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HTPC gaming vs Xbox

I have an xbox connected to my L300U with a 92" screen and play in 525P mode. The games look great and game play is also very good. I am building a HTPC and was wondering if it would be able to compete with the xbox. I bought the xbox because I like the controllers better than a key board and mouse. I have been told I can also get controllers for the HTPC. Is any one here that has tried both? Recommendations? Thanks

John
 

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While the XBOX is a very good console and is the most powerful of the bunch that's out, a good HTPC will blow it out of the water. the resolution/graphics in PC games are just better than anything that's out there. Plus, the massive amount of great games on the PC that aren't on the XBOX or any console for that matter. I personally like the keyboard and mouse controls on a PC, but you can definitely pick up a nice controller for your PC if you like.
 

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Having been a PC gamer for 15 years, and having owned PS, PS2, and Xbox, here's my comparison:


1) Xbox graphics are great. Most games support 480p, and the Xbox is capable of 720p (XGA) and 1080i HDTV resolutions (if you have the HDTV), though there aren't many game yet that support these higher resolutions yet. PC Graphics are probably a bit better, but on the other hand I got an Xbox package, with an aditional controller, 2 games, and the Live starter kit for about the price of a good video card. BTW - Xbox also supports Dolby 5.1 out of the box, with a Digital output for your HT system. That's another $100 or so that would go to a Sound card in a HTPC. All Xbox games released over the next 2-3 years (new consoles won't be out before 2005) have to run on this hardware. Can PC games say the same? I was always playing catch-up with Memory, HD space, Video and Sound cards, etc... with the PC.


2) The console games can be fun, but will never have the 'depth' of gameplay that a PC game has. You may never see a full-featured flight simulator (Like Falcon 3/4, or MS FS) on a console. There's not enough control inputs, though I suppose something (like a keyboard or touchpad) can be packaged that connects to a USB port.


3) The number of games for a PC are much more numerous and of varied types. You probably won't find many strategy games (ie - Age of Empires) on a console, though The SIMS and I think Command & Conquer are being released for consoles.


4) Online play - The XBox has a built in Ethernet port, and an add-on is available for the PS2. I hear the PS2's online offerings aren't so hot, but Xbox Live is pretty good. Here's the kickers - A) Everyone has the same hardware, so you don't have that one clown pushing a P200 to its limits in your game; B) No (well, minimal) hacking. I hated playing PC games online, because there was always a few people that hacked the game and made thier characters Level 1001, and would go to the beginner games and clobber the people that legitimately got to Level 4. With the Xbox, you have to hack the hardware, and Xbox Live supposedly can detect this and keep you out.


5) Controllers - You can get Xbox-style PC controllers for games that have that style of play, but most PC games are played with a mouse/keyboard combo.


I like the Xbox, and will probably use it for the majority of my gaming in the near future, with 1 or 2 games that will run on my laptop as the extent of my PC gaming to come. Now, if Falcon 5.0 should come along for the PC.... :)


Hope this helps...
 

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I have to agree. While I enjoy playing PC games, I find that the Xbox is just somehow more fun. I think it's that I never have to worry about the Xbox, I just turn it on and go. You don't have quite the multi-player depth with the consols (though you are starting to get it now) that PCs have, but I agree on the "arms race" observations in regards to online play with PCs.
 

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I have a PS1, two PS2s (one Japanese, one American), a gamecube and a PC. I don't have an XBox.


I use the PC much, much more than all the consoles combined, mainly because the kinds of games I like are more available on the PC. I think it boils down to what kind of games you like - i.e. there are console people and PC people. There is a much wider variety of games available for PC, and PCs allow for much deeper gameplay; consoles are better suited for twitch & platform style gaming than PCs. I like sports, fighting, and platform games better on the consoles, and strategy, simulation, rpgs, mmorpgs, and shooters better on the PC; I just happen to play more of the latter. The reason I don't have an XBox is that most of the titles I like on the XBox have PC versions, and in most cases the PC versions are better.


PCs (with modern, high end components) have _dramatically_ better graphics and sound, and more network play capabilities (which is both a blessing and a curse). One huge advantage of PCs is that you can play mods and expansion packs - I feel sorry for Morrowind and Ghost Recon XBox players 'cause they're missing out on some great gameplay. One huge disadvantage of PCs is that the platform isn't stable or standard, so there's a pretty good chance that you'll encounter bugs in games, and will have to spend time configuring and tweaking.
 

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Lenny -


In regards to your last paragraph, you are correct. There is some more flexibility in PC games for updates and expansions, though downloadable content (extra missions, weapons, characters, etc...) is now becoming a major selling feature for games on Xbox w/ Live. There is a limitation to the size of the harddrive in the Xbox, though, and though they theoretically shouldn't need to release patches at the rate they do for a PC game, due to the standard Xbox hardware, it's not as easy to patch bugs on an Xbox as a PC when you have a 50MB download that has to sit on the harddrive, and the patched files can't be directly replaced since the originals are on the DVD...
 

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Quote:
... it's not as easy to patch bugs on an Xbox as a PC ....
One thing that counts big in XBox's (or any console's) favor vs. a PC is that the testing and quality control they go through is much more rigorous. The platform providers won't allow a game to be released without very, very extensive testing (and also quality review). PC game publishers can (and often do) just throw any old piece of alpha-quality crap out there and patch away (or not).
 

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One thing that counts in a PC's favor is the best resolution scaling that can be had. If you have an XGA projector and a large screen you get XGA graphics, free of scaling artifacts and the fuzziness that comes from scaling standard video to XGA. If you have a 16:9 widescreen XGA projector/lens or an SXGA native widescreen projector, you get great 16:9 graphics that fill the screen. All you need to make this the best quality graphics you can get is a Windows video mode that exactly matches your display and bypasses the internal scaler built into many projectors and HD-capable RPTVs.


After having said that I admit I don't do all that gaming, after a brief obsession with 4X4 EVO2. I got the USB force feedback wheel and pedals and had a blast on my 90" diagonal screen. Nowadays I mostly watch DVDs and HDTV. During commercials I switch modes to drop the HDTV program down to a window and have a card game open beside it. If the programming bores me I might do that during the show itself.


Gary
 

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I buy a new game, put it in the XBox and play with zero hassles. There are no drivers, no video, sound or controller incompatibilities to worry about. I don't need a reference card with the 8 zillion different keystrokes needed to play. The game looks and plays exactly as the developer intended. Most console games are designed so you can just pick up the controller and play without needing a lot of instruction.


I'm a software developer and I wrestle with the computer all day. When I go home and play games I want to have FUN - not a repeat of what I do at work. That's why I prefer consoles.


-Dylan
 

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Another thing to consider is the price tag to the average consumer. An Xbox goes for $199.00 where a dedicated gaming PC can easily go $1000.00+. The Xbox with the HDTV adaptor($19.99) will integrate into any home theater with dolby digital and full surround sound. The average person can "install" one in 5-10 minutes and be up and running. The mere fact that people compare the Xbox to a Gaming PC says a lot. It's like comparing an Integra to a NSX and expecting them to perform the same. Bottom line, different strokes for different folks.
 

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I think the main reason people compare the XBOX to a PC is cause that's essentially what the XBOX is.....it's a scaled down PC and contains many of the same parts found in a PC. Even most of the XBOX's library are games that can be played on a PC.
 
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