Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Xbox 360 Specs--Not

I have never seen so many people in my life swinging their big rainsticks over the impending Xbox 360 launch. A single forum post yesterday about the alleged specs was linked by about fifty gaming sites as authentic.

I'm not going to post any speculation about processor specs or whatever. If someone I trust tells me something, I'll let you know.

I wonder if we'll be able to make an apples-to-apples comparison of processing power between Xbox 360 and PS3. I'm betting we won't, because I remembered today that Sony never gave easy-to-compare processing power figures for the PS2, and I bet they do the same with the PS3. They'll use some number that's not standardized, or that's impossible to directly compare. I expect the PS3 to be stunningly powerful, but it's evident that Xbox 360 will be as well.

One thing I'm not sure people understand is how these new consoles mark a defining moment in gaming. Previously, no matter how powerful a new console might be, it was hugely underpowered compared to the latest PC, and the display was vastly inferior. Even the original Xbox wasn't nearly as powerful as a new PC, even on launch day. These new consoles, though, look every bit as powerful (and more) than the fastest gaming PC available (excluding SLI rigs), and they'll be displaying at equivalent resolutions.

So here's an interesting dilemma: will people want to spend $3,000 on a high-end gaming PC (and a nice 19" or 21" LCD), or would they rather buy an Xbox 360 AND a 42" ED plasma--for the same amount of money or LESS? That's going to be a tough sell on the PC side.

Before, it was always a question of convenience, simplicity, and price versus raw power. Now, power is almost a non-factor.

Is this a bad thing? Like I've said before, I'm platform agnostic. I just want the best possible games. So if games improve, I don't care where they appear. And PC games are always going to feature new talent and innovation in a way that the economics of the console industry just don't allow. Darwinia and Mount & Blade are the two most interesting games I've played this year, and neither one would exist if it weren't for the incredibly low barriers to entry for PC development.

Site Meter