are moving all people that had pre-orders to the $399.99 version unless you let them know you want the Core System.  I got my call yesterday saying they had moved me to the $399.99 version.
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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2005, 04:45:05 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Yea, but the Dreamcast was horribly undersupported.  The modem in the back was worthless, a rash of games came out and then there was nothing.  Getting a VMU was like finding a golden ticket.  It was a great system that could have been a top choice if somebody else was doing their marketing and pacing the titles.


*sniff* why did you have to bring up the VMU?  *sniff* I still miss my Dreamcast and weep openly for its return...
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2005, 04:49:37 PM »

I still wonder about the percentage of $400 vs. $300 units that will be sold.  I have the feeling that the $300 units will sell far greater than MS expects (unless they manufacture a shortage).   Keep in mind that we (the avid, well-informed gamers) are probably in the minority when it comes to those buying the system.  Sure, none of us would even consider buying the non-HD version, but soccer mom buying an X-mas present at Wal-Mart is going to buy the cheaper one.  Somehow I doubt that the avid:casual purchaser ratio is 80:20.
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DiamondDecision
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2005, 04:57:49 PM »

I agree wholeheartedly. It's moms and dads buying the units in large part and they are clueless.  $300 units should sell well.  In addition, forget about the clueless factor, $400 is a **lot** of money.  A lot.  Most families are not going to have $400+ dollars do spend on a console.

Again, again, bottom line, let's assume 70% of the units sold are the $400 360s (I think that's a very high percentage,,, but the sake of argument), any developer wanting to make the hard drive a fundamental functional point of their game is going to realize that they have eliminated 30% of their 360 audience.  Not gonna happen.

Quote from: "Gratch"
I still wonder about the percentage of $400 vs. $300 units that will be sold.  I have the feeling that the $300 units will sell far greater than MS expects (unless they manufacture a shortage).   Keep in mind that we (the avid, well-informed gamers) are probably in the minority when it comes to those buying the system.  Sure, none of us would even consider buying the non-HD version, but soccer mom buying an X-mas present at Wal-Mart is going to buy the cheaper one.  Somehow I doubt that the avid:casual purchaser ratio is 80:20.
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2005, 05:42:37 PM »

Quote from: "Gratch"
I have the feeling that the $300 units will sell far greater than MS expects (unless they manufacture a shortage).  


This is exactly what will happen.  MS is only going to ship for that 80/20 ratio they expect so the core system is pretty much going to sell out no matter what.  The only way MS will get a message that the core system is more appealing than they anticipated is if it sells out and the premium pack doesn't.
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2005, 06:41:44 PM »

I wouldn't call the HD worthless.  It's required if you want backwards compatibility.  Now I'm a bit spoiled and like the option of using custom soundtracks.  Throw in the numerous Live downloads for various games and it will come in handy.  Even with no caching I'd be happy enough.

Sure I wish it were standard, but that doesn't mean it's useless.  As someone mentioned elsewhere, the majority of Xbox players don't use Live, but online play and downloadable content still show up in a large percentage of Xbox titles.  Hopefully the development tools make utilizing the hard drive easy enough that it becomes a trivial matter to enable support, even if it isn't usable by a small percentage of users.

In the end I'd pay the $99 even if it were only sold seperately just so I didn't have to buy memory cards.  I have bought four for the PS2 and still need to move stuff around/delete old saves to ensure I have enough space.  That is $25x4=$100 for 32mb of storage.  I'd always have one just for NCAA (with rosters, the card was nearly full) and the DVD driver takes a nice chunk out of another one...  Thankfully I got one of those Max Drive USB things that allows me to offload saves to my PC, but for years I was playing musical mem cards.

Finally, I have a friend that doesn't own a console or PC for gaming.  He read about the 360 in the NY Times and is really excited.  He's all about the $399 version simply because the marketing spin of "more stuff at bargain prices!"  So if they push it right it might help boost sales of the big boy box.  Still, you can't deny the price difference when parents go in for Xmas gifts.  I would argue that a lot of people believe that something that costs more is automatically better so they might step up.  Hasn't Sony been riding that trend for years?  Cheap shot, sure, but I'm thinking of their TV's and A/V gear rather than their consoles. biggrin
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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2005, 09:11:44 PM »

Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
 It's not even close.  Plus, I saw an ungodly demo of Unreal Tournament 3 running on PS3 software.  It was jaw dropping.

This is all coming from someone who owns an Xbox and has never owned a Playstation.


So? The 360 can run the Unreal 3 engine fine. Guilty Gear looks as good as anything out there right now.
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Arkon
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« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2005, 10:45:20 PM »

Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
I agree wholeheartedly. It's moms and dads buying the units in large part and they are clueless.  $300 units should sell well.  In addition, forget about the clueless factor, $400 is a **lot** of money.  A lot.  Most families are not going to have $400+ dollars do spend on a console.

Again, again, bottom line, let's assume 70% of the units sold are the $400 360s (I think that's a very high percentage,,, but the sake of argument), any developer wanting to make the hard drive a fundamental functional point of their game is going to realize that they have eliminated 30% of their 360 audience.  Not gonna happen.

Quote from: "Gratch"
I still wonder about the percentage of $400 vs. $300 units that will be sold.  I have the feeling that the $300 units will sell far greater than MS expects (unless they manufacture a shortage).   Keep in mind that we (the avid, well-informed gamers) are probably in the minority when it comes to those buying the system.  Sure, none of us would even consider buying the non-HD version, but soccer mom buying an X-mas present at Wal-Mart is going to buy the cheaper one.  Somehow I doubt that the avid:casual purchaser ratio is 80:20.


As a former manager for EB this is shaping up to be interesting.  Microsoft will most likely manufacture a shortage of the $300 units, which is what EB's will want to sell.  Retail stores make a killer off of accessories, not systems, so from a business perspective it makes sense....however for long term they are better to sell the $400 unit to get repeat business once these moms and dads realise that the EB guy saved them from coming back the week after christmas to buy a bunch of extras.  

Also....$400 is nothing at christmas time.  It was not uncommon last year and the year before when the PS2 and XB were already out to have 8 to 9 $500 - $600 system sales to parents buying the system, accessories and games.
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Hetz
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2005, 10:56:32 PM »

Quote from: "Jumangi"
Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
 It's not even close.  Plus, I saw an ungodly demo of Unreal Tournament 3 running on PS3 software.  It was jaw dropping.

This is all coming from someone who owns an Xbox and has never owned a Playstation.


So? The 360 can run the Unreal 3 engine fine. Guilty Gear looks as good as anything out there right now.


I think you mean Gears of War... smile
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« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2005, 11:39:16 PM »

Quote from: "Arkon"
As a former manager for EB this is shaping up to be interesting.  Microsoft will most likely manufacture a shortage of the $300 units, which is what EB's will want to sell.  Retail stores make a killer off of accessories, not systems, so from a business perspective it makes sense.


Do they make the same markup on first-party stuff where it all normally sells for same price, regardless of retailer?  I honestly don't know.  I know EB can make a killing on third-party stuff which is much cheaper.  I wonder how much MS is selling the $99 MSRP hard drive upgrade to distributors for and if the markup potential is that large.  The good news, if there is room for a large markup then you might be able to find the accessories cheaper somewhere where it is being sold as a loss-leader to sell more games.

Certainly an interesting point you bring up!
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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2005, 11:42:36 PM »

Quote from: "Jumangi"
Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
 It's not even close.  Plus, I saw an ungodly demo of Unreal Tournament 3 running on PS3 software.  It was jaw dropping.

This is all coming from someone who owns an Xbox and has never owned a Playstation.


So? The 360 can run the Unreal 3 engine fine. Guilty Gear looks as good as anything out there right now.


Yes it does.  Of course Sony has a 6 month window for improved graphics, CPU, etc.  

It will be more powerful so it will look better.  That is the simple fact of putting it out later.  Did the Xbox look better than the PS2?
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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2005, 11:51:35 PM »

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It will be more powerful so it will look better.  That is the simple fact of putting it out later.  Did the Xbox look better than the PS2?


I thought the Dreamcast looked better than the PS2 (at least comparing both systems initial lineup).

As these machines are both quite powerful I think the graphics will be pretty evenly matched despite the PS3 coming later.  At least the gulf shouldn't be nearly as wide as the PS2 vs Xbox.
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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2005, 01:13:14 AM »

Quote from: "farley2k"
Quote from: "Jumangi"
Quote from: "DiamondDecision"
 It's not even close.  Plus, I saw an ungodly demo of Unreal Tournament 3 running on PS3 software.  It was jaw dropping.

This is all coming from someone who owns an Xbox and has never owned a Playstation.


So? The 360 can run the Unreal 3 engine fine. Guilty Gear looks as good as anything out there right now.


Yes it does.  Of course Sony has a 6 month window for improved graphics, CPU, etc.  

It will be more powerful so it will look better.  That is the simple fact of putting it out later.  Did the Xbox look better than the PS2?


Apparently Carmack and a couple other people that know waaay more than we do think that 360 stands a good chance of looking every bit as good as PS3-lets just not get ahead of ourselves here till we really know.
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« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2005, 02:28:21 AM »

I think we will have reached the point where the graphics will look the same.  The reason will be because we've reached the maximum that artists can pull off without making new techniques.  

For instance, lore says that the grass in games was hand drawn until the folks at Blizzard came up with a 'paintbrush'-style technique to place AI controlled blades of individual grass en mass.  The result was a scene that would normally take 2 days to make took less than 20 minutes.  (Friend learned this at UACT from a professor, so I'm just retelling it)
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« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2005, 03:12:33 AM »

Quote from: "farley2k"


It will be more powerful so it will look better.  That is the simple fact of putting it out later.  Did the Xbox look better than the PS2?


Thats just buying into the Sony hype machine of the Cell processor. Just because its 6 months later isn't going to mean some quantum leap in power. Plus with the Xbox MS built a machine that was well above its selling price in terms of cost to build so they could try to outdo the PS2. As we saw they lost so much money per machine they never had a chance to be profitable. Neither of them is going to do that this time around.
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« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2005, 03:17:29 AM »

As far as I'm concerned, the in-package component video cables and wireless controller would practically be worth $100 by themselves.  The fact that I'll also get the 360's hard drive and forever free myself from buying memory cards is just icing on the cake.

I don't know what percentage of the potential market is going to share my thinking on that, but I know which 360 I'll be buying.

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2005, 12:45:33 PM »

I'm glad that people seem to have enjoyed my rant (for that was what it was) and reaction to the Xbox 360 price issues.  Presuming, of course, -that- was the editorial you're talking about. biggrin

I've calmed down quite a bit after writing it.  I still think it was a huge mistake, and for the same reasons...the price isn't really the issue.  It just feels like the $299 bundle is a slap in the face.  *shrug*  

Anyway, I generally write these suckers up when I feel ... the urge.

The English grammar isn't the best, but then again, I've never taken a journalism class.  I was going to say that I'm not a professional writer....but I am.  I write for this site, after all, and even if I'm not getting paid, I'm still a professional.  

Of course, when I wrote it, I was being somewhat unprofessional, which is why KD wanted me to move it off the news and into the articles area, which was fine. biggrin

I'm still buying the 360, just not the 3-Shitty (props to Penny Arcade).
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« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2005, 02:48:57 PM »

My biggest beef is the hard drive.

It should be standard in all packages so that developers would all use it completely for making games the best they can be.    If that means the low end would be 350 or something... so be it.    

I think Microsoft had a genuine opportunity to really start eating into Sony's market share here.... and just even the PERCEIVED controversy about this is going to hurt the chances.

You know as well as I do how fickle internet geeks are.... you know how an internet firestorm of false information can hurt a product or a person.   This firestorm is nobody's fault but Microsoft.  It's self created -- had they only had a more expensive starting price but all 360's equipped with a Hard drive this never would have happened.

I can't believe MS is making mistakes I think are ironically very reminisent of a company they beat years ago for making the same mistakes --    Apple.
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« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2005, 04:45:39 PM »

I don't think this qualifies as a firestorm and it's already dying down, long before the system appears on shelves.
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« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2005, 06:38:13 PM »

Quote from: "rrmorton"
I don't think this qualifies as a firestorm and it's already dying down, long before the system appears on shelves.


I think it is a firestorm...and it's still raging on the MS boards.

I've gone from must-purchase 360, to wait and see what cards Sony lays down before November.
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DiamondDecision
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« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2005, 06:47:02 PM »

That's where I'm at with all of this.

Quote from: "msduncan"
Quote from: "rrmorton"
I don't think this qualifies as a firestorm and it's already dying down, long before the system appears on shelves.


I think it is a firestorm...and it's still raging on the MS boards.

I've gone from must-purchase 360, to wait and see what cards Sony lays down before November.
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« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2005, 01:51:51 AM »

could you compare the hard drive optional with Live in the current generation?

if so, i think live support turned out halfway decent given the fact that not all xbox users have it...

and i bet a lot more people will be willing to drop a one time 99 dollar fee for the HD than are able to afford yearly live / monthly broadband - i think our little poll here showed that fact, where if you were even going to purchase a 360, you were 100% likely to buy a HD option, 0% to buy the core.  not too worried bout developer support for the HD on my end
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« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2005, 02:07:11 PM »

I put down my preorder on the $400 bundle yesterday.  I do think that they should've gone with 1 configuration, but I also don't think this is as big of a deal as some are dramatizing it to be either.  I'm certain it'll all smooth out in the next couple months leading up to launch.  We'll just have to wait a few weeks and hopefully get some numbers on the preorders.
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« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2005, 05:18:13 PM »

Quote from: "Doopri"
and i bet a lot more people will be willing to drop a one time 99 dollar fee for the HD than are able to afford yearly live / monthly broadband - i think our little poll here showed that fact, where if you were even going to purchase a 360, you were 100% likely to buy a HD option, 0% to buy the core.  not too worried bout developer support for the HD on my end


You'd be surprised.  Look at DVD games for the PC.  99% of PCs sold in the past 2 years come with DVD players, DVD units themselves are in the $20 range to upgrade an old system... yet most PC games come on CDs.

It's not that games won't support the HD, it's that they won't do as much as we hoped they would.  There will be little to no games that will *require* the HD, and to me that's a shame.

Will I still be getting one?  Almost definitely.  I'm just far less excited about it than I was pre-announcement, and I'm not quite sure when I'll take the plunge.

gellar
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