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360 to Support 720p and 1080i, but no 1080p

In an interview with Todd Holmdahl, Corporate Vice President of the Xbox Product Group at Microsoft, team XBOX found out some interesting things. I’ve broken up discussion of this interview into several posts so that there is one post per topic.

As far as output resolutions go, developers can create games that use any output resolution, be it SD, 720p, or 1080i. Then the 360 will convert that game output to a signal that the user requests that is most compatible with his or her display, be it SD, 720p, or 1080i. As far as 1080p goes:

Xbox 360 does not support 1080p at this time. It’s an incremental improvement at an astronomical expense, and we don’t see consumers clamoring for 1080p TVs yet. We will continue evaluate the market and deliver the capability when and if customers want it.

I find this a little strange. Does this really mean that Microsoft could change the specification of the 360 after it’s been released? Some 360 owners could have 1080p output while others don’t? Mr. Holmdahl hinted at a similar possibility for HDMI support. I don’t know if this is such a great idea. One of the great things about gaming consoles is that they stay the same – developers and consumers can count on a standard unchanging set of specifications. To fiddle with that formula is inviting problems.

While we’re on the subject of HD output, a little bird told me that a games developer is having problems getting the HD output they want from the 360. They asked Microsoft if it’s okay to output SD only and Microsoft’s response was yes, but only for AAA titles. I heard this from a friend of a friend, so take it with just a little bit of skepticism…

Link: team XBOXXbox 360 Interview: Todd Holmdahl