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Author Topic: Xbox 360 Pre-Release Thread  (Read 17015 times)
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Hetz
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« Reply #240 on: August 21, 2005, 09:17:08 PM »

Here is the transcript from the chat!

Quote
Major Nelson (Moderator): We are just about to get started
Major Nelson (Moderator): Welcome to today’s chat. I am happy to have J join us for an hour to take your questions on the Xbox 360. Just to let you know, due to J's injury he does have someone typing for him, but all of the answers are directly from J himself. With that said...welcome J. Also, we already have over 1,000 questions...many of which are similar, so we'll chose the ones that are most representative of the majority of the questions.

J Allard (Expert):
A: we'll get going with the first question now....
J Allard (Expert):
Q: My question: Can Microsoft guarantee that the HDD will be fully uitilised when present or are we going to see long load times with a slow DVD unit as standard from most developers.
A: just like last generation utilization of things like xbox live and the hard drive will be up to the game designers and just like last time we expect game developers to be excited by this. we have been in clear communication for more than a year that some scenarios will include a disconnected hard drive and it has not slowed them down

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Mr. Expert, will the Xbox 360 games use the hard drive for game saves and caching like the original Xbox did?
A: absolutely. we think game designers have all kinds of innovative ideas that the hard drive will be used for. use of the hard drive is not limited to game scenarios. like xbox 1 you will be able to do things like rip and store music and don't forget about live scenarios and all the downloadable content

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why is the hard drive so highly priced? A 20GB hard drive now a days goes for about 20-30... why $100? I believe this will deter alot of sales..
A: the 20 gb hard drive is a 2.5 inch user servicable drive and is more expense than a pc "crack the box" drive. it's one of the reasons we pushed to create a compelling premium bundle.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why is the hard drive so highly priced? A 20GB hard drive now a days goes for about 20-30... why $100? I believe this will deter alot of sales..
A: one of the reasons that we designed a user removable hard drive is in direct response to the hard core gaming audience to make it easier to take game saves, game maps, soundtracks, etc. easily to their friends house or lan party. they also wanted the ability to upgrade to larger capacity drives. and if the drive is not present because someone in the house took it on the road, you still want to be able to use the console for movies, music or games.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: will the loss of HDD mean that all games will be made without the HDD in mind, therefore effecting users of the premium pack?
A: absolute not. consider this last generation where somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of game consoles had hard drives attached. this did not deter game developers from utilizing the hard drive both for exclusive games and cross platform games on xbox. this generation our first party team and our exclusive content developers are just as committed to using the hard drive and like we they demonstrated with this generation our third party cross platform developers are committed as well. games like splinter cell, madden, and tony hawk all demonstrated unique capabilities in hard drive configured systems.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Can we stream videos from our PCs?
A: yes. if you have media center on those pcs. you will be able to stream standard and high definition video.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why even offer the core package, its seems quite useless
A: great question! the thing to remember that while we designed a no compromises game system, a huge percentage of our customers are not like the folks in this chat room. recognize that more than 75% of the folks on xbox have not played halo. by introducing the core system we are sending a signal to the market that we are committed to this part of the market just like with the xbox 360 premium bundle that we are committed to you.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why even offer the core package, its seems quite useless
A: the significance of this message can not be understated. many of the publishing and retail partners want our commitment to grow the market. and as you have heard from us in our press conferences and such we are very committed to growing the market.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Can you use your Xbox live gamertag for xbox live gold on the 360?
A: absolutely. we want to make sure you can preserve your identity, friends, and investment in xbox live moving forward with xbox 360 and of course you can keep gaming with your identity on xbox 1.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why not package the Xbox 360 with only the hard drive and a wireless controller for $349.99, so that you can have one SKU
A: good question and one of the many combinations we looked at. with our research with hard core gamers, retailers, and the broader market, we felt like these two configurations were the right starting point. the great news is that the way we have desgined the system in a modular way we can easily adjust these configurations over time.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: wILL THEE CABLES IN THE 400 PACKAGE WORK WITH MY T.V THAT USES A/V CALBES?
A: the av pack bundled with the premium pack will work with component and composite cables. this means it will pretty much work with all hd and sd sets out there. the other cool thing is that you can take that cable between high def and standard def tvs.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: What is your opinion on HD-DVD?
A: it's going to be interesting to see how and if a high def format for movies plays out. when we designed the the initial xbox many people asked if sacd or dvd audio would be the successor to the cd format for music. as everyone knows the real successor was mp3 and digital distribution with things like napster ipod and msn music. while there is a lot of talk about this in the industry it will be interesting to see what the exact future of this is for movies. of course i think there will be a need for higher capacity optical media for storage applications. we prefer hd-dvd to blu-ray in terms of the flexibility it offers to different applications as well as the infrastructure costs to the market.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Will consumers be able to purchase and download songs or other media directly through the Live Marketplace?
A: not at launch. it is something we would love to get your feedback on. please give us your thoughts.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Will developers utilize the hard drive when one is detected, or will most games be made without using it at all? Will the HD speed up load times?
A: speeding up load times is one of the many things a hard drive can be used for but really it is up to the imagination of the developer. we have been talking with game developers for a while now to make sure that games will load efficiently without a hard drive present. in terms of load times, as a gamer i am super sensitive to how frustrating load times can be which is one of the reasons we put in a dual layer 12x dvd in the system to make sure gamers get great perf with or without a hard drive. one of the challenges with new optical formats when they first come out is the performance of the media which was a consideration when we decided what the optical format for xbox 360 would be.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Can a USB Memory been used by the xbox 360??(I'm asking this because the 360 has USB ports)
A: at present our design for xbox 360 uses the usb ports in a read-only capacity for playing music and viewing photos. if there are other applications that you guys think are interesting then please give us your feedback.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why doesn't wifi work out of the box?
A: we worked with game designers and talked to hard core gamers and asked them what their top priorities were and the bulk of our investment went into the silicon to the cpu and the gpu so we would have kick **** games. we had a fixed budget and could not do it all. in the end we had a budget and had to offer wifi as an option but we did decide to add "a" as a standard in addition to b and g. we are also compatible with existing devices already on the makret.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: will the core system come with a memory card? if not, how can u save games?
A: no it does not come with a memory unit. gamers will need an mu or a hard drive to save games with which is consistent with the games industry for the last decade.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: will the core system come with a memory card? if not, how can u save games?
A: i think it is really important to emphasize especially for the folks in this chat room that we did not design the core system around you guys. similar to the shuffle, the boxter, the 4:3 tv, the 1mpix camera, we designed the core system as a way to get folks to come into the family at a cheaper prices and decide if an how they scale the system. the great thing about our approach unlike these examples is that the core owner can upgrade the system and match the capabilities of the premium system when the time is right for them.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Will a completely black 360 be available?
A: not currently in plan for launch but as you know we will have removable faceplates and i expect down the line we will get feedback that people want other colors and we will provide it

J Allard (Expert): This in from e-mail: Got a question about the $399 price point for Xbox 360. Feels steep.
J Allard (Expert): i think that the capabilities we are offering with xbox 360 are unmatched in the history of videogaming. it's a great value. and the system that most of the folks in this chat room are going to prefer. i saw a posting earlier today where someone looked up the historical prices and capabilities of games systems. it was worth noting that the ps2 launched at $368 (in japan) with no hard drive, no online service, no mu, no wireless, no voice, no network adapter, no remote, and only support for 2 controllers. that's not reason we priced the system this way but it does provide a comparitive frame of referencfe for what you are getting. when you consider you are getting the most powerful games system, best cd player, digital media player, movie player, etc. it's a great value.

J Allard (Expert):
Q: Why do they have the core package? Why doesn't microsoft just release the package with the Harddrive so developers will be able to fully utilize it?
A: independent of the configurations we have at launch it was imparative that we work with developers now to abstract the storage system because (1) the drive is removable and we want people to play even if the drive is not present (2) another possibility is that 5 years from now that you want more storage on the box or on the network and be able to take advantage of that. by abstracting storage in the system we are making sure that all xbox 360 games will work on all configurations moving forward and early customers will be able to take advantage of future scenarios like bigger drives and network storage.

J Allard (Expert): Another one from mail: What about backward compatibility in the core system?
J Allard (Expert): because we didn't abstract storage in the first generation xbox back compat will require a hard drive. the good news is that the core system owners can upgrade if they deside to update at a later date.
J Allard (Expert):
Q: When can we expect an official release date to be announced?
A: this is our last question we are able to take for the chat and then i have one thing i want you guys to know after. answer in short is: stay tuned. just like all of you talking about the system around the clock we are working around the clock to finish the system and the games. we will have more announcments soon.

J Allard (Expert): i just want to thank the community for the enthusiam and passion for xbox since the beginning. conversations like this are super valuable and we would love to do this again.

in summary we tried to optimize launch around three critical audiences

[1] - the game developer - by offering them a no compromises platform with great hardware, tools and the leading online service with live.
[2]- the hard core gamer - by putting together a configuration with everything you would want at a compelling price.
[3] the entry level gamer - that wanted to get into next generation gaming and was excited by the media capabilities and wanted an entry level option

i know the multiple configuration strategy has introduced some confusion and concern with the hard core gamers in particular. hopefully this has helped explain some of the thinking that went into it. if you - like me - want gaming to get bigger and want to see more creative games out there we need to grow the market.
J Allard (Expert): like the consumer electronics industry or the automotive industry having a family of products (we believe) will be good for the market.

at the end of the day, you guys make xbox a success and we designed xbox for you and dialogs like this are what have gone into the xbox program to date and will continue to give life to xbox for years to come.

let's keep the dialog going. thanks for your time.

i should also mention that we know a lot of folks could not make it into the chat and will be interested in this dialog so know that we will be posting all of this onto majornelson.com and sorry for the lag (it's been hard for us too).


There were over 2500 people in chat and it was VERY laggy.
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Dimmona
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« Reply #241 on: August 21, 2005, 10:57:30 PM »

Some good answers in there, mixed with a ton of PR-type BS.  The way he dances around the $100 for a 20gb HD question not once but twice is amazing :-)

I don't know, he talk about 'giving the developers the choice' all he wants, but if there's nothing motivating developers to use the HD outside of 'it's cool' then I'm still worried that when faced with a tight schedule they're only going to support the lowest common denominator....

Either way, I finally plunked down 400 bones on my preorder this weekend :-)
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« Reply #242 on: August 22, 2005, 01:23:00 AM »

Quote from: "Dimmona"
Some good answers in there, mixed with a ton of PR-type BS.  The way he dances around the $100 for a 20gb HD question not once but twice is amazing :-)

I don't know, he talk about 'giving the developers the choice' all he wants, but if there's nothing motivating developers to use the HD outside of 'it's cool' then I'm still worried that when faced with a tight schedule they're only going to support the lowest common denominator....

Either way, I finally plunked down 400 bones on my preorder this weekend :-)


yeah I thought he did a good job of explaining the strategy behind it, which most of us serious gamers understand already, but stopped short of actually answering the two most important questions: 1. why compromise the utility and usefulness of having a HDD in every unit and requiring developers to make use of it? and 2. why the bait and switch?
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« Reply #243 on: August 22, 2005, 01:39:57 AM »

Quote
1. why compromise the utility and usefulness of having a HDD in every unit and requiring developers to make use of it? and 2. why the bait and switch?


I can answer both.

1.) We make more money off the pot smoking MTV generation instead of the hardcore gamers.  We aimed for a price that would give them a game console and cash left for Doritos.

2.) What bait and switch??  LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY! <exit stage left>
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« Reply #244 on: August 22, 2005, 02:52:22 AM »

More mixed signals:

Quote from: "Allard"
great question! the thing to remember that while we designed a no compromises game system, a huge percentage of our customers are not like the folks in this chat room. recognize that more than 75% of the folks on xbox have not played halo. by introducing the core system we are sending a signal to the market that we are committed to this part of the market just like with the xbox 360 premium bundle that we are committed to you.


So Allard expects a huge percentage of folks to be interested in the core system?  But Peter Moore earlier this week stated that they expected the $399 SKU to be the most popular by far.
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Hetz
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« Reply #245 on: August 22, 2005, 03:06:18 AM »

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
More mixed signals:

Quote from: "Allard"
great question! the thing to remember that while we designed a no compromises game system, a huge percentage of our customers are not like the folks in this chat room. recognize that more than 75% of the folks on xbox have not played halo. by introducing the core system we are sending a signal to the market that we are committed to this part of the market just like with the xbox 360 premium bundle that we are committed to you.


So Allard expects a huge percentage of folks to be interested in the core system?  But Peter Moore earlier this week stated that they expected the $399 SKU to be the most popular by far.


I think that they are talking about two different things.

The $399 sku will be the most popular right now, this first Christmas, since lets face it...most of the people J Allard is talking about (parents, joe six pack and casuals) will not buy either a $300 or $400 gaming system. It will be the hardcores that drive the sales this year and they are going to buy the $400 sku.

J. Allard was talking about the huge majority of customers that will (they hope) eventually go for the lower priced version, once the price drops.
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« Reply #246 on: August 22, 2005, 03:16:09 AM »

Quote from: "Hetz"

J. Allard was talking about the huge majority of customers that will (they hope) eventually go for the lower priced version, once the price drops.


Then why have the $299 SKU at launch instead of waiting until later as Allard's Game Informer inteview alluded to?  

I think any attempt at portraying this as a smoothly orchestrated plan won't work.  Robbie Bach stated during E3 there would be just one SKU for this holiday season.  A few months later Allard tells GI that there will likely be a HDD-less version later but all launch 360s will have the HDD.  Not long after that- 2 SKUs at launch, one without the HDD.
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« Reply #247 on: August 22, 2005, 03:55:28 AM »

Apparently, they think there's a large number of people who will pay $340 for a console and $60 per game, but won't fork over another $60 to get a hard drive, backwards compatibility, wireless controller, and remote control.  Then again, they think people will pay to buy an extra shirt in a game slywink
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« Reply #248 on: August 22, 2005, 04:10:19 AM »

You know, I just might plop the money down for an Xbox 360 on day one, under the theory that in order for there to be this much horseshit being tossed about, there just has to be a horse around here somewhere....
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« Reply #249 on: August 22, 2005, 12:31:15 PM »

Well...it looks like November 15th is going to be the date.

All EB stores got a email last week from corporate advising them of the launch date of the Xbox 360 along with the 2 SKU thing. The email said it would launch the WEEK of November 14th, so most people are assuming it will be the 15th. It said to expect a press release from Microsoft at a later date.
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« Reply #250 on: August 22, 2005, 07:15:06 PM »

Christ, Microsoft is spinning this fiasco so hard it's making me dizzy.

Speaking of which, what's up, Hetz?

biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  AND OMG THIS IS SO WITTY I JUST HAD TO EDIT IT IN biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

With all this spinning going on, I can understand why they named it the 360!
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« Reply #251 on: August 22, 2005, 07:36:32 PM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
With all this spinning going on, I can understand why they named it the 360!


Ok... I admit:  That made me giggle.

gellar
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« Reply #252 on: August 22, 2005, 07:37:32 PM »

Yeah, it got a little chuckle out of me too.
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« Reply #253 on: August 23, 2005, 03:09:40 AM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Christ, Microsoft is spinning this fiasco so hard it's making me dizzy.

Speaking of which, what's up, Hetz?

biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  AND OMG THIS IS SO WITTY I JUST HAD TO EDIT IT IN biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

With all this spinning going on, I can understand why they named it the 360!


This was funny.
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« Reply #254 on: August 23, 2005, 07:11:24 PM »

Quote from: "Rage"
Quote from: "Dimmona"

1. why compromise the utility and usefulness of having a HDD in every unit and requiring developers to make use of it? and 2. why the bait and switch?


Now, maybe I've read too much into this, but MS doesn't get to be that rich by buying the footprint they want, but a larger footprint so that if they don't get it, they've still got more than they initially were targetting.

Hardcore gamers are going to play X360, or NOT. It really doesn't matter. People still buy the PStwo even though it doesn't support the HDD. People still buy new gamecubes, even though it doesn't support their proprietary HDTV cable (anymore).

So to answer the questions :
1.) The practicality of the removable HDD means that if the HDD was required you couldn't play games while the disk isn't present.

2.) They didn't even have Beta Kits at E3. In a production cycle this big, some stuff isn't hard-fast yet. They make decisions every day which can change final product. ::shrug:: It's not nice; I'd go sofar to say DAMMIT JERKS, but really what does that help? They're going to sell their product as they see fit.

I've grown complacent in this. I feel more cheated by Sony's FMV from E3 "of actual gameplay". :/
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