Thursday, August 31, 2006

Inconsistent Demand

I just read something that made me squint, raise one eyebrow, ponder... and then shake my head at the oddity of it all (yes, all of it).

For the sake of the link, I was reading Flicker Gaming. Corvus' post about the Xbox 360 (link). What hit me was that for the past year, people in the gaming community (and the reviewing community) have been complaining that the currently available games for the 360 do not fully utilize the system's obscene graphics and computational capabilities.

Why are people complaining? Think for a minute about the logistics. We know, from news and blog posts around that time, that the hardware in the 360 was not even finalized and until mere months before the product shipped. Developers didn't start receiving beta units until June, with a November release date. We also know that the average AAA title takes between 1 and 5 years to produce. The graphics engine is often one of the first things laid out, and while it may be tweaked and improved, cannot be drastically redesigned without resetting the schedule.

So... All the 360 release games were in production using fictional specs, half-baked hardware, and wishful thinking for a good 6 months to 2 years before they saw hardware and reality. Not to mention that many of the games were set to release on current-gen systems as well. Their design could not have been specifically for the Xbox 360, but merely tweaked close to release. Which we saw in better textures and effects (not to mention HD output).

It's been nearly a year. Will we start to see games that utilize more of the 360's supposedly awesome power? I don't know. But if they are going to show up, it would be logical that they should start now - not 10 months ago. Even with this mandatory time dilation, there will still be a significant amount of time until all games live up to the hardware expectations.

As a postscript - No, the PS3 (and even the Wii, I'll venture) will have games that use all of what their systems can push. Hell, it's been how long now and they are still getting better and better graphics from the PS2. Any new technology takes time to propagate and become fully ripe in the industry.

As a personal postscript - I know that I've been blog-ishly absent this past month. I spent a week on vacation. I've also been spending time working on a Very Important Project. I want to write more, but I don't have the time to do it justice yet.


  1. For the record, I wasn't complaining, just pointing out why I didn't care to buy one yet.

    Personally, I'm glad that MS is abandoning the Xbox, as it means everyone will now start finding and pushing the limits of the 360.

  2. It wasn't you, it was just a complaint that I have heard, and suddenly realized how inconsistent and beyond expectation it was. As for the discontinuation of the Xbox... I don't know. It would perhaps be better if there was more backwards compatability. Will this push Microsoft to complete it? Probably not. So there will probably be a lot of lost games (at least for some time).

    And since I don't plan on buying an HDTV any time soon there is no reason to buy the new system. I really don't want to deal with fuzzy text issues, and all that non-compatibility crap. It winds up making the Xbox 360 a bit elitist.

    Plus, I have plans to turn the old Xbox into a perfectly viable Media Center PC. Waste not, want not.

  3. Precisely my plans for my my Xbox.

  4. Oh, and it's a fair point you're making, incidently