A bit more Xbox Next news

I very much doubt that the next X-Box will ship without a hard drive as that's one of the things that has made it popular with it's fan base. Also to not include backward compatability will be a huge, huge mistake.

It seems that MS are caught on this "we have to make it the most powerful box of tricks on the planet!" trip. You can almost imagine Bill Gates at the launch conference now saying "Playing games is not enough for console gamers anymore! Every gamer must have a machine so powerful that it can hold a 12 hour intellectual debate him/her just after bringing him/her home from work and cooking his/her tea!" They need to be more subtle... I feel that they did something very right with the hard drive and to be honest I feel that in reality the PS2 really lacks this. Backward compatability on the other hand is a big + with the PS2 as (especially when the machine was just released) you could sell/trade in/blow up your old PS1 as soon as you'd bought your new PS2. I still have a few games such as R-Types on the PS1 that I still play today.

The machine must be powerful, to keep up with current technology but MS have always put the technical ability of their console 1st and in some instances missed out on what the average Joe wants.

Anyway this isn't supposed to be a PS2 v XBOX thread (as there's one provided as a sticky) merely a reaction to the new specs. I just feel that if they do go without HD and backward compatability they are making a big mistake!
LOL.... no worries Gthom3 :)

I disagree, Next Box will have no HD as standard, it may have backwards compatibility if they judge the initial news reaction as a bad idea, however it may severly impact their timescales or increase costs.

These are not major selling points, we have had this discussion before.

You may see these items on a deluxe version, but I am sure they do not want to lose the same amount of money again.
I guess they could sell an additional drive that you could connect up, but then software developers would use this even less as not everyone would have one. Also with too many system altering peripherals the unit becomes more like a "multi spec" pc instead of an out of the box console.

On the subject of backward compatability - maybe if the machine is as powerful as they say someone could just do an X-Box emulator for the X-Box 2 to allow original games to run on the new hardware - just a thought!

The actual machine specs do sound amazing though and if one thing's for sure, the next 2 years are going to be very exciting indeed!
Yeah right!

I'll buy all three, ps3 xbox 2 and gc2.

Nothing like anticipating the next console cycle!!

Although I hope i'm not as disappointed with the ps3 as I was with the ps2 (after the specs they said the ps2 would have) :(
Hopefully all 3 console providers will learn from the mistakes made in the current gen of consoles. Sony have had a hell of a long time now to work on it's R&D for PS3 and being the market leader they don't have to be in quite as much of a rush to get a new console out. Last time Sega brought out the 1st 32 bit (Saturn) and were the 1st out with a 128 bit (Dreamcast). Unfortunately the Saturn sold poorly against the PSX and they needed to get the DC out 1st. Whilst the DC was a great console even releasing 1st was not enough to fight off the might of Sony. Sony is already top of the league as we approach the next batch of consoles with M$ struggling for a place in Europe and the GC still trying to stay out of the bottom 3. The question is...will Sony do a Leeds UTD or a Man UTD? I would put money on them doing a Man UTD but then again as a Leeds fan I wouldn't have thought in my worst dreams a couple of years ago that we would now be odds on favorites for the drop....
a lot of people buy the box because "oh its the most powerful therefore its better"

these are usually classed as casual gamers and have little experience with games.... what they dont realise is that GC has produced the best graphics this gen and the PS2 has arguably more better games. but still. the 'power' thing sells, especially to 20+ year old men who like football. (UK standard 'Lad'?)

the power specs will most likely be closer between the next set of consoles as they are all coming out at roughly the same time so maybe MS will loose out on one of their selling points. they still have live though. and a massing number of developers that are supporting the XB.

the reason why it could ship with out the HDD is because of cost. MS are loosing a massive amount of money with each XB they make. a lot of that cost is down to the HDD.

true they may alienate some of the built fanbase but lets be honest.... not a single game has acutally fully utilised the HDD. all its been used for is storing some music, saving games and as a short term memory dumping space.
personally i dont even use the music system. its good for racing games and such like, but for story based games? the in game music can convey a lot of emotion and help you understand what the charatcers are feeling or the atmosphere of a game.

how good would it have been when the camera panned out to the ocean lapping at the crisp white sands... you realise you have control of ico, and then a bit of mettalica kicks.... errr no, i think not...
good game developers realise that in game music is just as important as the graphics and therefore their scores are moving more towards the hollywood scale.

wait what was the question again? err.... yeah anyway
this sums graphics up quite nicely:

source: gamesradar.com

Graphics R.I.P?

[27/01/04 11:07]
Graphics today are better than ever. So, asks PC Gamer, why isn't our excitement about them at an all time high?

The European Games Developer Conference is many things. Often intriguing. Often illuminating. Often - though perhaps not often enough - outspoken. And often about better ways to get pixel shader effects even shadier. But it's rarely as out-and-out controversial as Jason Rubin's keynote address this year: "Great Game Graphics... Who Cares?"

If you rely purely on your PC for your gaming pleasure, you're unlikely to know much about Jason Rubin, or the company he heads, Naughty Dog. They're responsible for the entire series of Crash Bandicoot games on the PlayStation and, recently Jak and Dexter on the PS2. They've sold 25 million copies, which explains the lovely tan Mr Rubin possesses. Their secret - and I paraphrase him directly - is that they made sure that their games were better looking, by far, than the nearest competition while ensuring their games were just entertaining enough: great graphics plus a reasonable enough game. This led to the aforementioned mega sales. While the original Jak and Daxter was hardly a failure, it didn't break the three million boundary, despite being one of the most technically impressive games of its type. From this, Jason has elaborated an argument that graphics alone won't be enough to sell a game anymore. He posits two other things that can sell a game - association or novelty. That is, licences, or new stuff. The day of Great Game Graphics has passed.

You might shrug, thinking that he's extrapolating his own experience to a general rule. Obviously graphics are going to continue getting better and better. Nevertheless, there's something worryingly convincing about Rubin's argument. He doesn't claim that graphics aren't going to improve - it's whether anyone will care. While this may not have such a serious impact on consoles, it's a different story for the PC. Consoles have five-year cycles: limited advances within their own lifespan, but an enormous leap in graphical fidelity every time ConsoleToyNext is released. The PC, however, has rolling improvements, month on month, and this has a dampening effect on our expectations. Day by day almost, 3D card manufacturers release new cards promising graphics that will liquidise your eyes and make them drool from your sockets. But - be honest now - since when has this been true?

To take a recent experience: during the final days of Steam I found myself playing the original Half-life. And, frankly, it looked perfectly acceptable. While it clearly lacks the fine polish of modern first-person shooters, the world it presented me with was entirely comparable with anything around. And, being a great game in the first place, it was more enjoyable than - say - Unreal II. However, if you went back to 1998 when Valve's masterpiece was released, and attempted to play a game five years older than that, it would be a very different experience. To go back and play System Shock, Doom or Wolfenstein requires a whole re-arrangement of your thought processes to accept the difference in graphics quality.

This is key to Rubin's argument. The amount of graphical power used in a game often bears little relation to how much the gamer will enjoy it. Consider the leap from Space Invaders to Super Mario. The technological increase is relatively small, a few more colours and greater definition. However, in terms of the difference in experience it's a huge leap. Instead of blank adversaries, you're now playing with characters you can have an emotional response to. Conversely, consider the jump in power between the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2. According to the raw numbers, the latter is several hundred times more powerful. Is it offering an experience that's several hundred times better? No, because the fundamentals haven't changed since the leap from the 16-bit consoles to the PlayStation, from flat characters to a 3D world and a sense of place. It's still a leap, but a relatively restrained one - and thus while attractive to people, it's not irresistibly exciting.

On the PC side, consider the performance advance between a 3D card of a few years ago and one of today. Ignoring everything else the card does, and the increases in the supporting PC architecture, and purely looking at how many MegaPixels it throws around every second, examine the difference between the TNT2, which managed 230, and the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, which shifts 3040. That's 13 times more power there alone. Are you getting 13 times more pleasure from your 3D card? Almost certainly not. In fact, the real leap in the PC was from the days before 3D cards to the days after 3D cards. The difference afterwards has been, in the general scale of things, minor. Attractive, yes, but still minor. While the next 3D cards will offer beautiful shiny hair, that's hardly the same order of excitement as being dropped into an alien world for the very first time.

Look at the state of Great Graphics in the movies, and you get a sense of both videogaming's own future and a fine counter-argument against those who think graphics can improve and drive games. While Pixar's Toy Story managed to attract some of its audience purely through its groundbreaking technical merits, with people leaving amazed at what those new-fangled computers could do, the even-more-attractive Monsters Inc aroused much less comment. With Finding Nemo, it has almost disappeared. People are going to these films because of the story now, not the technology which allows the story to be told.

It's also noticeable that as we approach perfection, it becomes more elusive. Take Matrix Reloaded: people were disappointed that they could "tell some bits were computer generated". You wonder whether back in 1933 audiences stomped out of King Kong moaning "that was no Giant Ape! That was a big old puppet!" They didn't, of course. The difference being that back then such special effects were unprecedented. These days they're old news, and the slightest little failings break the illusion. There's a ceiling, and movie graphics have hit it.

With games, the graphics ceiling differs in every genre. In some, it's clear that we've reached it. With accurate motion-captured movement, realistic settings and player features already the norm for sports sims, how will FIFA 2015 be any different from what we're playing now? Mud sticking to people's legs? Pupils dilating when they look in the sun? Reflective referee whistles? First-person shooters are also dangerously near to the effective maximum - after Doom III and Half-Life 2, how much actual use will further graphical excess be in advancing the genre? The humble real-time strategy game, on the other hand, is about to take a genuine leap forward with Rome: Total War. Freeform, expansive games like Grand Theft Auto also have room to expand. And massively-multi-player games have a distinctly long way to go. Developers working in these areas can perhaps still make their living through releasing games with better graphics alone.

However, there's another problem. Not only are good game graphics getting less impressive, they're getting easier to implement. Jason Rubin talks about the early days of Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation, where most developers could get about 1,000 polygons on screen and if they really worked at it, nearer 3,000. 1,000 polys wasn't enough for a convincing third-person action game, thus it was necessary for a developer to be good at graphics to make a game. Fast forward a few years and assume the 'third' rule holds true. Even if you don't work at it you can now get 50,000 polygons on screen, and if you do work at it you'll get 150,000. 50,000 is enough, by far, for any game. While there's a visible difference, it's only surface polish. Fast forward again, and it's 500,000 polys if you're lazy, 1.5 million if you're not. And it's unlikely that any but the most eagle-eyed would spot the difference. And this isn't even taking into consideration the phenomenon of off-the-peg 3D engines, which allow games as remedial as Devastation to look almost as attractive as Unreal 2 or Invisible War.

Selling a game through graphics alone is still possible. If you could, for example, make the leap from current standards to photorealism with a single graphics card and an associated game, you can guarantee a large roll of cash heading your way. But that's not the way it's going to happen. We're going to arrive there in tiny steps. To steal the horrible phrase of lazy developers and journalists everywhere, we're going to approach visual perfection through evolution rather than revolution. And while revolutions make the front page across the world, evolution is so slow as to be invisible. And that doesn't excite anyone.

This brings me back to my earlier point: the problem is going to be worse for the PC than for consoles. With those leaps forward every five years, there are archipelagos of graphical excitement ahead in console land. With the PC, and its steady progress, we're not even going to get that. In fact, it's entirely possible that the coming months offer the last genuine leap in graphical performance we'll see for some time. For the last three years, the Quake III engine has been standard for the PC action world, and now Doom III and Half-Life 2 look to offer the first radical advance on that. It'll be a leap of sorts. And it will be impressive, in its own way. But the days when graphics ruled videogames are rapidly drawing to a close.
so if graphics are going to take a back seat for a while the next gen games will most likely focus on realism...

the question is: could that lead to better gameplay??

is it wise to emulate reality or is the whole point of games to escape reality?? hmmm, in some aspects i can see real games being fun. obviously if you kill some one in game and then get caught you wont have to go to jail... (unless MS have your butt plugged into the internet and think you are a danger to society and the Americans arrest you without trial.... :laugh: )

or is it really about escapology. do people need to let go and travel to a make believe world and play apart in a grandeur adventure as a hero.

its something that the large corporate businesses need to think about as they slowly take over the industry and the original and creative developers fade out. will the market collapse in on itself as people loose interest in the same old games year in year out...

lets all hold hands.

sorry for the triple long posts. but what can you do?
Ignoring everything else the card does, and the increases in the supporting PC architecture, and purely looking at how many MegaPixels it throws around every second, examine the difference between the TNT2, which managed 230, and the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, which shifts 3040.

Does this guy own a 9800 Pro? Watching Pro Evo run in 1280x1024 is pants wettingly gorgeous, watching the Far Cry demo (one you have sorted out driver issues) is unbelievable.

Interesting points, but a load of all crock. You only have to look at the game charts, what sells games is licences and graphics.

The problem is that most of us are used to genres and developers simply cannot pump out the same old dirge over and over. People still want graphics, look at Halo pretty much a big flop on the PC because it's graphical content was to be honest pretty awful.

A great game can get by without great graphics, an unbelievable game needs the whole package, graphics, sound and gameplay.
Great games don't need to have great graphics. Titles like Rez, Amplitude, Eye Toy and Tetris are all brilliant games but are not technically amazing.
Great graphics is more to do with the actual artwork than any technical merits. The Far Cry demo is technically impressive but it still retains that whole shiny PC graphics card look.
Soul Calibur on the DC looks better than the next gen follow up even though it is technically less impressive. I just prefer the art and character models used in SC.
The huge increase in rendering power available to PC's hasn't changed games at all. An FPS is still just an FPS even if it looks pretty sweet.
Halo looked great on the Xbox 2 years ago but the source artwork was too low a resolution to be played on a monitor. And the game sucked with a mouse and keyboard. Also PC gamers being used to characters that out accelerate F1 cars with a 5p sized turning circle found the Master Chief to be awful slow.

Unfortunatley Mr Rubin is right about licenses, you only have to look at the UK Top Ten games at any time of year to see that.
Prince Of Persia and PGR2 both did badly this Christmas despite the fact they both have great graphics and gameplay.
Interesting point.... Games are graphical these days by their nature, so being more attractive can draw a gamer in. The most important factor though is obviously gameplay, the best modern situation to illustrate this is FIFA vs PRO EVO - FIFA best graphics, Pro Evo Best gameplay. Pro EVO is regarded by virtually everyone now to be the best game so it shows that as long as graphics are of a decent standard gameplay will win out!

One other point is that Graphics do not have to be overly technical of filled with loads of polygons to be great! I think R-Type has some of the best graphics i've seen in a game, yet they are 2d sprite based. The point of graphics is to look attractive whilst performing a functional purpose. The games on the next gen of consoles will have impressive graphics but to be honest with the graphics we've seen in films like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc & toy story it's not that we won't have seen that quality before (albeit not in a game). The farcry demo has wonderful graphics but and some of the rag doll physics impressed me greatly but when all said and done it didn't impress me like when I first saw DOOM running on a 486.
Fifa still outsells Pro Evo :p

Metroid Prime has outstanding graphics, I don't think the game would have been good without the sheer awe inspiring environments. Part of the fun of playing was to see what came next.

The guy has a small point, but I still think that graphics sells games and people buy ridicuously expensive hardware to just see better graphics.

The problem is that developers can't keep up with the hardware on the PC and produce poor optimised engines.
FIFA is available on more formats and it has a license. Actually it's always struck me as a bit pointless making football games look really good as the camera is usually quite far back when playing so all of the detail is lost.

"The problem is that developers can't keep up with the hardware on the PC and produce poor optimised engines."
If your a graphics whore better to buy a console which will only get better with age graphically and console games tend to have better artwork anyway due to the larger budgets big developers devote to console games.
I have largely stopped playing PC based games due to the install/update software/download drivers/troubleshoot/reinstall drivers/buy new graphics card... etc thing. As consoles are able to get online (for multi player) and get more powerful, there will be fewer and fewer areas where PC games will have an advantage (strategy games using many keyboard shortcuts is probably the only one at the moment).

Anyway, back on topic, I assume that the Xbox would be able to link to your home netwrok etc anyway, and use its storage devices. Developers would simply assume that you had a HDD (or similar) available.
FIFA doesn't outsell PES by much anymore. FIFA's only a couple of places higher on the PS2 sales list than PES and PES was ahead for quite a while so that is debatable. Look at the ratings of the 2 games (from many, many reviews each) on amazon and PES get's a higher review. What I did say was not that PES outsells FIFA (as there will always be the kids who buy FIFA for it's "official"status and not for the quality of the game) but that amongst the majority of gamers PES is rightly regarded as the better game.

Graphics can help make a good game better but they can't make a poor game good. Gameplay (including control and interaction with the game) is obviously the no 1 factor, then come things like graphics and sound, which enhance the experience. Look at MUDS for example - many online gamers prefer these to MMORPG's such as EQ, DAOC, Ultima etc. as they often provide a much higher level of content and depth to the game. They have no (or very little) graphics at all and rely on a deep involving game/story line to suck players in.

I agree with your point that Graphics sell games and to be honest as stated good graphics do enhance a good game. For eg. if Pro Evo was the same game with better graphics (although they are already pretty good to be fair) then it would enhance it further.

My point is merely that good gameplay will always be the MOST important factor in a game.
In Asia, Fifa sells absolutely nothing! Its all Winning Eleven 7!!!
They just think that gameplay is superior Fifa, nothing to do with graphics.

Exactly! I guess one good comparison is this ...

Obviously a combination of the two would be ideal but choose soley from these two options...

A) A film with a superb, engrosing storyline, fantastic believable acting, some wonderful twists and some very memorable characters. The effects are pretty poor and the camera work isn't fantastic or......

B) A film with outstanding effects, great camera work but appauling acting, a terrible plot with no interesting twists and flat faceless characters.

Which would you rather watch...personally i'd go for (A) but then again when it comes to FIFA vs PES i'd also rather go for PES.

My personal priorities for games are:-

1) How it plays, is it fun, addictive, challenging with good AI, no or few bugs etc
2) How it looks, does the look fit the style of game, are the graphics and overall presentation good etc.
3) How it sounds, do the sound effects/music enhance the game and draw me in, are they realistic and suitable etc.
intresting points.

licences sell games more than graphics do though.
if graphics sold games then JAKII would have out sold simponsons hit and run.

kids buy fifa becuase of the lisence. men buy pro evo because it plays better.
kids buy fifa becuase of the lisence. men buy pro evo because it plays better.

Might apply to UK, but have been informed by pple here in Far East, PES (WE7 there) are bought by kids and men and even women. Basically FIFA is almost non existent there. Gameplay is the nr1 rule, graphics 2nd.

They have no (or very little) graphics at all

That is a gross mistatement :p

EQ when it came out had some of the most stunning graphics, it definately had the best graphics of any online game. It is now around 5 years old!!! Of course it looks lame.

FFXI has some of the best graphics on the PC, the effects and detail are awesome.

I would argue that MMORPGs really more on graphics than gameplay. MMORPG gameplay is usually fairly limited and repetitive, the basis of the game is the flashy upgrades and that really cool looking armour. A MMORPG is essentially a glorified chat room, the better the eye candy the better it sells.

I do understand your point and agree with it, my argument is based on the original article, which is that gameplay sells, not graphics. I don't believe that is really correct.
No, no, no Sinzer....you misunderstand me. MUD's (or multi user dungeons) are text based online role playing games. What my post says is that many online role players prefer these to the Graphical games such as DAOC, EQ etc because of their massive depth and content. It is a classic situation of people playing a game for the game it is and the content it offers as opposed to the graphics it's churning about.

A lot of MUDS (text based online roleplaying games) have astonishing depth and they are actually able to encorporate the depth they do as they are not restricted by a graphics engine. Also they do not have to spend a lot of time designing, building and maintaining the graphical side of the game. This leaves more development time for the actual game content.
well japanese people have some sort of taste. thats why they buy pro evo and not the 74 fifa gmae that is identical to the original :laugh:
Ohh I see, a case of skim reading :)

Not many play MUDs these days though, mostly the hardcore few and geeks.
They are still going strong and some of the better ones have a lot of members. They are not my cup of tea personally but then again neither are MMORPG's on the whole. They just struck me of a situation where graphics play no part and it's content all of the way.

I guess the crux of this debate is really what is the most important aspect of a game Graphics or Gameplay. It's a debate that has gone of as long as I can remember and I guess (at least in the early days of the Spectrum, C64 etc) we have all bought a game on the strength of the screenshots on the back of the box only to find it's an awful game. It may have been a game we had been waiting for but had not yet been reviewed in the latest issue of Crash of Your Sinclair and we therefore made the spontaneous purchase!

One point with todays Computer systems and their graphics ability becoming so advanced is that developers are striving to make our games as realistic as possible. I don't necessarily have a problem with this as long as they build the game around a strong, interesting gameplay idea. I obviously understand (and am excited by) the fact that gaming technology is increasing.

I guess things haven't really altered regarding this debate since the birth of video gaming. You will always get good games which are let down by sloppy graphics, Good games with good graphics, poor shallow games with terrible graphics and poor games with great graphics. The advances in technology haven't altered this situation all they have done is constantly raise the bar of what is regarded as good graphics.

Great Graphics will always sell games too, just as they always have along with strong popular licenses. Outrun on the Spectrum was a fine example of this. On the packet and in magazines the graphics looked good and as it was Outrun as well it sold by the bucket load! Unfortunately the game was rubbish and the graphics scrolled so slowely they even stopped at times when you were supposed to be doing 150 mph! Dead of alive is another less drastic example. The game is ok but just a brainless button basher which is fairly poor when compared to say VF4 or Soul Calibur. The graphics are great though with the main selling point being the way the lasses tits wobble about! :D

Obviously in the perfect world all games would have great gameplay and great graphics and great sound. This isn't the case though so if you have 2 games of the same genre one that scores a 6/10 for graphics and 9/10 for gameplay and another that scores 9/10 for graphics and 6/10 for gameplay I will always go for the one with better gameplay. At the end of the day, if the game is pretty poor you probably won't bother playing it anyway so you'll not experience half of the great graphics in the game.

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