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Xbox 360 Staff Roundtable


Well, here we are in 2005, and the Xbox is currently the second most successful console in this generation, despite all the speculation of the console's success before it launched in November of 2001. Did you think the Xbox would be this successful today before its launch?

Lee Tomko, " L3e ", Executive Director
I had respect for Microsoft due to their image. Who would think that the number one software company would completely flop when they entered the gaming industry? I didn't think they would do as good as they did, but then again I am not really surprised because I expected a lot out of them.

Brian Post, " BriP1989 ", Senior Editor
Quite honestly, I didn't think that Microsoft had a chance in an industry dominated with three experienced companies: Sega, Nintendo, and Sony. The Xbox came out at a time where the Playstation 2 had the head start (which pretty much obliterated the less capable Sega Dreamcast) with more third party support and a great line-up of software as opposed to the Xbox, which was the new console on the block and had no where near the support the PS2 had. Luckily for Microsoft, the Xbox launched with a little game known as Halo...

Josh Cox, " DragonJC ", Staff Writer
Yes, it surpassed my expectations. It presented the world with awesome games with crisp graphics. I go as far to say, if Microsoft would postpone the 360 and spend more time with the Xbox, unleashing its 'Full Power', it could still probably be a contender against the PS3 and Revolution.

Tim Mellish, " Cloud890 ", Staff Writer
No, I honestly did not think the Xbox would be as successful as it was or rather is. Microsoft was the rookie company on the block and somehow managed to beat the veteran of the industry, Nintendo as well as stand up to the current champ, Sony. Xbox would have struggled a lot more if not for the Halo franchise as well as Xbox Live. Thanks to them more great games have come out and the Xbox will be forever rooted in videogame history.

Roger Gibson, " Crusader ", Staff Writer
I used to poke fun at a good friend of mine about the Xbox. He'd bought one when it was fresh on the scene and I'd ask him to borrow it because it would make a good boat anchor. I would also make comments about what types of games he wasn't playing on it (due to its obvious lack of initial support). I gave the machine no credit and went so far as to bash Microsoft altogether for their attempt in the gaming market, feeling they had no place there.

Indeed, here we are in 2005 and the Xbox is currently second in the console race. But I tell you what, people, It's first in my home! I play my Xbox much more than any of my other 15 consoles, except maybe my SNES, currently. Microsoft was the turtle and the others the hair: Slow and steady wins the race. They have successfully wedged themselves in the gaming market with their excellent online support, ever-expanding third-party support and a plain powerhouse of a system.

William Usher,"Cyguration ", Staff Writer
Given a lot of the anti-hype surrounding the Xbox "being a computer in a box", I had great doubts about the Xbox being taken seriously, until it launched with a serious take on making different and innovative games. The whole "Computer in a box" took a completely different turn with Halo leading a pack of games looking to make a serious punch.

Who do you think will win the next generation race? Sony or Microsoft, or will Nintendo come out of nowhere?

Brian
I think it's way too early to tell who will definitely come out on top in the next generation race, but if I were to say which of the three consoles are on the right track to claim the crown of the winner, it would definitely be the Xbox 360. I'm not saying that as a writer for an Xbox dedicated website, I'm saying that as a gamer. The 360 is taking what we love about games in general and blowing off the doors of what we've known and come to expect from any great video game. If you look at the 360's current line-up, it seems as if though every game listed is an AAA title. With the incorporation of Xbox Live support featured in every 360 title (such as customizing the properties of content in a game) brings upon a different experience for everyone, be it solo or multiplayer. Surely a platform like the 360 will receive some serious third party support that take great franchises and further enhance them with the incorporation of the the Xbox Live Marketplace where a player's experience can be all their own from creating designs for armour in an epic RPG or creating a new logo on a skateboard. Its truly personalization taken to the next level.

As for the PlayStation 3, I'm not quite sure what Sony intentions are with their console. Sony seems bent on creating a supercomputer capable of doing more than just playing games with its custom Cell processor. With that in mind, it seems as if though they're trying to complete multiple tasks at once with their new hardware, which may or may not distrupt what their vision for the console's purpose. I'm not denying the fact the console is going to be a commercial success (especially with its solid third party support and powerful features), I'm just worried that Sony could be getting off track.

As for Nintendo's Revolution, I really don't know what to say about it. Nintendo claims that their console will be revolutionary yet they give us little details on how they're going to change our perception of interactivity as a whole. Backwards compatibility for thousands of games that we've known to love throughout the years is a nice feature, but the bottom line is, we've played them already. So where's the revolutionary stuff, Nintendo?

Josh
Xbox by far, thanks to Xbox Live, Microsoft has had time to tweak online play where Sony and Nintendo haven't. The PS2 did have some online games, but their online service never took off.

Tim
This one is a very hard call. Right off the bat let's just get Nintendo out of the way by saying they won't win. My money would have been on Sony; they just have the fan base and games to sell the system. Their showing at E3 was amazing. But rumors are that they are going to have the most expensive console of them all (400), and if the PS3 doesn't sell because of this Sony is going to be hurting. This is just what Microsoft needs to get in and take more of the videogame market. I see Sony still winning but Microsoft taking a considerably larger chunk out of the sales of Sony.

Roger
This is a good question in of itself purely to let our readers know how we each feel. However, it's much too early to tell...mostly because I don't want to look like an idiot for making my bid now. Ah well, I can't leave you all guessing, can I?

It's all about marketing, timing and launch titles --Microsoft is full-speed ahead on that track with little to derail them. My concern? We're not ready for the next generation. Developers are still squeezing out insane graphics and great games from our current-generation consoles. Look at Conkers: Live and Reloaded. Holy hell are the graphics sweet! How about God of War for the PS2? I thought it was an Xbox game when I saw the resolution and design I saw when it was leaked.

Though we may not be "ready" for the next generation, we're going there anyway and if they build it, the buyers will come. The fact is, whomever builds it better will have the most visitors. Nintendo is too secretive at the moment, and Sony running smack into Halo 3 at launch. Just that bit of news makes everyone stare at the Xbox 360 and wonders what the hell else it's going to do --maybe it'll even have the power to impeach the president?

William
Sony could definitely win the race at first, simply because it is Sony. Content and depth are the least respected things in a game. Graphics and presentation can sell a million copies real quick. This has been one of Sony's tactics since the launch of the original Playstation. But with the Xbox 360 launching first, that could definitely change the outlook of the "Big Three" competition.

Lee
I think it will be a close fight between Sony and Microsoft. Right now it is just too hard to tell how it will go. My best guess is that Sony will over price their system and Microsoft will get more sales and have a little more revenue.

What will the top three best games at the Xbox 360 launch be?

Josh
Even though it's not being released at launch, Halo 3 will probably be the best game for the 360 in the 360's first year. I would have to say the best games at launch would probably have to be Dead or Alive 4, Perfect Dark Zero, and Burnout Revenge.

Tim
My guess is Perfect Dark Zero will be number one. Then followed by Elder Scrolls Oblivion and then Need for Speed: Most Wanted for two and three.

Roger
Instead of telling you what the best will be, I'll say what I think the best SHOULD be: They need to launch an exquisite RPG, and kick ass multiplayer game (preferably an FPS) and another kick ass platformer --you have to hit the popular genres and hit them hard. Perfect Dark Zero is going to be hot. Chalk it up for another Need for Speed, I'm sure, and Call of Duty 2 assuming it has major Live support.

William
I don't have an answer yet for this question. I'm still awaiting the announcement of the possible Halo 2.5.

Lee
1. Perfect Dark Zero
2. Project Gotham Racing 3
3. Call of Duty 2

Brian
Of all the launch titles that'll be available in November, my top three picks would definitely have to be Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Dead or Alive 4. Why those three titles? Those three titles are from three different genres and I usually like to play games (especially around launch time) that are different from one another gameplay wise. All three titles are taking advantage the Xbox 360's features along with the Xbox Live service, including online tournaments that can be watched in real time. If those three launch titles alone are enough to get me excited for the Xbox 360's capabilities, it's going to be a great generation to see what lies ahead.

Will Xbox Live still remain the dominant online service with Sony and Nintendo putting more focus into their online departments? How will the new Xbox Live rise to meet the match of these new competitors to online gaming?

Tim
Yes, Xbox Live will still be the best online component of any of the three consoles. Microsoft has the experience that Sony and Nintendo lack both with the hardware and software approaches. Sony will truly have to come up with something revolutionary to beat out the Live crowd, but with such a huge fan base (2 mil) already it looks unlikely. Microsoft will keep making the Live experience more integrated with it's games, the newest features being the ID cards for each gamer.

Roger
It's Microsoft, even your Hotmail account is linked to your Gamertag. Live is a superior service because the creator is one of the fathers of today's computer technology.

William
Sony and Nintendo are going to have to come out with guns blazing. Microsoft is dominating the online console market with hot titles like Mechassault and Halo 2. Unless Sony or Nintendo next gen systems have titles that actually take themselves seriously enough to be competent contenders, it will end up being just a lot of spark and smoke. (cough) Killzone (cough).

Lee
Microsoft has a huge advantage because they already have an established online gaming system that works extremely well. I think Xbox Live will improve greatly during the next generation while Nintendo and Sony match what Xbox Live is like right now. I honestly don't think it is possible for either of these companies to catch up with Xbox Live during the next generation. Microsoft already has something unique and it will add console sales for sure.

Brian
For one thing, I don't think Xbox Live can be topped by any other competitor as of yet. If you look at its user base (which is approximately 2 million) and the number of great Live enabled titles under the wing of its service, you can tell its still going to keep those same 2 million people
interested in the service as it becomes expanded upon as we dive into the next generation.

As for Sony, I think they seem focused on other things at the moment rather than creating an online service that caters to their consumers. The developers that create online games for the Playstation 2 usually go by their own online service that functions within specific title where they can go by their own rules, where they can be more liberal in what they do with their games. However, Xbox Live allows developers to continue what they want to do with their titles ( a proven fact with Halo 2's matchmaking system, previously unseen in any Live title before it) and then some with using XBL's standard features (such as Quickmatch) that simplifies things for the gamer and developers alike. Until Sony fully develops an online service that offers more than what Xbox Live does, it's no doubt that many gamers aren't ready to abandon their Live accounts anytime soon.

For a company that made the sorry mistake of not taking their console online this current generation, Nintendo has a lot accomplish in the next generation. Nintendo seemed to have a ‘take it or leave it' approach in the online department this generation. They provided an ethernet adapter to the fifteen Gamecube owners who planned on going online with their cube shaped console, but they never really flew off the shelves. With the lack of online support Nintendo has given to developers, creating an online enabled game has been out of the question to many companies for the past five years. Nintendo took a pretty hard hit this time around, but with the industry giant unleashing their online service in full force this Fall for supporting games for online capability with the Nintendo DS, who knows what's going to happen.

Josh
Xbox Live will always probably be the major competitor in the online gaming industry for the fact they have the experience and the addition of the video chat and more downloadables available. Sony and Nintendo will probably put up a good fight, but Microsoft always seems to have something up their sleeves to stay on top.

Will the Xbox 360 have more success in Japan thanks to the addition of popular Japanese developers who have put their money behind the 360?

Roger
Of course.

William
Japanese gamers tend to buy into the gaming market in a different way than Americans. No one could know for sure if more Japanese Publishers/Developers will equal more Japanese consumers for Xbox related products.

Lee
I think the Xbox 360 will still have trouble in Japan but not nearly as bad as the Xbox had it. I think the Xbox gained some respect in Japan , but I think most people in Japan will end up sticking with Sony in the next generation.

Brian
Its no doubt that the Xbox lacked the support it needed from Japanese developers to strive in Japan, but looking at the list of Japanese Xbox 360 games being developed for Microsoft's next gen console, its pretty hard not to be impressed with the support its receiving. Japan seems to have this mentality that any console without a franchise that's well known within their region won't appeal to them. However, that seems to be the exact opposite this time around. When you have big name franchises such as Final Fantasy and Resident Evil appearing on the Xbox 360, you can tell that Japanses publishers and developers believe there's some type of future within a console. Could it only be a matter of time before we see franchises that flourish on the previous two Playstation platforms become just as popular on the Xbox 360? It's a very strong possibility if you ask me.

Josh
Most likely, many video games have come out of Japan and with the power of the 360, they should be able to explore ideas that were impossible with previous gaming hardware.

Tim
Xbox 360 will probably have more success in Japan than the Xbox, but not at the level that Microsoft will want. Microsoft has to realize that they are competing in Sony and Nintendo's home turf which makes it an incredibly biased and loyal fan base. Have the creators behind Final Fantasy helps immensely and I'm betting some Japanese gamers will switch over and embrace the 360.

How much will or should the Xbox 360 cost?

William
Being resonable one might say $175. But realistically, given cost of manufactoring, marketing, shipping and return rates, Microsoft won't let the 360 go for anything less than $300. But then again, maybe the gaming industry will surprise us all by actually making it affordable.

Lee
$360. I was thinking $350 would be a great price… but why not up to $10 to match the name? I personally think it would be pretty funny to price it at this. I wish it to be as low as $300 but I doubt it will be this low, probably a tad bit higher.

Brian
The Xbox 360 in my opinion should be attainable at the price of $299. Not only is that price conventional among every successful console that's been released thus far in this generation, it's that particular price that's drawn people to purchasing a new console as opposed to waiting a year or two for the cost of the hardware to decrease. Also, by the time someone completes their purchase of an Xbox 360, its likely that consumers are likely to purchase two titles to go along with their new console. In the end, Microsoft is making around $420 (considering the games are sixty bucks a pop) by the time their customers race out the door and into their living rooms to participate in a next generation experience.

Josh
With the fact that it is built of top-end hardware, I'd say $300 to $350, but no more than $500. It is a high performance machine but most people won't be able to afford a $500 system and whatever the costs are for games.

Tim
The Xbox 360 should be the same as the Xbox three hundred dollars. Any higher and Microsoft risks alienating some fans like Sony might be doing. Rumors are circulating that the 360 will be three hundred which is a good thing.

Roger
If I had it my way? One dollar!
Seriously.
Ok, $400 would be feasible.

What do you have to say if games will cost $60 on the next generation?

Lee
$60 is quite a price but I think the game companies deserve it. Games on the next generation are obviously going to be much more complex and will take a lot longer to develop. As long as the games are good, I have no probably shelling out an extra $10 for each.

Brian
Although many consider the price of game running for $60 is a bit too much, I'm all for it. Why? Well for one thing, Microsoft has been developing a platform for developers so they can develop games that are destined to absolutely blow us away. If Xbox 360 developers can truly utilize what's been given to them to construct a game that delivers a terrific experience, then I'm more than willing to hand over sixty dollars for a game that's going to be in my collection until the day I die. However, if developers create a game that does nothing for me (or for anyone for that matter) with dull gameplay and a lack of effort into delivering something we've never seen before (something that we expect out of next generation console), than I'll likely give a moment of my time to look at what the game offers by renting it at my local Blockbuster and no more than that.

Josh
Halo 2 Limited Edition was $60. Many games that are being released right now are stating around $50 to $60. It's just the way it is.

Tim
Personally for me I know it won't matter to me in the sense that it won't stop me from buying the games. Remember we've lived through the era of N64 games costing seventy bucks so sixty will seem reasonable. Plus with the incredible cost of producing a videogame now it's no wonder that a ten-dollar increase is being mentioned.

Roger
Inflation, that's what I would say. Games are taking longer to make, the cost of living is going up so all parties involved will obviously need to make more money. Thus the end product is where you see some of that hike. It's natural with the world's economy the way it is.

William
$60 on an average is where a lot of games are already heading. It that becomes the standard all the way around than it pretty much is what we should expect if everything is going to start looking like Doom 3, but bigger and better.

Will the 360 be as easy to modify (hardware wise) as the Xbox was? How will this affect online play?

Brian
To be completely honest, I don't know how anyone is going to modify the console hardware wise because the console looks complicated to open up. Seeing as I have little to no experience modding in any aspect of a console, I'm willing to bet that someone knows more than me on how to accomplish the feat of opening up the sleek, white console. However, if someone manages to modify their console and disturb the online experience, there's no doubt the Xbox Live team will be cracking down on those who oppose the fun of everyone else in every way.

Josh
It probably will be modded most likely within the first two months after being launched, its inevitable. Since Xbox Live has experience detecting modders, I'd say it would probably be very hard for someone to get online with a modded system and get away with it. Online play will probably be even more 'stabler' than the current Xbox Live.

Roger
Jeez I hope not. I can't stand all the "modders" on Live and I'm not too fond of the piraters of games as they make one firmware change and can then copy games to their hard drive they did not even necessarily purchase. Piracy is bad people. You're only contributing to creating a declining market if you don't pay for what someone with mouths to feed worked hard to make.

Tim
I'm betting because of the frequent problem of hackers on the Xbox, Microsoft will take some extra time to prevent the 360 from being hackable. Of course will all know no matter they do someone, somewhere will break through. If anything hacking the 360 might be more time and money consuming so it will discourage some people from attempting it. As for online play; every day Microsoft is getting better and better at stopping hacking and cheating so it's my guess that the online play won't be as bad as it is right now.

William
Editing the hardware would be a good thing if it did not have to be done illegally. Letting users replace or upgrade the hard-drive, for more reasons than I could fit in here. Or allowing the consumer to replace a dying disc-reading drive (It would seem unlikely that anyone still owns a fully functional Playstation from nearly a decade ago, without hearing the strain and seeing the laggy results from the CD Drive.) Just so long as the necessary precautions are taken into account as to how on-line play will be protected from those who would abuse it with unneeded hacks/cheats or viruses.

Lee
I do think it will be more difficult to modify, but I believe people will start developing mod-chips for the thing a month after launch. I have heard a rumor that you will need a special tool to open the case and this is a great idea to keep the average gamer out of the console. But for those that modified the Xbox, I think they will eventually be able to open the case and use third-party hardware. Nintendo's was amazing do to the fact that it was so extremely difficult to modify hardware-wise. Let's hope the Xbox 360 will be the same way so online gameplay won't be filled with cheaters.



Article By: VGcore Staff

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