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Interesting. I want to know if they ever figured offering a lower price (core) would make them look bad in some people's eyes. You'd think it would be the opposite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think the number when question will be when the 360 is coming out.


It would be interesting if MS could figure out some way to get an HD into the hands of more core buyers. Maybe offer a coupon or something, I dunno.
 

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I'll be there. theres a few things i want to ask J. Allard like why should'nt the core package come with component cables, he's said himself this is the HD era, why not include them?
 

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I kind of wonder if the motivation behind the core system came about after MSFT got a look at Sony's PS3 and judging the price to come in much higher than they expected leaving a larger demand gap at the low end. They might have decided to offer a "core" stripped down unit geared to the kids who sit 4' from a 19" non-HD set (no need for wireless controllers) and either don't have an original Xbox or can use their old one to get around the hard drive. That's a lot of people right there and those are the people who need to sell their parents or have very limited funds so $100 goes a long way (i.e. roughly the bulk of 2 games or a game and a 2nd controller). Plus, future expansion is still possible as needed over the coming years.


That's kind of my theory anyway. I'm thinking they were toying with the notion and after checking out the PS3 they realized there might be a much bigger gap than expected and that they could capture a big chunk of the low-end which although many here don't relate to is a very substantial segment of the console market. That said, when I look at the PS3 I wonder if Sony has lost their mind in not realizing that a >$500 entry level aunch price might spell doom.
 

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a great post from that website... I can't wait to see what J. Allard does to attemp to control the damage that has been done. We can hope that things will change, but I doubt it. It would be nice if the lowest common denominator did indeed include a HDD and backwards compatibility.


"Hi J,


I e-mailed Major Nelson the day the pricing was announced about the lack of a standard hard drive and a few other things. I hope he forwards that to you. I also wanted to add some additional thoughts about the matter now that I’ve had more time to think about it.


First of all, I wanted to point out an inconsistency from something a few people posted earlier. Every Xbox 360 game will be able to play custom soundtracks even without a hard drive by utilizing an external MP3 player like an iPod.


That being said, there are other points that are still valid:


Backwards compatibility is definitely out the window without a hard drive. Game saves, patches, and the like will obviously fill up a 64MB memory unit extremely fast. I wish I had some raw numbers, but I know memory units are not Elder Scrolls, KOTOR, or Jade Empire friendly. Also, game levels such as the Halo 2 multiplayer maps will load slower every time instead of just loading slow once. I also think it’s ridiculously ignorant to say that games will faster straight from the DVD-ROM. A 12x DVD-ROM will read at 15,000 KBps (roughly 14.6 MBps) max. I think the slowest SATA Hard drives these days run 150MBps max. That is 10x the speed. I’ve even read that some SATA drives are as fast as 3Gbps (384MBps if my math is correct). What is the speed of that detachable external 20GB SATA hard drive? Given that there are six possible threads running at a time for the CPU, I don’t think pre-caching information on the HDD can really affect the frame rate of games compared to the idea of it not being there at all.


There is also one key feature the hard drive gives developers that I don’t think anyone has mentioned and it will affect gameplay. The hard drive is more important than just load times. If there is a fractured HDD install base, we will almost certainly lose persistence in game levels or some level of graphical quality if not both. From what I now the current Xbox keeps game levels persistent by saving changes to the environment such as a building being blown up, tire marks on the ground, car paint marks on a rail, a spoiler that was broken off because someone ran into the back of your car, etc. to the HDD until the gamer walked or drove back to that area in the level/racetrack (Forza). Are we to believe that the original Xbox’s 64MB of RAM is capable of storing all statistical information about a certain game and still keep Halo 2’s level of graphical fidelity and that the HDD did nothing to help achieve this? You might say that this doesn’t really mean anything because the 360 has 8x the RAM of the original, but I would ask you how much RAM do you think PC’s will use for their requirements 5 years from now? This is a console with a 5-year shelf life. How many people thought 64MB of RAM was a ton in 2001? Also remember that both the 360 and the original Xbox use the same RAM for the CPU as well as the GPU.


With the current state of the 360, there is no guaranteed swap file. Does that mean that we’ll lose those changes to the environments? What if FASA Studios made a game like MechAssault 2 on the 360 and couldn’t count on a hard drive? There are Mechs that can jump on top of buildings in game levels. Are we to expect that a building that gets crumbled will magically reappear after a certain amount of time because there isn’t enough memory to remember that particular item’s state or are we to expect that the game cannot look as good as it could have because the developer really wants the persistent features in order to keep that gameplay balanced? How many developers do you think will burden themselves with setting two different quality levels to maximize graphical fidelity for the users with a hard drive while accommodating the ones without one by downgrading the graphical quality in order to keep the persistent environments or will they just not make levels large enough to reach this barrier? Games are getting more difficult to develop and gamers want bigger, better, faster, and more of everything. Is Microsoft going to stick it to developers who will then stick it to gamers because of a few bucks at the launch of a 5-year console? You, personally said at GDC 2005 that with XNA, the only constraint to developers would be their imagination. By not having a hard drive, Microsoft is indeed constraining that imagination. Developers won’t be able to make games as beautiful as they can be or if they do, we lose our persistent/changeable environments or the levels will be smaller or they will have to make a decision to just shaft the users without a hard drive with something cut or shaft all the users because of a deadline. Also, no one will know what the final percentage of users with a HDD will be unless it’s 100% from the start. How many other ideas are there now or in the future that would require a hard drive that won’t happen because of this move?


You have a golden opportunity to straighten things out and future-proof this console and give the gamers and developers what they really want. The first generation of 360 games probably won’t suffer from any of this because it is such a leap in memory and the developers really don’t have the time to tap into its full potential. However, when they do really want to start tapping into the untapped potential of those 3 cores, they’ll hit this brick wall unless you change things now. This is a genuine advantage you have if you don’t blow it. It’s a lot easier to add more power as standard than to cut something out. On top of that, this is huge bang for the buck too since it’s detachable.


What I’d recommend is making the HDD standard in every Xbox 360 now and in all future releases. Tell developers that they can rely on a hard drive being there. You also need to let them know exactly how fast it is. Knowing that this “Ferrari†can take a sharp turn at 80mph is important and will keep them from either crashing into the wall or taking the turn at 20 just to be on the safe side. Consoles are meant to be standard hardware so the software can be optimized to that specific hardware with zero variations. As I said in my earlier e-mail to Major Nelson, the hard drive is much more than a peripheral that can be used as a big memory card. It should be an integral part of the system if only for the reasons above.


Thank you for taking the time to read this long dissertation. Please address this in the chat tomorrow. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you have to say and basing my purchasing decision on it.


Jeff "
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well unfortunately I got bumped out of the room and now it's fullI can't get back in. :(


Edit, after trying several times it looks like I am back in.
 

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i hope somebody makes a point about games performing differently, with and without the HDD... Otherwise if they don't make the HDD standard (honestly I'm sure they are set and things will not change, but one can hope) we are going two need to review scores for some games like Oblivion..


"what, Ign said the games runs smoothly with and also has no load times.. but it runs choppily and has load screens so often..this sucks. Is my system not working right?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by briankmonkey
i hope somebody makes a point about games performing differently, with and without the HDD... Otherwise if they don't make the HDD standard (honestly I'm sure they are set and things will not change, but one can hope) we are going to need to review scores for some games like Oblivion..
I'll try to get that in.
 

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I'm sure many will.. I'll just wait for the text when it's all done. I'm just wondering if he'll be on long enough to address the many concerns.
 

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I'm going to try to be there as well. My main question is:


"Since the partnership with Toshiba was announced, there has been quite a bit of speculation surrounding the inclusion of an HD-DVD drive in the 360. Recently, additional rumors have surfaced suggesting that the 360 launch could be staggered, with the core system launching first with a standard DVD drive followed a few weeks later by the premium system which will have an HD-DVD drive. Is there any truth to this and, if not, is it possible that first generation 360 systems could be upgraded to HD-DVD drives in the future?"


Jeff
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by briankmonkey
i hope somebody makes a point about games performing differently, with and without the HDD... Otherwise if they don't make the HDD standard (honestly I'm sure they are set and things will not change, but one can hope) we are going two need to review scores for some games like Oblivion..


"what, Ign said the games runs smoothly with and also has no load times.. but it runs choppily and has load screens so often..this sucks. Is my system not working right?"
I think you're getting your panties in a wad here. Very few games on XBOX actually used the HDD for caching. I think you fail to realize that most people simply do not care. So what if they have to wait for 2 or 3 seconds to load every now and again? Most people simply do not care. It also allows them flexibility to offer the console much cheaper down the road which should be something you're happy about. More people that own it, the more developers are interested in creating content.


Seriously, good developers will use the HDD and bad ones wont. We know this from looking at the first XBOX. If you have a HDD and the game runs a bit "better" then good for you. Johhn Core-pack simply wont care like you do.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgbyhkr
I'm going to try to be there as well. My main question is:


"Since the partnership with Toshiba was announced, there has been quite a bit of speculation surrounding the inclusion of an HD-DVD drive in the 360. Recently, additional rumors have surfaced suggesting that the 360 launch could be staggered, with the core system launching first with a standard DVD drive followed a few weeks later by the premium system which will have an HD-DVD drive. Is there any truth to this and, if not, is it possible that first generation 360 systems could be upgraded to HD-DVD drives in the future?"


Jeff
that would be good to know.. if it's only a few weeks or month later for a HD-DVD version I'll wait it out. But I'd also like to know if they'll HD-DVD would also be used for games if so..


would that mean four packages total?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdank
I think you're getting your panties in a wad here. Very few games on XBOX actually used the HDD for caching. I think you fail to realize that most people simply do not care. So what if they have to wait for 2 or 3 seconds to load every now and again? Most people simply do not care. It also allows them flexibility to offer the console much cheaper down the road which should be something you're happy about. More people that own it, the more developers are interested in creating content.


Seriously, good developers will use the HDD and bad ones wont. We know this from looking at the first XBOX. If you have a HDD and the game runs a bit "better" then good for you. Johhn Core-pack simply wont care like you do.


you are way out of line with your insult. It is a valid concern. At least two developers have already said their games will run better with the HDD. Oblivion is a big name game that many people including me are looking forward to playing. Many people don't care, but obvioulsy many people DO care.



"For those of you that have been wondering, just a quick word. Oblivion does not REQUIRE a hard drive to work on Xbox 360. It will work on every Xbox 360. We would recommend you get one if you have the means because we use it heavily if you have one and it makes the game play smoother, but it is in no way a requirement. "


from Pete Hines of Bethesda (makes of ES:IV oblivion). go to the website for more info
 

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Insult? Where? I don't think I did and I wasn't trying to.


At this point, you have no idea how much "better" it runs. This would be like DICE saying they highly recommend the headset because it makes the gameplay better and it heavily used. True statement? Sure. Can you play and enjoy it without a HD? Sure.


If you are worried, pick up the unit with the HDD. Simple as that. Why do you care so much if Johnn Core-pack has to wait a few seconds for loading every now and again? I think you'll come to realize this in time. I believe a lot of people were disappointed with the $399 pricetag and have to point the finger somewhere. The HDD just isn't necessary or wanted for many people buying the system.


"We would recommend you get one if you have the means because we use it heavily if you have one and it makes the game play smoother, but it is in no way a requirement. "
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by briankmonkey
that would be good to know.. if it's only a few weeks or month later for a HD-DVD version I'll wait it out. But I'd also like to know if they'll HD-DVD would also be used for games if so..


would that mean four packages total?
My take on what I've seen is that it would still be 2 systems, but a staggered launch for whatever reason (perhaps the increased manufacturing time needed to get the HD-DVD drives produced in quantity for the pre,mium bundle). Personally, I think it's just a rumor and that both systems will contain standard DVD drives. However, I would definitely like to know if they've designed the system so that the optical drive can be upgraded.
 

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Dean, what's up with the question, "If you see an endangered animal eating a endangered plant, what do you do?"


That's not funny.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdank
Insult? Where? I don't think I did and I wasn't trying to.


At this point, you have no idea how much "better" it runs. This would be like DICE saying they highly recommend the headset because it makes the gameplay better and it heavily used. True statement? Sure. Can you play and enjoy it without a HD? Sure.


If you are worried, pick up the unit with the HDD. Simple as that. Why do you care so much if Johnn Core-pack has to wait a few seconds for loading every now and again? I think you'll come to realize this in time. I believe a lot of people were disappointed with the $399 pricetag and have to point the finger somewhere. The HDD just isn't necessary or wanted for many people buying the system.


"We would recommend you get one if you have the means because we use it heavily if you have one and it makes the game play smoother, but it is in no way a requirement. "
If I said this to somebody else "I think you're getting your panties in a wad here." most likely they would be offended.


And yes, i'm buying the HDD package for sure for reasons like the one above in regards to Oblivion. My argument has nothing to due with price point. They said it plays better with an HDD but isn't required, you're damn right I want a smoother playing game if possible.

Point is, that if company's start making games for the lowest common denominator (without the HDD) then many games will not optimize for the HDD, clearly the HDD makes Oblivion a better game.
 

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Come on man. That's a saying as old as the hills.

Quote:
Point is, that if company's start making games for the lowest common denominator (without the HDD) then many games will not optimize for the HDD, clearly the HDD makes Oblivion a better game.
And to that I point to the XBOX. Very few games used it and it WAS standard. Most folks who buy the core package either wont care or will buy an HDD eventually. Some developers will use it, some wont. Nothing has really changed.
 
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