Sunday, November 27, 2005

Console Wars - Part One : XBOX 360

In this my 4 part piece called console wars, I will be looking at the 3 main consoles:- the 360; PS3; and the Revolution. There will be supplements and a conclusion completely free!

The Xbox 360 has come out this month in America, 2nd of December for the first Xbox over here. No, it's not that bad, but why is there a staggered release. Oh well. Anyhow, the Xbox 360 will have 2 price packages on launch and, although not fully clear, a good selection of launch titles. From racers like PGR3 to FPS like Call of Duty 2.

The price packages are:

£209 - Core

  • One Xbox 360
  • 1 Wired Controller

£279 - Expansive
  • Xbox 360
  • 1 Wireless controller
  • Xbox live kit
  • And also, at launch:
  • Wireless network card
  • Xbox live headset
  • And some other stuff

Neither of these include any games which, for the record, are £50 when the games are launched.

One of the Xbox's strengths was Xbox Live. It worked seamlessly, keeping track of all your scores and allowing you to have one score across multiple games. The only disadvantage was it was pricey. This time round it is free, well silver is anyway. Silver means that you can talk with your friends, play some games(like MMORPGs not games you have bought) and allows you to access and download stuff from the market. You can upgrade to gold, for £50 a year, which will of course allow you to play games on line. The Xbox live headset now goes directly into your controller and shortly after launch it will do even this without any wires.

The Controller

The original Xbox controller is, by a majority vote, its downfall. The black and white buttons being the only problem. These have been moved to the space above the triggers, yes right where your fingers were resting doing nothing. It now looks even more like a GameCube's controller. Also, the start and back buttons have been moved to the center but this is purely for aesthetic reasons. Furthermore, an Xbox live button has been added, this button will take you directly to the Xbox live main menu. The only problem with this being that if you are playing an intense round in any game and you are mashing the controller madly you might accidently hit it, thus terminating the game pretty fast!

Because the controllers are wireless, Microsoft have devised a new system so you know what port you are in. The power button has a green glow around it. This glow, or as Mirosoft call it: 'the ring of power', is segmented into four lights. On the Xbox live button there is the same design. One of these will light up on your controller and a corresponding one on the Xbox. Each light represents a different port. Clever eh?

Very simmilar to the GC, at least you can use the black and white buttons.

Much more stylish while retaining the origanl design. How long will it look that clean though?!

Hard Drive

Another one of the stengths of the Xbox was the hard drive. It meant you didn't need to buy memory cards, you had masses of storage and you would struggle to lose it. Un-fortunately this is changing. As you saw in the price plan, the hard drive is an optional extra. By optional I mean the Xbox will start up with out it. What is worse it, in modern terms 20GB is tiny, most iPods have more than that.

Release Titles

The games look very good though, here is the list for launch. Obviously more will be released fairly soon after but these are the firm-grounded rumour titles:
  • Amped 3 - Snowboarding
  • Call of Duty - WWII Shooter
  • Condemed Criminal Orignins - Shooter
  • Crystal Quest - Crystal Quest
  • Dead or Alive 4 - Fighting
  • eCHANT arM -Adventure
  • Final Fantasy XI - Adventure
  • Kameo : Elements of Power - Platform
  • Mutant Storm - Shooting
  • Need for Speed : Most Wanted - Racer
  • Novadrome - Racing
  • Perfect Dark Zero - Shooting - Yes, it is the PREQUEL to the Dark Zero series
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 -Racing
  • Quake 4 - Shooting
  • The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion - Adventure
  • Tiger Woods PGA tour 06- Golf
  • Tom Clancy's Gost Recon 3 - Shooting
  • Tony Hawks : American Wastland -Skateboarding
  • Wardevil : Unleash the Beast Withing - Action Adventure
Extensive eh? Defintly get PGR 3, it looks immense, I would recommend another but for two reasons I shan't.
1)If you can afford another one at £50 you should give some money to charity
2)There is about 6 or 7 of them which are going to be great, Tony Hawks will be good, as will Ghost Recon, and Elder scrolls and...the list goes on.

The stats are:


Xbox 360


4 2.4GHz Wireless

Embedded Video Memory


Graphics Core Clock Speed


Graphics Processor

Custom ATI Processor

Video Memory

512MB UMA (Shared with CPU)

Controller Ports

Supports up to 4 Controllers

Digital Media Formats


Plug and Play Storage

20GB Removable Hard Drive

L2 Cache



Custom IBM PowerPC CPU

Processor Clock Speed


Built-in Features

Backward Compatible with Xbox (limited), Stands Vertically or Horizontally, Interchangable Face Plates, Xbox Live Service, Media Center Extender

All in all, this means that the graphics are going to be really quite good. When I first saw the graphics I did not believe them. They look real, really real. The amount of formats it supports will mean that you will not have to buy a DVD adaptor. I, as a flash author, am disappointed to see that .swf is not included. Oh well, we can always dream. Also, because of the USB, it means things like PSPs and iPods will plug in. Mircosoft is embracing the enemy.

The Marketing

Many people think that Microsoft have launched too early. They have shortened the life of the Xbox, as it is still going strong. Also, it will mean Sony will have the whole market to themselves. A theory that I have come up with is that because they are a generation behind Sony, they are going to get 2 out before Sony gets one out.

It is clear that they have shortened the life of the Xbox because there are games still planned for release as late as spring next year(Splinter Cell 4)


So we embark on a journey to the next generation. Come January, as they will be sold out until then, there will be an interview with some one who has one as one of my friends is getting it. I think this will be a lot better than the old Xbox and will finally give Microsoft the chance to become a house-hold name in gaming. They can't lose this Christmas. They win by default.

The next generation is here...


  1. I am terribly sorry. Apparently Tony Hawks is really bad this time round so sorry if you got it.

  2. Anonymous7:18 PM

    why did you put a comment in your own comment page

  3. Anonymous8:14 PM

    you have a very good point


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