The inescapable news today, Friday 13th May, is that Microsoft have officially unveiled their Xbox successor, now officially dubbed Xbox 360. But, of course, you knew that already didn't you, since the Redmond PR machine has been in overdrive: radio, television, online... it seems that everyone is talking about it - I'm sure even the guys at Sony have some choice thoughts on it.
Will it be any good you ask? Certainly the specifications are indeed impressive: triple-core CPU running at 3.2Ghz, 512Mb RAM, faster-than-X850 graphics by ATI, 20Gb hard drive, wireless controllers, HD output - just about everything next-gen you can think of is there.
There are many, many articles on various websites, so rather than bore you with stuff you may have already read, I decided it makes more sense to just pick & choose the highlights and let you read for yourself.
Kyle Bennett has 5 pages of specifications and typical no-nonsense analysis: he's the first guy I've seen who has busted the "watercooled" hype by pointing out that it's actually just a heatpipe heatsink similar to a Thermalright XP-90
or a smaller version of the Gigabyte G-Power heatsink
Rob reviewed last week.
"I walked away from our demonstrations at the Microsoft offices truly impressed with the Xbox 360 feature set. Also I got the feeling that I was not being given a dog and pony show but rather just shown what the true abilities of the Xbox 360 are going to be."
have a good summary of things and promise further instalments analysing the software side of things soon. You can also read Tom's quite amusing "live feed
" as he stoically posted updates from 8pm through to 4am as the news hit the net.
haven't spared the detail, with a list of some 23 titles known to be destined for Xbox 360, either officially, like my personal favourite Project Gotham Racing 3, or unofficially by spotting the telltale signs, such as the Quake 4
trailer spotted at the taping of MTV's Xbox 360 premiere show.
Indeed, Microsoft set something of a precedent by revealing Xbox 360 for the first time to gamers worldwide on television, through a 30-minute special broadcast on MTV in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. As expected, for those who don't have access to MTV, a recording found its way onto the Net within hours of the broadcast Stateside, making the later broadcasts in other timezones somewhat redundant for fans who knew where to look.
Unfortunately, the show was high on glitz & glamour and somewhat light on juicy details: two live performances from the band The Killers might suit the MTV audience, but us gamers were left with all too brief glimpses of various titles such as Project Gotham Racing 3, NBA 2K6, and Perfect Dark Zero.
There is now an Official Xbox 360 website, located rather obviously at www.xbox360.com
but there is nothing to look at but a handful of photos.
The last word goes to TeamXbox
, which has one of the best write-ups I've seen:
The outlook is...can the holiday season get here any faster? The Xbox 360 is certainly a powerful piece of hardware, but it is the overall functionality and the expansion of the Xbox Live features that has us most impressed. Microsoft will be the first to fire a salvo in the next-generation console war, but only time will tell who will come out on top. While the PS3 is rumoured to be more advanced technically, we certainly can’t imagine that Sony will have all the bases covered in regards to personalization and the online experience. In the end it will all come down to the games and with franchises like Halo and Perfect Dark, support from developers like Epic Games, BioWare Corp., Mistwalker, Q Entertainment, and nearly every big time publisher, we like the Xbox 360’s chances.
I certainly agree: while there are fanboys in each camp, it will ultimately be down to the quality of the games that will swing the majority one way or the other. I seem to be in the minority in not giving a toss if it's backwards compatible or not: I have completed all my Xbox games, and with PGR3 et al to play, why would I ever
want to play any first-generation games?
We expect to hear Sony's retaliation in the form of Playstation 3 sometime during next week's E3 show in LA.
I can tell you're just itching to share your thoughts on Xbox360: here's a dedicated thread
- go for it!