Archive for June, 2005

Microsoft Lines up Japanese Developers

[Update 01jul05: and even more developers]

Xbox Japan boss Yoshihiro Maruyama says that up to eight locally developed titles will greet the 360’s launch in Japan. We all know that the Xbox sold poorly in Japan. Very poorly. So this time around, in their bid to conquer everything, Microsoft is counting on some local talent to woo the Japanese.

In an interview published in the current issue of Famitsu, Maruyama said he expects that Japan will see a “good lineup” of titles at launch–somewhere in the double-digit range. He added that seven or eight will be Japanese-developed games.

Maruyama also confirmed that a few of the launch games will be first-party games produced by Microsoft Japan. He declined to specify if games from noted Japanese game developers Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Hironobu Sakaguchi, or Yoshiki Okamoto–designers already committed to delivering 360 titles–will be among the launch games.

Link: GamespotM’Soft Japan promises slate of Xbox 360 launch games

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PS3 and Xbox 360, by AnandTech

[Update 01jul05: EuroGamer has a commentary about this article and also found a source for the original, if you still want to read it.]
[Update 30jun05: it looks like AnandTech has pulled the article, sorry. But Slashdot has a big discussion on the issue. So does Beyond3D, basically pointing out its lack of fidelity.]

AnandTech has quite a nice article comparing the Ps3 and 360. It goes into quite a bit of detail, and I encourage you all to take a look. One point in particular that I liked was their discussion of the Cell processor, which has gotten a lot of bad press from the 360 camp:

In fact, if properly structured and coded for SPE acceleration, physics code could very well run faster on the PlayStation 3 than on the Xbox 360 thanks to the more specialized nature of the SPE hardware. Not to mention that physics acceleration is particularly parallelizable, making it a perfect match for an array of 7 SPEs.

Microsoft has referred to the Cell’s array of SPEs as a bunch of DSPs useless to game developers. The fact that the next installment of the Unreal engine will be using the Cell’s SPEs for physics, animation updates, particle systems as well as audio processing means that Microsoft’s definition is a bit off. While not all developers will follow in Epic’s footsteps, those that wish to remain competitive and get good performance out of the PS3 will have to.

The bottom line is that Sony would not foolishly spend over 75% of their CPU die budget on SPEs to use them for nothing more than fancy DSPs. Architecting a game engine around Cell and optimizing for SPE acceleration will take more effort than developing for the Xbox 360 or PC, but it can be done. The question then becomes, will developers do it?

Link: AnandTechMicrosoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3 – A Hardware Discussion

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Xbox 360 may use HD-DVD Eventually

[Update 29jun05: Tom’s Hardware and PlayFeed are two among many to comment on this announcement. PlayFeed wonders at the wisdom of splitting the 360 userbase, while Tom’s Hardware suggests that the next-gen blue laser format might be fought out by the consoles.]
[Update 28jun05: I was reading about this on CVG and three words popped out at me: “or something else”. I guess Mr. Gates is leaving his options open. If Sony could scoop the 360 to use Blu-ray drives, now that would be something!]

Microsoft and Toshiba are strengthening their ties. At the joint press conference announcing such, Bill Gates revealed that the Xbox 360 may support HD-DVD in later releases of the console.

It begs the question: where does this leave users of the original 360’s sold without the HD-DVD? Or does it matter? Will developers start releasing games in HD-DVD format, or will HD-DVD just be a bonus feature for watching HD movies? If the former, will developers release their titles in two formats to support both kinds of 360’s? If the latter, will it cost extra, and where will it leave original 360 owners? Will they get a discount to upgrade to the improved 360?

So many questions, so few answers.

Link: team XBOXXbox 360 Might Incorporate HD DVD Drive


Alan Wake for PS3

PS3 IGN has posted a couple screenshots of Alan Wake for the PS3. They look quite nice, although it looks like some elements weren’t textured (like the railing on the porch). But if these are representative of actual gameplay, wow!

Link: PS3 IGNAlan Wake

The Finnish developer Remedy is behind the game Alan Wake, and EuroGamer has an interview with Remedy’s Petri Järvilehto and Sam Lake, which is a little old, but there you go:

Link: EuroGamerAlan Wake Interview

As well, EuroGamer also has a link to a new Alan Wake trailer:

Link: EuroGamerAlan Wake Trailer

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