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New Console Speculation Report - Nintendo, XBOX2, PS3,

Old 04-20-04, 06:42 PM
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New Console Speculation Report - Nintendo, XBOX2, PS3,

Xbox 2 and PlayStation 3: A sneak peek

First official details should come in May, but see what the future holds now.
April 8, 2004: 9:31 AM EDT


NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Here is what I know: In less than five weeks, most of the questions about the two hot handheld game players on the horizon - Sony's PSP and the Nintendo DS -- will be answered.

Here is what I'm fairly sure of: In less than five weeks, Microsoft will start talking about its next generation home console.

Here's what I'm not ruling out: In less than five weeks, Sony and Nintendo could have a few things to say about their own next generation consoles.

May is never a calm time for the gaming industry. It's when the annual madness known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo (the gaming industry trade show) occurs. It's when holiday line-ups are revealed. And it's when a lot of deals get started. But it's only every fourth or fifth May that new console and handheld hardware gets introduced.

In previous columns, I've discussed expected features of both the Nintendo DS (which will receive a new name at E3) and the Sony PSP. Information about the next generation of consoles for the living room, though, has been little harder to come by.

Confirmed details are still few and far between, but with developer kits in the field for Xbox 2 and Sony quietly talking with partners, a clearer picture of what we can expect for the next generation is beginning to emerge.

Keep in mind the earliest we'll see new game machines for the home is late 2005. Sony and Nintendo likely won't release theirs until late 2006. In that time, all features are subject to change – and often do.

Most software publishers agree on the basics we'll see in the next round of consoles. They're expecting HDTV resolution out of the box and believe both Sony and Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) will include a broadband connection in their machines. In terms of raw power, major publishers are looking for at least a 10-fold increase over the current crop of machines.

For Sony (SNE: Research, Estimates) and Nintendo, there's little doubt the new consoles will be linked with their new handhelds. What form that connection will take remains to be seen, but at the very least, expect to be able to use the PSP or DS as a wireless controller. Microsoft seems more interested in tying Xbox 2 and PC gamers together via its recently announced XNA suite of tools.

From there, things become more speculative. Will Xbox 2 have a hard drive? (Rumor has it Microsoft wants to drop the feature to cut its costs, but developers are pressing the company to rethink that decision.) Will there be two different types of PlayStation 3s? (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president David Reeves told Europe's official PlayStation web site that the company is considering one PS3 with "all singing, all –dancing features" and a hard drive. A second version would simply play games and movies.) They're good questions, but we won't have answers for at least a few weeks - and maybe more than a year.

In fairness to Digital Extremes, this still does not do "Dark Sector" justice. Click on the teaser-trailer to see the game in action.
Fortunately, we don't have to wait as long to get an idea of what sort of graphical quality to expect from the next generation machines. Canadian developer Digital Extremes has released a teaser-trailer for their upcoming game "Dark Sector." The footage shown in that teaser is real-time gameplay based on Digital Extreme's projected specs for the Xbox 2 and PS3. Company spokesperson Meridith Braun won't say which emulated console the teaser is running on, only that it represents "a next generation platform."

The trailer is actually a technology demo, showing what the engine is capable of, rather than gameplay footage. Its purpose is to attract publisher interest. But if it is, in fact, representative of what we can expect from the next generation, tomorrow's games will boast a graphical quality that's on par with the pre-rendered (non-interactive) cut-scenes in today's titles.

Digital Extremes first announced "Dark Sector" four years ago as a massively multiplayer online action game that would use Epic Games' "Unreal Tournament" engine. The developer later changed its mind, though, changing the focus of the game, removing the MMO elements and, beginning in January 2003, creating its own game engine (dubbed "The Sector Engine").

While new technology is, by default, sexier than today's, don't be fooled into thinking the current generation of consoles are going to be outdated anytime soon. Sony expects the PS2 to have a 10-year lifespan (much like the original PlayStation is still a strong seller today). And Microsoft will keep as much attention as possible on the Xbox, particularly with this fall's release of the eagerly anticipated "Halo 2".

But, that said, change is once again looming in the gaming world – and that's always an exciting thing to experience.
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Old 04-20-04, 11:43 PM
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Nothing really new. Do we really need another thread?
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Old 04-21-04, 07:43 AM
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probably not but I bet X-box Next and PS3 will be able to render Toy Story in real time!
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Old 04-21-04, 07:47 AM
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I heard PS3 also doubles as a Foreman Grill and espresso machine.
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Old 04-21-04, 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
I heard PS3 also doubles as a Foreman Grill and espresso machine.
***Moving to DVD Talk - Culinary Talk***

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Old 04-21-04, 03:51 PM
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LOL...

Seriously. No we don't need another thread. Just a report I saw. Some people may not have seen. No biggie.
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Old 04-21-04, 04:22 PM
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i found the article to be interesting.

it's certainly a lot more interesting than some of the other posts here. bam!
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Old 05-06-04, 10:29 AM
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XBOX 2 to be shown at E3 and launched next summer!? (2005)

Saw this fairly non-rumor sounding story at gamerfeed (poor grammar I know). Looks like MS is pretty serious about getting a head start out of the gates this time around.

I didn't want to start yet another thread.
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Old 05-06-04, 10:39 AM
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I have to admit - such a move would be invaluable to Microsoft and give them a huge lead in the next console generation.

I understand that some gamers will be upset about the short lifespan of the Xbox, but will soon forget those hard-feelings when a console is presented with up to date specs.

As a microsoft hater (as I type on my MS OS), I don't want to see it happen. But from a business standpoint, it makes all the sense in the world.

The big question is though - could they have really kept this big of an announcement a secret?
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Old 05-06-04, 10:43 AM
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i checked business week and they do have an article on this but it's for subscribers only.
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Old 05-06-04, 11:00 AM
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I still think it will hurt Xbox 2 if, less than a year after its launch, PS3 is released with superior specs. I think it will be Dreamcast vs PS2 all over again.

However if this turns out to be true, I think MS should delay all their remaining big Xbox titles and turn them into Xbox 2 launch titles.

Halo 2
KOTOR2
Fable

What good will it do to release these games so close to the launch of Xbox 2? I guess we will find out more info when E3 begins.
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Old 05-06-04, 11:16 AM
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Originally posted by CreatureX
I still think it will hurt Xbox 2 if, less than a year after its launch, PS3 is released with superior specs. I think it will be Dreamcast vs PS2 all over again.
That's not a great analogy as a lot of DC games (i.e. Soul Calibur, which was a launch game) looked as good or better than anything on the PS2 when it launched, and really as good as anything on the PS2 to date.

A better analogy is the Saturn vs. the PSX. It launched a while before the PSX, but was woefully underpowerd.

I could see the same thing happening here. The X-box 2 comes out, sells ok (probably mainly just to people who own X-boxes as casual gamers/sony fans will probably wait anyway), Sony then ups the specs on the PS3 and puts it out a year later.

The X-box 2 could be in deep shit in that scenario.
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Old 05-06-04, 11:38 AM
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The reason PS2 did so well coming out a year later than the DC is because of hype and brand loyalty. I'm not sure what the install base of the PS1 was at the time the DC was released, but I'm sure it was pretty big. Alot of those people heard about the PS2 before the DC launch and decided that waiting for the next great Sony product was better than jumping onboard a year early with DC.

It will be interesting to see what happens here. Will Xbox owners be pissed off because MS is breaking the five year product cycle? This would give Halo 2 less than a year to sell copies before Xbox2 comes out. Will people wait to see what Sony has up their sleave before making an Xbox2 purchase? Probably. Unless you can afford both (in which case you will buy both) you are going to see all your choices before you make a decision.

I think this strategy will backfire on MS. They should wait to launch at the same time and force people to make a choice (and hope that choice favors them).
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Old 05-06-04, 11:43 AM
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why is there a 5 year product cycle? is that in the How to Succeed in Video Games book? i'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

keep the console under $200 and i'll pick it up. same w/ the ps3.

--
one thing that i don't get is the continued fascination w/ failed game systems like the dreamcast. why do people care so much? if you still have it, enjoy it. if the xbox2 goes the way of the dreamcast, i don't really care. same w/ any console.

i wish good luck to both the ps3 and xbox next.

Last edited by young; 05-06-04 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 05-06-04, 11:53 AM
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I highly doubt better "specs" are going to be a selling point this generation unless they're actually put to use. The systems now are poweful enough to deliver the goods, the developers are just to lazy to take advantage of them.

The Saturn wasn't "woefully" underpowered. I can't think of a single PS1 game that looks half as good as Radiant Silvergun, and side-by-side comparison of Thunder Force V shows that the Saturn was every bit of machine if not more, regardless of "number specs." The Saturn had far superior memory management for game saving (using only the space needed as opposed to the wasteful block system of the PS1) and upgradable RAM that put games on the Saturn that could never be done on the PS1. It's only real weakpoint was FMV playback. But, look at Castlevania, easily one of the best looking PS1 games, total ass on the Saturn, even though it had far superior 2D capabilites.

But, it got stomped in American due to Sony's MTV marketing blitz and Sega of America's stupidity. Not because one system had better specs than the other.

Now, shoot 10 years ahead and the issues of specs are going to be in innovation rather than pure processing power. Differences in the 3 systems now are fairly minimal and as the systems get better, again, only talented developers are going to be able to showcase that.
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Old 05-06-04, 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by PixyJunket
I highly doubt better "specs" are going to be a selling point this generation unless they're actually put to use. The systems now are poweful enough to deliver the goods, the developers are just to lazy to take advantage of them.
Not true. Microsoft made it their main selling point that their system was more powerful than the PS2. Even though that is only partial true (Xbox has higher MHz, PS2 has higher FLOPS), people believed it and used that to justify a purchase. Don't think MS won't use the same tactic again; it worked so well before, why not implement it again.

The Saturn wasn't "woefully" underpowered. I can't think of a single PS1 game that looks half as good as Radiant Silvergun, and side-by-side comparison of Thunder Force V shows that the Saturn was every bit of machine if not more, regardless of "number specs." The Saturn had far superior memory management for game saving (using only the space needed as opposed to the wasteful block system of the PS1) and upgradable RAM that put games on the Saturn that could never be done on the PS1. It's only real weakpoint was FMV playback. But, look at Castlevania, easily one of the best looking PS1 games, total ass on the Saturn, even though it had far superior 2D capabilites.

But, it got stomped in American due to Sony's MTV marketing blitz and Sega of America's stupidity. Not because one system had better specs than the other.
If you look at the stats, PS1 and Saturn were selling pretty much equally until FFVII came out for the PS1. After that, sales were many times more for the PS1 than the Saturn. Also, the Saturn used a 2D graphics processor and the PS1 had a 3D graphics processor. Those who enjoy 3D games (the vast majority of new gamers at that time) would say that the Saturn was underpowered against the PS1

Now, shoot 10 years ahead and the issues of specs are going to be in innovation rather than pure processing power. Differences in the 3 systems now are fairly minimal and as the systems get better, again, only talented developers are going to be able to showcase that.
Very true. Both Microsoft and Sony are making it alot easier for developers to use the full power of the systems. While the graphics difference between the two systems won't be that great, the processing capabilities could very well be. Being that graphics are going to be less of an issue, extra features will take up that additional processing power. A more powerful system will beable to handle more features during gameplay. This, of course, will only be applicable to very few games.
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Old 05-06-04, 12:28 PM
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I loved the Saturn as much as anyone but c'mon, it didn't have the horsepower to keep up with the PS1. Saturn was good at 2D, okay at 3D. It couldn't handle transparencies or lighting and shading via hardware, and I don't think it could do full-screen video without the MPEG adapter. Most videos were cropped or windowed. The Saturn could never churn out a game like Gran Tourismo, for example. It did do high-res graphics, like in VF2, and because of this DOA was better on the Saturn than the PS1. But game for game, the PS1 had more longevity in it's hardware.

The 5 year cycle has been standard. Look at the past three generations of consoles, this is what's followed by console manufacturers nowadays.

And I think if Xenon, or whatever it's called, is launched in Summer 2005 it would be a BAD move. Unless of course they released in Japan first to try and capture and secure that market before bringing it over to the US. But still with all the A-list titles being released the end of this year and some being delayed to early next (True Fantasy Live Online), aren't they just segregating their consumer market between those who can afford a new console and those who can't? After all, a lot of people have just bought a new Xbox in the past year, and will continue to do so throughout the year. Sales are rising, not declining.

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Old 05-06-04, 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by jrutz
The 5 year cycle has been standard. Look at the past three generations of consoles, this is what's followed by console manufacturers nowadays.
can you provide a list that shows that each console has been 5 years? or at least, point me to a site w/ a chart or something? ps1 is still selling... how does that fit in?

and, even if somewhat true, just b/c it had been like that before doesn't mean it is standard - especially in a technology driven field.

to predict the success of a console based on such shaky CW is weak, imo.
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Old 05-06-04, 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by young
why is there a 5 year product cycle? is that in the How to Succeed in Video Games book? i'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

keep the console under $200 and i'll pick it up. same w/ the ps3.

--
one thing that i don't get is the continued fascination w/ failed game systems like the dreamcast. why do people care so much? if you still have it, enjoy it. if the xbox2 goes the way of the dreamcast, i don't really care. same w/ any console.
Same reason for both. $200-300 (launch price) is a lot of money to some people, and we want to keep getting new games to play on our console for a decent period of time.

Thus less than five years, and failed systems, suck and are taken as a huge waste of money to people like me that aren't diehard gamers and have very tight budgets.
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Old 05-06-04, 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by young
can you provide a list that shows that each console has been 5 years?
NES 1985 (I think, little fuzzy on this one)
SNES 1991
N64 1996
GC 2001

PSX 1995
PS2 2000
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Old 05-06-04, 12:39 PM
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If you look at the stats, PS1 and Saturn were selling pretty much equally until FFVII came out for the PS1. After that, sales were many times more for the PS1 than the Saturn. Also, the Saturn used a 2D graphics processor and the PS1 had a 3D graphics processor. Those who enjoy 3D games (the vast majority of new gamers at that time) would say that the Saturn was underpowered against the PS1
Ah.. but I pointed out a 3D Saturn game that looks better than any 3D PS1 game (Radiant Silvergun), a 3D game on both systems that was ages better on Saturn (TFV), and a 2D game that was ages better on the Playstation (CV:CotN). I could find games on both systems that are show that the systems were pretty damn equal (minus, of course, FMV on the Saturn). I was simply showing that stating the Saturn was "woefully" underpowered compared to the Playstation is a gross misconception.

Very true. Both Microsoft and Sony are making it alot easier for developers to use the full power of the systems. While the graphics difference between the two systems won't be that great, the processing capabilities could very well be. Being that graphics are going to be less of an issue, extra features will take up that additional processing power. A more powerful system will beable to handle more features during gameplay. This, of course, will only be applicable to very few games.
In this era of games, most games are made to sell a concept or a license. If the power of the current systems is grossly underused, imagine how it's going to be next time? You are right, very few games will really showcase what any system can do now both graphically and technically, and with standard TVs not being able to be pushed any higher on resolution, they're going to have a diffucult time showing how much better the next systems are.
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Old 05-06-04, 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by young
can you provide a list that shows that each console has been 5 years? or at least, point me to a site w/ a chart or something? ps1 is still selling... how does that fit in?

and, even if somewhat true, just b/c it had been like that before doesn't mean it is standard - especially in a technology driven field.

to predict the success of a console based on such shaky CW is weak, imo.
I'm thinking North America launch dates here:

The PS1 launched September 9, 1995. The PS2 was launched in October 2000.

The SNES was launched in 1991. The N64 was launched September 1996. The Gamecube launched Fall 2001.

The Xbox was launched Fall 2001.

The Genesis launched in North America on September 15, 1989. The Saturn was launched (officially) September 2, 1995. The DC was launched September 9, 1999.

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Old 05-06-04, 10:01 PM
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I think lauching that early will have a negative effect on whichever system comes out the gates first. I don't think people are ready to make another jump so early. How much better can the graphics get in this next generation? I think I will wait for the inevitable price drop next gen. I
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Old 05-06-04, 10:32 PM
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For further proof of why 5 years is so important lets take a look at SEGA who released the 32X CD Saturn and Dreamcast all much earlier then five years. It is generally accepted that this alienated many gamers even diehard SEGA fans by switching platforms so frequently. Also look at the Virtual Boy which released in between the SNES and N64 (which is one of the things that I fear about the DS).

I think MS would really shoot themselves in the foot if they release it a year earlier than the competition, don't include a HD, and don't make it backwards compatible. I seriously believe that MS owes all of its success to Halo and superior technology. If they really are going to fulfill all those rumors then they will have a system that will be outdated in 6 months to a year and no killer app that can't even play games from its predecessor.

Not a good situation.
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Old 05-07-04, 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by tanman
For further proof of why 5 years is so important lets take a look at SEGA who released the 32X CD Saturn and Dreamcast all much earlier then five years. It is generally accepted that this alienated many gamers even diehard SEGA fans by switching platforms so frequently. Also look at the Virtual Boy which released in between the SNES and N64 (which is one of the things that I fear about the DS).

I think MS would really shoot themselves in the foot if they release it a year earlier than the competition, don't include a HD, and don't make it backwards compatible. I seriously believe that MS owes all of its success to Halo and superior technology. If they really are going to fulfill all those rumors then they will have a system that will be outdated in 6 months to a year and no killer app that can't even play games from its predecessor.

Not a good situation.
My thoughts exactly. If the Xenon isn't backwards compatable, then hell if I'm going to support two Microsoft systems simultaneously. Judging by all the great A-list titles coming out for the 'box this year, I'm not going to spend all that money on them if I won't even be playing them six months out.

The Xbox needs time to breath. 2004 will be it's biggest and most important year.

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